What is an (E) designation?
An (E) designation provides notice of the presence of an environmental requirement pertaining to potential hazardous materials contamination, high ambient noise levels or air emission concerns on a particular tax lot. (E) designations, governed by Section 11-15 (Environmental Requirements) of the Zoning Resolution, are established in connection with a change in zoning or an action pursuant to a provision of the Zoning Resolution that would allow additional development to occur on property, or would permit uses not currently allowed.
An (E) designation is not a notice of a building violation.
How does an (E) designation affect my property?
After the establishment of an (E) designation, you may continue to use your property in any legal manner, as you did before the (E) designation, for as long as you like. However, in general, before any new construction or change in land use can take place on your property, the environmental requirements of the (E) designation need to be satisfied.
Who placed the (E) designation on my property?
(E) designations are established by the lead agency responsible for the environmental review (City Environmental Quality Review, "CEQR") of changes to the zoning maps or text of the Zoning Resolution or actions under the Zoning Resolution. With respect to applications for changes to the zoning maps (rezonings) and other zoning actions requiring the approval of the City Planning Commission, the Department of City Planning ("DCP") acts on behalf of the Commission as the CEQR lead agency. If the lead agency is other than DCP, such as the Board of Standards and Appeals ("BSA") or the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development ("HPD"), such agencies will have the specific information about an (E) designation established in connection with one of their environmental reviews.
Rezoning applications are denoted by a "ULURP" (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) number containing six numerical digits followed by the three-letter suffix "ZM", with the last letter indicating the subject Borough ("K" for Brooklyn, "X" for Bronx, "M" for Manhattan, "Q" for Queens, or "R" for Staten Island). The related environmental review application receives a CEQR number with the format ##DCP###, the last digit being a letter indicating the Borough, similar to the ULURP application. "DCP" indicates that DCP was the CEQR lead agency. The CEQR number may be for an Environmental Assessment Statement ("EAS") or for an Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS").
Information about specific ULURP and CEQR applications can be found here. The Zoning Maps, including proposed and adopted changes to Zoning Maps through rezonings, are accessible here. The public hearing schedule for proposed rezonings, as well as other ULURP actions, is available here.
Why was an (E) designation placed on my property?
Zoning changes, as well as other zoning actions requiring agency approval, are subject to an environmental review pursuant to state and local law. If an area is proposed to be rezoned, and the accompanying environmental analysis indicates that development on a property may be adversely affected by noise, air emissions, or hazardous material contamination, then an (E) designation may be placed on the property by the lead agency in order to address such issues in conjunction with any new development or new use of the property.
An (E) designation can occur because the property:
- Was used as or is in close proximity to a gas station or some other underground fuel oil tank;
- Is located in or contiguous to a manufacturing district; Has a history of manufacturing uses;
- Is located next to a building with a history of manufacturing uses;
- Is located on a heavily trafficked street or highway; Is located next to a railroad;
- Has some other environmental condition on the property or nearby that is a cause for concern.
I just found out that there is an (E) designation on my property. What do I have to do now?
The (E) designation is not a building violation and does not affect any legal use on your property. However, if you are planning to build on your property, enlarge the existing building, or change the way the property is used, you will not be able to obtain a building permit until the environmental requirements of the (E) designation are satisfied. To find information about what the environmental requirements are, please see the answer to the question below, "Where can I find the environmental requirements for the (E) Designation for my property?", and, specifically, the section about "CEQR Documents."
Where can I find the environmental requirements of the (E) Designation for my property?
Zoning Resolution. Once an (E) designation is adopted in connection with a rezoning or other zoning action, it is included in a list appended to the Zoning Resolution that describes the environmental condition that needs to be addressed for each property. This list of adopted (E) designations is shown in Appendix C, listed by E-Number, along with the related ULURP/Application Number, CEQR Number, and Block and Lot Number. If you do not know your tax block and lot number, you can retrieve it using the GOAT (Geographic Online Address Translator) on the Department's website.
ZoLa. If you want to find out whether a specific tax lot received an (E) designation and don’t know the E-Number, you can look up the lot in the Department’s interactive Zoning and Land Use (“ZoLa”) application. ZoLa allows users to search for a location by address or block and lot and obtain different kinds of zoning and land use related information. Once a lot in question is searched and appears on the map, click on “Environmental Requirements” under the “Show Zoning and Related Data on Map”, and (E) symbols will appear on lots in the surrounding area that have received (E) designations. Moving the cursor over the (E) symbol will show the E-Number. Clicking on the (E) symbol with the identify tool selected will return basic information about the (E) designation. Please keep in mind that all tax lot changes (such as subdivisions, mergers, or conversions to condominium) that may have occurred since the establishment of a particular (E) designation may not be reflected in these symbols. If a property of interest is located on the same block as an (E) designation, further research is, therefore, recommended.
Also, if you do not know the E-Number, you can search Appendix C using the generic “Find” function of your web browser, which may be available through clicking the right-button on your mouse or under “Edit” on the toolbar at the top of the screen, using the Block Number or other known identifier as a search term.
CEQR Documents. The basis for the placement of an (E) designation on a property is contained in the related EAS or EIS (defined above under “Who placed the (E) designation on my property?”), as applicable. The environmental requirements of an (E) designation with respect to hazardous materials, air quality, and/or noise are contained in the EAS and the CEQR Determination (i.e. in the Negative Declaration or Conditional Negative Declaration), or in the EIS (within the respective chapters on Hazardous Materials, Air Quality and/or Noise). EASs (dated from July 19, 2012) and the related CEQR Determinations for which DCP was the lead agency are available from the “EAS Documents” page of the Department’s website. EISs are available from the “EIS Documents” page. The requirements with respect to hazardous materials may involve soil testing and, if contamination is confirmed, soil remediation. A requirement related to air quality may limit the boiler fuel type or the location of the boiler stack; a requirement related to noise may be the installation of double-glazed windows. Again, these requirements are only “triggered” upon certain activities in connection with redevelopment of your property (See above question, “How does an E designation affect my property”?).
SPEED. In addition, the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (“OER”) maintains a searchable environmental database known as SPEED (Searchable Property Environmental E-Database), which enables users to search properties in New York City and view environmental information, including (E) designations.
After reviewing the materials available on the Department’s and OER’s websites, if you still have questions about the (E) designation requirements affecting your property, you may contact OER at (212) 788-8841.
How do I satisfy the environmental requirements of an (E) designation?
The NYC E-Designation Environmental Review Program for Hazardous Materials, Air Quality, and Window/Wall Noise Attenuation is administered by the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER). The program was formerly administered by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Submissions should be sent to the following address:
New York City Office of Environmental Remediation
c/o Maurizio Bertini, Assistant Director
100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10038
I plan to develop several lots, but only one of them has an (E) designation. How does that affect my other lots?
In the case of a merger or subdivision of lots with an (E) designation, involving either improved or unimproved properties, the (E) designation will apply to all portions of the merged lot or to each subdivided lot, and OER will determine whether the environmental requirements of the (E) designation should apply accordingly.