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City Planning Releases Draft Annotated Zoning Text of City of Yes for Housing Opportunity 

For Immediate Release April 11, 2024

Contacts: Casey Berkovitz, Joe Marvilli – press@planning.nyc.gov (212) 720-3471

City Planning Releases Draft Annotated Zoning Text of City of Yes for Housing Opportunity 

Draft Text Offers Comprehensive Details of Proposal to Enable “A Little More Housing in Every Neighborhood” 

Early Release of Text Offers Transparency, Engagement Ahead of Formal Public Review 

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick today released the annotated draft zoning text ofCity of Yes for Housing Opportunity, Mayor Adams’ historic proposal to address New York’s housing crisis by enabling a little more housing in every neighborhood. Thedocument offers comprehensive proposal details, including annotations to explain complex zoning text in plain English. By releasing the draft annotated zoning text early, DCP is giving New Yorkers additional time to understand the proposal before community boards and borough presidents begin their official review. In addition, DCP today released anillustrated guide to the major components of the proposal, including real-world examples, key terms, and more. Both documents are available to download at nyc.gov/YesHousingOpportunity. 

“The human consequences of our housing shortage are clear: rising rents, homelessness, displacement, and an imbalance of power between landlords and tenants. City of Yes for Housing Opportunity would help alleviate this crisis by providing New Yorkers with more housing choice, and the release of the draft zoning text is an important step toward making that happen,” saidDan Garodnick, DCP Director and Chair of the City Planning Commission. “These materials will help the public understand how our proposal will create housing opportunity in every neighborhood, and reflect our commitment to transparency and public engagement.” 

City of Yes for Housing Opportunity is the most pro-housing reform ever proposed to New York’s zoning, and comes as the city faces a historic housing shortage, with a rental vacancy rate of just 1.41%. Mayor Adams first unveiled details of the proposal in September 2023, and DCP is currently undertaking environmental review. Major components of the plan include: 

  • Universal Affordability Preference (UAP), allowing buildings to be about 20% larger if the additional density is permanently affordable; 
  • transit-oriented development and town center zoning provisions, facilitating three-to-five-story apartment buildings near transit and along commercial corridors, respectively;
  • providing homeowners greater flexibility, including the ability to add accessory dwelling units like backyard cottages; 
  • lifting arbitrary and expensive parking mandates for new residential construction; 
  • allowing offices and other buildings to convert to residential use across the city; 
  • re-legalizing small units and shared housing models with common kitchen or bathroom facilities; and
  • facilitating infill development on large lots known as campuses. 

The draft annotated zoning text sheds new light on these proposals and offers more details on others. It includes provisions for the deepest affordability levels provided through zoning, including a requirement that units qualifying for UAP be permanently affordable to New Yorkers earning an average of 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). It also allows the “Deep Affordability” option of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH), which requires that 20% of housing be affordable to New Yorkers earning 40% of the AMI, to be used independently of other MIH options, rather than only being available in conjunction with other MIH options at higher AMI levels.  

Other details in the draft zoning text include:  

  • how the proposal will clear barriers to affordable homeownership; 
  • a definition of the “Greater Transit Zone,” where three-to-five-story apartment buildings will be allowed, that will automatically expand if new transit access is added;changes to zoning incentives that will remove obstacles to family-sized apartments, and will help buildings to modernize trash disposal and pickup;
  • benefits for “community facilities” like faith-based organizations and libraries;and
  • changes to ensure the definition of “family” in zoning is inclusive and matches other city and state laws. 

DCP will release a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and refer City of Yes for Housing Opportunity to community boards, borough presidents, and borough boards for public review later this spring. It is anticipated to come for a vote by the City Planning Commission and City Council before the end of the year.