What should I know about NYC zoning laws?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2021 | New York City Real Estate Law Blog

If you are thinking about starting a business, purchase a residential building or develop land in New York City, you must be aware of the zoning laws. Zoning laws may differ between cities and states, so you must be aware of the laws specific to New York City. 

The Zoning Resolution, adopted on December 15, 1961 governs current zoning in New York City. According to NYC Planning, there are three different zoning designations in the city: residential, commercial and manufacturing. 

What is zoning?

The goal of zoning is to ensure that development in New York City happens in an orderly way. For instance, not many people would like to live next to a rubber processing plant due to the noxious fumes. There also must be adequate room for parking and public works. 

There are a variety of zoning districts in New York City, and they are unique to different neighborhoods. These districts exist to ensure that neighborhoods have a predictable future when it comes to their development. 

What is the current zoning makeup of the city?

As of the writing of this article, 65% of New York City is for residential, commercial, industrial and public facility uses. An additional 10% of the city is either currently vacant or used for parking and other miscellaneous purposes. 

Roughly 25% of New York City is for to open space and park land. Most park land and open space does not have any specific zoning regulations attached to it, but it is highly unlikely the city will give you a permit to develop park land.