‘A major victory’: Legislature quashes Hochul’s hope to remove building size cap

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | The exorbitant hopes of developers and YIMBYs for unlimited FAR have been dealt a blow after the Assembly and State Senate rejected the Governor’s proposal to remove New York’s cap on the size of residential buildings.

Governor Hochul had included the proposal in the state budget. However, neither chamber of the state legislature included the measure in its own version of the budget.

Hochul’s proposal would have allowed New York City to lift the current 12 FAR (floor area ratio) limit on the size of new residential developments. By comparison, the “super tall” towers over 1,000 feet on Billionaire’s Row on 57th Street in Midtown were built with a residential zoning FAR of just 10.

Village Preservation, which had sounded the alarm about Hochul’s stealth oversize move, welcomed the news.

“This is a major victory in our efforts to prevent the passage of this measure, which would have allowed New York City to increase areas well above currently permitted levels, crushing infrastructure and creating a grossly oversized development,” the organization said.

However, the Tories warned: “The battle is not over.

While the Assembly and Senate’s refusal to include the measure in their budget proposals makes it much less likely to pass through the budget process, it remains possible, the group noted. The Governor, Assembly and Senate still have to work out a final budget deal by April 1, which means each side will make compromises to reconcile their current proposals.

“Horse swaps and backroom deals will be done at the eleventh hour, and real estate interests have been pushing for this change for years,” Village Preservation warned.

“Developers falsely claimed that this measure was necessary to enable the conversion of underutilized office buildings or hotels into residences and to create affordable housing. This is not the case: such conversions can still take place, and this measure does not require or guarantee the creation of a single affordable housing unit. »

The advocacy group predicted that, if the FAR cap is eliminated, “We are likely to see zonings above 12 FAR for residential neighborhoods that developers have been watching for a long time,” adding, “Recent Soho/Noho/Chinatown rezoning has included allowances for up to FAR 12 in the three wards.If the cap had been lifted, there is no doubt that the allowance would have been even higher.

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