Selected Pages From Proposed Zoning Text November 2023

On November 3, 2023, The Department of City Planning released the proposed text of the zoning amendment. “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity” Amendment Enters Public Review  with annotations provided by DCP. The 1127 page 10.8 MB draft text may be found here. We have extracted certain relevant provisions and hope this is complete. Below are portions of the annotations of the DCP. Readers should consult the original document: the following merely suggest  portions that require further study and analysis. The 60 day period after November 3, 2023 includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and other festivals.

The proposals are problematic in its treatment of special permits by the Board of Standards and Appeals and in its continued discrimination against establishments with cover charges or specified showtimes. As to the latter, an establishment may not always have cover charges and specified showtimes, for example an establishment that is primarily a restaurant; most importantly, cover charges help pay for the hard-working and creative musicians and entertainers. So, the proposals continue the dampening of the City of Yes environment which is the stated goal of these initiatives.

The restrictions historically were inserted into the zoning resolution in  1989 and 1990 at the same time that restrictions were imposed against dancing, and by the same proponents which wished to discourage dancing. These provisions are all anti-City of Yes, and should be curtailed and should not be assumed to have any credible justification. The existing restrictions seem to be directed at lines and crowds  on sidewalks, something also seen even at popular bakeries and theatres and other popular places.

The provisions relating to Special Permits from the Board of Standards and Appeals similarly were originally inserted in the zoning resolution with the same intent as the restrictions against dancing. The provisions require findings by the BSA which place the burden of proof  on the establishment, and implicitly are intended to make it difficult for the BSA to provide Special Permits.  Nowhere do the findings take into account the benefit of entertainment to the greater vitality of the  City of Yes.  As  a result,  few Special Permits were ever issued by the BSA which for example allowed dancing; indeed, we could only find one issued to the Red Rooster, and the requirements of “lobby space” were so onerous that the Red Rooster has not in fact advertised dancing in its basement Ginny’s Space.  The BSA file for Red Rooster

 

 


(b) eating or drinking establishments in C1 through C3 Districts, providing entertainment with cover charge or specified showtime, shall be limited to a capacity of 200 persons or fewer. However, such establishment providing entertainment with cover charge or specified showtime, and a capacity of more than 200 persons may be permitted by special permit of the Board of Standards and Appeals, in accordance with Section 73-162 (Eating or drinking establishments).


Any eating or drinking without cover charges or specified showtimes would continue to be permitted without restriction in C districts.


(3) Eating or drinking establishments in C4 through C7 Districts, providing entertainment with cover charge or specified showtime, and a capacity of more than 200 persons, except those that are located within hotels, shall be subject to the following conditions:

(i) In C4 Districts, such establishment shall be a minimum of 100 feet from a #Residence District# boundary, except that within 100 feet from a #Residence District# boundary, such establishment is permitted only by special permit of the Board of Standards and Appeals, in accordance with Section 73-162 (Eating or drinking establishments);

(ii) In C5-1, C5-2, C6-1, C6-2, C6-3 or C6-4 Districts, the entrance to such establishment shall be a minimum of 100 feet from the nearest #Residence District# boundary;

(iii) In C6-4 Districts mapped within that portion of Community District 5, Manhattan, bounded by West 22nd Street, a line 100 feet west of Fifth Avenue, a line midway between West 16th Street and West 17th Street, and a line 100 feet east of Sixth Avenue, eating or drinking establishments providing entertainment with cover charge or specified showtime and a capacity of more than 200 persons are permitted only by special permit of the Board of Standards and Appeals, in accordance with Section 73-162; and

(iv) In C4, C5-1, C5-2, C6-1, C6-2, C6-3 or C6-4 Districts, a minimum of four square feet of waiting area within the zoning lot shall be provided for each person permitted under the occupant capacity as determined by the New York City Building Code. The required area shall be in an enclosed lobby and shall not include space occupied by stairs, corridors or restrooms.

 

(b) Location and Other Building Requirements

(3) Eating or drinking establishments in C4 through C7 Districts, providing entertainment with cover charge or specified showtime, and a capacity of more than 200 persons, except those that are located within hotels, shall be subject to the following conditions:

(i) In C4 Districts, such establishment shall be a minimum of 100 feet from a #Residence District# boundary, except that within 100 feet from a #Residence District# boundary, such establishment is permitted only by special permit of the Board of Standards and Appeals, in accordance with Section 73-162 (Eating or drinking establishments);

(ii) In C5-1, C5-2, C6-1, C6-2, C6-3 or C6-4 Districts, the entrance to such establishment shall be a minimum of 100 feet from the nearest #Residence District# boundary;

(iii) In C6-4 Districts mapped within that portion of Community District 5, Manhattan, bounded by West 22nd Street, a line 100 feet west of Fifth Avenue, a line midway between West 16th Street and West 17th Street, and a line 100 feet east of Sixth Avenue, eating or drinking establishments providing entertainment with cover charge or specified showtime and a capacity of more than 200 persons are permitted only by special permit of the Board of Standards and Appeals, in accordance with Section 73-162; and

(iv) In C4, C5-1, C5-2, C6-1, C6-2, C6-3 or C6-4 Districts, a minimum of four square feet of waiting area within the zoning lot shall be provided for each person permitted under the occupant capacity as determined by the New York City Building Code. The required area shall be in an enclosed lobby and shall not include space occupied by stairs, corridors or restrooms.


Commented [Z26]: The Proposal would permit modifications to the applicable zoning requirements for eating or drinking establishments. The findings reflect the current special permits for eating or drinking establishments.

The BSA could only increase the maximum size of an eating or drinking establishment by 200 percent, after which a CPC special permit would be required.3


Commented [Z32]: The Proposal would create a new permit for recreation, entertainment and assembly uses that would allow the BSA to modify the size, enclosure, and other requirements for permitted uses. This would provide limited flexibility for uses to make modifications to the underlying regulations.

The permit would not have applicability if other permits for a specific use exist, or if the use is not permitted in a specific zoning districts.

The BSA would be limited to doubling the maximum size of a use. Beyond that, a similar new CPC permit would be required. This extends the typical framework where the BSA can permit uses only up to a certain point, after which CPC review is required.

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