Self-storage Text Amendment

The NYC Department of City Planning proposes a zoning text amendment to impose appropriate restrictions on new self-storage facilities within New York City’s most active industrial areas, to promote the future availability of siting opportunities for industrial, more job-intensive uses.
The NYC Department of City Planning proposes a zoning text amendment to impose appropriate restrictions on new self-storage facilities within New York City’s most active industrial areas, to promote the future availability of siting opportunities for industrial, more job-intensive uses.


In November 2015, Mayor de Blasio announced a 10-point Industrial Action Plan, which aims to strengthen core industrial areas, invest in industrial and manufacturing businesses, and advance industrial-sector training and workforce development opportunities for New Yorkers. PDF Document View the timeline.

Industrial Business Zones (IBZ) represent the most active industrial areas in New York City, which recent data shows have PDF Document gained industrial employment since 2010. They also serve as the City’s target areas for the realization of economic development goals supporting a range of industrial and other employment-generating business activities, industrial innovation, and the provision of industrial services that allow New York City to function and prosper. The 10-Point Industrial Action Plan builds on existing policies, first formulated in 2006, which include Industrial Service Provider contracts, tax incentives and the pledge not to rezone IBZs for residential use.

The unregulated development of self-storage in IBZs detracts from the City’s vision and goals for these active industrial areas. Self-storage facilities are seen as a low job-generating use that primarily serves household rather than business needs. They are typically developed on large sites near Designated Truck Routes – sites, which are in limited supply and could potentially provide future siting opportunities for industrial, more job-intensive businesses. Given the City’s numerous measures to support industrial businesses in IBZs and the fact that industrial employment has been growing in these areas since 2010, it is crucial to secure the future availability of sites in IBZs for businesses in industries such as distribution, construction, wholesale, logistics, transportation, film production, manufacturing and utilities.

Amended Application

Following referral of the proposed Self-Storage Text Amendment on May 22nd, 2017 and in response to public comments on the original proposal, DCP developed a modified proposal, called an Amended (A) Text. An A-text is an alternative zoning text that provides the public with a broader range of options to comment on, and the City Planning Commission with a wider range of policy options to consider. Either the original zoning text or the A-text, or a version of those, may be adopted.

PDF Document View the original text amendment that was referred on May 22nd, 2017 and the PDF Document amended text filed on August 3rd, 2017.

The public comments on the proposed Self-Storage Text Amendment have been mixed, with Community Boards, Borough Presidents and other stakeholders both supportive and in a few cases, critical. The concerns include that the proposed CPC Special Permit is too restrictive, that insufficient consideration has been given to self-service storage facilities’ role serving residents and small businesses alike, and that the restriction on self-storage in IBZs could potentially cause an increase in self-storage development in M and C8 districts outside of IBZs, which are often closer to residential areas.

In response to those concerns and the results of the DEIS, which acknowledged the potential of the original proposed text amendment for a significant impact on the self-storage industry, DCP has developed a revised Mixed-Use Alternative. This Alternative permits self-storage facilities as-of-right in Designated Areas in Manufacturing Districts, provided that a minimum specified amount of ground-floor space is set aside for industrial uses. The industrial ground floor requirement could be modified or waived by applying for a City Planning Commission Special Permit. Several modifications of floor area, off-street parking and off-street loading provisions are also proposed: these provisions would facilitate the proposed set-aside of ground-floor space for industrial use.

This modified zoning text amendment, called an “A text,” includes:

  1. a requirement that in designated M districts, at least 20,000 square feet of ground floor space on the same zoning lot as a new self-storage facility be dedicated to manufacturing, semi-industrial or industrial uses in Use Groups 11A, 16A, 16B, 16D, 17 and 18; art studios in Use Group 9A; and photographic or motion picture production studios, radio or television studios in Use Group 10A;
  2. changes to the originally proposed CPC Special Permit, so that it applies only to modify or waive the industrial ground floor requirement;
  3. specifications for the ceiling heights of the required ground floor industrial space;
  4. a reduction of the off-street parking and loading dock requirements associated with the required industrial ground floor space, to facilitate the mixed-use prototype in which the ground floor is shared with the lobby and loading areas for the self-storage facility;
  5. a reduction in the dimensions of the required loading berths associated with the self-storage use from 50 feet to 37 feet, consistent with the size of trucks that self-storage customers typically use; and
  6. an allowance for up to 20,000 square feet of the required industrial floor area to exceed the 1.0 FAR cap in M1-1 districts, to facilitate the mixing of uses on the zoning lot.

In response to comments received at the public hearing, held on August 23, 2017, the Commission is furthermore considering the following modifications proposed by DCP to the A-text, which would:

  1. modify the findings of the proposed Special Permit to relate to financial feasibility, which falls under the expertise of the Board of Standards and Appeals..
  2. change the industrial space requirement to present a ratio of the lot size, instead of a fixed amount.
  3. Introduce more flexibility regarding the locational requirements associated with the industrial floor space, permitting a portion of it on other stories, as long as occupants have access to the industrial space on the ground floor, freight elevators and loading berths
  4. Include an additional as-of-right siting option for small sites.

PDF Document View the draft text amendment, which the City Planning Commission is considering for vote. Please email if you have comments on the proposed draft.

Original Application

The Department of City Planning proposes a zoning text amendment to introduce a Special Permit under the jurisdiction of the City Planning Commission for all new self-storage development in Designated Areas in M districts. A Special Permit is a discretionary action by the City Planning Commission, subject to the public review process (ULURP), which may modify use regulations if certain conditions specified in the Zoning Resolution are met. The public review process includes Community Board, Borough President and City Planning Commission review. The City Council may elect to review a Special Permit application.

By introducing a Special Permit, DCP proposes a case-by-case, site-specific review process to ensure that the development of self-storage does not diminish future siting opportunities for industrial, more job-intensive businesses.

The findings of the proposed Special Permit will require the City Planning Commission to evaluate whether a lot or building would be optimal for conforming, modern-day industrial uses, in which case a proposed self-storage development would represent a lost opportunity for the future siting of a more job-intensive industrial business. The case-by-case framework would allow self-storage facilities to locate in Designated Areas in M districts on sites where self-storage facilities are found to be appropriate. The measure would significantly advance the City’s economic development objectives for Industrial Business Zones by preserving adequate sites for industrial businesses.

Existing self-storage facilities could continue to operate as legal non-conforming uses. Extensions and enlargements of such grandfathered self-storage facilities would be permitted within the original zoning lot and the reconstruction of a grandfathered self-storage facility to the previously existing FAR, should it be damaged or destroyed, would be permitted.

Other Use Group 16D warehouses or moving and storage offices that are not self-storage will continue to be permitted as-of-right in Designated Areas in M districts.

Geographic Applicability

The proposed restrictions for self-storage development will apply in Designated Areas in Manufacturing (M) districts, which largely coincide with IBZs. These are New York City’s most active industrial areas and are the focus of the administration’s economic development policies to support industrial businesses.

The proposed Designated Areas in Manufacturing Districts intersect with 27 Community Districts:

Bronx: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12
Brooklyn: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 16, 17, 18
Queens: 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13
Staten Island: 1, 2, 3

Choose a community district below to see a map of the area which is available in PDF Document pdf format.

A scoping meeting was held on March 30 2017 that enabled the public to provide comments to inform the scope of work for the environmental review. View the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

On May 22 2017, the Department of City Planning referred out the proposed self-storage text amendment (N 170425 ZRY) to begin the formal review process. PDF Document View the presentation. The PDF Document proposal was referred out to twenty-seven Community Boards; the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island Borough Boards; and to the Borough Presidents of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island: for a time period of sixty days. The proposed text amendment will then go to the City Planning Commission, followed by the City Council. Read the press release.

The Public Hearing for the originally proposed self-storage text amendment, as well as the amended text,  was held on August 23, 2017.

Please email for more information on the proposed zoning text amendment.