New York City is poised to witness its most comprehensive zoning laws revamp in decades. This move comes as an effort from City Hall to remedy the intensifying housing crisis.
At an event on Thursday, Mayor Eric Adams presented the far-reaching proposal, which includes the elimination of obligatory parking spaces for new developments, sanctioning larger building constructions, and easing restrictions on the number of studio apartments.
Mayor Adams stressed the severity of the housing crisis, indicating its implications for the city’s populace, with many being forced out due to scarcity.
“Where do we begin? It’s simple. We have to build more housing. More homes, more apartments, more development,” stated Adams.
The proposed modifications, as anticipated by city planners, could pave the way for the construction of an additional 100,000 housing units over the next 15 years.
This number represents a 35% increase compared to the average 200,000 units authorized every ten years in the past two decades.
Pending approval, these changes, expected by next fall, would profoundly influence housing construction across all five boroughs.
The changes include eliminating the requirement for new developments to have parking. It also allows homeowners with larger lots to add units, either for rental income or for downsizing in retirement. Regulations on the number of studios in larger buildings will also be relaxed.
Furthermore, the prohibition on creating new single-occupancy rooms with communal bathrooms and kitchens would be revoked.
The City Hall also plans to expand a program that allows developers to build larger structures as long as they reserve units for lower-income groups. Previously, this provision was only applicable to senior housing.
Despite adding approximately 700,000 new jobs in the last ten years, the city’s housing supply has been sluggish.
Adams remarked, “Cities from Minneapolis to Tokyo are keeping costs down by increasing the supply of housing. How are we allowing Tokyo to do things better than us?”
City Planning Commissioner Dan Garodnick emphasized the objective of extracting maximum housing from every district, circumventing prolonged disputes to upgrade zoning on a neighborhood-to-neighborhood basis.
Several reports underscore the enormity of the NYC housing dilemma. As per the RAND Corporation, the city needs an additional 342,000 residential units to cater to the 2019 demand level, marking a 50% jump from the 2012 deficit.