Staten Island Special Districts Zoning Update

Staten Island home with greenery

The Department of City Planning (DCP) seeks to make home improvement projects less costly and burdensome for property owners in three areas of Staten Island: Special Hillsides Preservation District, Special Natural Areas District and Special South Richmond Development District.

The proposal would improve rules that have guided development and environmental preservation in those areas since 1971. It is a collaboration between community boards, homeowners, builders, environmentalists, elected officials and DCP.

Based on feedback from Staten Island communities, including requests to simplify an earlier proposal, DCP and a working group of local stakeholders have developed these preliminary recommendations for the special districts.

Why Are Changes Needed for the Staten Island Special Districts?

With nearly 50 years of experience with the existing district zoning regulations, DCP and local property owners and stakeholders saw a need to modernize and improve the rules, to make them easier to follow and fairer. Together, we have identified key strategies to improve the rules. These include:

  • Creating zoning regulations that are standardized and fairer for homeowners.
  • Applying the latest environmental preservation science, technology and best practices to zoning regulations—which will make zoning application decisions more predictable.
  • Focusing on preserving the natural features that will have the biggest impact on today’s environment.

Who Is Asking for These Changes?

Homeowners in the Special Districts have asked:

  • Why do homeowners need City Planning Commission (CPC) approvals for simple or minor alterations? 
  • Why can’t the City focus its review on larger or more sensitive sites?

We’ve heard from homeowners, and agree, that the current regulations create an unnecessarily expensive and long process for City approval of home improvement projects.

For example, the current approval process can last a year and often costs homeowners more than the project itself. Meanwhile, development projects on sites that have a significant impact on Staten Island’s natural resources don’t currently provide enough opportunity for community input.

Due to the lack of clear parameters around existing rules and waivers, we’ve also heard from community members who are concerned about unpredictable development outcomes in their neighborhoods. We agree. By codifying

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Contact Us

We welcome your comments, ideas and questions about the Staten Island Special Districts Update.

For more information, to share your ideas or to ask questions, please contact the team at