NY - City planning approves new zoning to strengthen NYC against floods

City Planning Commission (CPC) Chair Marisa Lago today announced that the City Planning Commission approved Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency (ZCFR), citywide zoning rules that will result in all types of buildings being better able to withstand and recover from major disasters and sea level rise and which will also translate to lower flood insurance costs.

October 31, 2016

“ZCFR is a game-changer for the residents and businesses who call New York City’s floodplain their home. This citywide zoning overhaul is simultaneously broad and flexible enough to help our incredibly diverse communities and building types better withstand, and then recover more quickly from, storms like Sandy, as well as slowly rising sea levels. Thank you, ZCFR, for making our future and our city more sustainable,” said CPC Chair Marisa Lago.

The vote comes eight years after Hurricane Sandy struck our shores, killed 43 New Yorkers and left $19 billion in damage to homes and businesses.

The proposal, which now moves to the City Council for review and approval, updates and improves on emergency rules established in the wake of Sandy, and makes them permanent. These changes will help to better protect the 800,000 New Yorkers, and tens of thousands of affordable homes, businesses and jobs, located in the current and future floodplain.

Currently, buildings are restricted by zoning regulations that do not take resiliency into account and thus force New Yorkers to choose between interior space and resiliency improvements. ZCFR will make it easier for buildings to meet or exceed modern resiliency codes without sacrificing their basement, for example, by adding some much-needed zoning flexibility.

For example, with ZCFR, a NYCHA or Mitchell-Lama complex in Lower Manhattan or Manhattan Beach will be able to construct an elevated mechanical building in its yard to address the needs of the entire campus.

A single- or two-family homeowner in the Rockaways doing substantial rehab or building anew will be entitled to additional overall building height to elevate their structure above the Base Flood Elevation, established by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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