Special Permits May Be Required for Self-Storage Facilities in Industrial Business Zones

Municipal Law

The Department of City Planning has proposed an amendment to the New York City Zoning Resolution that would require a new special permit for self-storage facilities primarily within manufacturing zoning districts in the City’s Industrial Business Zones (IBZs).

According to the Department of City Planning, the special permit will facilitate a case-by-case, site-specific review to ensure that the development of self-storage does not diminish future siting opportunities for industrial, more job-intensive businesses. In order to grant the proposed special permit, the City Planning Commission would have to find that the lot or building would not be optimal for conforming, modern-day industrial uses, and that the proposed self-storage development will not represent a lost opportunity for the future siting of a more job-intensive industrial business.

The proposed special permit follows a November 2015 ten-point Industrial Action Plan, which, among other things, focused on reinforcing the City’s core industrial areas, including IBZs, and recommended that “space in our core industrial areas remains available for industrial and manufacturing businesses that create a density of quality, middle-class jobs for all New Yorkers.” As IBZs are the most active industrial areas in the City, they are the City’s primary focus for creating substantial industrial and manufacturing sector jobs, and promoting industrial innovation. According to City Planning, self-storage facilities are seen as a low job-generating use that primarily serves household rather than business needs, and undermine the City’s goals for the IBZs.

It is critical that any developer of a self-storage facility in New York City carefully analyze whether the development site may be within the areas designated for this new special permit. Sahn Ward has several clients developing self-storage facilities in New York City and has been providing such guidance.


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