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Projects & Proposals > Citywide > FRESH Printer Friendly Version
FRESH Food Stores - Approved!
Proposed Text Amendment


The FRESH program targets the creation and retention of full-line grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods where rates of diet-related diseases are high among area residents. These FRESH Food Store Areas were also carefully tailored to neighborhoods that are eligible for complimentary financial incentives package and have similar built environments. Any store seeking to utilize the zoning incentives of the FRESH program must demonstrate it meets the following definition and be certified as a FRESH food store.


Definition of a FRESH Food Store
The proposed text amendment defines a FRESH food store as a store whose primary business is the sale of grocery products and provides:

(a) at least 6,000 square feet of selling area is used for a general line of food and nonfood grocery products such as dairy, canned and frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh and prepared meats, fish, and poultry, intended for home preparation, consumption and utilization;

(b) at least 50 percent of such selling area is used for the sale of a general line of food products intended for home preparation, consumption and utilization;

(c) at least 30 percent of such selling area is used for the sale of perishable goods that shall include dairy, fresh produce, and frozen foods and may include fresh meats, poultry, and fish; and


(d) least 500 square feet of such selling area is used for the sale of fresh produce.

Certification of a FRESH Food Store
The proposal requires that all stores utilizing the zoning incentives of the program must be certified as a FRESH food store by the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission (CPC). The applicant for the zoning certification must submit site plans demonstrating that the store meets the floor area requirements established in the proposed zoning definition of a FRESH food store.  In addition, the applicant must provide a signed lease by a participating grocer, or some other form of a written commitment acceptable by the Chairperson of the CPC, to occupy space developed for the FRESH food store. Additionally, the proposed text would require all certified FRESH food stores to display the FRESH sign at the entrance to the store that indicates that the store is a participant in the FRESH program and that fresh foods are sold inside.

FRESH Food Store Logo
FRESH Sign - Download the proposed FRESH Food Store symbol: in PDF Document pdf format


To facilitate and encourage FRESH Food Stores in the designated underserved neighborhoods, the proposed text also includes the following zoning incentives:
Additional Floor Area
The proposed text would allow one additional square foot of residential floor area in a mixed building for every square foot provided for a FRESH food store up to a maximum of 20,000 square feet.

For such buildings, the City Planning Commission may, by authorization, allow the maximum building height to be increased by up to 15 feet to enable the additional floor area to be accommodated.  The story occupied by a FRESH food store would be required to have a minimum finished floor to finished ceiling height of 14 feet above the adjacent public sidewalk, and residential stories would be required to have a minimum finished floor to finished ceiling height of eight feet six inches.

Reduction in Required Parking
The proposed text would ease parking requirements for FRESH stores:
  • In Commercial districts that permit residential buildings with ground floor retail, only FRESH food stores over 40,000 square feet would be required to provide parking.

  • In Light Manufacturing and general service (M1 and C8) districts, the first 15,000 square feet of floor area in a FRESH food store would be exempted from providing any parking.  

Easing of M1 (Light Manufacturing) Districts Use Restrictions
The proposed text amendment would permit FRESH food stores as-of-right up to 30,000 square feet in M1 districts, eliminating the need for a special permit and its costly and lengthy land use and environmental review.

Urban Design Requirements
A minimum percentage of a FRESH food store’s ground floor level street wall would need to be glazed and transparent, contributing to a more interactive streetscape.  All new security gates on the storefront would be required to be at least 75 percent transparent.

Conversion Options for FRESH Food Stores
The program requires a continuing commitment to operate a FRESH food store. However, in the unlikely event a FRESH food store is not economically viable on a particular site, the space may be converted to another use under two options.

  • A substitute use that meets all zoning regulations for the zoning lot may be permitted by CPC Chair Certification.

  • A substitute use permitted by the underlying zoning district that does not meet bulk and parking regulations for the zoning lot may be  permitted by CPC Authorization if the Commission finds that market conditions are unable to support a FRESH food store and such conditions were not created by the applicant or a prior tenant.


Stores already operating or planning to open in the FRESH Food Stores program areas shown below may be eligible for zoning and financial benefits. Click on the map below to see the program area boundaries for both the zoning and financial incentives.

South Bronx FRESH Food Store Area



To view changes to the FRESH Food Store Areas adopted on May 11, 2011, please view an updated map.





PDF Document Items accompanied by this symbol require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Brief explanations of terms in green italics can be viewed by clicking on the term. Words and phrases followed by an asterisk (*) are defined terms in the Zoning Resolution, primarily in Section 12-10. Consult the Zoning Resolution for the official and legally binding definitions of these words and phrases.
South Bronx FRESH Food Store Area Brooklyn FRESH Food Store Area Downtown Jamaica FRESH Food Store Area Northern Manhattan FRESH Food Store Areas
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