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Chapter 2 - Special Enhanced Commercial District (EC)

The City of New York
Bill de Blasio, Mayor
City Planning Commission
Marisa Lago, Chair

The “Special Enhanced Commercial District,” established in this Resolution, is designed to promote and protect public health, safety and general welfare. These general goals include, among others, the promotion and maintenance of a lively and engaging pedestrian experience along commercial avenues and the following specific purposes:

(a)        in “Special Enhanced Commercial District” 1, to enhance the vitality of emerging commercial districts ensuring that a majority of the ground floor space within buildings is occupied by commercial establishments that enliven the pedestrian experience along the street;

(b)        in “Special Enhanced Commercial District” 2, to enhance the vitality of well-established commercial districts by ensuring that ground floor frontages continue to reflect the multi-store character that defines such commercial blocks;

(c)        in “Special Enhanced Commercial District” 3, to enhance the vitality of well-established commercial districts by limiting the ground floor presence of inactive street wall frontages;

(d)        in “Special Enhanced Commercial District” 4, to enhance the vitality of commercial districts by limiting the ground floor presence of inactive street wall frontages;

(e)        in “Special Enhanced Commercial District” 5, to enhance the vitality of emerging commercial districts by limiting the ground floor presence of inactive street wall frontages;

(f)        in “Special Enhanced Commercial District” 6, to enhance the vitality of well-established commercial districts by ensuring that ground floor frontages continue to be occupied by active uses that enliven the pedestrian experience along the street; and

(g)        to promote the most desirable use of land in the area and thus preserve, protect and enhance the value of land and buildings and thereby protect City tax revenues.

The provisions of this Chapter shall apply to all buildings with street frontage along a designated commercial street.

The regulations of all other Chapters of this Resolution are applicable, except as superseded, supplemented or modified by the provisions of this Chapter. In the event of a conflict between the provisions of this Chapter and other regulations of this Resolution, the provisions of this Chapter shall control.

The Special Enhanced Commercial District is mapped in the following areas:

(a)        Special Enhanced Commercial District 1

The Special Enhanced Commercial District 1 (EC-1) is established on November 29, 2011, on the following designated commercial streets as indicated on zoning maps 16c and 16d:

(1)        Fourth Avenue, in the Borough of Brooklyn, generally between 24th Street and Atlantic Avenue.

(b)        Special Enhanced Commercial District 2

The Special Enhanced Commercial District 2 (EC-2) is established on June 28, 2012, on the following designated commercial streets as indicated on zoning maps 5d and 8c:

(1)        Amsterdam Avenue, in the Borough of Manhattan, generally between West 73rd and West 110th Streets; and

(2)        Columbus Avenue, in the Borough of Manhattan, generally between West 72nd and West 87th Streets.

(c)        Special Enhanced Commercial District 3

The Special Enhanced Commercial District 3 (EC-3) is established on June 28, 2012, the following designated commercial streets as indicated on zoning maps 5d and 8c:

(1)        Broadway, in the Borough of Manhattan, generally between West 72nd and West 110th Streets.

(d)        Special Enhanced Commercial District 4

The Special Enhanced Commercial District 4 (EC-4) is established on October 11, 2012, the following designated commercial streets as indicated on zoning maps 13b and 17a:

(1)        Broadway, in the Borough of Brooklyn, on the south side of the street generally between Sumner Place and Monroe Street.

(e)        Special Enhanced Commercial District 5

The Special Enhanced Commercial District 5 (EC-5) is established on April 20, 2016, on the following designated commercial streets as indicated on zoning map 17c:

(1)        Atlantic Avenue, in the Borough of Brooklyn, generally between Sheffield Avenue and Euclid Avenue;

(2)        Pitkin Avenue, in the Borough of Brooklyn, generally between Sheffield Avenue and Crescent Avenue;

(3)        Fulton Street, in the Borough of Brooklyn, generally between Eastern Parkway and Van Sinderen Avenue; and

(4)        Pennsylvania Avenue, in the Borough of Brooklyn, generally between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.

(f)        Special Enhanced Commercial District 6

The Special Enhanced Commercial District 6 (EC-6) is established on April 20, 2016, on the following designated commercial streets as indicated on zoning map 17c:

(1)        Fulton Street, in the Borough of Brooklyn, between Sheffield Avenue and Euclid Avenue.

132-12

Definitions

Ground floor level

For the purposes of this Chapter, “ground floor level” shall mean a building’s lowest story located within 30 feet of the building’s street wall along a designated commercial street.

Designated commercial street

For the purposes of this Chapter, a “designated commercial street” shall be the portion of those streets specified in Section 132-11.

The special use, transparency, street wall and parking regulations of this Chapter shall apply to buildings in Special Enhanced Commercial Districts as designated in the following table, except as otherwise provided in Sections 132-21, 132-31 and 132-41.

SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR ENHANCED COMMERCIAL DISTRICTS

Special Enhanced Commercial District

Mandatory Ground Floor Use Regulations

Minimum Percentage of Commercial Uses (132-22(a))

Mandatory Non-Residential Uses (132-22(b))

Other Permitted Uses (132-22(c))

Minimum Number of Establishments (132-23)

EC – 1 (Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 2 (Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues, Manhattan)

x

EC – 3 (Broadway, Manhattan)

EC – 4 (Broadway, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 5 (Atlantic Avenue, Pitkin Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Fulton Street, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 6 (Fulton Street, Brooklyn)

x

x

        

Special Enhanced Commercial District

Supplemental Ground Floor Use Regulations

Banks and Loan Offices (132-24(a))

Other Non-Residential Establishments (132-24(b))

Ground Floor Lobbies (37-33(a)(1))

Ground Floor Transparency (132-32)

EC – 1 (Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 2 (Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues, Manhattan)

x

x

x

x

EC – 3 (Broadway, Manhattan)

x

x

x

EC – 4 (Broadway, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 5 (Atlantic Avenue, Pitkin Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Fulton Street Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 6 (Fulton Street, Brooklyn)

x

x

        

Special Enhanced Commercial District

Street Wall Location (132-33)

Parking Regulations

Location of Parking Spaces (132-42)

Curb Cuts (132-43)

EC – 1 (Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 2 (Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, Manhattan)

EC – 3 (Broadway, Manhattan)

EC – 4 (Broadway, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 5 (Atlantic Avenue, Pitkin Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Fulton Street, Brooklyn)

x

x

EC – 6 (Fulton Street, Brooklyn)

x

x

x

The special use regulations of this Section, inclusive, shall apply to buildings in the Special Enhanced Commercial Districts designated in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), except as otherwise provided in Section 132-21 (Applicability of Use Regulations).

In all Special Enhanced Commercial Districts:

(a)        the finished floor of the ground floor level, for developments or ground floor level enlargements, shall be located not higher than two feet above, nor lower than two feet below, the as-built level of the adjacent sidewalk along a designated commercial street; and

(b)        where regulations apply to existing buildings in Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 2 and 3, constructed prior to June 28, 2012, the finished floor of the ground floor level shall be located not higher than five feet above, nor lower than five feet below, the as-built level of the adjacent sidewalk along a designated commercial street.

In Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, the applicable special use provisions set forth in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations) shall apply as follows:

(a)        Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 1, 4, 5 and 6

In the Commercial Districts located within Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 1, 4, 5 and 6, the applicable special use provisions indicated in the table in Section 132-13 shall apply to developments and to buildings enlarged on the ground floor level, where such ground floor level fronts upon a designated commercial street, except that such provisions shall not apply to zoning lots with a width of less than 20 feet, as measured along the street line of the designated commercial street, provided such zoning lot existed on:

(1)        November 29, 2011, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 1;

(2)        October 11, 2012, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 4;

(3)        April 20, 2016, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 5; and

(4)        April 20, 2016, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 6.

(b)        Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 2 and 3

In Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 2 and 3, the applicable special use provisions indicated in the table in Section 132-13 shall apply to all buildings with frontage along a designated commercial street, except that such provisions shall not apply to:

(1)        the portion of a ground floor level of a building containing a commercial use continuously existing since June 28, 2012, where the average depth of such commercial use is less than 30 feet, as measured from the street wall of the building fronting upon the designated commercial street;

(2)        any establishment which has been lawfully issued a building permit on or before June 28, 2012, authorizing “other construction,” as set forth in paragraph (c)(3) of Section 11-31 (General Provisions), that would create a street wall width exceeding the maximum street wall width set forth in Section 132-24, provided that such “other construction” is completed by December 28, 2012. However, where such establishment is located within a landmark building or within an Historic District designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and a completed application has been filed at the Landmarks Preservation Commission on or before June 28, 2012, such “other construction” shall be completed within six months after a Certificate of Appropriateness or other permit approving the building design was obtained from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

In the event that such “other construction” has been commenced but not completed before the applicable date set forth in this paragraph (b)(2), the building permit shall automatically lapse and the right to continue construction shall terminate. An application to renew the building permit may be made to the Board of Standards and Appeals not more than 30 days after the lapse of such building permit. The Board may renew the building permit pursuant to the provisions set forth in paragraph (b) of Section 11-332 (Extension of period to complete construction); and

(3)        in Special Enhanced Commercial District 2, the portion of a ground floor level of a building containing a food store, as listed in Use Group 6A, where at least 6,000 square feet of floor area, or cellar space utilized for retailing, is utilized for the sale of a general line of food and non-food grocery products, such as dairy, canned and frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and prepared meats, fish and poultry, intended for home preparation, consumption and utilization. Such retail space utilized for the sale of a general line of food and non food grocery products shall be distributed as follows:

(i)        at least 3,000 square feet or 50 percent of such retail space, whichever is greater, shall be utilized for the sale of a general line of food products intended for home preparation, consumption and utilization; and

(ii)        at least 2,000 square feet or 30 percent of such retail space, whichever is greater, shall be utilized for the sale of perishable goods that shall include dairy, fresh produce, frozen foods and fresh meats, of which at least 500 square feet of such retail space shall be designated for the sale of fresh produce.

In Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 2 and 3, the regulations of Article V, Chapter 2, shall be modified, as follows:

(a)        For the purposes of this Chapter, non-conforming uses shall include ground floor level uses exceeding the applicable maximum street wall widths set forth in Section 132-24.

(b)        Any ground floor level use with a non-conforming street wall width may be continued or changed to another use permitted by the applicable district regulations, provided that such change of use does not create a new non-conformance or increase the degree of non-conformance with regard to the permitted street wall width of such proposed use. The discontinuance provisions of Section 52-60 shall not apply to such change of use within establishments with non-conforming street wall widths.

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), the following provisions shall apply to the ground floor level street walls of buildings fronting along a designated commercial street. For buildings fronting along multiple streets, the required percentage of ground floor level street wall allocated to certain uses, as set forth in this Section, shall apply only to the portion of the building’s ground floor level fronting upon a designated commercial street.

(a)        Minimum percentage of commercial uses

Mandatory commercial use regulations shall apply to an area of a building’s ground floor level defined by an aggregate width equal to at least 50 percent of a building’s street wall along a designated commercial street and a depth equal to at least 30 feet, as measured from the street wall along the designated commercial street. Such an area on the ground floor level shall be occupied by commercial uses listed in Use Groups 5, 6A, 6C excluding banks and loan offices, 7B, 8A, 8B or 9A.

The remaining portion of the ground floor level shall be occupied by any non-residential use permitted by the underlying district regulations, or by other uses permitted pursuant to paragraph (c) of this Section.

(b)        Mandatory non-residential uses

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, the ground floor level of a building fronting along a designated commercial street shall be occupied by any non-residential use permitted by the underlying district regulations or by other uses permitted pursuant to paragraph (c) of this Section.

(c)        Other permitted uses

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, Type 1 lobbies, entrances and exits to accessory parking facilities and entryways to subway stations, where applicable, shall be permitted on the ground floor level of a building along a designated commercial street, in accordance with the provisions of Section 37-33 (Maximum Width of Certain Uses).

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), the following provisions shall apply to the ground floor level of all buildings with street frontage along a designated commercial street.

For zoning lots with a lot width of 50 feet or more, as measured along the street line of the designated commercial street, a minimum of two non-residential establishments shall be required for every 50 feet of street frontage. In addition, each such ground floor level establishment shall comply with the minimum depth requirements of Section 37-32 (Ground Floor Depth Requirements for Certain Uses).

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), the following provisions shall apply to the ground floor level of all buildings with street frontage along a designated commercial street.

(a)        Banks and loan offices

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, within 30 feet of a building’s street wall along a designated street, the maximum street wall width of a bank or loan office, as listed in Use Group 6C, on a ground floor level shall not exceed 25 feet.

(b)        Other non-residential establishments

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, the maximum street wall width of any non-residential ground floor level establishment, other than a bank or loan office, shall not exceed 40 feet, as measured along the street line of a designated commercial street.

In Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, the special transparency provisions indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations) shall apply to developments and to buildings enlarged on the ground floor level, where such ground floor level fronts on a designated commercial street, except that such provisions shall not apply:

(a)        to zoning lots in Commercial Districts with a width of less than 20 feet, as measured along the street line of a designated commercial street, provided such zoning lots existed on:

(1)        November 29, 2011, for Special Enhanced Commercial District 1;

(2)        June 28, 2012, for Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 2 and 3;

(3)        October 11, 2012, for Special Enhanced Commercial District 4; and

(4)        April 20, 2016, for Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 5 and 6;

(b)        in Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 1, 4, 5 and 6, to buildings in Residence Districts where the ground floor level contains dwelling units.

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, as indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), the special transparency regulations of Section 37-34 (Minimum Transparency Requirements) shall apply to the ground floor level street walls of buildings fronting along a designated commercial street.

However, in Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 5 and 6, for buildings containing Use Groups 16, 17 and 18 at the ground floor level, up to 50 percent of the length of a street wall may be exempt from such regulations. Where the exempted portion is 50 feet or more in length and contains no transparent element between curb level and 12 feet above curb level or the ceiling of the ground floor, whichever is less, such exempted portion shall be covered with vines or similar planting or contain artwork or be treated so as to provide visual relief. Plantings shall be planted in soil having a depth of not less than 2 feet, 6 inches, and a minimum width of 24 inches. Where an extension or a conversion of the ground floor level results in a reduction of the exempted portion, provisions set forth in Section 37-34 shall apply to such reduced portion.

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), the following provisions shall apply to a street wall or its prolongation fronting along a designated commercial street. The open area between the street line and street wall, or its prolongation, resulting from requirements set forth in this Section, shall be improved to Department of Transportation standards for sidewalks, be at the same level as the adjoining public sidewalk and be accessible to the public at all times. When applying requirements set forth in this Section, two or more adjacent developments or enlargements under common ownership or control shall be considered a single development or enlargement.

In Commercial and Manufacturing Districts, other than C4-4L Districts, mapped within Special Enhanced Commercial District 6, for developments or horizontal enlargements at the ground level, resulting in a street wall of 40 feet or wider, as measured along the street line of the designated commercial street, a sidewalk widening of five feet shall be provided along such street wall and its prolongation. A line parallel to and five feet from the street line of such street, as measured within the zoning lot, shall be considered the street line for the purpose of applying any applicable street wall provision.

The special parking regulations of this Section, inclusive, shall apply to all buildings in the Special Enhanced Commercial Districts indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations).

In Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, the applicable special parking provisions indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations) shall apply to all buildings with frontage along a designated commercial street.

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, as indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), the following provisions shall apply to the ground floor of all buildings with street frontage along a designated commercial street.

All off-street parking spaces shall be located within a completely enclosed building and shall be wrapped by floor area or screened in accordance with the provisions of Section 37-35 (Parking Wrap and Screening Requirements), as applicable.

Entrances to such spaces along a designated commercial street shall be permitted only where a curb cut is allowed in accordance with the provisions of Section 132-43.

In the applicable Special Enhanced Commercial Districts, as indicated in the table in Section 132-13 (Applicability of Special Use, Transparency, Street Wall and Parking Regulations), the following provisions shall apply to the ground floor of all buildings with street frontage along a designated commercial street.

For zoning lots with frontage along a designated commercial street and another street, curb cuts accessing off-street parking spaces shall not be permitted along a designated commercial street.

Curb cuts accessing off-street parking spaces shall be permitted on a designated commercial street only where such curb cut is located on a zoning lot that:

(a)        is an interior lot fronting along a designated commercial street;

(b)        existed on:

(1)        November 29, 2011, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 1;

(2)        October 11, 2012, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 4;

(3)        April 20, 2016, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 5; or

(4)        April 20, 2016, in Special Enhanced Commercial District 6;

(c)        has a width of at least 60 feet, as measured along the street line of the designated commercial street; and

(d)        has a lot area of at least 5,700 square feet.

In Special Enhanced Commercial District 2, an establishment may extend, thereby exceeding the maximum street wall width for non-residential establishments set forth in paragraph (b) of Section 132-24, and may reduce the number of establishments required pursuant to 132-23 upon certification by the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission to the Department of Buildings that:

(a)        the proposed establishment does not exceed a maximum street wall width of 60 feet; and

(b)        the applicant has submitted an affidavit attesting to and including information that:

(1)        at the time of application for extension, the use has existed within such building for a period of one year; and

(2)        such existing establishment cannot extend without increasing the street wall width for such establishment because of:

(i)        physical restrictions created by the building design, including, but not limited to, the location of existing structural walls and vertical circulation cores;

(ii)        the presence of other uses with ongoing or expected occupancy within such building; or

(iii)        regulatory limitations; and

(c)        the applicant has demonstrated that at the time of application not more than one non-residential establishment, either existing, or with an approved certification or authorization pursuant to Section 132-50 that has not lapsed, has a street wall width exceeding 40 feet on either the same block frontage containing the applicant’s establishment, or on the block frontage directly across the street from the block containing such establishment, or on the blocks fronting on the commercial street immediately adjacent to the north and south of the block containing such applicant’s establishment.

In order to demonstrate such conditions, the applicant shall:

(1)        submit photographs or dimensioned elevation drawings to verify compliance with the conditions specified in this paragraph (c); and

(2)        provide at the time of application, pursuant to Section 132-50, evidence of any other approved applications for certifications or authorizations that have not lapsed in the geographic boundaries set forth in this paragraph (c).

A copy of an application for certification pursuant to this Section shall be sent by the Department of City Planning to the affected Community Board, which may review such proposal and submit comments to the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission. If the Community Board elects to comment on such application, it must be done within 30 days of receipt of such application. The Chairperson will not act on such application until the Community Board’s comments have been received, or the 30 day comment period has expired, whichever is earlier.

 

A certification granted pursuant to this Section shall automatically lapse if substantial construction in accordance with the plans for which such certification was granted, has not been completed within one year from the effective date of such certification.

In Special Enhanced Commercial Districts 2 and 3, the City Planning Commission may authorize a modification of the maximum street wall width of non-residential establishments, as set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 132-24, provided the Commission finds that:

(a)        such additional frontage space is required for the operation of such proposed use, and such use cannot be reasonably configured within the permitted street wall width; or

(b)        a high ground floor vacancy rate exists within a reasonable distance of the proposed use, and such high vacancy rate is a consequence of adverse market conditions.

The land use application for an authorization pursuant to this Section shall be sent to the applicable Community Board. If the Community Board elects to comment on such application, it must be done within 30 days of receipt of such application. The Chairperson will not act on such application until the Community Board’s comments have been received, or the 30 day comment period has expired, whichever is earlier.  

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