Open Industrial Uses

Open Industrial Uses

The Open Industrial Uses Study (OIUS) is designed to support and grow the City’s working waterfront and industrial businesses, while making industrial areas greener, stronger, safer and more resilient to climate change.


The Open Industrial Uses Study resulted from recent initiatives, including Vision 2020: New York City’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, North Shore 2030: Improving and Reconnecting the North Shore’s Unique and Historic Assets, and in reviewing the City’s industrial policies, including those relevant for Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) and Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs).

Primary Categories
Six primary use categories of study

Industrial uses, including many that operate in open yards, are prevalent throughout industrial areas in all five boroughs and tend to concentrate along the city’s waterways. Unenclosed or open industrial uses are permitted within the city’s manufacturing districts, including auto dismantling, recycling, processing of construction and demolition debris, asphalt and cement manufacturing, scrap metal processing, and general storage of equipment and aggregate. Open uses that do not provide adequate environmental controls create objectionable influences on neighboring businesses and residents and pollute the city’s soil, air and waterways. Despite advances in technology, the establishment of best management practices, and stricter federal air and water quality standards, zoning standards (Section 42-20) regarding the performance of open industrial uses have not changed since the adoption of the 1961 Zoning Resolution. A variety of other laws and regulations also apply, but regulatory gaps and enforcement challenges exist, and some facilities do not comply with contemporary industrial and environmental standards.

Open industrial uses are essential to New York City’s economy, they provide critical jobs, infrastructure, and services citywide.
Open industrial uses are essential to New York City’s economy, they provide critical jobs, infrastructure, and services citywide.
A range of structural controls to limit off-site impacts will be evaluated for deployment at open industrial sites.
A range of structural controls to limit off-site impacts will be evaluated for deployment at open industrial sites.
These uses could be vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change. Open piles and outdoor storage can be carried offsite by wind, rain and flood waters.
These uses could be vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change. Open piles and outdoor storage can be carried offsite by wind, rain and flood waters.

In 2011, DCP conducted field surveys in six industrial areas as case studies – Eastchester and Hunts Point in the Bronx, Jamaica in Queens, both the Brooklyn and Queens areas along Newtown Creek, the East New York and Flatlands/Fairfield IBZs, and the North Shore of Staten Island. The information gathered has provided an understanding of the number of such uses in each study area, their size, and issues associated with each type of use. In cooperation with partner City agencies and in coordination with the State and industry, community, and environmental stakeholders, DCP is advancing this study to identify actionable recommendations that will limit offsite impacts from these facilities.

View PDF Document Eastchester Survey
View PDF Document Flatlands/Fairfield Survey
View PDF Document Hunts Point Survey
View PDF Document Jamaica Survey
View PDF Document Newtown Creek Survey
View PDF Document SI North Shore Survey

The OIUS will assess cost-effective pollution prevention controls and stronger safeguards for open uses and storage of hazardous and non-hazardous materials at industrial facilities. Implementing cost-effective pollution prevention controls at these facilities will improve the business climate in industrial areas, retaining important industrial businesses and fostering new businesses and jobs in areas near open industrial uses. The study will generate recommendations for zoning text amendments or other legislation, as well as assess incentives that may assist in the implementation of such controls. This would reinforce other City efforts to improve the business and natural environment, protect communities, while also increasing resilience to climate risks.

The Department of City Planning and New York City Interagency Project Team for the Open Industrial Uses Study (OIUS) will provide periodic updates as the study progresses. The team also consults with Federal, State, and City Agencies on relevant regulatory topics. The Interagency Team includes:

OIUS Short-Term Schedule

Open Industrial Uses Sales Tax Exemption Program (OIUSTEP) – January 1st, 2014

On November 12th, 2013, the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) approved a sales tax exemption program to incentivize and assist open industrial uses in the implementation of the study’s recommendations. Companies may apply for The Open Industrial Uses Sales Tax Exemption Program (OIUSTEP) between January 1st, 2014 and December 31st, 2016 and may receive a maximum sales tax benefit amount of $100,000 per company. The program provides companies with sales tax exemptions for the purchase of building materials to renovate and improve unenclosed industrial materials storage facilities in order to implement cost-effective pollution prevention controls and to create stronger safeguards for hazardous materials in the city’s flood zones. Please contact for more information.

Draft Recommendations - July 31, 2013

On July 31, 2013 the Open Industrial Uses Study project team met with the External Advisory Committee to present the draft recommendations for the study. The draft recommendations were developed through a six-month engineering analysis with consultants HDR and Parsons Brinkerhoff. The recommendations include regulatory amendments to the Zoning Resolution, Building Code, and Air Pollution Control Code, that will improve environmental conditions in industrial areas, support economic development and protect communities. Recognizing that the six open industrial use types that would be required to make facility upgrades as a result of the regulatory changes provide important services and employment for New Yorkers, the study team is reviewing the city’s industrial incentive programs to determine whether new types of assistance are appropriate. The study also recommends supportive programming, including education, and technical assistance. The six uses include concrete/asphalt manufacturing, scrap metal processing, auto wrecking and salvage, waste recycling, construction and demolition debris transfer stations, and unenclosed storage of usable materials.

Specifically, the proposed amendments to Zoning Resolution would require existing and new open industrial uses to comply with prescriptive site design standards, rather than PDF Document performance standards. The performance standards in the Zoning Text were established in 1961 and are inconsistent with newer, superseding codes that offer more comprehensive regulations for environmental performance in New York City. The new site design standards are consistent with national best practices and include paving, grading, drainage, and containment infrastructure designed to improve water and air quality. These standards will apply to all new uses and, with the exception of construction and demolition debris transfer stations (C&D), will also apply retroactively to existing uses. The C&D facilities are stringently regulated currently by the Sanitation Department and the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The retroactive requirements will have a five-year period for compliance. Additionally, urban design requirements will apply to new uses including planting and buffering on residence district boundaries, and off-street loading berths even where there are no buildings on site. The proposal also supports complementary code amendments to the Building Code that specifies flood hazard mitigation requirements for open industrial uses, as well as informational signage requirements similar to those for construction sites and a technical change regarding maximum fence heights.

View PDF Document the presentation.

A Stronger, More Resilient New York - June 11, 2013

On June 11, 2013, Mayor Bloomberg announced, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York”, a comprehensive plan that includes actionable recommendations both for rebuilding the communities impacted by Sandy and increasing the resilience of infrastructure and buildings citywide. The Open Industrial Uses Study is included as “Initiative 1” in the Environmental Protection and Remediation chapter. The initiative addresses the safe storage of materials in the flood zone and supports OIUS’s objectives to provide for cost-effective measures that can help to make the City’s industrial areas stronger, safer, and more resilient to climate change.

External Advisory Committee Meeting #3 - May 22, 2013

On May 22nd, 2013 the OIUS External Advisory Committee met to discuss the prototypical site analysis and financial feasibility assessment prepared by the City’s consultant team, HDR and Parsons Brinckerhoff. This task consisted of an analysis of existing and applied pollution prevention controls on six example sites. The analysis generated a prioritized list of site design standards that are under review by the Advisory Committee and Interagency Team. The preferred list falls into three categories: structural pollution prevention controls, such as paving, grading, drainage, containment, and dust-suppression; flood resiliency measures; and other urban design standards that may address improvements to the general business environment. City Planning will continue to receive feedback on this work over the next months as draft recommendations are developed with the partner agencies.

External Advisory Committee Meeting #2 - April 26, 2013

The OIUS External Advisory Committee convened for a second meeting on April 26th, 2013 to discuss the regulatory context of the study. Throughout March and April, the Department of City Planning met with each government agency that manages regulation and programs relevant to the open industrial use categories. The results of this analysis were presented to the Advisory Committee, informing an outline of existing regulatory frameworks, as well as opportunities for improved coordination between agencies and programs. Multiple agency representatives were also present, offering additional comments and clarifications on the material and scope of the study. The consultant on the project provided an update regarding the ongoing prototypical site analysis and financial feasibility analysis. The results of this next task will be discussed at the following meeting in May.

External Advisory Committee Meeting #1 - March 11, 2013

On Monday March 11th, the Department of City Planning convened the first External Advisory Committee meeting to review progress on the engineering phase of the Open Industrial Uses Study (OIUS).

The Committee - including key stakeholder groups, such as industrial companies, environmental advocates and community advocates - provided guidance on the study and outreach process. The committee members responded in support of the work to date and had positive feedback on the materials. In particular, members discussed that the study should help improve the general business environment in manufacturing zones, while minimizing impacts from open industrial uses to adjacent businesses and residents. The committee also discussed how OIUS can address climate change and protect the waterfront during flood events. Agency partners - EDC, DEP, DSNY, and OER - also attended the meeting to respond to feedback and questions about the study.

View PDF Document the presentation, PDF Document Mechanisms, PDF Document Categories

Preliminary Stakeholder Meeting - January 2013

In January, the Department of City Planning organized two stakeholder meetings to introduce the open industrial uses study to organizations and businesses interested in the study. The meetings included a general overview of the study, a summary of the key objectives and an outline of the strategy and process.

View PDF Document the presentation.

On May 15, 2014, the Department of City Planning published a draft of the Open Industrial Uses Study for public comment and review. As of July 15, 2014 written comments were received from a range of organizations and individuals, including elected officials, industrial companies, environmental and community organizations. DCP and the interagency committee greatly appreciate the thorough and detailed comments provided by these stakeholders, and as appropriate, the report may be revised to reflect the comments received.

Copies of the comments are available through the links below:

Opportunities for public input on the study will continue throughout the study process. If you have comments on the report, we encourage you to submit as soon as possible by email to

This report represents 18 months of research and analysis by 14 city and state agencies, engineering consultant team HDR and Parsons Brinckerhoff, along with the participation and feedback of the Open Industrial Uses External Advisory Committee. DCP invites the public to review the draft and to provide meaningful comments by email to The publication of this report is only the next step in the OIUS project; implementation of any recommendations contained in it will be subject to extensive future outreach and vetting by many stakeholders.

View PDF Document Open Industrial Uses Draft Report.

OIUS External Advisory Committee Members
Open Industrial Uses Study External Advisory Committee consists of representatives from key stakeholder groups such as industrial companies, environmental advocates, and community organizations with local perspectives and expertise in industrial, environmental, waterfront, community and business issues. The Committee plays a key role in informing the study through periodic committee meetings and individual sessions with the project team. In addition, the Advisory Committee assists in outreach efforts to ensure their constituents and communities are engaged in the citywide study efforts.

The following organizations are represented on the Committee:

Andrea Schaffer (Principal) - City Matters
Anusha Venkataraman (Green Light District Director) - El Puente
Beryl Thurman (Executive Director) - North Shore Waterfront Conservancy
David Biederman (General Counsel) - National Solid Waste Management Association
Eddie Bautista (Executive Director) - New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
Elizabeth Yeampierre (Executive Director) - UPROSE
Jamila Diaz (Director of Industrial Business Services) - SoBro
Kellie Terry-Sepulveda (Executive Director) - The Point Community Development Corporation
Laura E. Imperiale (Director of Government Affairs) - Tully Construction Company
Phillip Musegaas (Hudson River Program Director) - Riverkeeper
Richard Werber (Director) – Foresight Consulting
Robert Lo Pinto (Engineer) – Shapiro Engineering
Tom Outerbridge (General Manager) - Sims Metal Management
Varun Sanyal (Project Manager) – Staten Island Economic Development Corporation