URBAN DESIGN COMMITTEE

ZONING FOR DOLLARS

Zoning is a police power intended to regulate the design and use of buildings; it is not a taxing power.  How can the use of zoning be constrained to avoid the unintended consequences of using it to produce revenue for the City?

Among the consequences is tendency to base density on the desire for revenue rather than on urban design. 

A Better Path for East Midtown (19 April 2017)

This is a detailed discussion of the rezoning of East Midtown.  It argues against the misuse of zoning to raise revenue, it offers Battery Park City and Terminal City as better approaches, it suggests tax increment financing to capture the increased land value resulting from improvements to Grand Central, It recommends the use of zoning for on site improvements to the public realm in new buildings and old, and it recommends a smaller rezoning comprising sites adjacent to and potentially connected to Grand Central. (Read the report.)

City Club Comments on the Scope of Work for the Environmental Impact Statement for the Empire Station Project (17 August 2020)

The first half of the statement addresses the improper use of zoning to raise revenue as opposed to guiding land use.  It suggests tax increment financing to capture the increase in land value resulting from regional rail and other improvements at Penn Station and recommends reserving zoning for on site improvements to the public realm to better connect neighboring buildings with Penn Station.  The second half of the statement addresses the most effective routing of the new rail tunnels being planned for under the Hudson River. (Read the statement.)

Back to the Urban Design Committee page