Press Releases

For Immediate Release
December 20, 2018

Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

City Planning Commends City Council Vote to Approve Hotel Special Permit for Light Manufacturing Zones

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago today marked the City Council’s approval of a new City Planning Commission (CPC) Special Permit that would be required to construct new hotels and motels in light manufacturing districts (M1 zones). A CPC Special Permit would allow for the consideration, on a site-specific basis, of the appropriateness of hotel development in these areas.

“As New York City’s population and employment numbers hit record highs, competition for buildable land is rising, particularly in light manufacturing districts. With the increased attention to these sites comes a higher potential for conflicting uses. To tackle this issue, the targeted, case-by-case, site-specific approach in this text amendment allows for new hotels in manufacturing zones when that is appropriate, while also incentivizing job growth across a variety of business sectors,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago.

“Today’s City Council approval of the special hotel permit required for hotel and motel construction in M1 zoned districts is a great step forward in closing a development loophole that has permitted construction without community input for far too long,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., Chair of the Land Use Committee. “My district is home to a significant amount of land zoned for manufacturing and I have seen irresponsible developers build hotels and motels without taking into account how the community feels about it. As Council Member to a heavy manufacturing district and as Land Use Chair, I’m excited we were able to make meaningful changes in what gets built in our communities and how.”

“After years of failing to adequately respond to our manufacturing districts’ needs, I’m proud to be the chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises when the council finally moved to protect of the jobs and character of these areas. Requiring prospective hotels to secure a special permit to set up shop in a light manufacturing area will allow the city to preserve ready job-creating industrial areas while also exposing hotel development to our public land use review process. I proudly stand with my colleagues in adopting this amendment,” said Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee.

"Strengthening NYC's manufacturing sector is an essential way to create good jobs for a wide range of New Yorkers, and to advance more inclusive growth in the innovation economy. I'm especially enthusiastic that the plan commits to new zoning tools that will better protect our Industrial Business Zones amidst skyrocketing real-estate prices, and create genuine mixed-used districts where light manufacturing can thrive. In my district, these tools will help enable Gowanus to remain a vibrant, creative, inclusive, sustainable, mixed-use neighborhood. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and especially to the tenacious industrial advocates and manufacturers for their grit and determination to keep 'making it' in NYC,” said Council Member Brad Lander.

“For years, hotels have been one of the most pernicious uses contributing to the erosion of our industrial base in North Brooklyn and throughout the City” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Hotel uses compete for valuable industrial space in our city, displacing existing manufacturing businesses along with the middle-class jobs they provide to our local communities. I want to thank the Department of City Planning for tackling this problem and taking the step of banning as-of-right hotel development in our M-1 zones and I look forward to continuing the collaboration to further bolster our industrial areas.”

“Requiring Special Permits for hotels in M1 zones provides necessary protections for industrial business zones who have been on the losing end of the battle for land for too long, while also ensuring local Council Members play a role in securing the needs of their local districts throughout the permit process,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Industrial businesses provide skilled, well-playing jobs to communities of color, helping to lift them up into the middle class, which is why the City needs to focus on stabilizing land use opportunities in addition to the recommendations in the Industrial Action Plan. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio and City Planning Chair Lago for responding to the needs of local communities and addressing the need for more oversight in the process.”

“Under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, we are committed to helping unlock New York City’s economic potential,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Today’s approval of the City Planning Commission Special Permit will go a long way to boost the industrial sector and our local economy as a whole.”

“We are so gratified to see the M1 Hotel Special Permit pass the City Council. This action will slow down the proliferation of hotels in industrial zones throughout the city, and reduce pressure on NYC manufacturing businesses,” said Leah Archibald, Executive Director of Evergreen.

“Hotel development can have a dramatic impact in an industrial area, causing real estate prices to spike and businesses to be displaced” said Adam Friedman, Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development. “The special permit process creates a much welcomed opportunity to balance the need for hotels with the need for space for manufacturing and other critical industrial uses.”

"As we think comprehensively about the future of our City’s working neighborhoods, we must consider ways to support quality industrial careers and the essential products and services we will all require. Combined with a balanced restricting of self-storage uses, this vote on hotel development helps ensure space for manufacturing uses that provide job density and economic mobility. SBIDC is grateful for the continuing efforts of the administration and council to implement commitments made in the 2015 Industrial Action Plan,” said Ben Margolis, Executive Director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.

“The Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) applauds the Council’s passage today of the text amendment to restrict hotels in light manufacturing areas,” said Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen, Senior Economic Development Organizer at ANHD. “Industrial and manufacturing jobs are good paying jobs, and ensuring that light industrial areas are dedicated to these uses by restricting incompatible uses like hotels is essential to the long-term survival of those jobs. We look forward to working with the City Council and Administration in the ongoing project of reforming our industrial land use policy.”

The City Council’s approval of this mechanism for a case-by-case review of hotels in M1 districts in core industrial areas fulfills a mayoral commitment announced with the City Council in 2015 as part of a 10-point Industrial Action Plan. In addition to introducing the Special Permit requirement for hotels seeking to locate in Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) as promised in 2015, the applicability of the Special Permit has been expanded to M1 zones throughout the City.

These light manufacturing districts provide some of the greatest opportunities to support the needs of the City’s growing economy and population. However, the rules regulating development and land use in many M1 districts have changed little since 1961.

The rapid increase in the numbers of tourist hotels in M1 districts, particularly near transit, has raised concerns in part because of the competition for scarce buildable land in New York City. Tourism remains an important sector of the city’s economy and the City believes it is appropriate that hotels are permitted to locate as-of-right in many other zoning districts throughout the city.

However, by occupying vacant or underdeveloped sites that could have been available to other light industrial uses in M1 districts, hotels may directly or indirectly limit opportunities for job-generating businesses and services that have few siting opportunities outside of manufacturing areas, or rely on these locations to serve the needs of nearby residents and workers. In addition, hotel development in M1 districts has sometimes introduced unanticipated land use conflicts with adjacent uses or accelerated changes in neighborhood character.

The Special Permit will require proposals for hotel development in M1 light manufacturing districts to go through the City’s formal land use public review (ULURP) process.

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.