Mayor Announces “Green Fast Track” Proposal to Expedite Environmental Quality Review Process for Some Home Construction

Mayor Eric Adams. Photo Credit:

On December 11, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams announced the “Green Fast Track” proposal to accelerate the construction of small- and medium-sized homes throughout the City by streamlining the environmental quality review process. The proposed rule is part of the Mayor’s “Get Stuff Built” plan to create more housing.

The City’s existing environmental review process can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take up to several years to complete. To expedite this process, the City plans to synthesize the review process by up to 24 months for certain types of homes, which based on a study of over 1,000 environmental reviews over the past ten years, have had no environmental impact. Those projects include housing that, among other restrictions, uses all-electric heating instead of fossil fuels, are located outside of vulnerable coastal areas, in areas with industrial emissions or away from major roads, and that meet specific mitigation standards for areas with hazardous materials or in high-ambient noise.

Other restrictions include limiting qualifying proposals in low-density areas to fewer than 175 units and take up less than 20,000 square feet of nonresidential area. In medium and high-density residential areas and commercial or manufacturing districts, projects must have fewer than 250 units and take up less than 35,000 square feet of nonresidential area. Additionally, projects that are over 250 tall or over 50 tall and next to open space, natural resources, or historic resources that are “sunlight sensitive” are excluded. Projects requiring rezoning would still go through the ULURP process, and projects in historical districts would continue to require Landmarks Preservation Commission oversight.

The proposed rule will streamline environmental review by up to 24 months and save each project approximately $100,000. The City estimates that if the proposed rules had been in effect over the last ten years, approximately 12,000 housing units could have been built more quickly.

Mayor Adams stated, “Our administration has been relentless in its pursuit of new tools to speed up the production of housing — and to build that housing in a smarter, faster, and more sustainable way. The Green Fast Track will deliver more homes to more New Yorkers while encouraging greener homes — a true win-win.”

Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer stated, “Our city is facing two monumental challenges — the climate crisis and the housing crisis — and the Green Fast Track will help us address both…By creating a streamlined process for climate-friendly housing, we are delivering more housing, building faster, and saving money.”

“Get Stuff Built” Executive Director Rob Holbrook stated “There is a clear record of hundreds of past housing projects that have gone through an eight-to-12-month review process that have not raised issues of concern…We can show that a category of housing projects is small enough not to cause environmental impacts. We must stop wasting their time filing paperwork that does not contribute to environmental protection or public engagement.”

By: Nick Negron (Nick is a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2023.)



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