Proposed Citywide Rezoning Would Layer Resilience in New York City

With 520 miles of coastline, New York City is ready to implement the lessons of Hurricane Sandy in the zoning code for the entire city.

October 22, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Climate Resilience Planning

Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency / NYC Planning

New York Department of City Planning is seeking public input on a citywide rezoning designed to improve resilience during flood events. The new zoning rules are proposed in the Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency (ZCFR) process, according to a press release from the Department of City Planning.

According to the ZCFR website, "Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency would improve homeowners’ and business owners’ ability to withstand and recover from future storms and other disaster events. It builds on years of collaboration with floodplain communities to support post-disaster recovery and promote long-term resiliency."

The zoning changes proposed by the ZCFR process would update temporary zoning changes implemented after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, according to the same web page.

"The proposal would allow homeowners, business owners, architects and others to design resilient buildings that are better protected from flood risk and reduce flood insurance costs. It would protect and support public access to waterfront sites through resilient open space design. It would also help New Yorkers recover quickly from other future disasters, including the COVID-19 crisis," according to the website.

New York City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago is quoted in the press release with the following soundbite: "This new zoning also provides needed flexibility to address all types of future disasters, whether another climate event or today’s COVID-19 pandemic."

"Currently, buildings are restricted by zoning regulations that do not take resiliency into account and thus force New Yorkers to choose between interior space and resiliency improvements. ZCFR will make it easier for buildings to meet or exceed modern resiliency codes without sacrificing their basement, for example, by adding some much-needed zoning flexibility," reads the press release.

In one crucial component of the rezoning, the changes would limit the construction of new nursing homes in areas of high flood risk.

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