DCP launches new, improved digital land use portal

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Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today announced that the newly expanded and improved Zoning Application Portal (ZAP) allows New Yorkers to review and download land use applications currently in public review, including all related environmental review filings.

“Remember when you had to trek down to DCP’s offices or your local Community Board to review land use applications?

“ZAP is an intuitive, map-based website that lets all New Yorkers easily explore land use applications and their supporting documents.

“Having these documents available online means that elected officials, Community Boards and all members of the public can more easily access and digest the details of a land use proposal.

“ZAP brings added efficiency and transparency to the City’s planning work but, even more importantly, gives the public another tool to engage more fully in our public review process,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago.

“I commend the NYC Department of City Planning in its continued roll-out of their new ZAP portal,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

“These new improvements will not only allow the portal to serve as a useful tool as the City continues to do much of its business remotely, but will also expand and simplify public access to information about what is happening in their communities.”

“For far too long, the City’s complex and sometimes confusing land use review process has lacked the real transparency needed to keep community members fully informed of their neighborhood projects.”

Queens is optimistic this improved Zoning Application Portal hopefully represents a significant step closer toward making the land use review process one of true community partnership and clarity.

“We applaud the Department of City Planning for engaging with our communities and establishing such a useful tool,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

“We need to empower our communities with the information they need to advocate for themselves and putting land use applications online is an important step in that direction. I want to thank DCP for their work in designing this improved interface and I look forward to being a frequent user,” said Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.

“Transparency and accessibility is the aim of the new Zoning Application Portal (ZAP),” said Council Member Kevin Riley, Chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings, and Dispositions.

“When inquiring about projects within our neighborhoods, many community members are met with confusion and frustration when it comes to the land use process.

“The expansion and improvements to ZAP will allow for an increase of transparency to the public to access applications within our neighborhoods to better access how the land is being utilized. I commend the DCP’s office on this effort and I look forward to working with them on more projects that will increase accessibility and transparency throughout the City.”

“It is always the right time for additional transparency and bringing technology to how the public can review proposed projects in our City,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.

“The so-called ZAP map and what it can now do will make life easier for many residents and community groups looking for information on upcoming and ongoing projects in their communities. Thank you to the New York City Department of City Planning for prioritizing and making this a real thing many New Yorkers will be able to take advantage of.”

This new ZAP ensures that the public has easy access to land use applications, drawings and project descriptions that were previously only available on paper, and through local Community Board offices.

It also gives the public the opportunity to easily see all the details of an application before a public hearing. While these documents were previously shared with Community Boards, Borough Presidents and the City Council, now the public can type in any address and see active projects and adopted projects in their neighborhood, or even within 200, 400 or 1,000 feet of their home or their child’s school, for example.

Director Lago also announced a separate webpage where applicants for zoning changes can submit and pay for their land use applications online – a process that previously required making up to 15 copies of each application and a physical visit to the DCP offices to submit.

Through the portal, applicants can see their submission status, along with a clear timeline of previous and next steps. This new, greener and more streamlined process for applicants will also allow the public to see applications filed in real time.

By Spring 2021, all active, filed projects will have all required supporting materials publicly available online.

“The ability of the public to view applications online is a quantum leap forward in terms of transparency.

“The Zoning Application Portal joins a suite of online applications that allow New Yorkers unprecedented access to information about planning in New York City,” said City Planning Commission Vice Chair Kenneth Knuckles.

“The Civic Engagement Commission’s mission is to enhance participation and to build civic trust by informing citizens on their rights and by connecting them with their government.

“New Yorkers want to be informed about and engaged in the land-use process. We applaud DCP on the launch of the new Zoning Application Portal, a big step forward toward increasing transparency, accessibility and efficiency.

“We must continue to do everything we can to strengthen democracy and civic life, including building systems of accountability between residents and government,” said Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair & Executive Director of The New York City Civic Engagement Commission.

“I appreciate the time and effort the Department of City Planning took in designing the Zoning Application Portal. They met with our office a number of times during the design phase and held one on one sessions with our staff after the launch,” said Jesse Bodine, District Manager of Manhattan Community Board 4.

“Technology always plays a huge role in making government work. In our city, it has to happen in a New York minute,” said Moses Gates, Vice President for Housing and Neighborhood Planning, Regional Plan Association.

“We applaud NYC DCP for making this critical land use information easily available and for streamlining the online application process. This is a big step in making sure New York City continues to be a leader in civic technology and transparency.”

DCP is also initiating a work program to gradually make historical applications and project materials available online.

ZAP is an important addition to the DCP technology portfolio and is part of DCP’s commitment toward increased transparency and more accessibility for the public through well-designed, open source, web-based tools.

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