BY JOHN KIRITSIS, ESQ., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M
The use of mechanical voids to increase a building’s height in New York City (NYC) has been a controversial topic in recent years. A mechanical void is a space within a building that houses mechanical equipment necessary for the building’s operations, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Some developers have exploited the zoning regulations surrounding mechanical voids to effectively increase a building’s height beyond what is normally allowed. However, NYC has taken steps to address this issue and regulate the use of mechanical voids for height enhancement. Here’s an overview:
- Zoning Regulations and Mechanical Voids:
Zoning regulations in NYC often set limits on the height and bulk of buildings. These regulations also include exemptions for certain spaces needed for mechanical equipment, such as elevator machine rooms and utility spaces, which are considered allowable mechanical voids.
- Height Limits and Exploitation:
Developers have used “excessive” mechanical voids as a way to increase a building’s height beyond what is allowed by zoning regulations. This can result in taller buildings with less usable space, impacting the city’s skyline and streetscape.
- City Response:
In response to concerns about the misuse of mechanical voids, NYC has taken steps to regulate their use. In 2019, the city introduced zoning text amendments to address the issue.
- Zoning Text Amendment:
The zoning text amendments implemented in 2019 limit the height of mechanical voids that can be excluded from the height calculation of a building. The amendments include:
Setting a maximum height limit for mechanical voids that can be exempt from height calculations.
Requiring mechanical voids that exceed the height limit to count toward the building’s overall height.
- Zoning and Design Guidelines:
The NYC Department of City Planning issued guidelines to clarify how mechanical voids are regulated under the new rules. These guidelines provide recommendations for the design and placement of mechanical spaces to ensure compliance with zoning regulations.
- Public Input:
NYC’s efforts to regulate mechanical voids involved public input, including feedback from community boards, neighborhood organizations, and stakeholders concerned about the impact of excessive voids on the city’s skyline and character.
- Monitoring and Enforcement:
City agencies, such as the Department of Buildings, monitor and enforce compliance with zoning regulations related to mechanical voids. Projects that violate the new regulations may face penalties or adjustments to their design.
It’s important to note that the use of mechanical voids for height enhancement is subject to ongoing discussions, regulatory changes, and potential refinements. Developers, architects, and property owners should consult with professionals knowledgeable about NYC’s zoning regulations and building codes to ensure compliance and avoid issues related to mechanical voids.
Citations, References and Potentially Useful Resources for Further Information:
New York State Constitution
Federal Securities Regulation
New York State Martin Act
New York Condominium Act
New York State Security Regulations
New York Business Corporation Law
New York Limited Liability Company Law
New York Uniform Partnership Act
Federal Internal Revenue Code
New York State Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
New York City Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
Winston Churchill Owners, Inc. v. Regents Real Estate Associates
Board of Managers of the Park Regis Condominium v. Park Regis Owners Corp.
Park Sutton Condominium v. 447 E. 57th St. LLC
28 E. 10th Street Corp. v. Veras
Riverside Syndicate, Inc. v. Munroe
Essex House Condominium v. Marks
The Parc Vendome Condominium v. Atkinson
54-56 Meserole Street Owners Corp. v. Rossi
The Beekman Regent Condominium v. Bottiglieri
Chelsea 19th LLC v. West 19th Street Realty LLC
New York Department of Finance
New York City Department of Buildings
New York City Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
Call 212 922 0005. Kiritsis Law Group.
Manhattan Office: 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Phone# 212 922 0005.
New Jersey Office: 7309 Ventnor Avenue, Ventnor, NJ 08406. Phone# 212 922 0005.
Brooklyn Office: 6902 11th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11228. Phone# 212 922 0005.
Feel free to call us at 212-922-0005 for a free, brief and confidential consultation.
Whether buying real estate, having years of un-filed tax returns, have an immigration question, considering to start a business, faced with a commercial/business dispute or thinking about getting a prenuptial agreement — Our law firm is willing, able and ready to assist you. Call us at 212 922 0005.
We represent businesses and individuals throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City and most of New Jersey.
For a free, brief initial phone consultation with an attorney, call us today at 212 922 0005.
Our law firm provides a full range of legal services, within the following practice areas:
Tax & Accounting Services
Business/Commercial Litigation & Disputes
The materials available through this website and any other websites owned by John Kiritsis (individually and collectively, the “Website”) are the property of John Kiritsis and his entities, and are protected by copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws. You may not use, reproduce, download, store, post, broadcast, transmit, modify, sell, or make available to the public content from the Website without the prior written approval of John Kiritsis. Beware that any unauthorized use of John Kiritsis’ trademarks and copyrighted content for commercial purposes in violation of John Kiritsis’s intellectual property rights, will be vigorously enforced. All other trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this site are the property of John Kiritsis.
ANY AND ALL INFORMATION POSTED IN THIS WEBSITE SHALL NOT BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVISE BY PROPERLY LICENSED COMPETENT ATTORNEYS. FOR INFORMATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. NOT SUBJECTED TO FINALIZED LEGAL EDIT WITH REGARDS TO CONTENT. SITE PRONE TO CONTAINING ERRORS OF STATEMENT OF LAWS, RULES AND/OR REGULATIONS WHERE APPLICABLE.
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME.
The views expressed by this author are not legally binding or reflective of the author, the author’s firm, the author’s employers, the author’s employees, or any individual and/or organization.