zoning, transferable development rights, TDR, New York City


This note examines how not-for-profit institutions and private developers are engaging in innovative transactions pushing transferable development rights (TDRs) to new extremes. The Board of Estimate has created exceptions to its own zoning laws to benefit not-for-profits, for instance, by allowing transfer of unused development rights to previously impermissible distances. This note explores whether TDR transactions involving not-for-profit organizations have set precedents that will thwart traditional urban planning objectives. The note examines the history of TDRs and recent radical applications involving Grand Central Terminal, South Street Seaport, and Old Slip. The author ultimately balances the creative applications of TDRs with urban planning objectives and proposes a literal interpretation of existing zoning laws to protect zoning objectives.



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