For Immediate Release
July 24, 2018
Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – firstname.lastname@example.org (212) 720-3471
Access it here – and on your mobile device
July 24, 2018 – Mayor de Blasio and Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago today announced the launch of ZAP, DCP’s exciting new Zoning Application Portal. The web-based data tool makes details and status of all zoning and land use applications directly available to the public, with an intuitive map-based interface.
“The online portal makes searches for a zoning-change application, whether large or small, accessible to everyone – including New Yorkers like me who aren’t architects or city planners. I congratulate the Department of City Planning for this user friendly and transparent search tool,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“This online tool is the ultimate in planning and zoning transparency. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s intuitive. We hope that New Yorkers – residents, advocacy groups, property and business owners – take full advantage, and get more involved in planning for our city’s future. Either way, check out ZAP. It’s way cool!” Director Marisa Lago said.
ZAP offers easy searches for land use applications, including pending applications, with a variety of useful search filters. It includes about 28,000 projects, dating back to 1970 when DCP began digitizing project application data. About 500 of them are currently in public review.
ZAP, which can be searched, features direct links to DCP tools and other City databases by project address to ZoLa (DCP’s Zoning & Land Use map), the Department of Buildings’ BISWeb and the Department of Finance’s ACRIS sites.
ZAP, which also works on mobile device browsers, is a vast improvement in utility, transparency and ease-of-use over DCP’s previous system, LUCATS. It is designed to work with DCP’s new electronic paperless filing system which is undergoing testing. When that system is fully operational, ZAP will be updated to include even more application-related documents.
ZAP allows searches by Community District and other geographic filters, clearly showing all applications filed and in public review. Links to City Planning Commission (CPC) reports are also included.
A ZAP search, which can be directly shared, will yield a project description and project status, including public milestones that have been completed or are still to come. The search provides information on environmental review, with links to relevant City environmental review documents. The results further note whether a project received a favorable recommendations by the community board and borough president, as well as approval and any modifications by the CPC or City Council.
Keyed to borough block and lot numbers (BBL), the search result displays a map of the application site as well as listing the BBLs. Each BBL links to associated pages on the City’s BISWEB application, providing building property profiles and complaint tracking; ACRIS, which displays ownership and financial information; and ZoLa, which offers extensive information on zoning and other regulations.
Participants in the City’s official public review process hailed the new search tool:
“I have consistently urged the City to make more information available in an understandable way so that residents can more effectively advocate for their needs and for their neighborhoods. ZAP and DCP's other digital tools are a great start to help average New Yorkers navigate the complexities of land use,” Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., Chair of the Land Use Committee, said.
“This is not just a terrific tool, it's an investment in democracy. Zoning decisions are among the most consequential resolutions legislators can make for a community. The only way for us as lawmakers to truly represent our constituents and the interests of our city are for New Yorkers to be fully informed,” Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee, said.
“The more we can take the city’s processes and decisions and open up access to them online, the better off we all are – and nowhere is that more true than the all-important but little-understood land use process,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This is a good step forward for transparency and openness."
"Residents finally have a way to keep track of proposed land use changes and hold developers accountable for old changes," said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of Planning, Dispositions and Concessions Committee. "With a fast and intuitive interface, residents can simply zoom into their community and click different locations to learn how development happened and why."
Council Member Peter Koo, Chair of the Technology Committee, stated, “ZAP is a great example of how the City of New York can use technology to make government more accountable and accessible to the public. By consolidating the different zoning and land use databases of City Planning, the Department of Buildings, and the Department of Finance into one location, we are creating a one-stop shop for many important city land use documents. Many thanks to City Planning for bridging the divide between agencies and ensuring NYC stays at the forefront of government innovation.”
The public facing tool was developed by DCP’s Planning Labs team of technologists. Created a year ago, the unit is responsible for other innovative public facing tools, including Population Factfinder. ZoLa, NYC Street Map, NYC Metro Region Explorer and the award winning Community Portal page.
Jon Kaufman, DCP’s Chief Operating Officer who oversees Planning Labs, said “This is yet another milestone in DCP’s drive to make its planning work more accessible to the public. This tool was specifically designed to make it much easier for community residents to see and understand land use applications in their neighborhood, putting more relevant information at their fingertips.”