Mayor Walsh Announces Final Draft Ordinance for ReZone Syracuse
Published on February 01, 2023
Walsh says ReZone Syracuse delivers a “modern forward looking zoning code” for a growing Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. – Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced the completion of the final ordinance for ReZone Syracuse. The ordinance addresses key zoning and land use priorities for a growing Syracuse, including the City’s first affordable housing requirements, new and improved citywide design standards, and a streamlined development review process. This is the first comprehensive update of Syracuse’s zoning ordinance and map in more than 55 years.
The ordinance and updated zoning map are posted online. The ordinance will next be reviewed by the City Planning Commission and Syracuse Common Council. The revised ordinance has been in development for six years and has been the subject of extensive public engagement and a comprehensive environmental review.
In his 2023 State of the City address last week, Walsh said the city needs a “modern, forward looking zoning code.” He said his administration would work with the City Planning Commission and Common Council to “get the update across the finish line early this year.”
Housing Affordability and Choice
The final proposed ordinance includes recommendations to address the critical need for quality affordable housing in the City. If approved, the ordinance would establish the first affordable housing requirements and incentives for developers and builders. It would require larger new construction and residential redevelopment projects to provide a portion of affordable residential units based on city income criteria. It also recommends the allowance of additional housing types like attached dwelling units, or row homes, and accessory dwelling units for owner occupied properties to increase housing choice and affordability throughout the City.
Improved Design Standards
The proposed ordinance also introduces uniform design standards to improve the quality of development across the city. The provisions will ensure more consistent decision-making. Areas addressed include parking, landscaping and planting, signage, lighting and the compatibility of development with nearby residential areas. New building and site design standards will improve safety and aesthetics and increase the predictability of the review process.
Streamlined Development Reviews
The final proposed ordinance allows for improvements to streamline the project development review process. It makes important procedural steps more clear and easier to understand. The steps will be more predictable and apply to multiple application types. Development proposals will have "major" and "minor" reviews based on size and significance. Historic preservation proposals will also tailor the size and scope of the review based on project size. For historic reviews, the City included an economic hardship appeal process for alterations and demolitions, and established an affirmative maintenance and repair requirement.
More information on ReZone Syracuse is available at https://www.syr.gov/Initiatives/Planning/ReZone-Syracuse