Down to the Wire on State Allowing Supersized Residential Construction and Sidestepping Church Landmarks Protections

Decisions are expected any day now by the State Legislature on whether or not to remove 65-year-old post–Robert Moses guardrails and allow the City to rezone any neighborhood to as high a density as it likes, with the sky as the limit for possible size and height of new residential construction. A huge campaign is being waged by real estate and other advocates and many elected officials to eliminate the cap, with much misinformation about what it would and wouldn’t do. Mayor Adams, Governor Hochul, and many of our elected officials are calling for a straight lift of the cap with no restrictions whatsoever, throwing the floodgates open to allow rezonings of any residential neighborhood to any density the city decides. The State Senate has agreed to some modest but insufficient limitations, restricting the supersized upzonings from being applied in designated historic districts (which apply to a fraction of our neighborhoods and only about 4% of residential neighborhood across NYC) and adding modest requirements to include a fraction of “affordable” units among the flood of incredibly expensive luxury units such rezonings would allow. The Assembly has not yet agreed to any lifting of the cap, but is under intense pressure to do so. Read our summary of why this battle is so important and what the proposed lifting of the residential density cap would do.

Not big enough? 432 Park Avenue, pictured here, is a super-luxury super-tall tower (though it’s not even the tallest residential building in New York!). But some believe it’s not big enough, and we need more of these and larger; if the State lifts the residential density cap, they may get their way. 


A new state bill being considered would, unless amended, overrule landmark protections to allow historic religious properties to be built upon, altered, or even demolished. 

There has also still been no official change in the recently introduced legislation that would allow construction, alteration, and even demolition on landmarked church and other religious property sites, overriding existing landmarks protections. These buildings are among our city’s oldest and most historically significant, and include sites of national importance. But the bill being pushed by a real estate front group called “Open NY” would ensure that landmarks protections can’t save them from demolition or alteration. While we have been told the bill will be changed to address these concerns, no such changes have yet been made, and the active campaign for its passage in its current form continues.


April 8, 2024