Eric Adams Wants to Cut a Rug, Zoning Regulations
The wave of successful zoning reforms sweeping the country has largely passed over America’s largest city. No longer, it seems.
On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams released a “City of Yes” initiative that aims to lessen the city’s regulatory burden on new housing, small businesses, and “zero carbon” infrastructure
“We are going to turn New York into a city of yes. Yes in my backyard. Yes on my block. Yes in my borough,” said the mayor during a speech. “Rules that made sense in the days of the rotary telephone are getting in the way of doing business in the age of the smartphone.”
There’s little that’s revolutionary in the mayor’s plan, which was also light on the details. The guiding thrust of Adams’ initiative is nevertheless a view that the city places too many needless regulations on its entrepreneurs and homebuilders.
For businesses, Adams has proposed a Zoning for Economic Opportunity amendment that would allow certain businesses—his plan specifically mentions life sciences, custom manufacturing, maker-retail, and nightlife—to open up in more areas of the city and give other businesses an easier time expanding.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Adams gave the example of how a bakery in a residential neighborhood would have to move to a manufacturing zone if it wanted to expand and start doing wholesale deliveries. He wants to give them the flexibility to expand in place.
He also called for finally ending the city’s restrictions on dancing in bars. In 2017, the city repealed its law requiring cabaret licenses for bars that wanted to allow dancing. That reform left in place zoning regulations that still banned dancing.
Adams is proposing to complete that unfinished work, saying “we’re going to change that no to a yes, and let the people dance.”
The mayor’s Zoning for Housing Opportunity amendment is similarly a bundle of reforms meant to expand housing supply in a city that’s been underbuilding for a decade.
Adams has proposed giving density bonuses to projects that include affordable, price-restricted units, eliminating restrictions on how many studio apartments buildings can include, and making it easier to convert commercial space to new homes.
To the delight of zoning reformers, he’s also proposed to reduce how much parking is required in new residential developments.
“It’s an outdated policy,” says Logan Phares, the political director for zoning reform group Open New York, of the city’s parking requirements. “We can allow the market to decide if parking is needed. A lot of places in the city do not need to be b
Article from Latest