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Articles from Rizzo Group
5 Often-Overlooked Keys to New Building Approval
In our many years of helping clients obtain building approvals, here are some of the most commonly overlooked items you need to remember to make ensure your building opens on time. Go to Article...

Variance vs. Rezoning: What's the Difference?
Getting the city to change zoning laws is always a challenge. Knowing the differences between a variance and a rezoning is the first and most crucial step in making progress with "discretionary approvals. Go to Article...

Case Studies
Case Study 1
Obtaining a Board of Standards and Appeals variance for a residential condominium in SoHo, New York City. Learn more…

Case Study 2
Obtaining a Board of Standards and Appeals variance for increased floor area in Greenwich Village, New York City. Learn more…

Case Study 3
Negotiate DOB interpretation that allowed a historic New York City hotel to continue its operations when common opinion required substantial modifications in order to comply with Zoning Law. Learn more…

Case Study 4
Work with building ownership to transform the ground floors of a historic and landmarked office building into a multi-floor retail destination. Learn more…

Seminar Series
Seminar 1
Department of Buildings Filing Procedures I & II Learn more...

Seminar 2
Filing Procedures at the Bureau of Fire Prevention Learn more...

Seminar 3
Code Review I & II: Building Code & Zoning Intro Learn more...

Seminar 4
BSA and City Planning Practice in NYC Learn more...

Seminar 5
Landmarks Learn more...

Seminar 6
Green Building and LEED Compliance Learn more...

5 Often-Overlooked Keys to New Building Approval
  1. Allow 5 Days Notice for Demos. Any building Demolition Application must include a 5 Day Notice to Neighbors and a Community Board Notice and Public Hearing (new requirement).
  2. Call in a Zoning Expert. Most delays are due to longer-than-expected waits in gaining zoning and egress approval. Get a zoning expert to conduct a thorough zoning analysis to ensure a speedy approval.
  3. Nip Party Wall Issues in the Bud. Party wall issues should be reviewed and negotiated as soon as possible with neighbors. The earlier you include your neighbors in your plan, the better off you'll be, before and after your building opens.
  4. Submit your Sewer Plan ASAP. Sewer Connection Plans (SD1 & SD2) must be approved in order to obtain a New Building permit from the DOB. This approval should commence immediately as it can take six months.
  5. Sign off Construction Applications ASAP. Sign your Construction Application as soon as work is completed. A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy will not be issued with open construction applications.
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Variance vs. Rezoning: What's the Difference?
Variances are granted for unique sites that can not make a profit under current Zoning guidelines. For instance, a small, triangularly shaped lot, with excessive environmental remediation issues, will likely not yield a profit, with a 2 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) allowance. Therefore, it may be possible to obtain an increase or variance, of FAR.

Rezoning is approved when building guidelines for an entire area is no longer desired by the community stakeholders. The city will not allow "spot zoning" of one block or lot, but will consider applications for multiple lots in a particular block. Rezoning can be undertaken by the City or by the private owner. City Planning has been rezoning industrial (M) zones for Residential use in many areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Private owners can rezone their site, if the net benefits to the Community and City are greater than the detriments. All rezoning must be reviewed according to ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure).

Which one is right for you? Contact Rizzo Group today for assistance in obtaining a Variance or working through a Rezoning Application.

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