URGENT: Hochul Plan to Lift Residential Density Limit in NYC Advances to State Budget; Write Legislators in Opposition TODAY!

Governor Hochul’s plan to eliminate the statewide limit on the maximum density of residential development was included in her proposed 2023 budget, leaving it up to State Legislators to oppose it or it will become law. This would remove the longstanding, reasonable, and necessary cap on residential development in New York State that limits it to a floor area ratio of 12 (12 FAR). This would allow vastly oversized development throughout New York City, especially in already dense neighborhoods of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and we must call on all NYC elected officials to stand up against it.

To give context, the more than 1000-ft.-tall supertall towers of 57th Street’s “Billionaire’s Row” were built under zoning that only allows 10 FAR for residential development. Lifting the cap would allow real estate developers, with the approval of the City, to build even larger supertall structures and massive developments than the current very generous rules allow. The recent SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning, for example, allowed new development at up to the legally allowable limit of 12 FAR. Had it not been for the limit, the plan no doubt would have included even greater densities. Those greater densities could be subsequently added here and anywhere in New York City if this limit is eliminated.

The real estate industry has been lobbying for this change for years. The Governor has framed this plan in the context of affordable housing, but there are means at the city and state’s disposal to allow residential conversions of larger commercial buildings, and to build needed affordable housing, without eliminating the cap. Residential structures of over 12 FAR will almost certainly be entirely or largely luxury developments, and will only benefit real estate developers and the very wealthy, instead of average New Yorkers and the communities in which they will be located. Lifting the 12 FAR cap opens a Pandora’s Box and should not be approved. 


February 7, 2022