Mayor and City Planning Unveil Details for City of Yes for Economic Opportunity Zoning Text Amendment

Mayor Adams, last year announcing the proposed City of Yes amendments. A year later, one amendment is in public review, and the second has just been revealed. Image Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The amendment is the second of three proposed zoning text amendments from Mayor Adams designed to address outdated zoning issues. On June 14, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams and Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick revealed the “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity” zoning text amendment. The proposed amendment is part of Mayor Adams’ City of Yes zoning text amendments to modernize the zoning text and remove burdensome outdated provisions that hinder economic, housing and resiliency growth. For CityLand’s prior coverage of the City of Yes Amendments, click here.

The City of Yes for Economic Opportunity amendment aims to support small business growth through four pillars: revitalizing commercial corridors, filling vacant storefronts, modernizing use regulations, and investments in key growth industries. The changes to the zoning text aim to remove obstacles that slow down or prevent the growth and development of small businesses. 

Across the four pillars, the proposed amendment includes 18 policy changes including: 

– The largest expansion of space for small-scale clean manufacturing in six decades; producers like microbreweries, ceramics shops, and apparel makers will be able to open and operate in commercial corridors citywide, which more than doubles the possibilities for space for these types of businesses. 

– New zoning tools to allow over 17,000 businesses within industrial areas to add space

– Expand the number of businesses that can operate in ground and upper-floor spaces. 

– Changes to where amusements are allowed to enable more family-friendly activities, and eliminate outdated rules that prohibit comedy, music and dancing in restaurants and venues in commercial areas.

– Create a process to enable new corner stores in residential areas where not previously allowed.

– Fill vacant storefronts by removing decades-old rules that prevent businesses from setting up in certain long-term vacant spaces.

– Modernize home business regulations to permit a wider range of businesses, including barbers and interior designers. 

– Expanding local delivery capacity.

– Enable adaptive reuse of commercial buildings by modernizing loading dock rules.

– Modernize how laboratories are regulated by zoning to enable life sciences research to be closer to universities and hospitals.

– Remove outdated rules for indoor urban agriculture, including indoor cannabis growing for licensed businesses. 

– Working with the City Council in the state’s siting process for casinos.

The formal public review is expected to begin this fall. Currently, the first City of Yes amendment, City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality, is in the public review process and being reviewed by community and borough boards. The third amendment, the City of Yes for Housing Opportunity, is expected to enter public review next spring. 

City Planning held its first information session for the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity amendment on June 13th. That session can be viewed here.

Mayor Adams stated, “The ‘City of Yes’ is all about making New York City the place to be, and this plan doubles down on that. Last year, I said New York City would lead the nation’s economic recovery by transforming into a City of Yes. Now, we’ve regained 99 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic because we’re supporting new small businesses and making it easier for others to grow. With our administration’s vision, New Yorkers and visitors alike will be able to dance, laugh, and have a beer; businesses will grow and create good jobs; and fun will drive an inclusive recovery for our city.”

Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim stated, “Mayor Adams’ ‘City of Yes’ vision breaks down outdated barriers, removes confusing and unnecessary restrictions, and opens up opportunity in our commercial neighborhoods. One-in-nine businesses in New York City started in the last year, and these future-forward zoning changes will help them expand their services — and open new storefronts. From more diverse and dynamic commercial corridors to revitalized storefronts and more comedy shows at bars and restaurants, there are dozens of reasons for business owners and all New Yorkers to celebrate these reforms.”

CityLand will continue to cover the City of Yes text amendments. 

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

Mayor: Mayor Adams, City Planning Director Garodnick Announce Plan to Support Small Business Growth, Create Good Jobs Through “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity” Proposal (June 14, 2023).




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.