Council Approves City of Yes for Economic Opportunity Amendment

Image credit: New York City Council.

On June 6, 2024, the City Council voted to approve the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity zoning text amendment. The amendment is one of three City of Yes zoning text amendments proposed by the Adams administration to address outdated provisions within the zoning text that unnecessarily restrict or limit housing, the implementation of green technology and infrastructure, and economic development. 

The City of Yes for Economic Opportunity zoning text amendment consists of several provisions aiming to reduce hurdles and obstacles for small business owners trying to find space to operate within the city. The amendment addresses increasing spaces for clean manufacturing, expanding the kinds of businesses that can operate in ground- and upper-floor spaces. Other changes include removing outdated cabaret rules that had previously prohibited dancing in bars and restaurants, and updating rules that limited where family friendly amusements could be allowed. The City Council made several amendments to the original amendment following public feedback, and the full list of changes can be found here

The amendment was approved by the City Council with a vote of 34-16 and 35-15. Speaker Adrienne Adams stated, “The Council made modifications to the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity to strike the right balance of promoting economic growth and opportunities for local businesses while protecting neighborhoods and safeguarding quality of life for all New Yorkers. Our efforts will preserve manufacturing districts and enhance the industrial sector, which provides good-paying jobs and can prepare our city for a clean energy future. I’m proud that the Council has also secured crucial commitments for an aggressive plan to confront the serious environmental and health impacts of last-mile facilities and trucking, which disproportionately impact outer-borough communities of color. The additional investments for better enforcement of buildings, nightlife establishments, and unlicensed smoke shops also were pivotal commitments secured as part of the Council’s efforts. This balanced approach is responsive to communities and ensures a plan that can propel the city’s economy to the benefit of all New Yorkers and neighborhoods.”

Mayor Eric Adams celebrated the passage of the amendment, stating, “When we came into office two years ago, we committed to turning New York City into a ‘City of Yes.’ We unveiled three landmark proposals to transform our city’s zoning laws and help combat climate change, unleash job growth, and build new housing. With today’s passage of ‘City of Yes for Economic Opportunity,’ we have taken another historic step to bring our city’s zoning code into the 21st century and build a more inclusive and prosperous economy. Our proposal will replace outdated restrictions on businesses with new rules that support sustainable job growth, help businesses open and expand, and fill vacant storefronts. After decades of inaction, it will move our city’s zoning code into the future, laying the foundation for long-term growth across all five boroughs. Quite simply, it will take us from a rotary phone mentality and bring us into the smart phone world.”

Director of the Department of City Planning and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick stated, “This is a momentous day for New York City. For too long, our mom-and-pop shops, entrepreneurs, and commercial corridors have been hindered by our own antiquated rules. The newly-adopted zoning changes will reduce storefront vacancies, create more vibrant neighborhoods, and generate economic success across all five boroughs. Thank you to the City Council for supporting this important initiative and charting a path for our city’s future prosperity.”

The final amendment, the City of Yes for Housing Opportunity amendment, entered the public review process earlier this spring. It is currently being reviewed by community boards and will return to the City Planning Commission for a public hearing later this summer. 

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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