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Projects & Proposals > Citywide > Key Terms Clarification

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Key Terms Clarification Text Amendment
Other Modifications

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The definition of the term "residential building" will be modified in order to achieve consistency with the definitions of the terms "commercial building" and "community facility building." The terms "commercial building" and "community facility building" denote a building occupied exclusively by such use. Currently, a "residential building" is a building that contains one or more residences and may or may not include other uses. The proposal will define the term "residential building" as a building that is used exclusively for residential uses. (Section 12-10)

The definition of "land with minor improvements" will be modified to account for inflation. The existing definition cites a $2,000 maximum value, which has not been updated to account for inflation since 1961. The change to the definition calls for Consumer Price Index increases to be made by DCP annually. The more restrictive provisions regarding non-conforming uses will apply to more sites as a result of this amendment. (Sections 12-10, 52-32, 52-52, 52-72)

Section 24-01 (Applicability of this Chapter) will be modified so that buildings that are used partly for community facility use and partly for residential use will be governed by the residential bulk regulations for the residential portion of the building. Currently, for buildings that contain both community facility uses and residential uses, the bulk regulations for community facilities apply to all portions of the building, except where the regulations specifically refer to residential bulk regulations. With the proposed change, all residential portions of buildings will be controlled by residential bulk regulations. Rules for such mixed buildings will change regarding lot coverage, height and setback, side yard setback, and courts. (Sections 24-01, 24-11, 24-12, 24-521, 24-54, 24-551, 24-671, 62-323 and 62-324)

The applicability of yard regulations for zoning lots that are occupied by both a community facility use and a residential use will be specified. Currently, community facility yard requirements apply to zoning lots containing both uses. This amendment creates a new Section 24-31 (Applicability of Yard Regulations), which states that the residential front yard requirements and the side and rear yard requirements of the community facility chapter apply to the zoning lot. (Section 24-31)

R7-2 R8 Tower. Current interpretation of rules would allow a residential tower in a building that contains a single community facility use in R7-2 and R8 districts. Since this result was not intended, the text will be amended to specify that residential portions of such buildings must be beneath a sky exposure plane or constructed as Quality Housing buildings. (Sections 24-01 and 24-54)

The rules for rear yards in mixed buildings will be modified. Currently, a 30-foot residential rear yard must be provided at the lowest level containing dwelling units. The proposed change requires a residential rear yard at the level of dwelling units that have a window facing the rear yard. This will ensure that a 30-foot rear yard is provided where it is needed to provide light and air to dwelling units. (Sections 35-53, 117-525 and 123-652)

Minimum base height rule for interim uses. New rule specifies that in contextual districts a building may be constructed to less than the minimum base height so long as there is no subsequent development or enlargement of other buildings on the same zoning lot that exceed such minimum base heights. This is necessary to ensure that for zoning lots with multiple buildings, the minimum street wall height is provided upon full development of the zoning lot. (Sections 23-633(d) and 35-24 (e)(4))

Correction of conflicting parking requirements for Quality Housing buildings. Currently, Quality Housing buildings in R6 and R7-1 districts have a parking requirement of 50 percent. However for R6 and R7-1 districts with commercial overlays, Section 36-331 requires Quality Housing buildings to provide a greater ratio of parking spaces (60 percent in R7-1 and 70 percent in R6). This was an oversight in the original drafting of the Quality Housing program. This proposal will establish a parking requirement of 50 percent for Quality Housing buildings in commercial overlay districts mapped in R6 and R7-1 districts by referring to one set of parking regulations for all residential uses. This change preserves the original intent of the Commission. (Sections 25-23 and 36-331)

FRESH foods bonus. This proposal will specify that only residential floor area in a mixed building may be increased for the provision of FRESH food store. Current text states that floor area can be increased up to 20,000 square feet for the provision of a FRESH food store, if the permitted floor area for non-residential uses is not more than that of residential use. This revision is consistent with the legislative intent of the FRESH foods text amendment. (Section 63-211)

The following modifications are also proposed citywide:

  1. The applicability of existing parking lot landscaping rules will be extended to include new open parking lots accessory to existing buildings where the parking lot contains 18 or more spaces or is greater than 6,000 square feet in area. (Sections 25-67 and 37-91) In addition, parking lot maneuverability and landscaping standards will be modified to apply, as intended, to all new commercial and community facility parking lots, including new parking lots accessory to existing buildings. (Sections 25-623, 25-67, 36-58, 37-91, 44-47 and 44-48)

  2. In contextual districts and for Quality Housing buildings, where planting requirements apply between a street wall and a street line, the regulations will be modified to specify that plants must be provided in the ground or in planters permanently affixed to the ground. (Sections 23-892 and 28-33)

  3. The surface area of directional and identification signs for hospitals will be calculated for each building frontage instead of for each zoning lot. (Section 22-331)

  4. The change in the definition of "semi-detached building" will result in a change in the side yard requirement for the end unit in a row of attached residences on a corner lot in R3-2 and non-contextual R4 and R5 districts. The end unit will be considered "attached" and the side yard will be decreased from 20 feet to 8 feet, consistent with side yard rules for attached buildings. (Section 23-461(b))

  5. R9 tower-on-a-base rules will be made more practical by eliminating height factors and open space ratios which conflict with street wall requirements. (Section 23-148)

  6. Balconies and other projections in low-density contextual districts will be calculated in relation to each individual building, resulting in projections that are proportional to the size of each building. (Section 23-45(b))

  7. Elevator shafts and associated vestibules will be permitted obstructions on rooftops to permit access to rooftop recreation space in compliance with ADA requirements. (Section 23-62)

  8. Curb cuts restrictions in R4B and R5B will be modified to allow curb cuts on subdivided lots if the resulting lots are at least 40 feet wide, consistent with the intent of the recent "Residential Streetscapes" text amendment. (Section 25-631)

  9. The definition of "floor area" will be revised to include floor space that is unused or inaccessible. This rule currently applies to existing buildings, and will be revised to apply to all buildings. (Section 12-10)

The following modifications are proposed in the following Special Districts:

  1. The Midtown residential bonus for recreation space will be revised to remove a reference to obsolete room counts (consistent with Lower Manhattan methodology). (Section 81-241)

  2. The Midtown minimum street wall rule that permits low buildings as interim uses will be modified to match proposed citywide minimum base height rule for interim uses. (Section 81-43)

  3. The Forest Hills security gates rule will be modified to apply to all buildings with new security gates. (Section 86-15)

  4. Lower Manhattan lot coverage rules for buildings with more than one base height will be revised to resolve conflicts with street wall continuity requirements. (Section 91-33)

  5. Hudson Yards ground floor retail requirement will be modified to ensure a 50-foot depth where sidewalk widenings are required. (Section 93-14)

  6. South Richmond District regulations will be amended so that yard regulations apply to vertical enlargements. (Section 107-02)

  7. South Richmond District minimum lot area and lot width rules will apply differently to row houses on a single zoning lot in R3-2 districts as a result of the amended definition of "attached building." This change will have no practical effect because of other bulk and parking regulations. (Section 107-42)

  8. The South Richmond District special as-of-right exemption from front yard requirements will be eliminated. (Section 107-466)

  9. Little Italy height and setback regulations will be modified to apply to enlargements. (Section 109-124)

  10. Little Italy curb cut restrictions will be modified to apply to all zoning lots, not just zoning lots with new buildings. (Section 109-352)

  11. The Grand Concourse District will be modified to resolve unclear parking regulations for commercial infill sites by requiring that existing parking must be replaced if a site is redeveloped. (Section 122-60)

  12. The College Point District will be modified to require street trees for all conversions of 20 percent or more of floor area. (Section 126-21)

  13. The Coney Island District will be modified to not require rear yards in Coney East subdistrict. (Section 131-31)

  14. The Coney Island District will be modified to make a certification for height limit modification for amusement uses applicable to the entire Coney East subdistrict. (Section 131-42)

View PDF Document "Table 1: Substantive Changes" for a more detailed analysis of all of the proposed substantive changes.

View PDF Document "Table II: Clarifications and Modifications Consistent with Department of Buildings Practice" for a list of all of the proposed clarifications.

View the PDF Document proposed text amendment.


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