City Planning releases zoning proposal for building elevation

May 24, 2013 02:00PM

The Department of City Planning this week released its post-Sandy building-elevation plan that calls for zoning changes to allow for such alterations, Crain’s reported. Earlier this year the city waived some zoning rules to speed up recovery work, but now these zoning changes are set to become permanent city guidelines.

First, the plan must filter through the city’s public review process to get feedback from city community boards located in coastal areas.

The proposal “will relieve conflicts between zoning and steps owners of buildings in flood zones can take to make their buildings more flood resilient,” City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden told Crain’s. “It will enable [owners] to rebuild or retrofit [properties] to new flood protection standards and help restore the same amount of living and working space they were previously permitted.”

One rule includes allowing larger-sized flood-zone properties to move mechanical units to higher floors to avoid flooding.

But there’s still a challenge of elevating buildings above the 100-year floodplain, especially with city streetscapes that department officials wish to maintain.

City Planning has recommended that detached and semi-detached homes can install porches or sloped yards out front to keep things looking interesting. For buildings and shops, owners will have to install windows going down into the floodplain so that pedestrians don’t look at blank walls while walking by. [Crain’s]Zachary Kussin