<< Back

Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency, a citywide text amendment to update and make permanent the temporary 2013 Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, December 10, 2020, the following resolution passed with a vote of 44 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The Department of City Planning (DCP) is proposing a zoning text amendment, Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency (ZCFR) to update the Special Regulations Applying in Flood Hazard Areas; and

WHEREAS, ZCFR expands beyond the current zoning rules, which were adopted on an emergency basis in the 2013 Flood Text and the 2015 Recovery Text to remove zoning barriers hindering reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy as well as to ensure future construction would be more resilient to flooding; and

WHEREAS, ZCFR primarily affects development in the 1% annual and 0.2% annual chance floodplains, zones that touch 50 out of 59 community districts but not Manhattan Community District 5; and

WHEREAS, Despite Community Board 5 (CB5) being landlocked and not containing any 1% or 0.2% annual chance floodplains, certain aspects of the ZCFR text do apply, and therefore CB5 was compelled to comment on the proposed Zoning Text Amendment as it pertains to our district; and

WHEREAS, One of the goals of the ZCFR is to prepare New York for future recovery against potential disasters, ecological and otherwise, by reducing regulatory obstacles; and

WHEREAS, The rationale for including districts outside of the 1% and 0.2% annual chance floodplains is because areas impacted by disasters such as floods can include areas not in these floodplains, and areas outside of floodplains can aid in recovery efforts; and

WHEREAS, The part of the ZCFR text, among others, that applies to CB5 Manhattan is the “Power Systems and Other Mechanical Equipment” section, because “appropriately scaled power system on lots throughout the city…make it easier to provide back-up energy, especially in the event of a disaster,” and a disaster like that of Hurricane Sandy can cause power system disruptions beyond the 1% and 0.2% annual chance floodplains; and

WHEREAS, This section of ZCFR expands beyond the 2013 Flood Text, which allowed back-up systems like emergency generators to be “considered permitted obstructions in the required yards and open spaces for single and two-family residences in the floodplain,” although this only applied to the 1% annual chance floodplains; and

WHEREAS, ZCFR will expand this citywide, therefore including CB5 Manhattan, and would require power systems to be placed a minimum of five feet from property lines; and

WHEREAS, “Coverage would be limited to 25 percent of the minimum required open space, although the coverage would be restricted to 25 square feet if the equipment is located between the building and the front lot line to minimize its effect on the street;” and

WHEREAS, The text also explicitly exempts “space necessary for routinely accessing and servicing” mechanical equipment from floor area calculations, in addition to already clearly outlined exemptions for mechanical, electrical, plumbing equipment, fire protection, and power systems; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five believes that the goals of ZCFR are important to ensure resiliency and adaptability in the face of any future disasters; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five recognizes that the vast majority of ZCFR provisions do not apply to our district, and is not commenting on the portions of the text that do not apply to CB5; and

WHEREAS, Permitting Power Systems and Other Mechanical Equipment, such as diesel generators, to intrude upon building rear yards would have a negative impact on noise and air quality; and

WHEREAS, Rear yards play a crucial role in providing much needed access to air and light in our high density built environment and should not be encumbered with noise and fumes-producing equipment; and

WHEREAS, While the building code may have provisions restricting the generator permissibility in rear yards, it is essential that both Building Code and Zoning Resolution are harmonized so as to not create unnecessary conflicts, gray areas, contradictions between agencies and between their interpretation of the codes and rules; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends conditional approval of the Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency citywide zoning text amendment, on the condition that diesel generators are not permitted in rear yards in Manhattan Community Board Five.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter