Zoning is a powerful tool that can help both designated and undesignated historic neighborhoods protect their built fabric. Because historic district designation and zoning are completely separate entities, many historic districts are protected from demolition and insensitive change to their buildings but are not adequately protected from out-of-scale new development on vacant lots within the district. In addition, the areas surrounding historic districts are often ill-zoned so that the areas just outside the district boundaries permit large-scale buildings that overshadow and hem in the historic neighborhood. Advocating for a change in zoning that better reflects the built scale and configuration of the protected neighborhood is therefore another way community groups can protect their historic districts.

HDC is currently finishing up a study of the zoning in and around historic districts that includes recommendations for zoning changes for each district, where necessary. Please contact our office for details.

For undesignated districts, a re-zoning can be an important way to protect your neighborhood if you have been turned down for historic district designation or if the designation process is not happening quick enough.

If you are considering advocating for a re-zoning, speak with your local community board and your borough’s planning office.

Manhattan Borough Office:
22 Reade Street,
6th Fl. West
New York, NY 10007-1216
Tel. 212-720-3480

Bronx Borough Office:
One Fordham Plaza, 5th Fl.
Bronx, NY 10458-5891
Tel. 718-220-8500

Brooklyn Borough Office:
16 Court Street, 7th Fl.
Brooklyn, NY 11241-0103
Tel. 718-643-7550

Queens Borough Office:
120-55 Queens Blvd., Room 201
Kew Gardens, NY 11424
Tel. 718-286-3170

Staten Island Borough Office:
130 Stuyvesant Place, 6th Fl.
Staten Island NY 10301
Tel. 718-556-7240