Press Releases

For Immediate Release
July 9, 2018

Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471                                              

The Department of City Planning Publishes 2018 Zoning Handbook

Practical guide helps public understand zoning rules that govern our growing City and supports informed public participation in land use process

Cover of Zoning Handbook 2018 Edition

July 9, 2018 - Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today announced the publication of the 2018 New York City Zoning Handbook. The newest edition of the Handbook includes easy-to-understand descriptions of zoning rules that guide physical development in the city, including changes since the last handbook was published in 2011.

“The Zoning Handbook is an amazing guide. It helps the public understand New York’s zoning rules, how they meet the changing needs of our growing city, and how the public can participate in the zoning process – all in an easy to read format! I encourage interested New Yorkers to get a copy, or find one at their local library, and to get involved in planning our future city,” said DCP Director Lago.

The zoning changes outlined in the Handbook reflect the priorities and challenges our city is facing as it works to shape development that supports a thriving, diverse and equitable future. The Handbook helps inform communities across New York that want to understand the rules that shape development in their neighborhoods. The latest revision responds to helpful feedback by users of the 2011 Handbook and participants in the public review process. As a result, it includes far more graphics than prior versions.

Among the major changes to New York City’s zoning rules that are explained in the new handbook are Zoning for Quality and Affordability, better known as ZQA. ZQA encourages construction of more efficient, well designed buildings, including affordable homes. The Handbook also outlines the basics of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH), the most far-reaching and rigorous zoning provision mandating the construction of permanently affordable housing in the country.

A useful “glossary” of frequently used terms includes new and old terms that are used in zoning discussion. This glossary is a great resource for anyone wondering, for example, what “contextual zoning” is, what “as-of-right” development means, the difference between a “non-complying” building and a “non-conforming” building, or what a “flood zone” is.

The Handbook is an invaluable companion to New York City’s Zoning Resolution. Both are available to order on our website. The Handbook costs $45, and will be available in New York City public libraries. A guide to much of this information is also available for free.

The 2018 Zoning Handbook features expanded information and new and more detailed illustrations, and in an even easier-to-read format. Beyond MIH and ZQA, other significant updates include:

  • Flood resilience zoning, which helped the city rebuild after Hurricane Sandy; 
  • the Greater East Midtown rezoning, which is already bearing fruit in reinforcing and enhancing this central business district;
  • and neighborhood plans, such as those for East New York, East Harlem, Downtown Far Rockaway and the Jerome Avenue Corridor.

The 2018 Zoning Handbook also features: 

  • an introduction to zoning, including background on the history of zoning;
  • diagrams of different “bulk” rules and illustrations of how these rules shape buildings;
  • a primer on zoning lots, mergers and the transfers of development rights; 
  • how zoning is amended;
  • comprehensive charts with information for each zoning district, including floor area and height, as well as parking and affordable housing requirements;
  • separate maps for low as well as medium and high density residential districts;
  • step-by-step case studies explaining as-of-right development, conversions and enlargements, and variances;
  • Special Districts tables for each borough that show at a glance the use, bulk, parking and streetscape regulations for rezonings that have special regulations.