On November 2, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams and Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick celebrated the City Council passage of the South Richmond Zoning Relief plan. The relief plan will simplify zoning procedures for homeowners in the Special South Richmond Development District on Staten Island.
The Special South Richmond Development District was created in 1975 to help preserve the natural landscape of the area. The district covers approximately one-third of Staten Island’s land area, and some of the included neighborhoods are Tottenville, Annadale, Eltingville, Arden Heights, Great Kills, Bay Terrace, and Richmond Valley. Due to the restrictions and guidelines from the Special District, homeowners in South Richmond had to endure a burdensome process to get approvals for both major and minor projects on their properties. While most of the applications from the district are certifications for public schools seats and subdivisions, homeowners in the district would also need to get City Planning Commission authorizations for tree removals and topographic modifications. Many homeowners claimed the process of getting the authorization was more expensive and time-consuming than the actual projects they wanted to execute.
The relief plan will simplify the approval process and remove the red tape for individual homeowners and small properties under one acre. The plan will also improve the regulations and give the City Planning Commission and community boards more oversight on larger sensitive sites that have a significant impact on the public realm and on Staten Island residents. The plan will also apply the latest environmental preservation practices, which will make decisions more predictable.
The plan was crafted through a collaboration with Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, Jr., City Council Minority Leader Joseph C. Borelli, Staten Island Community Board 3, the Building Industry Association of New York City, and the Staten Island Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Mayor Adams stated, “South Richmond homeowners have been living with a ‘City of No,’ between complicated zoning rules and a mess of red tape when it comes to their own properties. That ends today. Thanks to this partnership with Borough President Fossella, Councilmember Borelli, and our partners in the community, New York City is on its way to becoming a ‘City of Yes’ that will give real control of a property back to a homeowner.”
City Planning Director Garodnick stated, “This plan not only simplifies regulations for homeowners but also strengthens our protections of natural resources. It’s a prime example of how we can craft smarter zoning that offers relief for New Yorkers while also meeting today’s challenges.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)