Revised state law would clear the way for bigger resi buildings

Opponents worry this will invite more supertalls
June 09, 2016 04:50PM

New York City may soon see another surge in supertall skyscrapers.

The city is pushing for changes to a state law that would allow developers to nearly double the maximum square footage permitted in new residential developments.

Two new bills propose to revise zoning rules that currently limit the size of the city’s residential buildings, Crain’s reported. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration hopes the law change will help encourage the creation of affordable housing in high-density commercial areas. The mayor first announced that he wanted to change the state law in 2014 as part of his efforts to bring more affordable housing to the city. The city on Thursday requested changes to the bills — which were proposed by Assemblyman Keith Wright and state Sen. Simcha Felder — that would limit the areas that could be rezoned and how much bigger the buildings could be.

“It would allow the city, through full public review and approvals, to permit more residential growth in high-density commercial areas,” a City Planning spokesperson told the website. “We’ll be able to secure mandatory affordable housing where right now only luxury condos are rising.”

Opponents, however, argue that the policy shift could herald a wave of upzoning in the city and lead to more supertalls joining the skyline. A spokesperson for Wright told Crain’s that the bill likely won’t progress before the end of the legislative session on June 16. [Crain’s]Kathryn Brenzel