Community Facilities Text Amended

Universities, medical centers, museums, and religious buildings face tighter restrictions. The City Council approved amendments to 64 sections of the zoning text that control placement, size, and parking for community facilities. The Planning Department and the Council’s Land Use Committee conducted a joint study of existing zoning controls of community facilities. This is the first amendment to the relevant text since 1961.

The revision impacts community facilities such as universities, houses of worship, medical facilities, dormitories, libraries, museums, schools, and day-care centers. The amendment is intended to restrict the permitted floor area and potential sites for community facilities in single-family or small multi-family areas, as well as increase the ability of community facilities to locate in more suitable, higher density areas.

The amendment eliminated a majority of the provisions exempting community facilities from the rear-yard requirements of the code, which in the past resulted in large, bulky buildings in neighborhoods with small homes. The new code will cover all “houses of worship” instead of solely “churches.” Parking requirements for houses of worship will be measured on capacity rather than “fixed seats.” Several churches had circumvented this requirement by reducing fixed seating.

Medical facilities, excluding hospitals, will be further restricted from locating in low-density neighborhoods of one and two-family homes, and permitted floor area for such facilities will be reduced. In the past, large, out-of-character medical facilities had been constructed after the medical group created a larger development lot by demolishing several adjacent homes.

Religious buildings can be located in M-1 districts. The permitted floor area of all community facilities was increased in C1 and C2 districts mapped within an R3-2 district. Council approved by a vote of 47 to 0.

ULURP Process: City Planning Commission, as lead agency, issued a draft environmental impact statement on March 8, 2004 and referred the rezoning proposal to all Community Boards and Borough Presidents. After a June 9, 2004 hearing, the Commission unanimously approved on July 28, 2004.

Council: Res. No. 586 (September 9, 2004); CPC: Community Facilities Text (N 040202 ZRY – text amendment) (July 28, 2004).


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