AIANY and DCP organized a panel discussion in April on the Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal, which has since been updated.

Zoning Proposal Progresses

Since first releasing the Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) proposal in February, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) has received input from community organizations, elected officials, architects, developers, and other crucial stakeholders. After collecting comments, DCP rereleased the proposal in May, and began meeting with all of NYC’s Community Boards. Now, DCP is gearing up for the public review process this fall. AIANY supports the proposal, and is at work educating the design community and general public about how the changes will lead to better buildings and more affordable housing. We are collaborating with architects in all five boroughs to advocate for the proposal.

To show how the zoning changes will improve senior housing development, create more dynamic building envelopes, and improve streetscapes, AIANY is partnering with the other four AIA chapters in NYC to produce a series of images highlighting the positive ways in which ZQA will influence building design. By presenting images of real buildings under current zoning and proposed zoning, hesitant community members will be able to see how their neighborhoods will change for the better.

If you have not done so already, you can read up on the proposal on DCP’s website here. The text has not been published yet, but the presentation materials and neighborhood profiles provide adequate information for familiarizing architects with the plan.

Pulse Points

  • The New York Observer published a piece, You Say Tomato: How the Landmarks Preservation Commission Approves Modern Design, about the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission’s relationship with contemporary architecture. Richard Olcott, FAIA, was quoted.
  • The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management released a report on how expanding the design-build procurement process could save New York State hundreds of millions of dollars each year on capital projects.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council announced the $78.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2016. The agreement includes important initiatives that address inequality in all five boroughs and boost economic development citywide.
  • Albany voted to extend the 421-a program for six months to allow labor and industry representatives reach an agreement regarding wage protections for construction workers. If the wage debate is resolved, the program will be extended for four years and require at least 25% of projects be affordable. The changes also subject architects and engineers to penalties under the New York State Education Law if they certify false documents and file them with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) related to the tax exemption. They would also lose their ability to certify the 421-a application if found guilty. The New York State legislature also announced that NYC rent laws will be extended for four years. They also included reforms outlined here.
  • After about a month, all of the modules have been stacked at Carmel Place, the microunit apartment building designed by nARCHITECTS and developed by Monadnock Development at 335 East 27th Street. The project is expected to be completed by late 2015.
  • Last week, the National Design Services Act (NDSA) was re-introduced by Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-7). NDSA would authorize student loan debt relief for architectural school graduates who provide services to communities in need through nonprofit community design centers. Ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor the legislation today.
  • AIA National is also pushing for the blocking of a proposal to eliminate the 2030 Federal building energy efficiency standards. Read more about it and take action here.
  • The New York State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of NYU’s proposed expansion, determining that opponents to the expansion plan failed to prove that the City dedicated the four parcels of land in question as permanent parkland.