Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment

Update May 29, 2019 - Approved!

On May 29, 2019, the City Council adopted the Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment with modifications. The text amendment is now in effect

View the EAS and Negative Declaration.

PDF Document View the Community Board Presentation.

THE ISSUE: Excessive Voids

In 2018, amidst growing concerns, Mayor de Blasio asked the Department of City Planning (DCP) to examine excessive voids used to raise residential tower heights in predominantly residential areas:

  • Currently, mechanical voids are not counted as zoning floor area in the Zoning Resolution
  • The overuse of mechanical voids could result in residential towers that were never anticipated by zoning and that disengage with their neighborhoods.

THE SOLUTION: A Citywide Text Amendment

DCP is proposing modifications to R9 and R10 and equivalent zoning districts throughout the city. The proposed regulations for residential buildings will:

  • Discourage mechanical void space taller than 25 feet.
    Mechanical voids taller than 25 feet will count as zoning floor area.
  • Discourage the clustering of void spaces in a way that unduly pads building heights.
    Any mechanical void spaces located within 75 feet of each other will count as zoning floor area.
  • Address mixed-use buildings.
    Non-residential mechanical space will be subject to the same 25-foot limit if non-residential uses occupy less than 25 percent of a building.

THE GEOGRAPHY: R9 and R10 Zoning Districts

The focus is on R9 and R10 zoning districts and their commercial district equivalents where residential towers are permitted and the overuse of mechanical voids is possible.

Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment

Public Review

Milestone Dates
Department of City Planning Certification January 28, 2019
Bronx, Manhattan, & Queens Community Board Resolutions March 7, 2019
Manhattan Borough President Recommendation March 7, 2019
City Planning Commission Public Hearing March 13, 2019
City Planning Commission voted to approve the modified* application - PDF DocumentRead the CPC Report April 10, 2019
City Council Hearing April 16, 2019
City Council Approval with Modification** May 29, 2019

*Modification of 25-foot mechanical space height threshold to 30 feet.
**Modification of 30-foot mechanical space height threshold to originally proposed 25 feet.