The Zoning Resolution is supposed to set ground rules on what can be built where, to preserve light and air, create predictability, prevent development from overwhelming our infrastructure, and establish neighborhood context. But all across Manhattan, communities are seeing a new breed developments that exploit loopholes in the Zoning Resolution to achieve higher building heights that don’t fit in the context of the communities around them, without providing any extra public benefits in exchange. This results in unpredictable, out-of-scale development — and that’s contrary to the whole point of zoning.
This month my office, with Council Speaker Johnson and ever Council Member in Manhattan, wrote to the City Planning Commission urging them to close these loopholes. Specifically, it’s time to:
- Stop letting developers build huge void spaces (in some cases, ten or even twenty stories of empty space) into their buildings without it counting against their maximum floor area;
- Stop letting developers build buildings with with average floor heights of 20 or even 30 feet, to inflate building height without adding floor area; and
- Stop letting developers “gerrymander” zoning lots to avoid applicable zoning rules.
Read the letter and learn more here.