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Speaker Adrienne Adams’ Planning & Land Use Guidelines and Toolkit

Comprehensive planning must be featured throughout the land use process. Speaker Adams’ Planning and Land Use Toolkit provide Council Members, local communities, city agencies, and developers with a framework for improving the land use process to balance local community priorities with citywide needs. A pathway to increase housing production, affordability and equity is needed for our city.

Housing Agenda to Confront the City’s Crisis

New York City is growing, with its population and jobs far outpacing available homes and housing production. Rents are at historic highs and competition for housing is only increasing. If the city’s housing shortage remains unaddressed, New Yorkers will continue to be pushed out and homelessness will grow.

We need to develop more affordable housing, senior housing, homeownership, and supportive housing, as well as market rate housing. Simultaneously, more efforts are needed to protect existing affordable housing and homeownership, and to ensure every New Yorker’s home is healthy and safe.

Upcoming Hearings

You can livestream our hearings at https://council.nyc.gov/live/ 

To submit written testimony for any land use item, please email landusetestimony@council.nyc.gov within 72 hours of hearing adjournment, and indicate the item in the email subject line.

Please use the links below to testify at one of our upcoming public hearings via Zoom Web or via Phone Call-in at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing.

In-person hearings do not require pre-registration. All individuals who wish to testify in person at City Hall must adhere to the following COVID-19 safety protocols:

  • Properly wear a face covering at all times while in City Hall;
  • Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet from others at all times except when not feasible in limited circumstances; and
  • Complete a COVID-19 health screening questionnaire, which will be posted at the entrance to City Hall, prior to entering the building.

February 8, 2023 – Subcommittee on Zoning & Franchises; 10:00 am Committee Room, 14th Floor, 250 Broadway, New York

To testify at this hearing on the following item(s), please register here.

If you need non-English language interpretation, please email translationservice@council.nyc.gov five days in advance of the hearing, and include the following information in your email:

  • Name and date of the hearing
  • Your full name, telephone number, and email address

For questions about accessibility or to request additional accommodations please contact Nicole Benjamin at EEOOfficer@council.nyc.gov or call (212) 788-6936 at least three (3) business days before the hearing.

 

Zoning

Zoning controls what property owners can do with their land (such as build apartments or a factory) as well as how large buildings can be. When the Mayor or a developer wants to change the zoning, they must go through a public review process involving hearings at the Community Board, the Borough President, the City Planning Commission, and City Council. The Council has the final say in whether the zoning is changed.

Landmarks

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designates landmarks and historic districts. The Council can approve, modify, or disapprove the Commission’s decision. Once a building is “landmarked,” the owner must apply for permission to alter the façade, to build additions, or to demolish the building.

City Land & Public Facilities

The City often buys, sells, or leases real estate for a specific purpose, such as building a new school, renting an office for an agency, or buying land upstate to protect the City’s water supply. Or the City might sell land to a business so they can expand and employ more people. Or the City might give land to a developer building affordable housing, often with tax exemptions that make the apartments even more affordable. When the City buys or sells land, or gives a tax exemption, the Council can approve or disapprove these actions.


Land Use Committee

The Council’s Land Use Committee has jurisdiction over all the types of actions listed above. The committee also has two subcommittees, each with its own Chair, that take care of specific sets of issues:

A rezoning, for instance, would be handled by the Zoning and Franchises subcommittee, while the designation of a landmark would be handled by the Landmarks, Public Sitings, and Dispositions subcommittee.

Links to Legistar:


The Planning & Land Use Division

The Council has a dedicated team of city planners, attorneys, and administrative staff that support Council Members and the Land Use Committee. This division helps the committee Chairs conduct hearings and analyze land use issues on behalf of Council Members.

The Division was formerly known as the Land Use Division. City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams changed the name to the Planning & Land Use Division because planning must be at the forefront of the land use process. Planning means understanding the conditions and challenges facing our city and its neighborhoods, identifying shared goals and principles, and applying the policies to address and achieve them. Planning means being intentional about our future and making sure that our decisions collectively align with these goals. And last but not least planning requires meaningful and deep engagement of communities in this work.

Before applications for land use changes begin public review and eventually reach the Council, there should be a planning process that involves understanding the conditions of the affected area and engaging stakeholders including Administration agencies and community members including residents and elected officials. 


The Land Use Process at the Council Stage of ULURP

Step 1: Submission of Application to Council

Whenever any of the above actions takes place, the Council receives an application explaining the project. Council Members and staff then analyze the application and its potential consequences for the city as a whole, as well as for the local community.

Step 2: Council Hearing

When the Council receives a land use application, it’s referred to the appropriate subcommittee, which then holds a public hearing and votes on the application.

Step 3: Land Use Committee

After the subcommittee has heard and voted on the application, the Land Use Committee meets and votes on the application.

Step 4: Council Vote

The City Council will then hold a meeting with all 51 members and will vote on the application as a body.

Step 5: Mayoral Approval or Veto

The Mayor may either accept or veto the Council’s decision. However, the Council may override the Mayor’s veto with a 2/3 vote.