Zoning Transparency: Department of City Planning Launches Digital Zoning Resolution

Zoning Transparency: Department of City Planning Launches Digital Zoning Resolution

Online platform means keyword search and interactive links for cross-referencing Resolution text, which was previously available in static PDF and hardcopy only

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today announced the release of the City’s new online Zoning Resolution. The free digital platform makes New York City’s official Zoning Resolution – the City’s text for land use and development – instantly accessible to New Yorkers.

“Because it shapes the city in which we live, the Zoning Resolution affects every New Yorker. By putting an interactive Zoning Resolution online for the first time, New Yorkers – be they neighborhood residents, elected officials or community leaders – as well as planners, students, lawyers and industry professionals, can easily search the Zoning Resolution. This online Zoning Resolution is yet another example of DCP’s continuing commitment to make our data even more accessible and transparent,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago.

The flexible digital platform serves as a green replacement for the physical copy of the Zoning Resolution. It offers keyword searches and easy navigation of what was, until now, available only in hardcopy. The document will no longer be printed, saving money, increasing government transparency and helping to fight climate change.

The New York City Zoning Resolution is a legal instrument that regulates and establishes limits on the use of land and building size, shape, height, and setback. The current Resolution was adopted on Dec. 15, 1961, and has continuously evolved since then as new land use regulations are mapped or altered. The City’s first Zoning Resolution was adopted in 1916.

Until now, the 1,570-page paper Resolution could be purchased for $750, or could be viewed on DCP’s website, but only via static PDFs for each chapter.

“Making the text of the City’s zoning resolution available in a hyperlinked, web-friendly format is great to see,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m glad the Department of City Planning continues to improve its online planning toolkit. I’m certain that both professionals and the community at large will find this version highly useful.”

“Creating a user-friendly online platform to navigate New York City’s complex zoning regulations makes zoning more accessible to a greater range of New Yorkers,” stated Land Use Chair Council Member Rafael Salamanca. “I applaud the Department of City Planning’s efforts on creating a transparent system that allows people to easily find the important information relevant to their communities.”

“Making the Zoning Regulation available online at no cost to every New Yorker is a welcome step into the 21st Century and a fantastic initiative for the 8.6 million residents whose lives are directly affected by every land use and development decision the city makes,” Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the Land Use Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, said. “I’m excited to see that the online platform will be readily searchable, which will no doubt empower residents, community boards and activists when it comes to reshaping our city. I’m also happy to see the commitment to going greener as this will eliminate the need to physically publish the massive document. I applaud this initiative and hope it will lead to greater public engagement.”

“Zoning is complicated but the Department of City Planning is making it easy to understand for every New Yorker,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Land Use Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions. “ZoLa’s zoning and land use maps are a tool that I use frequently and making the zoning text friendlier than the current PDF is a natural next step. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and City Planning Chair Lago for making zoning more accessible to every New Yorker.”

With this relaunch of the Resolution, DCP is making it easier than ever to navigate the city’s zoning laws. Exciting features of the new Zoning Resolution platform include:

  • A streamlined, mobile-friendly interface with a modern look and feel
  • Keyword search, which also shows chapters and context in the results
    • For example, by searching for “waterfront” or “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing,” you can find accompanying info about districts established, definitions and much more.
  • The ability to print or download from the digital edition
  • Improved navigation and clickable section numbers
  • Text resize option, allowing font and images to be easily read on all devices
  • One-click sharing and email options for easy reference
  • Interactive links to cross-referenced sections
  • The option to subscribe for updates as new land use actions are approved

A legislative history of each individual section of the Zoning Resolution will be part of a future update to this online platform.

The digital tool compliments a series of online platforms DCP has produced over the past few years to increase transparency and public engagement. They include: ZAP SearchZoLaPopulation Fact Finder,Community District ProfilesMetro Region ExplorerWaterfront Access Map and NYC Street Map.

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Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.

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