Lifting Residential Density Cap to Allow Supersized Developments Now at Center of State Budget Negotiations — WRITE NOW!

Residential construction in (clockwise) Hudson Yards, Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Billionaire’s Row — all allowed under the current cap. Lifting it would allow even larger development, anywhere in NYC the City decided to zone for it.

Published reports indicate that with issues around bail reform settled, Governor Hochul’s housing proposals are at the center of final negotiations between the Legislature and the Executive on the State budget, and the proposal to lift the cap on the allowable size of new residential developments in NYC is at the center of that debate. Reports show the Mayor and pro–real estate groups are lobbying furiously to have the legislature drop its opposition to the measure, which would allow the city to rezone any neighborhood for new developments as large as they wish, and in the rush of pressure campaigns and wheeling and dealing, anything is possible. The current 60-year-old state-imposed limit allows buildings of 1,550 ft. tall or higher and 1,500 units or more, and existing limits would allow 2.7 billion sq. ft. or 1,200 Empire State Buildings’ worth of housing, enough for over 5 million more residents, to be built in NYC, but advocates for this plan say that’s not enough. They also falsely claim lifting the cap will make housing in NYC more affordable — a ludicrous assertion.

Village Preservation and other advocates do NOT oppose allowing larger office buildings to be converted to residential use, as is currently allowed in the Financial District. The State can make those allowances without removing the overall cap, which serves as a guardrail to prevent even more obscene overdevelopment in our city and neighborhoods.

Final decisions on this item and the budget may come as soon as the next few days. It’s critical that state legislators and leaders hear from you NOW that you oppose lifting the residential density cap.


April 19, 2023