"New York City’s Zoning Resolution Becomes Greener"

On April 30th, 2012, the New York City Council (the "Council") unanimously approved a city-wide text amendment (the "Zone Green Amendment") to the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York (the "Zoning Resolution").  The Zone Green Amendment eliminates zoning obstacles to retrofitting existing buildings for energy efficiency and zoning obstacles to "greener" new construction.  

Prior to the Zone Green Amendment, the Zoning Resolution frequently made energy efficient construction difficult and, in some cases, prohibited the installation of certain equipment, even though such equipment could either reduce energy consumption or generate clean power.  In addition, floor area and building height limitations often prevented the use of building rooftops for energy efficiency or power generating improvements and other "green" amenities.  

Among the factors leading to passage of the Zone Green Amendment, the Council found that $15 billion is spent each year to heat, cool and power the City's buildings and such utility demands account for at least seventy-five percent of the City's greenhouse gas emissions.  The Zone Green Amendment provides property owners and developers with new opportunities to cut costs and their carbon footprint and to provide amenities for, and to enhance access to, often underused rooftop spaces.

This Stroock Real Estate Practice Group Special Bulletin examines the key changes to the Zoning Resolution that result from the Zone Green Amendment, and the opportunities they present to property owners and building managers throughout the City.