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Homeowners & Tenants: Development Challenges FAQ

What jobs can be challenged under the Public Challenge Process?
New Buildings (NB) and enlargements that affect the exterior envelope of an existing building.

What content in these job filings can be challenged within this new process?
Any items related to zoning can be challenged.

What is a Zoning Diagram (ZD1)?
The Zoning Diagram is a drawn-to-scale diagram of the project that shows where the building will sit in relation to the street. It also includes information on dwelling units, parking, and a floor-by-floor breakdown of the building’s use, zoning floor area, and floor area ratio (FAR).

What is a zoning approval?
A zoning approval is the Department’s decision that the proposed NB or enlargement application complies with zoning. Zoning approvals may also include DOB determinations on complex zoning issues.

How will I know that the challenge process has started?
The initial challenge period begins when the Zoning Diagram is posted on the Department’s website. View the Zoning Diagram and the status of a job by clicking the “Building on My Block” feature on the Department’s website. Additionally, once a permit is issued, builders must post the permit at the location within three days. This also lets the public know of the proposed development.

How can I find out which jobs are subject to the challenge process?
Use the Department’s “Building on My Block” search feature. All jobs marked with a zoning approval as “Granted” or “Amended” are subject to the challenge process.

Can a Zoning Diagram be amended?
Yes, applicants may amend their job and submit a new Zoning Diagram.

Will the challenge process start over if zoning is amended?
Yes. When a submitted amendment changes the scope of project, the process starts over. The approval of the amendment and related Zoning Diagram will restart the 45-day challenge process. If the amendment is submitted solely to resolve objections issued resulting from a public challenge, the approval and posting of the Zoning Diagram will be subject to a 15-day appeal period.

How will I know if a zoning is amended?
Jobs with amended zoning will be marked with a zoning approval as “Amended” on the “Building on My Block” results page.

Will challenges be made public?
Zoning-related challenges are posted on the Department’s website after the Department’s review and decision.

What response can I expect to my challenge?
The Department will post its decision with the related challenge on the Department’s website after the review is complete.

Can I appeal the decision made in response to a challenge?
Yes. If the Borough Commissioner determines that a challenge is invalid, you have 15 additional calendar days to appeal to the Department’s First Deputy Commissioner. Once the First Deputy Commissioner issues a determination, the decision may be appealed to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

What if challenge comes in late?
The Department has the authority to review any challenge at any time in order to ensure compliance with all codes, rules, and regulations.

Will zoning determinations that are issued be posted online? Will they be searchable?
Yes. All applicable approved determinations are scanned and posted online.

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