December 6, 2023
NYC Maps You Should Know
Jayda Burghardt, Paralegal
Many New Yorkers are looking more closely at their own neighborhood’s zoning classifications and regulations. This a good reminder, especially for buyers, to expand research to include the neighborhood backgrounds. To help you out: here are NYC maps that you should know.
NYC Zoning Map (ZoLa)
One of the first maps that every prospective homebuyer should check is the Zoning and Land Use Map (ZoLa). NYC is divided into three general zoning districts: Residential, Commercial, and Manufacturing. ZoLa lets you quickly find the property's zoning district and learn about any pending zoning map amendments or City Planning initiatives. From here, you can find out which permitted building use regulations exist in the area, as well as information on environmental designations and affordable housing areas. Let’s say you plan on using a property as a storefront or for other business purposes. You must first check the property’s zoning district to ensure that it’s located in a commercial district or determine whether your proposed business type is allowed to operate in residential districts. ZoLa is also a valuable tool for those who don’t have a specific property in mind yet
NYC Landmarks Map
Suppose you discover that your property is located in a historic district or has landmark status. In that case, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Landmarks Map is the next step in your property research. You can use the Landmarks Map to research a property’s designation type, read the designation report, and find other landmark buildings in your area. Buyers should note that landmark buildings and historic districts (collections of landmark buildings) are highly regulated to preserve their architectural, cultural, or historical significance. This means your NYC hidden gem must go through the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval process before any significant alteration to or reconstruction of the building’s exterior. In addition, any interior work that requires approval from the Department of Buildings must go through a second approval process by the Landmark Preservation Commission. Owners in landmark buildings are also responsible for preserving their property through regular maintenance and general upkeep. This added homeowner liability makes this map, as well as the Department of Building’s Information System, crucial resources in the due diligence process.
NYC Flood Maps
Buyers new to New York City may not know how prevalent flooding issues are, as seen through Hurricane Ida’s disastrous impact. The flash flooding dangers in the city prompted New York City Comptroller Brad Lander’s recently proposed “Basement Resident Protection Law” that creates a board to assess fire and flood risks in basement apartments. Whether your potential new property is a basement-dwelling or a multi-level unit with an accessory basement space, it is crucial to understand any future risks you may have. To give yourself peace of mind in the home-search process, you can access the NYC Flood Hazard Mapper. This interactive map identifies flood danger zones and provides an overview of a given property’s current and projected future risk levels, given climate change considerations. It is common for many lenders to require borrowers to take out flood insurance based on these risk factors, so checking the flood zone early in the home buying process may give you a better idea of mortgage costs down the road.
NYC Rat Map
New York City has long been a place where neighborhoods, schools, and communities drive real estate prices. But residents are seeing another kind of nuisance to look out for – NYC rodents. While rat and mouse nuisance may, unfortunately, be an integral part of New York City living, increased rodent activity can pose safety concerns for renters and homeowners. Looking through NYC Health’s Rat Information Portal allows you to search the map by address to find any building’s NYC Health Department rodent inspection status and history.
NYC Crime Map
Another unfortunate aspect of city living is crime. Although crime is inescapable in NYC, types of crime and their frequency differ based on neighborhood. Buyers should be aware of their new neighborhood’s safeness to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. The interactive NYC Crime Map is a color-coded database of crime data organized by precinct, crime heat, or crime location. You can also filter by crime type to provide insights into where specific crimes are most prevalent.
If you want to see all the maps available for the City of New York, visit the NYC Map Gallery for their complete catalog of interactive databases and informational maps.