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Mayor Adams, City Planning Director Garodnick Celebrate City Council's Passage of Zoning Reform for South Richmond, Staten Island

November 2, 2023

Zoning Changes Will Ease Burdens on Small Properties and Homeowners, While Improving Oversight on Large Lots and Natural Resources

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick today celebrated the New York City Council’s approval of Mayor Adams’ “South Richmond Zoning Relief,” which will simplify zoning and planning procedures for homeowners, enhance the preservation of natural features, and strengthen community oversight of sensitive sites within the Special South Richmond Development District.

Crafted with extensive feedback from elected officials and community members, South Richmond Zoning Relief builds on Mayor Adams’ “Get Stuff Built” plan to streamline the land use process and make it work more efficiently. It also comes as the Adams administration is advancing its three “City of Yes” zoning changes: “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality” will be reviewed by the City Council this fall, “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity” kicked off public review earlier this week, and “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” will formally start public review in spring 2024.

“South Richmond homeowners have been living with a ‘City of No,’ between complicated zoning rules and a mess of red tape when it comes to their own properties. That ends today,” said Mayor Adams. “Thanks to this partnership with Borough President Fossella, Councilmember Borelli, and our partners in the community, New York City is on its way to becoming a ‘City of Yes’ that will give real control of a property back to a homeowner.”

“Staten Island homeowners, and homeowners across the city, contend with mountains of outdated and unnecessary rules that limit what they can do with their own property,” said Deputy Mayor of Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “This plan is going to make it easier for Staten Islanders to make their homes fit their needs. And under this administration, more relief for homeowners is on the way.”

“This plan not only simplifies regulations for homeowners but also strengthens our protections of natural resources,” said DCP Director Garodnick. “It’s a prime example of how we can craft smarter zoning that offers relief for New Yorkers while also meeting today’s challenges.”

Small property and homeowners in the Special South Richmond Development District have long been stymied by a complex and burdensome process that forced them to spend time and money on City Planning Commission approvals for even minor projects making changes on their property. Additionally, community members asked for additional regulations on larger sites with sensitive natural features that impact the public realm and neighborhood character.

South Richmond Zoning Relief will help alleviate this unique burden on homeowners within the special district, while preserving the key goals of South Richmond, by:

  • Creating homeowner-friendly zoning changes that simplify the approval process and remove red tape for small properties and individual homeowners on sites under one acre.
  • Improving regulations to give the City Planning Commission and community boards greater oversight on larger sensitive sites over one acre that have a significant impact on Staten Island residents and the public realm.
  • Applying the latest environmental preservation best practices to zoning regulations, which will make zoning application decisions more predictable.

This initiative to assist Staten Island homeowners was crafted in collaboration with Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, Jr., City Council Minority Leader Joseph C. Borelli, Staten Island Community Board 3, the Building Industry Association of New York City, and the Staten Island Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. After beginning the formal public review process in April 2023, South Richmond Zoning Relief received positive recommendations from Community Board 3 and Borough President Fossella, followed by an unanimously favorable vote at the City Planning Commission.

“We are pleased that the City Council passed the South Richmond Zoning Relief proposal, which can help minimize the cost and time for residents by streamlining the processes for home improvement projects,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, Jr. “These clear and concise rules should allow homeowners in the Special South Richmond Development District to complete simple improvements to their property without unnecessary complications and costs.”

“These are welcome changes that will help to remove bureaucratic hurdles for homeowners to make improvements to their properties and improve upon them as they wish in a more timely manner, all while maintaining our area’s character,” said New York City Council Minority Leader Joseph C. Borelli.

“Over the past year, we have worked collectively and come up with a proposal that will benefit the residents of the South Richmond District,” said Tom Barlotta, land use committee chair, Staten Island Community Board 3. “We are delighted that this proposal has now officially been adopted.”

“Congratulations to the Department of City Planning for the successful implementation of these long-needed changes,” said Robert Kelly, member, Building Industry Association of New York City. “Homeowners will now have a streamlined approach to making changes or improvements to their existing homes. Any time we can get from the drawing board to shovel-ready permitting sooner saves many dollars, which helps to trim the ever-escalating cost of residential construction. It will also allow builders like myself to bring much needed housing units to market that much quicker. That is a win-win.”

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