On Demand

Practical Skills in NYC Zoning and Land Use Due Diligence

1h 15m

Created on December 14, 2019




Imagine this scenario as a real estate lawyer: a client is looking to buy property within the five boroughs of New York City, and the broker has assured them that the property is located in a zoning district that permits residential use. How can you confirm that this information is accurate? Now suppose the property is occupied by a beautiful historic manufacturing building that your client wants to maintain. Is this a legal non-conforming use that is allowed in the residential zoning district according to the building's Certificate of Occupancy? Alternatively, perhaps your client wants to be able to demolish the existing building. Is the building a designated landmark or located within a historic district that would preclude demolition?

What if your client is a real estate developer and is purchasing a piece of property with the expectation of developing a mixed-use project of a certain density. Is such a development permitted? Does your title report or Department of Buildings records contain references to zoning-related documents that may evidence the property was part of a larger zoning lot thereby adversely impacting your client's development plans?

Depending on the issues raised, you will likely want to call a land use and zoning attorney to confirm your findings, but it's always helpful to be able to review and interpret certain land use and zoning information to determine if you even need to make that call or to inform your discussions on behalf of your client. There is a wealth of zoning and land use resources and documents publicly available online, if you know where to look and how to use them. This program provides the basic land use and zoning due diligence resources and skills essential for a real estate lawyer practicing in New York City.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Develop basic land use and zoning due diligence skills
  2. Locate publicly available land use resources, including tax maps, Department of Building records, and historic designation reports
  3. Review and interpret land use related documents, such as Certificates of Occupancy and zoning sectional map
  4. Identify the relationship and differences between tax lots and zoning lots and the implications of these units for real estate development projects

This course originally appeared as a part of our December 2019 Bridge the Gap Event.   

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