New York – Land Use and Zoning

Our New York land use and zoning attorneys develop and implement legal strategies to take some of the most ambitious development and infrastructure projects in the region from the conceptual stage through application and ultimate approval. Our team also conducts zoning due diligence prior to major acquisitions and negotiates the documents necessary to transfer development rights.

Experienced in the legislative, administrative, environmental, and regulatory aspects of complex local zoning laws, landmarks, and other land use issues, our practice is both regulatory and transactional.

We represent clients before local, state, and federal regulatory authorities in connection with special permits, zoning variances, authorizations, certifications, and other approvals and permits. We counsel clients on zoning and planning, landmarks and historic preservation, coastal zones and other special protection areas, environmental reviews, variances and special permits, the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and community board public review requirements, and other issues. We advise on substantive issues and procedural questions relating to possible challenges by project opponents, including maintaining the administrative record, advising on potential land use litigation risks, and responding to and negotiating with elected officials, civic organizations, and project opponents throughout the process.

We conduct zoning due diligence for clients contemplating the purchase of or investment in a property. We also negotiate the transfer and use of development rights (so-called air rights transactions), government lease and license transactions, easements, restrictive declarations, and community benefit agreements.

Master Planning and Due Diligence

Our land use attorneys have assisted clients with master planning; approvals for capital projects ranging from historic façade restoration to complex new buildings; projects on City- and State-owned land, including parkland, streets, and land under water; revocable consents; tax lot reapportionments; and zoning and permitting issues and appeals. We also provide guidance on community and government relations and defend project approvals in administrative and court challenges.

Administrative Proceedings and Approvals

We help clients obtain approvals from, among other entities, the City Planning Commission, including, pursuant to the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), City Department of Parks and Recreation, Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), Public Design Commission (PDC), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Department of Buildings (DOB), as well as State agencies, public authorities, and the State Office of Historic Preservation.


Our land use team consults with architects, surveyors, and appraisers to determine the development rights available for transfer or purchase. We negotiate Zoning Lot Development Agreements (ZLDAs) and associated easements, review compliance with the Zoning Resolution, and negotiate and obtain required consents from lenders and other parties-in-interest to complete the transfer.

Article 78 and Land Use Litigation / Arbitration

Working with Venable litigators, our land use team defends against challenges to land use approvals and advises on litigation or arbitration over zoning and land use matters. Our attorneys defeated a motion for preliminary injunction, later upheld on appeal, and obtained dismissal of an Article 78 proceeding challenging the New York State Housing Finance Agency's issuance of a "negative declaration" in an environmental review under the State's environmental quality review act (SEQRA). Petitioners sought to enjoin HFA's financing of, and the developer's construction of, a $70 million mixed-income residential development project in Brooklyn, New York.