Back to Articles

Escape From Parking in New York

After lengthy debate, City Council approved Mayor de Blasio’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability plan (ZQA). A key component of the plan is the relaxation of parking requirements for multiple dwellings. By eliminating parking requirements, the mayor aims to make it easier for developers to maximize zoning lots for affordable and senior housing. The removal of parking requirements is just one component of the mayor’s goal to add and maintain 200,000 units of affordable housing in the next 10 years.

The ZQA intends to lift parking requirements where they are least needed, in what the ZQA distinguishes as “transit zones.” Transit zones encompass large swaths of territory near mass transit. Complete transit zone maps are located in Appendix I of the ZQA.

transit zones nyc

NYC Transit Zones

The ZQA mitigates parking requirements in the following two circumstances:

  1. Income-restricted housing units: A dwelling unit that is an affordable housing unit or a unit legally bound by rent restriction to be affordable to households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the income index for a period of no less than 30 years.
  2. Affordable independent residences for seniors: A building which at least 90 percent of the dwelling units allocated to seniors are occupied by at least one person 62 years old, and those units are class A multiple dwelling income restricted housing units.

Income-Restricted Housing Units

For new income-restricted housing developments after the ZQA enactment and located in transit zones, no accessory off-street parking spaces are required. For existing developments prior to the passage of the ZQA, off-street parking must remain. However, building owners can apply for a BSA waiver to reduce spaces according to ZQA section 73-433.

New income-restricted housing units in transit zones are no longer required to include accessory parking.

For new income-restricted housing units that lie outside the transit zone, parking is required based on a percentage of the units for each residential district in Table 25-251.

Affordable Independent Residences for Seniors

For income-restricted housing units that are also affordable independent residences, no off-street parking spaces are required within housing units in the transit zone.

New income-restricted senior residences outside the transit zone are required to have parking spaces for 10% of the total units. Existing residences must keep their parking spaces, but may apply for a BSA waiver according to ZQA section 73-434.

The ZQA created three new BSA waivers to abate parking restrictions. These new waivers apply to:

  1. Income-restricted housing within transit zones
  2. Senior housing outside transit zones
  3. Government assisted developments

BSA waivers will be accepted if bypassing parking will encourage senior and income-restricted development, will not cause traffic congestion and does not affect the local community among other requirements.

Questions about parking requirements? Need a code consultant or permit expeditor? Contact Outsource Consultants here.