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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 81-D
Incentive zoning; definitions, purposes, conditions, procedures
General City (GCT) CHAPTER 21, ARTICLE 5-A
§ 81-d. Incentive zoning; definitions, purposes, conditions,
procedures. 1. Definitions. As used in this section:

(a) "Incentives or bonuses" shall mean adjustments to the permissible
population density, area, height, open space, use, or other provisions
of a zoning ordinance, local law, or regulation for a specific purpose
authorized by the legislative body of a city.

(b) "Community benefits or amenities" shall mean open space, housing
for persons of low or moderate income, parks, elder care, day care, or
other specific physical, social, or cultural amenities, or cash in lieu
thereof, of benefit to the residents of the community authorized by the
legislative body of a city.

(c) "Incentive zoning" shall mean the system by which specific
incentives or bonuses are granted, pursuant to this section, on
condition that specific physical, social, or cultural benefits or
amenities would inure to the community.

2. Authority and purposes. In addition to existing powers and
authorities to regulate by planning or zoning, including authorization
to provide for the granting of incentives, or bonuses pursuant to other
enabling law, a legislative body of a city is hereby empowered, as part
of a zoning ordinance, local law or regulation, to provide for a system
of zoning incentives, or bonuses, as the legislative body deems
necessary and appropriate, consistent with the purposes and conditions
set forth in this section. The purpose of the system of incentive or
bonus zoning shall be to advance the city's specific physical, cultural
and social policies in accordance with the city's comprehensive plan and
in coordination with other community planning mechanisms or land use
techniques. The system of zoning incentives or bonuses shall be in
accordance with a locally-adopted comprehensive plan.

3. Implementation. A system of zoning incentives or bonuses may be
provided subject to the conditions hereinafter set forth. (a) The
legislative body of a city shall provide for the system of zoning
incentives or bonuses pursuant to this section as part of the zoning
ordinance, local law, or regulations. In providing for such system, the
legislative body shall follow the procedure for adopting and amending
its zoning ordinance, local law, or regulations, including all
provisions for notice and public hearing applicable for changes or
amendments to such ordinances, laws, or regulations.

(b) Each zoning district in which incentives or bonuses may be awarded
under this section shall be designated in the city zoning ordinance,
local law or regulations, or amendment thereto.

(c) Each zoning district in which incentives or bonuses may be
authorized shall have been found by the legislative body of a city,
after evaluating the effects of any potential incentives which are
possible by virtue of the provision of community amenities, to contain
adequate resources, environmental quality and public facilities,
including adequate transportation, water supply, waste disposal and fire
protection. Further, the legislative body of a city shall, in
designating such districts, determine that there will be no significant
environmentally damaging consequences and that such incentives or
bonuses are compatible with the development otherwise permitted.

(d) A generic environmental impact statement pursuant to article eight
of the environmental conservation law and regulations adopted by the
department of environmental conservation shall be prepared by the
legislative body of a city for any zoning district in which the granting
of incentives or bonuses have a significant effect on the environment
before any such district is designated, and such statement shall be
supplemented from time to time by the legislative body of a city if
there are material changes in circumstances that may result in
significant adverse impacts. Any zoning ordinance, local law, or
regulation enacted pursuant to this section shall provide that any
applicant for incentives or bonuses shall pay a proportionate share of
the cost of preparing such environmental impact statement, and that such
charge shall be added to any site-specific charge made pursuant to the
provisions of section 8-0109 of the environmental conservation law.

(e) The legislative body of a city shall set forth the procedure by
which incentives may be provided to specific lands. Such procedure shall
describe:

(i) the incentives, or bonuses, which may be granted by the city to
the applicant;

(ii) the community benefits or amenities which may be accepted from
the applicant by the city;

(iii) criteria for approval, including methods required for
determining the adequacy of community amenities to be accepted from the
applicant in exchange for the particular bonus or incentive to be
granted to the applicant by the city;

(iv) the procedure for obtaining bonuses, including applications and
the review process, and the imposition of terms and conditions attached
to any approval; and

(v) provision for a public hearing, if such public hearing is required
as part of a zoning ordinance, local law, or regulation adopted pursuant
to this section, and give public notice thereof by the publication in
the official newspaper of such hearing at least five days prior to the
date thereof.

(f) All other requirements of article eight of the environmental
conservation law shall be complied with by project sponsors for actions
in areas for which a generic environmental impact statement has been
prepared, including preparation of an environmental assessment form and
a supplemental environmental impact statement, if necessary.

(g) Prior to the adoption or amendment of the zoning ordinance, local
law, or regulation, pursuant to this section to establish a system of
zoning incentives or bonuses, the legislative body of a city shall
evaluate the impact of the provision of such system of zoning incentives
or bonuses upon the potential development of affordable housing gained
by the provision of any such incentive or bonus afforded to an applicant
or lost in the provision by an applicant of any community amenity to the
city. Further, the legislative body of a city shall determine that there
is approximate equivalence between potential affordable housing lost or
gained or that the city has or will take reasonable action to compensate
for any negative impact upon the availability or potential development
of affordable housing caused by the provisions of this section.

(h) If the legislative body of a city determines that a suitable
community benefit or amenity is not immediately feasible, or otherwise
not practical, the legislative body may require, in lieu thereof, a
payment to the city of a sum determined by the legislative body. If cash
is accepted in lieu of other community benefit or amenity, provision
shall be made for such sum to be deposited in a trust fund to be used by
the legislative body of the city exclusively for specific community
benefits authorized by such legislative body.

4. Invalidations. Nothing in this section shall be construed to
invalidate any provision for incentives or bonuses heretofore adopted by
any city legislative body.