The Accidental Skyline: 2017

MAS identifies ten areas for reform, calling on City to close loopholes and respect the needs of all New Yorkers

October 14, 2017

MAS called for immediate reform with the release of the third in a series of reports quantifying an unprecedented boom in as-of-right, out-of-scale development. The report and interactive tools, which include updated shadow projections, air rights maps, and endangered view corridors, were released at the organization’s Eighth Annual Summit for New York City, held ad the Morgan Library & Museum.

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2017 Accidental Skyline Report
The Accidental Skyline: 2017

MAS identified several loopholes in the City’s existing regulations, which have been exploited to create larger buildings than ever intended by zoning, including the gerrymandering of zoning lots, excessive floor height dedicated to exempt structural voids, and the lack of any review mechanism for projects that ultimately exceed the bulk estimates in their approved environmental impact assessment.

The report lays out a 10-point plan for reform, explained in detail beginning on page 32:

Close loopholes that allow developers to skirt zoning rules and environmental regulations

  • Strengthen regulations that control height and builk
  • Clarify zoning regulations and definitions
  • Evaluate zoning floor area bonuses
  • Strengthen mitigation requirements for environmental review
  • Comprehensively evaluate and disclose the impacts of development

Give neighborhoods a seat at the table

  • Increase local representation and opportunities for review of land use actions
  • Increase resources and opportunities for community planning

Hold the City and developers accountable to the public interest

  • Improve development and land use applications
  • Improve online resources by making data standardized, comprehensive, and accessible
  • Create new accountability measures and strengthen existing ones
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