The Department of City Planning recently referred out a proposed Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment. This Text Amendment – the provisions of which are also available for review as a presentation – is an effort to encourage flood-resilient construction, enable compliance with updated FEMA guidance, accommodate flood zone restrictions on ground floor use, and improve the visual character of the flood zone’s streetscape.
The Zoning Committee of CHPC reviewed the proposed text submitted by the Department of City Planning and offered several suggestions in response to an early draft that were subsequently adopted or addressed. In particular, we are pleased that owners and developers are now encouraged to move electrical rooms above the Flood-Resistant Construction Elevation by having such space be deducted from floor area and that the DCP has addressed the accessibility challenges presented by buildings which are raised significantly above freeboard.
We fully support the proposed text amendment and are grateful for the Department of City Planning’s diligent work revising the City’s zoning to address affected residents’ most urgent concerns. Moving forward, we recommend that a study should be conducted with regard to the legalization of affected buildings’ illegal basement or cellar apartments to minimize the loss of this housing stock, and that the Department of City Planning explore building envelope relief for owners and developers choosing to include features that promote flood resilience.