DCP withdrew the proposed Staten Island Special Districts zoning map amendment (C 190429 ZMR) on June 10, 2019 and Bronx Special District zoning map amendment (C 190403 ZMX) and zoning text amendment (N 190430(A) ZRY) on Oct. 10, 2019.
This page provides archived material solely for informational purposes.
In the 1970s and 80s, the Department of City Planning (DCP) established a set of unique rules through the creation of three special districts (Special Natural Area District in the Bronx and Staten Island, as well as Special Hillsides Preservation District and Special South Richmond Development District in Staten Island). The Special Natural Area District encompass most of the Riverdale neighborhood in the Bronx.
The rules were set to ensure that neighborhood development and preservation of environmentally sensitive resources are balanced. Over the past four decades, the rules have resulted in the tree-lined streets, the preservation of local wetlands (the Bluebelt Program), and forested parks that, today, exemplify these last remaining and extraordinary green New York City communities.
The challenge:The current system allows a property owner to remove or modify natural features through a site-by-site review by the City Planning Commission (CPC) without considering their relationship to the larger ecological context. Additionally, it is a one-size fits all approach for parcels of all sizes, land use or type of natural feature. Over time, this has resulted in inconsistent application of the rules and created unnecessary cost and time burden, especially for small homeowners.
The proposed solution (withdrawn): Codify best practices and streamline the special districts rules to reflect updated environmental science and a more holistic approach to natural resource preservation with clear development standards resulting in better and more predictable outcomes. DCP convened working groups in the Bronx and Staten Island, including representatives from local institutions, homeowners, landscape architects, elected officials, local civics and environmental groups, and City agencies to shape the proposal over the last three years and establish core principles to guide the update.
Oct. 10, 2019: Withdrawn
DCP commends the time and effort that many stakeholders, city agencies and the department staff put into shaping a proposal that aimed to better protect Riverdale’s green neighborhoods and cut red tape for homeowners. Though changes were made in response to community concerns during public review, DCP does not see a way to resolve remaining issues and so has withdrawn the application from ULURP. The current SNAD regulations remain in effect.
Sept. 25, 2019: City Planning Commission Vote
The City Planning Commission voted favorably to adopt the proposed Special Natural Resources District regulations with modifications for the Bronx Special Natural Area District Update. View the CPC reports for the map amendment and zoning text amendment.
Aug. 29, 2019: City Planning Commission Hearing Extended
The City Planning Commission public hearing was extended from Aug. 14 to Aug. 28, 2019. The DEIS comment period was open until Sept. 9, 2019
July 29, 2019: Revised Application Filed
DCP filed a revised application to retain zoning text changes affecting the Bronx special district, eliminate regulations only affecting Staten Island and expand a proposed authorization for subdivisions to the entire Bronx special districy.
Community Board 8 Land Use Committee Presentation | June 3, 2019
DCP presented a summary of the Special Districts context, planning proposals and review process. View the handout and presentation from the meeting.
Bronx Open House | May 20, 2019
DCP hosted an Open House at the Horace Mann School in the Bronx to share information about the proposed Special Districts Update. See the open house flyer and presentation.
Earth Day | April 27, 2019
On Car Free Earth Day, the public enjoyed learning about the Special Districts Update. You can color in these natural features while also learning about them.
Public Scoping Meeting | Dec. 13, 2018
DCP published the Draft Scope of Work (DSOW) on Nov. 9, 2018 for the land use actions associated with the Staten Island/Bronx Special Districts Update. A Public Scoping Meeting was held in both boroughs and the written comment period was open until Jan. 14, 2019. View the scoping material.
Bronx Open House | Oct. 15, 2018
DCP hosted an Open House at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx to share information about the proposed Special Districts Update. See the summary of the open house.
Bronx Advisory Committee | April 2015 to April 2018
To create the proposal, DCP worked with stakeholders and conducted significant research since 2015. DCP held 13 working meetings with the advisory committee between April 2015 and April 2018.
Advisory Committee Members:
Coordination with other City agencies:
Community Updates | April 2015 to Sept. 2018
DCP engaged with Staten Island Community Boards and civic groups to keep them apprised of the draft framework and project updates. These included:
Notice of Completion of FEIS | Sept. 13, 2019
DCP, on behalf of the City Planning Commission as lead agency, issued a Notice of Completion for a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Bronx Special Natural Area District Update proposal. View the FEIS.
The zoning map ammendment pertaining to Staten Island had been withdrawn on June 10, 2019.
Notice of Completion of DEIS | May 3, 2019
DCP, on behalf of the City Planning Commission as lead agency, issued a Notice of Completion for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Staten Island and Bronx Special Natural Area District Update proposal.
DSOW Published | Nov. 9, 2018
DCP published the Draft Scope of Work (DSOW) for the land use actions associated with the Staten Island/Bronx Special Districts Update. A Public Scoping Meeting was held in both boroughs and the written comment period was open until Jan. 14, 2019. View the scoping material.