Language Access

Limited English Proficient Population in New York City

With more than 3 million foreign-born residents from more than 200 different countries, New York is home to one of the most diverse populations in the world. New Yorkers come from every corner of the globe and speak over 200 different languages.

Nearly one-half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home, and almost 25%, or 1.8 million persons, are not English Proficient.

For these New Yorkers, interacting with City Government can often be a challenge. In response, in July 2008, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Executive Order 120, which required all City agencies to provide opportunities for Limited English speakers to communicate and receive services. In compliance with Executive Order 120, the Department of City Planning developed a Language Access Plan that seeks to ensure meaningful access to our most vital services.

View the PDF Document NYC Department Of City Planning Language Access Plan.

Information on PDF Document Limited English Proficient NYers is available through American Community Survey Data.

Department of City Planning Services Available for Limited English Proficient New Yorkers

Public participation is an important aspect of land use decisions in New York, and the Department of City planning seeks to ensure that language not be a barrier to participation. Below find information on the processes and services of the Department of City Planning, and the services available specific to limited English speakers. Please note that all sections of the Department of City Planning website are available by selecting “Translate” at the top of the Department’s website.

Testifying at the City Planning Commission

The City Planning Commission will accept testimony from LEP persons in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, French Creole, and Italian for all applications. Special instructions for foreign language testimony are available at the speaker sign-in desk at every public hearing. If you are requesting interpretation services, Commission staff will attempt to identify an interpreter for you. Speakers using an interpreter will be given an additional 2 minutes to testify. Should no interpreter be available, your testimony will be recorded and a translation will be provided to the Commissioners in writing at a future date.

The Commission relies on volunteer interpreter services, and we request that you be patient as we look to accommodate your interpretation needs. To provide the Commission with advance notice of a request for interpretation services at an upcoming hearing, please contact Luis Falcon at (212) 720-3379, LFalcon@planning.nyc.gov.

Technical Assistance

The Department of City Planning provides planning and land use information to the public by providing direct assistance through our borough offices and the Zoning Help Desk. Additional information is provided to the public through the website.

All public assistance desks at City Planning are equipped to assist Limited English Speakers, with the use of in-house staff volunteer interpreters or telephonic interpreters.

A list of contact information for City Planning Offices is here. Please be patient as our staff identifies an appropriate interpreter to assist you.