Lawyer Monthly - September 2023

With your extensive background in New York City land use and zoning law at GoldmanHarris LLC, you have a unique perspective on the city’s development initiatives. Can you briefly share with our readers about your work and expertise? I have been a land use attorney in New York City for 43 years as Deputy Counsel to the City Planning Commission, a partner in ‘big law’ firms, a solo practitioner and a co-founder of GoldmanHarris LLC. Before that, I worked as a lawyer in Alaska, where I was introduced to land use and environmental regulation in the North Slope Borough. GoldmanHarris is a small (boutique) law firm specialising in zoning and land use in New York City’s five boroughs. Zoning is a key tool for regulating the use of real property and, in the world of real estate, one of the first questions asked by developers, buyers and lenders. New York is the densest municipality in the United States and was the first to adopt a comprehensive zoning ordinance. The original 1916 Zoning Resolution (about 100 pages) was replaced in 1961 and is now about 1,300 pages long. My firm’s practice focuses on the Zoning Resolution and the land use review process. Land use practice requires a sophisticated understanding of the Zoning Resolution and related regulations, and the ability to work closely with clients and the City Planning Commission, Department of City Planning, City Council, Department of Buildings, Landmarks Preservation Commission and Board of Standards and Appeals. Our objective as land use lawyers is to help make projects happen, not to obstruct them. 66 LAWYER MONTHLY SEPTEMBER 2023 New York City Zoning and the ‘City of Yes’ Thought Leader New York City occupies a unique position in US zoning law as the largest and densest city in the country, and the first to adopt a comprehensive zoning ordinance. In this article, we hear from veteran zoning law attorney Howard Goldman on the particularities of zoning law in NYC and the upcoming ‘City of Yes’ initiative, which promises to modernise crucial zoning regulations and promote a greener future.

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