Mapping of Zoning Lots Subject to Dancing and Music Regulations

Focused consideration of reform of the Zoning Resolution suggest the need for informative mapping showing areas subject to restrictions.

Note: This article shows only a few examples of Special District regulations which override the general Use Group 12 provisions allowing dancing in Manufacturing and Commercial area. This article is under review for accuracy.

Mapping only Use Group 6 and Use Group 12 does not adequately disclose the effect of the restrictions because there are many other Use Groups which affects interpretation of the restrictions.

Thus the mapping attempt by the Nightlife Office:


in its annual report to show the effect of restrictions is not adequate. This is because the mapping must show the effect of both the Use Group regulations of Use Groups 6 and 12, but also the effect of the Use Groups for many special districts and the effect of the  requirement of  BSA Special Permits for certain districts and parcels. Because special permits are impractical, expensive, cumbersome, arbitrary, limited in term, the districts should not be shown as dancing allowed in Use Group 12, since the availability of special permits  in practice is illusory.

Thus, many of the areas shown on the Nightlife Office map as “dancing permitted” are only dancing permitted with a Special Permit from the BSA, which in practice means no dancing.

In order to adequately map these uses, ZoLa needs to be enhanced to show the Use Group for each particular parcel. At present, Use Groups are not displayed as to particular parcels, and as modified by Special Districts. ZoLa does show the Special District in which parcels are located, but does not show the Use Group of the parcels. Use Groups do not seem to be collected in the ZoLA database.

Thus, as just one example, Use Group 12 includes M1-5M. But, § 42-132 provides that dancing is allowed only  with a  BSA Special Permit:

§ 42-132
M1-5M and M1-6M Districts
In M1-5M and M1-6M Districts, eating or drinking establishments with entertainment and a capacity of more than 200 persons or establishments of any capacity with dancing are permitted only by special permit of the Board of Standards and Appeals in accordance with Section 73-244.

The Nightlife Map shows M1-5M as a lot where dancing is allowed.

But, in fact, in M1-5M dancing is allowed only by BSA Special Permit as shown on this Map M1-5M. so effectively, dancing is not allowed.

§ 73-244
In C2, C3, C4*, C6-4**, M1-5B, M1-5M and M1-6M Districts, the Special Hudson Square District and the Special Tribeca Mixed Use District, the Board of Standards and Appeals may permit eating or drinking establishments with entertainment and a capacity of more than 200 persons or establishments of any capacity with dancing, for a term not to exceed three years, provided that the following findings are made:

Thus, even though the map might show these as available for dancing as Use Group 12, this is only with special permits.

This is the Office of  Nightlife map as shown on ZoLa without noting the need for  Special Permitss.

C-2, C-3, C-4, C-6, C-7, C-8.  These zoning districts permit Use Group 12, the use type that allows for “eating or drinking establishments with entertainment and a capacity of more than 200 persons, or establishments of any capacity with dancing”


In addition, the Hotel Use Group 10 applies to hotels not geographically assigned to particulat parcels. It is not known if ZoLa collects parcels on which hotels are located, and thus on which dancing is permitted.


Categories: Mapping, Use Groups, Zoning Resolution