Ambitious Zoning Reform Package Proposed in New York State Legislature

Single-family zoning, parking requirements, and minimum lot sizes are on the chopping block in Senate Bill S7574.

2 minute read

December 14, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

An aerial view of New Jersey suburbs, with Manhattan and New York City in the distant background.

James Kirkikis / Shutterstock

The New York State Legislature this legislative session will consider a full suite of planning and zoning reforms. New York State Senator Brad Holyman (D-Manhattan) recently introduced Senate Bill S7574, which would legalize multi-family residential construction almost everywhere in the state, remove parking minimums, and end minimum lot sizes in some parts of the state.

Joe Levinger reports the news about SB S7574 for TheRealDeal:

The legislation would prohibit cities and villages from setting minimum lot sizes larger than 1,200 square feet. It would also bar them from requiring off-street parking.

In cities, landowners could build four-family dwellings on any residential lot, or up to six-family buildings within a quarter mile of a train station. In villages, builders could construct duplexes on any residential lot or six-family dwellings near transit stations.

The bill would put New York State in the company of the rare few states that have preempted local zoning to allow new multi-family developments. First Oregon and then California led the way, followed by, to an extent, Connecticut (an "opt out" provision in Senate Bill 1024 prevents the Constitution State from being included as a full member of the state preemption club).

Holyman is quoted throughout the article explaining the reasoning behind the bill—including a mention of a study by researchers at the NYU Furman Center, "which found that New York has some of the most exclusionary zoning in the country, particularly in the suburban enclaves of Westchester and Long Island."

The article also notes that Holyman is far from a consistent voice of YIMBY politics. Hoylman objected to the recently approved Soho/Noho upzoning, calling it the "Amy Coney Barrett of zoning proposals."

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