City Planning Proposes Homeowner-Friendly Zoning Rules for Staten Island Neighborhoods

Some areas of Staten Island that would be affected by rule changes. Image Credit: NYC DCP

The changes allow homeowners to bypass the lengthy review process for certain types of projects. On July 2, 2020, the Department of City Planning announced new proposed zoning rules for some Staten Island neighborhoods that make zoning rules more efficient and homeowner-friendly, and that reflect recent advances in environmental science.

The proposed updates affect the following areas of Staten Island:

Special Hillsides Preservation District and Special Natural Area District areas: Fort Hill Circle, Stapleton Heights, Ward Hill, West Brighton, Silver Lake, Sunset Hill, Grumes Hill, Emerson Hill, Todt Hill, Dongan Hills, and Lighthouse Hill.

Special South Richmond Development District areas: Arden Heights, Greenridge, Richmond Town, Bay Terrace, Great Kills, Eltingville, Annadale, Huguenot, Rossville, Woodrow, Prince’s Bay, Pleasant Plains, Charleston, Richmond Valley, and Tottenville.

In these areas, home improvement projects on properties smaller than one acre would become more time-efficient and more affordable because City Planning approval will no longer be needed for renovations such as installing swimming pools and decks. Instead, homeowners will be able to bypass the lengthy City Planning Commission review process and go directly to the Department of Buildings to finalize permits.

As stated in the City Planning press release, “(City Planning Commission) oversight will be shifted to sites that are one acre or larger, developments that require new private roads, and ecologically sensitive sites (such as those with wetlands or along the cliff face) that propose four or more zoning lots or new buildings, or eight or more dwelling units.” The public review process is appropriate for these kinds of projects because the impact of these projects are more unpredictable.

The changes were based on feedback City Planning received last year from Staten Island communities. Details about the changes can be found on the City Planning website, and the full guidebooks can be accessed here. Members of the public can still provide feedback on the proposed rules by contacting City Planning.

Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago stated, “The changes outlined in these easy-to-read guidebooks will make home renovations more affordable for many families while ensuring that development on larger and ecologically sensitive properties receives a higher level of review.”

By: Victoria Agosta (Victoria is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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