This week, the New York City Council approved both of the Mayor’s proposed Zoning Resolution text amendments entitled Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability by overwhelming majorities.  Each of these programs extensively amends the Zoning Resolution, and a detailed analysis of their contents and potential impact will be addressed in  future blog posts.  However, those involved in constructing residential projects in certain mixed use districts should immediately be aware that they may be able to take advantage of more flexible noise attenuation requirements which can translate into significant cost savings.

Prior to the amendments, residential projects in mixed use districts were required to achieve window/wall noise attenuation of at least 35 dBA, without any means of easing that requirement based upon outdoor noise levels or technical necessity. Under the new text amendments to the Zoning Resolution, owners of developments in the Houston Street Corridor in the Special Little Italy District, the Limited Mixed Use Area in the Special Tribeca Mixed Use District, and in Special Mixed Use Districts ((MX-1), (MX-2), (MX-4), (MX-5), (MX-6), (MX-7), (MX-8), (MX-9), (MX-10), (MX-11), (MX-12), (MX-13), (MX-14)) can make an application to the Office of Environmental Remediation (“OER”) to relax the attenuation requirement as long as the project will ensure an indoor noise level of 45 dBA.  Depending on the outdoor noise levels, achieving a 45 dBA indoor level may require less noise attenuation than the prior 35 dBA requirement.

Projects in these areas should be assessed to determine whether they would benefit from obtaining a modification of noise attenuation requirements from OER as a result of this change. SPR has coordinated these types of analyses and assisted in the preparation of this type of application to OER for numerous clients in order to satisfy noise E-designation requirements. It has been our experience that there can be significant savings, sometimes in the millions of dollars, from this exercise.  If you have any questions regarding Zoning Resolution noise attenuation requirements or E-Designations, contact David Yudelson or Maggie Macdonald.