Gowanus Neighborhood Planning Study

As part of City Planning’s ongoing climate resiliency initiatives, we are working with coastal communities to update the special zoning regulations that apply in the floodplain. These regulations promote flood-resistant building design so as to ensure that neighborhoods are more resilient to flooding and climate change. However, they were adopted on a temporary, emergency basis following Sandy, and need to be made permanent to ensure buildings do not lose the zoning flexibility that enables resilient design.

You can read more about the input we heard from stakeholders — residents, Community Boards, civic and homeowners associations, non-profit organizations, property owners, businesses, architects, and elected officials in our Community Outreach Summary, and we invite you to get involved by sharing your input through our feedback form.

In 2013, the NYC Zoning Resolution was updated to include Flood Resilience Zoning provisions in order to remove many regulatory barriers that hindered or prevented the reconstruction of storm-damaged properties (see Article VI, Chapter 4 ). These new regulations provide optional allowances, such as more flexibility on how height restrictions are measured, to make it easier for new buildings (and retrofitted existing buildings) to comply with new, higher flood elevations issued by FEMA, and to comply with new flood-resistant construction requirements in the New York City Building Code. The rules also require design elements, such as porches or planting beds to soften the effect that compliance with these regulations could have on the character of New York City’s coastal neighborhoods. For more information on these regulations, visit the website on Flood Resilience Zoning Text page or download a two-page summary.

The Flood Resiliency Zoning Text Amendment was approved on a temporary, emergency basis in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, to speed the recovery process from
the storm, and is set to expire one year after the adoption of new FEMA flood maps. Therefore, another zoning text amendment is necessary to make these rules permanent, so buildings do not lose the zoning flexibility that enables resilient design.

To learn more about DCP’s other resiliency initiatives visit www.nyc.gov/resilientneighborhoods.

Through our Resilient Neighborhoods, Resilient Retail, and Resilient Industry studies, our work with other City agencies, and our ongoing collaboration with the
practitioners, business owners, and residents who live and work in the floodplain, we have identified six areas where the current zoning could be improved.

Potential loss of space

Potential Loss of Space
Property owners may face the loss of subgrade spaces when retrofitting to FEMA standards, because they cannot currently relocate that area to upper levels due to height constraints imposed by zoning.

Building for Future Risk

Building for Future Risk
Property owners may want to address future risk and build to higher resiliency standards by over-elevating. Additional height can also potentially reduce flood insurance.

Quality Ground Floors

Quality Ground Floors
Current zoning incentives for commercial corridors to keep access and active uses at the sidewalk level may not be enough due to the high cost of dry-floodproofing (making the building water-tight).

Houses in Manufacturing Districts

Houses in Manufacturing Districts
Existing houses in C8 and Manufacturing Districts, may not be able to retrofit and, if damaged, may not be able to rebuild following a storm event.

Old Homes on Small Lots

Old Homes on Small Lots
Property owners of older homes on small lots may need more flexibility to rebuild in the future, as they are often constrained by existing zoning regulations.

Improving the Streetscape

Improving the Streetscape
By improving upon existing streetscape requirements, zoning could help on promoting quality urban design.

Workshop participants sharing their feedback on different zoning strategies for the floodplain.
Workshop participants sharing their feedback on different zoning strategies for the floodplain.

Throughout 2017 and into 2018, DCP has engaged with communities located in the floodplain to learn from their experiences, hear their ideas, and collaborate on the potential solutions to achieve building-scale resiliency. You can read more about the input we heard from stakeholders on the ways that zoning can support resiliency investments and our next steps in our Community Outreach Summary.

For more information or questions email us at ResilientNeighborhoods@planning.nyc.gov.

In the Rockaways, participants at a workshop creating their flood resilient building design
In the Rockaways, participants at a workshop creating their flood resilient building design
Participants at a workshop in Red Hook  discussing the different options for resilient zoning strategies
Participants at a workshop in Red Hook discussing the different options for resilient zoning strategies

Below is an overview of our events and workshops to date, as well as corresponding presentations where available. The presentations are largely the same content, though each has been tailored with information on flood risk and zoning issues specific to the area. View additional resources used in our outreach, including information available in other languages.

10/21/2017 Community Zoning Workshop: Eastern Bronx PDF Document View the Presentation
PDF Document View Workshop Notes
10/11/2017 Bronx CB 1 Economic Development, Land Use, and Housing PDF Document View the Presentation
10/3/2017 Locust Point Civic Association PDF Document View the Presentation
9/26/2017 Throggs Neck Homeowners Association PDF Document View the Presentation
9/26/2017 City Island Civic Association PDF Document View the Presentation
6/20/2017 Hunts Point Resiliency Event  
5/10/2017 Hunts Point Vision Plan Task Force (Biannual Meeting)  
5/9/2017 Bronx CB 10 Housing and Zoning Subcommittee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/8/2017 Bronx CB 9 Land Use, Zoning, and Econ Dev Subcommittee PDF Document View the Presentation
4/27/2017 Bronx Borough Board PDF Document View the Presentation
12/20/2017 Brooklyn Community Board 13 PDF Document View the Presentation
10/18/2017 Community Zoning Workshop: Southern Brooklyn PDF Document View the Presentation
PDF Document View Workshop Notes
10/3/2017 Brooklyn CB 1 Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
9/19/2017 Brooklyn CB 2 Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
7/10/2017 Resilient Red Hook Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
6/21/2017 Brooklyn Community Board 6 Environmental Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
6/17/2017 Community Zoning Workship: Red Hook PDF Document View the Presentation
PDF Document View Workshop Notes
6/17/2017 Fresh Creek Civic Association PDF Document View the Presentation
6/15/2017 NHS Brooklyn at Beraca Church, Canarsie PDF Document View the Presentation
6/3/2017 Newtown Creek Visioning Public Meeting  
5/24/2017 Gerritsen Beach Cares PDF Document View the Presentation
5/18/2017 Councilmember Treyger Town Hall  
4/25/2017 Brooklyn Community Board 15 PDF Document View the Presentation
4/20/2017 Gowanus Sustainability and Resiliency Working Group PDF Document View the Presentation
4/19/2017 Brooklyn Community Board 18 PDF Document View the Presentation
4/19/2017 AIA Brooklyn PDF Document View the Presentation
4/19/2017 Brooklyn Community Board 1  
4/4/2017 Brooklyn Borough Board PDF Document View the Presentation
3/22/2017 Manhattan Beach Community Group PDF Document View the Presentation
3/2/2017 Climate Forum: The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay PDF Document View the Presentation
2/2/2017 Brooklyn Community Board 13 Community Resource Night  
11/21/2017 Community Zoning Workshop: Manhattan Retail PDF Document View the Presentation
PDF Document View Workshop Notes
9/13/2017 Manhattan Community Board 2 Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
6/14/2017 Manhattan Community Board 3 Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
6/12/2017 Manhattan Community Board 1 Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
6/7/2017 Manhattan Community Board 6 Land Use and Waterfront Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/19/2017 Manhattan District Service Cabinet PDF Document View the Presentation
5/15/2017 Manhattan Community Board 4 Land Use Committee (Chelsea) PDF Document View the Presentation
10/17/2017 Community Zoning Workshop: Howard Beach PDF Document View the Presentation
PDF Document View Workshop Notes
9/26/2017 Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic PDF Document View the Presentation
9/13/2017 Queens Borough President's Hurricane Sandy Task Force PDF Document Viewthe Presentation
8/8/2017 LIC Core Study Open House PDF Document View the Presentation
7/18/2017 Community Zoning Workshop: Rockaways PDF Document View the Presentation
PDF Document View Workshop Notes
7/10/2017 Rosedale Civic Board and Stakeholders                                  PDF Document View the Presentation
6/29/2017 College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association PDF Document View the Presentation
6/22/2017 Old Astoria Neighborhood Association PDF Document View the Presentation
6/13/2017 Queens AIA PDF Document View the Presentation
6/13/2017 Queens Community Board 14 PDF Document View the Presentation
6/7/2017 Queens Community Board 1 Land Use and Zoning Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/30/2017 NYS Senator Sanders Flooding and Insurance Community Forum  
5/18/2017 Queens Community Board 10, Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/17/2017 Queens Community Board 2, Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/17/2017 Queens Community Board 14, Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/15/2017 Queens Borough Board PDF Document View the Presentation
5/1/2017 Queens Community Board 11 PDF Document View the Presentation
5/8/2017 Queens Community Board 13 Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/3/2017 Queens Community Board 1 Land Use and Zoning Committee  
5/2/2017 Queens Community Board 7 Zoning and Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
10/24/2017 Staten Island CB 1 Waterfront Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
10/24/2017 Northfield LDC Open House  
10/12/2017 West Shore Business Improvement District PDF Document View the Presentation
10/11/2017 Staten Island CB 3 Land Use Committee
9/26/2017 East Shore Resiliency Open House PDF Document View the Presentation
9/5/2017 Natural Resources Protective Association PDF Document View the Presentation
6/14/2017 Midland Beach Civic PDF Document View the Presentation
5/10/2017 Staten Island Community Board 3 Land Use Committee PDF Document View the Presentation
5/9/2017 Staten Island Community Board 1 PDF Document View the Presentation
5/2/2017 Staten Island Community Board 2 Land Use Committee  
4/5/2017 Staten Island Borough Board PDF Document View the Presentation
3/16/2017 Staten Island AIA PDF Document View the Presentation

For more information, to share your ideas, or to schedule a presentation or workshop, please contact us by :

Email: ResilientNeighborhoods@planning.nyc.gov or

Mailing Address:
NYC Department of City Planning
Waterfront and Open Space Division
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10271