The City Planning Commission earlier this week kicked off public review for a zoning change that would create a special permit to limit hotel development in industrial zones. While many in the real estate industry loathe the special permits, some hotel owners are surprisingly in favor of them.
The amendment would require hotel builders in M1-zoned areas to undergo a full public review process in order to get the special permit, which means sign-offs from community boards, borough presidents, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. Unless a developer secures the special permit, the New York City Department of Buildings won’t give the go-ahead to a new hotel project.
Well, this sounds good!
Developers will be allowed to build hotels in only three industrial neighborhoods as-of-right in New York City—East Elmhurst by LaGuardia Airport and Ozone Park and Springfield Gardens by John F. Kennedy International Airport (all in Queens). Special mixed-use districts like Long Island City will also be exempt from the special permits.
Ah, no, this is not what we want. As of right in 4 Queens neighborhoods only?
However, the zoning text amendment does include a potentially controversial carve-out for new hotels that will be used as homeless shelters. Hotels “operated for a public purpose” will not need to go through the special permit process, and hotel-to-shelter conversions will also be exempt from the permit requirement, according to zoning documents from the Department of City Planning.
And there we have it.