Important Transparency Tool

Important Transparency Tool
Important Transparency Tool: ZAP to Allow Community Boards, Borough Presidents and City Council to Instantly Post Public Hearings Dates & Recommendations related to ULURP

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today announced an important public transparency update to ZAP, DCP’s Zoning Application Portal. Now, Community Boards, Borough Presidents and Borough Boards will be able to quickly and effortlessly calendar public hearings for land use items digitally, making the process much faster and more accessible than ever before. Community Boards and Borough Presidents will also be able to instantly upload their recommendations for land use applications.

The scheduling feature will be available for City Council hearings as well in the near future, making ZAP a true one-stop-shop for the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

“Land use proposals only get better with robust public participation. I’m thrilled that ZAP now makes it easier than ever for the public to learn about upcoming public hearings, and to see how their Community Board and Borough President voted on an application,” Director Marisa Lago said.

“City resources are only as useful as they are easy-to-use, which is why this update to digitize the zoning application is a game-changer,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank the DCP for their commitment to bringing this process to the 21st century, and I look forward to using it.”

“It’s important for the community to be involved in planning and reviewing upcoming local development so that we can make sure that each new project meets the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. This update is a huge step forward in making the land use review process more accessible to the general public. Thank you to the Department of City Planning for making it easier to share vital information with our constituents,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Too often communities and individuals feel precluded from or powerless over the land use issues that directly shape their neighborhoods. I support and applaud the implementation of this new tool, which will provide transparency and agency over how communities evolve to the very people most affected — which is exactly where the power ought to be,” Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the Land Use Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, said.

“The newest feature in the Zoning Application Portal will bring transparency and efficiency to our City's complicated ULURP process,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “With this update, the Department of City Planning is putting a spotlight on the process so that everyone from Community Board members to the Borough Presidents have as much information as possible and are clear on hearing dates, topics, and recommendations. This new tool promises to improve the system and make land use decisions even more transparent.”

“Community Board 3 is very excited to be using the new ZAP portal for the first time this week to submit a ULURP recommendation. The collaboration between DCP and the community boards to understand our needs was productive and the result will allow us to ‘work smart’ as well as increase transparency. The portal will also greatly enhance our ability to plan for pending applications and avoid last minute problems in scheduling and research, a very important feature for us,” said Manhattan CB 3 district manager Susan Stetzer.

Through this new system, Community Boards, Borough Presidents or the City Council fill out a simple online form with the details of their upcoming public hearing for a land use proposal. As soon as they submit it, the details are instantly posted both on the public ZAP portal as well as sent to the City Record. Community Boards and Borough Presidents can also use the system to send their recommendations on land use items to the City Planning Commission – making them immediately available to the public as well.

These new features will smooth out and speed up the process of calendaring hearings and filing recommendations by placing all the details and events for any land use proposal on one website.

ZAP – and many other digital tools created by the agency for the public – is part of DCP’s commitment toward a greener, paperless process. DCP’s other digital webtools are listed here.

More broadly, the ZAP platform offers easy searches for land use applications, including pending applications, with a variety of useful filters. It includes direct links to DCP tools and other City databases by project address to ZoLa (DCP’s Zoning & Land Use map), the Department of Buildings’ BISWeb and the Department of Finance’s ACRIS sites.

To make the new system as easy as possible, DCP has held outreach events since October and will continue to offer one-on-one trainings to all 59 Community Boards in New York City.   

###

Department of City Planning

The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.