Advocacy Update: State Legislators Reject Changes to the FAR Cap, Focus Shifts to Governor in Budget Talks

In response to the outcry from thousands of New Yorkers, as well as the advocacy of FRIENDS and our preservation colleagues, both the State Senate and Assembly have now rejected Governor Hochul’s budget proposal to supersize development in New York City by lifting the longstanding cap on the size of new residential construction. This is a major victory! But our efforts cannot stop here.

Lifting the 12 FAR (floor area ratio) cap would enable the City to upzone areas of the city already at the highest residential densities, like the Upper East and Upper West Sides, unleashing a flood of development rights and leading to even greater supertall luxury towers. These developments are the opposite of affordable, and in most cases displace existing affordable units while threatening neighborhood livability and overwhelming infrastructure. While the proposal has been framed as a necessary measure to create affordable housing, there is zero evidence that increased density alone yields increased affordability, and nothing in the language to guarantee affordability.

Budget negotiations are now taking place between the Governor, the State Assembly, and the State Senate before the deadline of April 1. Sources believe the Governor is likely drop the measure given the Legislature’s rejection, but it is still possible this could change in 11th hour deal-making.

Now is the time to double down on outreach to Governor Hochul’s office, urging her to drop the FAR language from the State budget, as well as expressing gratitude to the Senate and Assembly for rejecting the measure thus far. To help, please use our pre-filled form today.

Read More:

Joint letter from 5 preservation organizations including FRIENDS, opposing lifting the 12 FAR cap, February 7, 2022
Hochul plan for resi towers is tall order, Kathryn Brenzel for The Real Deal, January 19, 2022