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Zoning. After 50 Years, Is It Time for a Change?

The "Blue Condominium" designed by Bernard Tschumi on the Lower EastNorman Marcus, who helped draft many of today’s intricate zoning regulations,  was the general counsel to the New York City Planning Commission from 1963 to 1985.  He was also instrumental in the preservation of Grand Central Terminal and was a long standing member of the MAS law committee.  In 1991 at a conference on the 30th Anniversary of the 1961 Zoning Resolution he wrote: “The Zoning Resolution and maps we use today are a collage of ad-hoc, jerry-built, and, sometimes thoughtful inspirations grafted onto a long disowned armature.  The Zoning Resolution is an integrated ordinance. Tinker with one part and you set another part and its assumptions out of whack. That has been what the city has been doing for thirty years.” On June 8th MAS is hosting a panel discussion to explore where we are 20 years after Marcus’ assessment and 50 years after the 1961 Zoning Resolution was put in place. Is a comprehensive re-write needed? If not, what can be done to ensure that the document addresses the critical issues facing New York today? How are other cities taking on the political and policy challenges of updating their regulations?  Please join us for what promises to be a fascinating and important discussion and please check back as MAS continues its research on the 1961 Zoning.