Staten Island/Bronx Special Districts Zoning Text Amendment

Establishing a standardized approach to natural resource protection and neighborhood development in certain environmentally sensitive areas of the Bronx and Staten Island
The Vision: Establishing a modernized, consistent approach to natural resource preservation and neighborhood development in certain environmentally sensitive areas of the Bronx and Staten Island.
October 10, 2019

On October 10, DCP withdrew the zoning map amendment (C 190403 ZMX) and zoning text amendment (N 190430(A) ZRY) from ULURP.

fIn 1970’s and 80’s, the Department of City Planning established a set of unique rules through the creation of three special districts (Special Natural Area District in the Bronx and Staten Island, Special Hillsides Preservation District and Special South Richmond Development District in Staten Island). These districts encompass more than half of Staten Island and 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.

SNAD Citywide Map

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. Overtime, this has resulted in inconsistent application of the rules and created unnecessary cost and time burden, especially for small homeowners.

The Proposed Solution: 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 both boroughs, 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.  

Environmental Review milestones

  • Public Scoping Meeting: The Department of City Planning published the Draft Scope of Work (DSOW) on November 9, 2018 for the land use actions associated with the Staten Island/Bronx Special Districts Update. A Public Scoping Meeting will be held in both boroughs and the written comment period will be open until January 14, 2019. View the scoping material.
    • Staten Island: Monday, December 10 at 4pm at Wagner College.
    • The Bronx: Thursday, December 13 at 4pm at Fieldston School.

Project Timeline:

  • On October 10, DCP withdrew the zoning map amendment (C 190403 ZMX) and zoning text amendment (N 190430(A) ZRY) from ULURP.
  • On September 25, 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.
  • On August 14, 2019, City Planning Commission public hearing was held and extended until August 28, 2019.
  • On July 29, 2019, DCP filed a revised application (N 190430(A) ZRY) to amend the proposed zoning text to reflect the applicability of the regulations only to Community District 8 in the Bronx and expand a proposed authorization for subdivisions to the entire Bronx special district. Please see the PDF Document cover memo for an overview of the changes from the originally proposed application and the PDF Document updated zoning text.
  • On June 10, 2019, DCP withdrew the related zoning map amendment (C 190429 ZMR) pertaining to Staten Island based on feedback from the public review process.

The project was certified by the City Planning Commission on May 6, 2019 and entered the formal public review process. View the PDF Document presentation. Read the press release. View the proposed Zoning Text for details of the update. Access the interactive map to help identify your property within the special district.


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