Step 3: Preparation of Land Use and Environmental Applications

Preparation of Land Use and Environmental Applications

Following ULURP approval of an application, property owners and developers sometimes seek modifications to the approval. The reasons for this can vary and may relate to design, program, construction, or financial considerations that were not anticipated at the time of ULURP review. The nature and extent of the proposed modifications may vary significantly, in some cases amounting to small adjustments and in other cases resulting in larger changes to a project. In each case, the Department of City Planning should be consulted to determine the appropriate process and level of review necessary for the modifications.

Post-ULURP modifications are subject one of three levels of review, depending on their nature and extent:

Substantial Compliance: In some cases, the changes may be such that they do not require City Planning Commission approval to modify the prior ULURP approval. For example, slight adjustments to dimensions of an approved site plan that do not relate to the findings the Commission made in granting the approval may be determined to be in “substantial compliance” with the approvals and require no further action by the City Planning Commission or City Council. In such cases, the Department will review the modified drawings which incorporate these adjustments and, if requested by the applicant, advise the Department of Buildings that the project as shown on the modified drawings remains in substantial compliance with the original approval.

Non-ULURP Modification: In other cases, the proposed changes may alter elements of the prior approval that are relevant to the findings made by the City Planning Commission but do not require new waivers of the underlying zoning regulations. In this situation, the changes are more than slight adjustments but are nevertheless consistent with the underlying zoning. To illustrate: a development is allowed additional floor area pursuant to a special permit granted under ULURP; post-ULURP, the owner seeks to modify the street wall height shown on the plans in a way that remains within the maximum permitted street wall height for the zoning district. However, the change in street wall height is relevant to certain findings made by the Commission in granting the original approval. In these cases, the modifications are referred to as ‘Non-ULURP’ to indicate that while further review by the City Planning Commission is appropriate, they do not trigger a requirement for a new ULURP review. Non-ULURP modifications are typically referred to the local community board for 30 or 45 days for review and comment, and are then reviewed and voted upon by the City Planning Commission. Approval of a non-ULURP modification is a discretionary action subject to environmental review.

ULURP Modification: If a modification would require a new waiver of zoning regulations, it is referred to as a ‘ULURP modification’ to indicate that initiation of a new ULURP application (i.e. a new special permit) is required for its review and approval. If, for instance, ULURP approval was previously granted to allow an increase in building height beyond the zoning district maximum by 20 feet, and the applicant later seeks a modification to further increase height and exceed the zoning district maximum by 30 feet, the modification would constitute a new waiver and be considered a ULURP modification, requiring a new ULURP application. Approval of a ULURP modification is a discretionary action subject to environmental review.

Please contact the appropriate Borough Office to discuss the specifics of your project.