CityLand’s Top Ten Stories of 2018

Welcome to CityLand‘s seventh annual top ten stories of the year! We have selected a range of our most popular and prominent stories, and guest commentaries concerning New York City land use in 2018. Our 2018 coverage was highlighted by articles concerning approvals for affordable housing, proposals for rezoning developments, legislation providing the right to housing counsel, and a guide on barbecuing in the city. We at CityLand are excited to continue providing in-depth coverage of the latest land use projects, cases, and legislation in 2019 and look forward to seeing what the year will bring. Thank you for all of your support and have a happy new year!

Photo Credit: Jeff Hopkins.

(1) The Right to Counsel for Tenants Who Face Eviction:

On August 11, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, which guarantees legal representation for low-income tenants who face eviction. The new law has two major innovations with respect to eviction petitions brought in Housing Court. First, the new law guarantees legal representation in Housing Court for qualified low-income tenants who face eviction proceedings. The lawyers will be provided by nonprofit legal organizations with funding from the City. Secondly, the new law guarantees individual consultations with lawyers for all tenants who face eviction in Housing Court, not just qualified low-income tenants.




Propane grill. Image credit:

(2) Barbe-“Cues” For NYC BBQs This Summer; What The Law Says You Can And Can’t Do:

The NYC Gas and Fire codes strictly regulate the use of barbecue grills by residents within the five boroughs.  According to the Department of Buildings there are several different types of barbecues that are regulated by the NYC Gas and Fire codes including propane, electric, charcoal, and natural gas grills. For each type of barbecue different safety standards and regulations may apply.  It is essential to comply with the safety standards outlined by the codes as well as the manufacturers’ instructions for operation to ensure that you are careful when using a barbecue at your home.



270 Park Avenue. Image Credit: Google Maps.

(3) New JPMorgan Chase State-of-the-Art Headquarters to Rise At 270 Park Ave:

JPMorgan Chase intends to pursue building a new 2.5 million-square-foot headquarters at its 270 Park Avenue location. On February 21, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon announced the construction of a new 2.5 million-square-foot headquarters at its 270 Park Avenue location in Manhattan, which will be the first project under the City’s innovative East Midtown Rezoning plan passed in 2017. Under the East Midtown rezoning, JPMorgan Chase will purchase development rights from landmarks in the surrounding district in order to build a larger building. The new building would have a modernized infrastructure and design, including 21st century systems and technology.



Image credit: HPD

(4) New Affordable Housing Development To Be Built Off-Site:

City will use the modular construction method to reduce costs and construction time. On May 23, 2018, Housing Preservation & Development announced a Request for Proposals for the design, construction, and management of the new 100% affordable mixed-income and mixed-use development in East New York, Brooklyn. The City-owned project site is an L-shaped parcel of 49,397 square-feet along Eldert Lane between Pitkin and Glenmore Avenues. A portion of the site is also located along Grant Avenue adjacent to the Grant Avenue A-train subway station.



New York Assembly Chamber. Image Credit: CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia

(5) State Senate To Provide Exception to Floor Area Ratio Cap for City Residential Buildings:

A proposed State bill seeks to give City broad flexibility to increase floor area ratio in residential developments. The New York Senate has introduced bill S6760 by including language in their budget resolution that will amend the State’s Multiple Dwelling Law to provide an exception for the floor area ratio (FAR) cap. Currently, the law provides for a floor area ratio not to exceed 12.0 in New York City. The amendment will introduce language to the provision that will allow exceptions to the 12.0 cap if otherwise provided under the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York.



(6) Many Turn Out to Both Support and Register Concerns about Landmarks Rules Revisions:

Revisions would see delegation of some work, including certain rear yard and roof top additions, to staff for review and approval. The amendments would reorganize the rules in an attempt to make them more intuitive and user-friendly. The rules would codify certain staff practices, and delegate certain determinations currently reviewed by the Commission to staff. The codifications of staff practices were intended to provide consistent guidance to both staff and applicants. The amendments would also address certain administrative concerns, such as providing for expedited Certificates of No Effect, simplifying the process for as-of-right permit renewal, and establishing rules and time frames for reinstating an expired permit. The proposal is also intended to maintain a manageable workload for the all-volunteer Commission as the number of designated districts and landmarks increases.



Rendering of proposed buildings at 40 Crown Street and 931 Carroll Street. Image Credit: CP VI Crown Heights, LLC/NYC CPC.

(7) City Planning Commission Considers Rezoning Near Brooklyn Botanical Garden:

If approved, the rezoning will make way for construction of over 500 new apartments in Crown Heights. On September 26, 2018, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on a rezoning application for Franklin Avenue in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. The rezoning would allow construction of two new 16-story buildings at 40 Crown Street and 931 Carroll Street. Both buildings are a block east of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.




142 South Portland Avenue. Image credit: Google Maps.

(8) Church Seeks To Develop Affordable Housing Amidst Opposition From Residents:

The 100% affordable housing development faced height and scale opposition by neighborhood residents. The rezoning will provide for a higher Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and height limit on property bounded by South Elliot Place, Hanson Place, South Portland Avenue and a midblock to the South. The current R7A zoning has a maximum FAR up to 4.6 and building height of up to 95 feet if the building participates in the Inclusionary Housing Program or provides certain senior facilities. However, several buildings have a FAR and height above the maximum. The Church’s building in adjacent on the rear side to a 12-story building. On the northeast corner of the block there is a building at a 6.61 FAR and on the southern portion of the block there are two 15-story residential buildings. Applicants’ rezoning to an R8A proposal will provide for a FAR up to 7.02 and a building height up to 145 feet if the building participates in the Inclusionary Housing Program or provides certain senior facilities. However, applicants want to impose a 95-foot height limitation on the southern portion of the site. The rezoning area will be designated as a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area and include a commercial district overlay of 100-feet from Hanson Place. The rezoning will also extend the Special Downtown Brooklyn District coterminous with the project area.



Rendering of 29-37 Jay Street in Brooklyn. Image Credit: CPC/Marvel Architects

(9) Rezoning Application Will Bring Office Space to DUMBO:

Borough President is critical of the proposed residential upzoning as part of zoning changes to build an office building. On October 17, 2018, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on an application for 29-37 Jay Street in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. The applicant is the Foreman family, who have had a multi-generational history in DUMBO as manufacturers of decorative pressed metal products. The applicant was represented by Melanie Meyers of Fried Frank and Jonathan Marvel of Marvel Architects. The applicant is proposing to build an 11-story office building with a lobby and three retail stores on the ground floor, at the corner of Jay and Plymouth streets. The proposed building would be 148 feet tall, without a setback, and an approximate 189,000 square feet.





Booth House

(10) Designations of Two Individual Landmarks Overturned by Council: 

Landmarks’ designations of two residential buildings on City Island rejected due to objections of local council member. On March 12, 2018, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Uses voted against upholding the individual landmark designations of two residential buildings on City Island in the Bronx. The buildings are the Samuel H. and Mary T. Booth House at 30 Centre Street, and the Captain John H. Stafford House, at 95 Pell Place. Both houses were unanimously designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on November 28, 2017.


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