Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency

As part of the Department of City Planning’s ongoing climate resiliency initiatives, we have been working with coastal communities for the past couple of years to update the existing zoning rules that were adopted on a temporary, emergency basis following Sandy. While these rules need to be made permanent to ensure buildings do not lose zoning flexibility that enables new and existing buildings to comply with requirements in Appendix G of the NYC Building Code, they could also be updated to allow building owners the option to design or otherwise retrofit their buildings to be more resilient in the long-term. Additionally, DCP recommends expanding the applicability of zoning rules to include areas that will be at high-risk of flooding in the future. Doing so would allow buildings that are not currently required to meet Appendix G to make resiliency improvements in advance of being mapped within the 1% annual chance floodplain. This would not only improve the ability of the city’s many coastal neighborhoods to withstand and recover quickly from future storms, but would also allow building owners to potentially save on flood insurance costs.

We invite you to read our preliminary recommendations for PDF Document Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency. The purpose of this document is to share plain-language descriptions of recommendations for a zoning text amendment with the public prior to launching the formal public review process later in 2019. PDF Document Download a two-page summary of Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency.

In 2013 and in 2015, the NYC Zoning Resolution was updated to include provisions from the Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment (the “2013 Flood Text”) and the Special Regulations for Neighborhood Recovery (the “2015 Recovery Text”). The 2013 Flood Text removed many regulatory obstacles that hindered new and existing buildings to comply with flood-resistant construction standards in Appendix G of the New York City Building Code, or prevented the reconstruction of storm-damaged properties (see PDF Document Article VI, Chapter 4 ). The 2015 Recovery Text simplified the process for old buildings to document non-compliances, and established new rules that allow damaged homes located within small lots to be reconstructed (see PDF Document Article VI, Chapter 4, Appendix A). For more information on the 2013 Flood Text regulations, visit the website on Flood Resilience Zoning Text page or download a two-page summary.

Since both text amendments were approved on a temporary, emergency basis in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to speed the recovery process from the storm, they include sunset dates. The 2013 Flood Text expires within one year of the adoption of new FIRMs, which are expected to be revised by FEMA in the next few years. The 2015 Recovery Text is set to expire in 2020. Therefore, these zoning rules need to be adopted on a permanent basis to continue to allow buildings to incorporate resiliency improvements and recover from potential future storms.

Additionally, aside from making these rules permanent, they need to be updated to incorporate updates that have been drawn from lessons learned and initiatives implemented through the City’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy. These recommendations, which are laid out in the PDF Document Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency publication, were developed based on analysis of resilient construction in the floodplain, through extensive coordination with partner City agencies, and community feedback that was received during an extensive public engagement process as laid out in the PDF Document Community Outreach Summary document released in 2018.

In summary, Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency would provide homeowners, business owners and practitioners living and working in the city’s floodplain, the option to design or otherwise retrofit buildings to (a) reduce damage from future flood events, (b) be resilient in the long-term, and (c) potentially save on long-term flood insurance costs. Overall, implementation of Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency would improve the ability of the city’s many flood-prone neighborhoods to withstand and recover quickly from future storms.

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

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 — residents, Community Boards, civic and homeowners associations, non-profit organizations, property owners, businesses, architects and elected officials in our Community Outreach Summary, which informed our recommendations.

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

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 — residents, Community Boards, civic and homeowners associations, non-profit organizations, property owners, businesses, architects, and elected officials in our Community Outreach Summary, which informed our recommendations.

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