As Complicated as the New York City Zoning Resolution seems, it is based upon a few basic concepts. The Zoning resolution’s primary purpose is to regulate “Use” and “Bulk”.
In addition to “Use” and “Bulk” it regulates parking, loading, signs, etc, but “Use” and “Bulk” are the primary concerns. The Zoning Resolution and the Zoning Maps are changed constantly. Often these changes cause properties to be either in “non compliance” or “non conformance” with the Zoning Resolution.
Understanding “non compliance” and non conformance” is essential to working with working with the Zoning Resolution.
A “non conformance” refers to “Use”
A “non compliance” refers to “Bulk”
The NYC Zoning resolution defines non-complying and non-conforming as follows:
Non-conforming, or non-conformity
A “non-conforming” use is any lawful use, whether of a
building or other structure or of a zoning lot, which does
not conform to any one or more of the applicable use
regulations of the district in which it is located, either on
December 15, 1961 or as a result of any subsequent amendment
A non-conforming use shall result from failure to conform to
the applicable district regulations on either permitted Use
Groups or performance standards.
A #non-conformity# is a failure by a non-conforming use to
conform to any one of such applicable use regulations.
“Non-complying, or non-compliance
A “non-complying” building or other structure is any lawful
building or other structure which does not comply with any one
or more of the applicable district bulk regulations either on
December 15, 1961 or as a result of a subsequent amendment
A “non-compliance” is a failure by a #non-complying building or
other structure to comply with any one of such applicable bulk
When one encounters a non-conforming use Article 5 Chapter 2 of the Zoning Resolution must be used to determine the limitation of continuing the use or changing the use.
Non-complying bulk is governed by Article 5, Chapter 3.
Both of these Chapters of the Zoning Resolution have very specific requirements and limitations and must be studied carefully for applicability to a specific site and condition.