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Zoning: Public Access Requirements
Article VI, Chapter 2 of the New York City Zoning
Resolution, commonly known as waterfront zoning,
includes requirements for public access upon residential
or commercial development of a waterfront parcel.
Under these rules, residential or commercial redevelopment
of individual parcels would require developers
to build and maintain specified public access
- Shore public
A continuous walkway must be provided along
the shoreline of a development site. This area
typically contains one or more pedestrian paths
as well as buffer areas. In medium and higher
density districts, the minimum width for a shore
public walkway is 40 feet.
Paths connecting the shore public walkway
to streets and sidewalks or parks are required
at specified intervals. In medium and higher
density districts, the minimum width for an
upland connection is 30 feet. Upland connection
requirements can also be satisfied within
a private street by building sidewalks at
least 12 feet wide.
Unobstructed views to the water are required
at specified intervals. Where visual corridors
are extensions of streets, they must be as
wide as the street; elsewhere, visual corridors
must be at least 50 feet wide.
access on piers.
Piers that are part of a waterfront lot must
be accessible to the public. Public access
is required on both sides of piers for their
public access areas.
Waterfront developments are required to provide
a minimum of 15 to 20 percent of their lot
area for public access. (In R6 districts,
this minimum is 15 percent; in R8 districts,
it is 20 percent). If the sum of other public
access requirements is less than this percentage,
the development must provide one or more supplemental
public access areas, which can be parks, plazas,
or sitting areas. Like other public access
areas, these areas are subject to design guidelines.
Maintenance and access. Under waterfront zoning,
public access areas must be open to the public
between dawn and dusk. Public access requirements
are recorded in a restrictive declaration
against the property, and are maintained by
the property owner under a maintenance and
operation agreement signed with the Department
of Parks and Recreation.
Section 62-60 of the Zoning Resolution contains
a detailed set of design standards for waterfront
public access areas and visual corridors.
It includes parameters for their location
and configuration, as well as requirements
for paving, planting, seating, lighting, signage,
fences and guardrails.