Step 3: Preparation of Land Use and Environmental Applications

Preparation of Land Use and Environmental Applications

Specific Standards and Guidelines for Certain Zoning Certifications

132-51: Upper West Side Retail Store Frontage Certification to Allow a Limited Increase in Streetwall Width

The following information pertains to applications for a Chairperson Certification under Zoning Resolution Section 132-51, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 2, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Within this Special District, the maximum street wall width of any non-residential ground floor establishment, other than banks or loan offices, shall not exceed 40 feet. However, a certification from the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission may be applied for pursuant to ZR Section 132-51 to facilitate frontages of up to 60 feet, provided the conditions set forth in the Section 132-51 are met.

There is also an Authorization for frontage expansions based on need- or vacancy-related findings, but the Chair Certification allows for a more predictable and time-efficient mechanism to allow a limited frontage expansion for an existing business. Banks are not eligible to apply for the Certification, but the Authorization remains available to them.

The materials located on this page are to be used solely for applications for the Chairperson Certification under 132-51. Requirements for the Zoning Authorization will be based on the requirements explained in the DCP Applicant Portal, located here, under “Zoning Authorization”.

Eligibility for the Certification

To be eligible for the Certification to expand a retail store along the street frontage, applicants must meet several findings, including:

  • Located within EC-2
  • Be a commercial use, but not a bank or loan office, in operation at current location for over 1 year
  • Physical space limitations prevent the expansion of the store
  • Existing street frontage is not greater than 60 feet along Columbus or Amsterdam Avenue
  • There is not more than 1 other establishment with more than 40 feet of street frontage on your block, directly across the street, or on either side of your block.

If you are unsure whether your property or business meets these findings, please feel free to contact the Department and a planner from the HEIP Division will get back to you. A Presentation that describes the rules of the Special Enhanced Commercial District, eligibility and application requirements for the Certification is located immediately below.

Contact Information

Applicants for the Chairperson Certification should contact the Department’s Housing and Economic Development Division to discuss questions, eligibility, or to submit a draft application.


Application Process and Standards

These guidelines provide the minimum application requirements and content parameters for the production of an application package for a certification to allow for a limited increase in street wall widths pursuant to Section 132-51. This information is necessary for the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission to make an informed decision when it comes to addressing the findings of this action.

Certification is ministerial and requires a demonstration that the following conditions exist: 1) the presence of a business in operation at the date of application; 2) physical restrictions preventing on-site business expansion in a way that would avoid frontage in excess of 40 feet; 3) the presence of other uses with ongoing or expected occupancy within the building preventing expansion and; 4) calculations relating to the number of other establishments with more than 40 feet on, adjacent to, or across from the block on which the applicant operates, demonstrating that the multi-store character of these blocks remains intact.

The table below outlines the application process and all required application materials. A single file is also available to download as a guide, available PDF Document here. A sample of what a complete application package might look like can be downloaded PDF Document here.

Application Requirements Description Form or Template Sample

Land Use Application Form

Basic project and applicant information for action seeking approval (Zoning Certification, ZC).

Under Section 5 of this document, the type of CEQR action should be checked as “Type II”, with “Ministerial” as category.

The description of the proposal is filled out and attached to the application as Attachment 4, listed below.

Word Document Form PDF Document Sample

Owner’s Authorization Letter

If the owner/ applicant is not signing on page 2, include an owner’s authorization letter.

Word Document Template PDF Document Sample

Supplemental Form for Zoning Certification (ZC)

Zoning Certification information is required. Action (ZC) is pursuant to Zoning Resolution Section number 132-51.

The required discussion of findings is filled out and attached to the application as Attachment 5, listed below.

Word Document Form

PDF Document Sample

Signed Affidavit

Signed and notarized affidavit attesting that at the time of application for extension, the use has existed in the building for a period of at least one year; that such existing establishment cannot extend square footage without increasing the street wall width for such establishment

Word Document Template

PDF Document Sample

Other documentation associated with affidavit

If relevant: illustration or documentation of other uses that limit expansion options; signed lease from one year prior to application

UWS Retail Certification Project Description

Word Document Template

PDF Document Sample

UWS Retail Certification base map drawings

Base map drawing with existing and proposed frontages

Use the locator map on page 1 to find and print the appropriate Block maps for your project.

PDF Document Template

PDF Document Sample

Statement of Findings

Follow the general DCP format guidelines for this document and include discussion of conditions

Word Document Template

PDF Document Sample

“Panorama” photos of relevant blocks in project area

Follow the Upper West Side photograph guidelines for this attachment and see samples of the “panorama” photos with frontage measurements

View PDF Document “How To” instruction guide.

PDF Document Sample

Application Procedure and Order of Review

Given that only a limited number of expansions may be available for approval within a particular geographic area, and that multiple applications within a particular geographic area may be simultaneously pending, a city rule sets forth procedures to ensure that all applications are reviewed and processed in a predictable, fair and orderly manner. Specifically, the rule requires that:

  • Draft applications must be submitted for pre-filing review.

    • Draft applications must be submitted to the specific division of the Department that is designated on the application form for receipt of an application filed pursuant to ZR Section 132-51, by delivery or by mail to: the division so named on the application form, New York City Department of City Planning, 120 Broadway, 31st Floor, New York, New York 10271, or by email to: Upon receipt, the Department will record the date and time of receipt.
  • Draft applications will be reviewed in order of receipt for accuracy and to ensure that all required attachments are included.

    • The applicant may only formally file an application upon notification that the draft application is considered whole.
    • Upon determination of completeness, the applicant must file nine (9) copies of the application at the Department of City Planning, Central Intake Office, 120 Broadway, 31st Floor, New York, New York 10271. Applications that have not been reviewed and determined to be complete will not be accepted for filing.
  • Complete filed applications for establishments within the same set of geographic boundaries will be reviewed in order of application filing date and time.