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One More Step: Transit-Adjacent Sites within 50 Feet Must Get MTA Approval

How the new Zoning for Accessibility initiative may affect design professionals.

In October 2021, the Zoning for Accessibility initiative from NYC Zoning was approved to increase ADA compliance across NYC transit stations.

One of the provisions outlined was that development and expansion sites “adjacent to” a transit station, also known as primary transit-adjacent sites, would be required to consult with the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) to determine whether to leave a space (or easement) open in their work sites for an elevator or access point.

A service notice released by the NYC Department of Buildings on December 3, 2021 further clarifies how this will affect DOB approvals going forward.

Effective as of October 7, 2021, primary transit-adjacent sites of applicable zoning lots that are within 50 feet of a mass transit station must comply with the zoning amendment and obtain approval from the MTA prior to filing an application with the NYC DOB.

Primary transit-adjacent sites are defined in the Zoning Resolution as a development or expansion site on the lowest story of 5,000 sq ft or more

Once the application is submitted, it is believed that both the MTA and City Planning will need to jointly approve whether an easement is required in order for projects to get the additional FAR [Floor Area Ration] to build larger. While the exact enforcement details are unclear at this time, designers for these types of projects should keep this in mind when looking at their upcoming project timelines.

As previously discussed here at Decoder, those sites that are determined and required to provide an easement under the Zoning for Accessibility program should receive some form of zoning relief, which could include:

  1. Zoning floor area exemption,
  2. Modified parking requirements, and/or
  3. Greater flexibility in regards to other zoning requirements.

So, while this will be an extra step in the approvals process that transit-adjacent developments must be aware of, the perks may outweigh the hassle for many.

To obtain an MTA determination, contact the Transit-Oriented Development Program at You can also check out the program’s website for guidance and examples on how property owners can work with the MTA to comply with zoning regulations.

Do you have a project that you need to have filed and approved? Reach out to the building code and zoning experts at Outsource Consultants.