Department Of City Planning Releases 2018 Zoning Handbook

Department Of City Planning Releases 2018 Zoning Handbook

The NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) has released the 2018 edition of its Zoning Handbook, a practical guide to help the public “understand zoning rules that govern our growing City.”


The DCP has rewritten the Handbook in an effort to “provide a fuller picture of the current regulations and the planning ideas behind them.” A handy guide to accompany NYC’s 1,300-page Zoning Resolution, the new Zoning Handbook helps readers understand the city’s complicated zoning rules “through easily understandable text, charts and images.”

The updated Zoning Handbook explains the rules that shape the development of neighborhoods across NYC and features in-depth information in an “easier-to-read format” accompanied by detailed graphics and diagrams. Last published in 2011, the newest edition of the Handbook features “easy-to-understand descriptions of zoning rules that guide physical development in the city” and includes changes to the rules since the guide’s last printing seven years ago.

Some of the major changes to NYC’s zoning rules addressed in the new Handbook include Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) which promotes construction of more efficient, well-designed buildings (including affordable housing), as well as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) which requires the addition of permanently affordable housing in new residential developments. Other updated content includes information on flood resilience zoning and the East New York Neighborhood Plan as well as the plans for other neighborhoods across the city currently undergoing rezoning.

The 2018 Zoning Handbook also includes:

  • an introduction to NYC zoning (including its history)
  • a primer on zoning lots, mergers, and the transfers of development rights
  • comprehensive charts with information for each zoning district, including floor area and height, parking, and affordable housing requirements
  • maps for low, medium, and high density residential districts
  • case studies explaining as-of-right development, conversions and enlargements, and variances
  • tables of Special Districts (showing the use, bulk, parking, and streetscape regulations for these rezonings)
  • a glossary defining zoning terms such as contextual zoning, flood zone, non-complying and non-conforming buildings, and more.

“The Zoning Handbook is an amazing guide,” DCP Director Marisa Lago said in a statement announcing the publication. “It helps the public understand New York’s zoning rules, how they meet the changing needs of our growing city, and how the public can participate in the zoning process – all in an easy to read format! I encourage interested New Yorkers to get a copy, or find one at their local library, and to get involved in planning our future city.”

The Handbook might be a helpful resource for locals trying to follow the Gowanus Rezoning Framework, the 80 Flatbush ULURP process, or other development projects across the city. The 2018 Zoning Handbook is available for $45 and can be ordered on the DCP website. The updated Handbook will also be available at New York City public libraries.


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