On September 21, 2023, the Adams administration revealed details for the third of three City of Yes zoning initiatives, City of Yes for Housing Opportunity. In line with Mayor Adams’ moonshot goal of providing 500,000 new homes to New Yorkers over the next decade, the plan seeks to induce the production of an additional 100,000 homes through a series of measures such as eliminating residential parking requirements, creating more opportunities for affordable and supportive housing by providing development bonuses and relaxing bulk regulations to allow development of more apartments across New York City. If approved, this initiative would represent the largest changes to the NYC Zoning Resolution in more than a generation.
“Today, we are proposing the most pro-housing changes in the history of New York City’s modern zoning code — changes that will remove longstanding barriers to opportunity, finally end exclusionary zoning, cut red tape, and transform our city from the ground up,” Mayor Adams stated in a press release.
“Our goal is to create ‘a little more housing in every neighborhood’ to finally tackle New York’s housing shortage head-on,” added Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick.
The proposed housing reforms include:
- Ending parking requirements for new residential construction, allowing developers to determine parking needs based on market conditions;
- Allowing for smaller apartments with shared common facilities;
- Creating the “Universal Affordability Preference,” a new floor area “bonus” for provision of affordable housing and supportive housing;
- Loosening restrictions to encourage mixed-use and transit-oriented development along major neighborhood corridors;
- Increasing flexibility in conversion regulations, allowing more opportunities for office-to-residential conversions;
- Creating opportunities for infill development on older large campuses;
- Eliminating the so-called “sliver law,” which restricts building heights on certain narrow properties; and
- Creating new paths for landmarked buildings to sell their unused development rights, giving them a new means of raising funds for maintenance.
“At its root, this plan is driven by a simple insight: To solve our housing shortage, we need to build more homes,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “Recognizing that the time for tinkering is over, Mayor Adams has put forth a visionary and courageous plan to dismantle exclusionary zoning, make New York City more affordable, and tackle this crisis head-on.”
The Mayor’s three City of Yes zoning initiatives also include City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality, focusing on easing zoning restrictions to support sustainability, and City of Yes for Economic Opportunity, seeking to amend zoning regulations to support small business growth and job creation. The City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality is currently in public review, and the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity is expected to enter public review in October. The City of Yes for Housing Opportunity is expected to enter public review in Spring 2024 and complete public review in the fall of that year.