Verdict on Hochul Plan to Lift Residential Development Size Cap Expected Soon — WRITE TODAY!

Whether or not Gov. Hochul’s plan to lift the current very generous limit on the size of residential developments in New York is adopted will be determined in the coming days. Hochul’s plan would lift the current limit of 12 FAR (floor area ratio) for new residential development (to give context, the supertalls of Billionaires Row were built with zoning with a residential FAR of 10), allowing New York City to zone above 12 FAR for new residential development anywhere it wished. The recent developer-giveaway SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown rezoning included multiple areas allowing 12 FAR; had this limit not been in place, the zoning no doubt would have gone even higher, and clearly the City is aiming to do so in future rezonings of residential neighborhoods.

Proponents of the plan have used the false argument that it’s needed to allow residential conversions of underutilized office buildings and hotels, and to create affordable housing. In fact, lifting the cap would not result in or require a single unit of affordable housing being built (but is virtually guaranteed to result in more sky-high penthouses for the super-rich and overseas oligarchs), and is not needed to convert large commercial buildings to residential uses.

Thanks to YOUR advocacy, we have made great progress with state legislators who must oppose this measure being included in their house’s budget resolution. But time is running out and the final budget deal is due at the end of the month. We MUST ensure that lifting the FAR cap is NOT included in either house’s budget.


March 10, 2022