DCP Launches Updated Digital Land Use Portal, Online Application Tracker

A screenshot of the updated Zoning Application Portal. Image Credit: NYC DCP

The updated portal improves transparency and public access to the land review process. On January 14, 2021, the Department of City Planning (DCP) announced that the Zoning Application Portal (ZAP) has been expanded and updated. The Zoning Application Portal allows New Yorkers to review land use applications that are within public review. 

The updated Zoning Application Portal provides the public with easy access to land use applications, project descriptions and drawings which were previously only available through community board offices and on paper. With easier access to these documents, the public will have the opportunity to review all of the documents prior to hearings. Anyone interested in learning more about a project in their area would simply need to type in an address to see what projects are in the area. The documents available also include environmental review information. 

A separate webpage was created for zoning change applicants can submit and pay for land use applications online. Previously, the process required making multiple copies of the application and a physical trip to the City Planning office to submit the application. Through this portal, applicants can now see submission status and a timeline of all steps in the application process. City Planning is also working on creating a work program to gradually make previous applications and project materials available online. 

The updated portal is part of a series of efforts from City Planning to increase transparency and accessibility for the public. Other online tools include ZoLa, the online portal for information about zoning districts and lots citywide; Population Factfinder, which provides demographic information; Community District Profiles of each of the 59 Community Districts with graphical information and comparison charts; and Facilities Explorer, an interface to explore where City and State facilities are across New York City, and who they serve. 

DCP Director Marisa Lago stated, “Remember when you had to trek down to DCP’s offices or your local Community Board to review land use applications? Not anymore! ZAP is an intuitive, map-based website that lets all New Yorkers easily explore land use applications and their supporting documents. Having these documents available online means that elected officials, Community Boards and all members of the public can more easily access and digest the details of a land use proposal. ZAP brings added efficiency and transparency to the City’s planning work but, even more importantly, gives the public another tool to engage more fully in our public review process.”

Council Member Kevin Riley, Chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions stated, “Transparency and accessibility is the aim of the new Zoning Application Portal (ZAP). When inquiring about projects within our neighborhoods, many community members are met with confusion and frustration when it comes to the land use process. The expansion and improvements to ZAP will allow for an increase of transparency to the public to access applications within our neighborhoods to better access how the land is being utilized. I commend the DCP’s office on this effort and I look forward to working with them on more projects that will increase accessibility and transparency throughout the City.”

City Planning Commission Vice Chair Kenneth Knuckles stated, “The ability of the public to view applications online is a quantum leap forward in terms of transparency.  The Zoning Application Portal joins a suite of online applications that allow New Yorkers unprecedented access to information about planning in New York City.”

To access the new Zoning Application Portal, click here

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



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