City hopes to compose simpler zoning rules

April 18, 2011 11:34AM

The Department of City Planning will hold a conference this fall in hopes of finding a way to simplify the 1,500-page zoning resolution, whose current complexity apparently stifles developers and architects. According to the Wall Street Journal, urban planners find the current document so confusing that they’re discouraged from development, and a recent court ruling forced the city to rewrite hundreds of sections because of the imprecise meanings of the words “development” and “building.” In fact, earlier this year, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden organized the publication of a 168-page handbook, with cartoon illustrations, to explain some of the law’s intricacies. But others argue that the zoning guidebook’s complexity reflects the city itself, whose varied neighborhoods and constant construction require unique consideration. In fact, since 2002, the city has rezoned more than 9,400 blocks in the 50-year-old resolution for that very reason. [WSJ]

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