NYC Relaxes Zoning to Ease Rebuilding

Three months after Sandy struck New York, the city took an important step in the recovery process by waiving select zoning rules rules to speed rebuilding, reports Matt Chaban.
February 4, 2013, 6am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Following on Monday's release of FEMA's new provisional flood maps, the Bloomberg administration "issued an executive order suspending certain zoning restrictions, such as building heights, which might hinder property owners in their rebuilding efforts as they try to negotiate conflicting demands between local and federal regulations."

"We are beginning the process of updating our building code and zoning regulations so that new construction meets standards that reflect the best available data about flood and climate risks," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in press release. "This is particularly important for homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy—and the rules we are putting in place today will enable them to rebuild and re-open safely."

"City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden made it clear what the administration hopes to accomplish with the new rules," writes Chaban.

"Homeowners need to be able to rebuild to sound flood protection standards without facing conflicts with current zoning regulations," she said. "This limited and targeted suspension of zoning regulations in the flood zones shown on the newly issued FEMA flood-risk maps will help ensure that new and rebuilt homes and businesses and other buildings will be safeguarded from coastal flood waters."

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Published on Thursday, January 31, 2013 in Crain's New York Business
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