Land Use and Zoning Attorneys

We have many years of representing property owners before the regulatory agencies for land use in New York City.

New York City Department of City Planning (DCP):

The New York City Zoning Resolution, enacted in 1961 and updated continuously since then, is a massive regulation, nearly 4,000 pages long. Together with the official New York City Zoning Map—which shows the permitted size and use of buildings for every single block in the five boroughs—the Zoning Resolution governs what can be built in the City and how it can be used. The Department of City Planning is the custodian of the Zoning Resolution and Zoning Map. DCP has administrative procedures to petition for changes to the Zoning Resolution and Zoning Map and to apply for special permits for certain uses. Some large-scale applications must go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a multi-stage review by DCP, community boards, borough presidents, the City Council, and the Office of the Mayor. Our firm can guide your application through these procedures, every step of the way.

New York City Department of Buildings (DOB):

DOB evaluates all applications for permits for demolition, alteration, and construction in the five boroughs. DOB can reject applications or revoke permits when submitted plans do not conform with the Zoning Resolution, New York City Building Code, Fire Code, New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, and several other applicable codes. We can help property owners and their design professionals by using DOB procedures to secure pre-approval of code interpretations in unusual situations. We also advise developers and contractors on issues such as building permit revocation and re-issuance, stop-work orders, and issuance or alteration of certificates of occupancy.

New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA):

BSA is best known for hearing applications for variances where the owner of a single parcel petition for permission to exceed the bulk limitations of Zoning Resolution, or to devote a property for uses not allowed as-of-right. Property owners must show a hardship that is unique to the lot in question to obtain a variance from BSA and satisfy an extensive list of requirements.

BSA also issues special permits, as required for designated uses such as “physical culture establishments” like gyms, saunas, and bathhouses; takes appeals from code interpretations of DOB and other city agencies; and hears “vested rights” applications, in which property owners seek permission to continue with construction that started before changes to the zoning of their parcels.

We have many years of experience in successfully preparing and presenting all of these applications to the Board.

New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LCP):

LPC hears and decides applications for landmark status for buildings and districts throughout the City and oversees construction at landmarked sites. We represent owners who either seek a grant of status for their properties to protect their sites and perhaps qualify for funds for preservation and restoration, or those who resist such designation, as landmark status adds layers of regulation and expense to construction and renovation. Before work can be done on a landmarked building, a developer must obtain either a Certificate of No Effect for work requiring a DOB permit but not affecting the landmarked exterior; a Permit for Minor Work, which does affect the landmarked exterior but does not require a DOB permit; or a Certificate of Appropriateness for large-scale work. Our firm can guide you through these procedures.