New York Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a plan to use the city’s zoning tools to support small businesses, create affordable housing and promote sustainability.
Adams announced the three citywide zoning changes Wednesday at the Association for a Better New York Power Breakfast.
Called the “City of Yes” planthe First Amendment focuses on economic development and aims to give small businesses more flexibility in how they can repurpose their space for a post-pandemic city.
Adams said it’s about removing bureaucracy and helping businesses scale.
“Think of the owner of a tapas bar who has live music on the weekends and wants to reserve a small space for dancing, but finds that, according to city rules, it’s not allowed.” said Adams. “We’re going to change that no to yes and let people dance.”
The amendment includes removing geographic limitations from certain businesses, including life sciences, custom manufacturing and nightlife.
Adams said the city will also work closely with communities on investments that can bring more jobs to New Yorkers, including opportunities in the Bronx. Four Metro North stations are scheduled to open in the Bronx in 2027.
Another zoning expansion under Adams’ “City of Yes” plan focuses on addressing the city’s affordable housing crisis. This includes facilitating conversions of underutilized buildings, such as vacant office space.
“City zoning laws place artificial limits on the number of studio apartments per building,” Adams said. “We’re going to change that and help a young person who has moved to the biggest city in the world, an older person to stay in the city they grew up in, or someone who has experienced homelessness to get permanent housing.”
The third part of the plan focuses on clean energy and adjusting zoning rules to help speed the installation of solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. New York State and City Working Together to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions more than 80% by 2050.
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