In November 2014, the City Council released a report outlining the history of the manufacturing sector and industrial land use policy in New York and proposing new zoning tools to establish sufficient protections for the industrial sector and create innovative mixed-use typologies. We called the report “Engines of Opportunity” in recognition of the importance of our city’s industrial jobs as pathways to the middle class.
Engines of Opportunity proposes recommendations for new zoning tools to establish sufficient protections for the industrial sector, a framework for more productive development of employment centers across New York City, and opportunities to potentially integrate housing development with industrial uses where appropriate and feasible.
The report specifically proposes creation of “Industrial Employment Districts,” new restrictions on non-industrial commercial uses such as hotels, large-scale retail and office use, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and self-storage within the city’s core industrial areas. The report also proposes innovative new mixed-use districts including a “creative economy district” to allow additional commercial density in exchange for reserving a percentage of floor area for industrial uses, and a “real mixed use district” to require a mixture of residential with high performance industrial within new individual buildings or a defined district that would permit the transfer of residential development to facilitate the preservation of industrial space.
In November 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito stood together to announce a 10 Point Industrial Action Plan to grow 21st Century industrial and manufacturing jobs in New York City.
Protect and Strengthen Core Industrial Areas
- Continue investments in city-owned assets and infrastructure
- Zoning Text Amendment to limit hotels and self-storage in IBZs
- Announce that administration will not consider private rezonings in IBZs
- Study the creation of new industrial zoning tools through study of the North Brooklyn IBZ
Invest in the Long-Term Development of Industrial Businesses
- Create $150 million Industrial & Manufacturing Development Fund to stimulate creation of new manufacturing space by non-profit developers
- Launch “Futureworks NYC” network and create Advanced Manufacturing Center
- Expand Brownfields Jumpstart Program to Industrial Properties
- Re-launch Industrial Business Solutions Providers Network
Preparing New Yorkers for the Industrial and Manufacturing Jobs of the Future
- Create new “Industrial Industry Partnership” at EDC
- Establish new “Workforce 1” career centers in IBZs
Strengthening Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) by restricting further development of self-storage facilities is a key aspect of the Industrial Action Plan.
In May 2017 the Department of City Planning certified a zoning text amendment to create a new CPC Special Permit requirement for all new self-storage development within “Designated Areas within Manufacturing Districts” which largely coincide with the boundaries of Industrial Business Zones (IBZs).
On November 1st, 2017 the City Planning Commission approved an alternative “A-Text” version that would allow self-storage as-of-right but add new mixed-use requirements for providing space for industrial businesses.
The Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee held a public hearing on this application on November 20th, 2017 where both the original Special Permit and the A-Text mixed-use version were discussed.
On December 7th 2017, the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee and Council Land Use Committee voted to approve modifications to the application to create a hybrid proposal that establishes the Special Permit in most IBZs but allows an as-of-right mixed-use option in certain IBZs in order to allow additional opportunities for as-of-right development of self-storage across the City.
Announced at the Council’s May 2015 public hearing on industrial land use, the Department of City Planning’s “North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan” is a comprehensive land use and zoning study of the North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone.
The Study’s stated goals are to:
- Create a better business environment for all, by preserving and growing industrial jobs, as well as other compatible jobs in the creative and innovative sectors.
- Improve the quality of life for workers and residents within the area and nearby.
- Address the potential for conflicts between industrial and non-industrial uses.
- Identify improvements to transportation and infrastructure conditions that would support growth in economic activity.
- Address environmental and resiliency challenges
The Department of City Planning is using the North Brooklyn study as a laboratory for creating new industrial zoning tools and other policies to help preserve and grow the industrial sector and create new employment centers in the outer boroughs.
The Council Land Use Division is working closely with Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Steve Levin to advance these goals of preserving and growing industrial jobs and exploring innovative new mixtures of industry and commercial activity.