M1 Hotel Zoning NYC Special Permit

by | Last updated Sep 20, 2019 | Commercial, NYC Zoning


M1 Hotel developments in NYC within any M1 Zoning District, in most cases, will require a special permit subject to City Planning review.


M1 Hotels NYC Zoning

  • M1 Zoning Districts
  • M1 Hotel Text Amendment 
  • Applicability 
  • Excluded Areas and Exemptions for M1 Special Permits
  • M1 Hotel Special Permit Applications


NYC M1 Zoning Districts

The Hotel Zoning Special Permit affects hotel developments in most M1 Manufacturing Zoning Districts.


M1 Hotel Text Amendment Purpose

To curb the proliferation of hotels in M1 Zoning Districts, New York City has adopted the M1 Hotel Text Amendment. Due to the high number of hotel developments in areas that the city has determined would be better off with more diverse building uses. The Amendment requires, in certain areas, that new hotel construction proposals apply for a Special Permit before building.

Hotels in M1 Zoning

M1 zoning districts have been the hotspot for hotel development, due to the large amounts of light manufacturing lots available in the city, all with hotel use previously permitted as-of-right. The Hotel Text Amendment is a direct response to the proliferation of hotel developments in M1 Zoning Districts, as part of the City’s Industrial Action Plan. The amendment will now require special permits for new hotels, motels, tourist cabins, and boatels in M1 Districts. The Plan is focused on revitalizing industrial jobs in the NYC. The goal of the text amendment is to maintain the character of neighborhoods with the integration of non-conflicting new developments.

This will inevitably cause a decrease in hotel developments in M1 zoning districts. This new system of case-by-case, site-specific review by the City ensures that new hotels are only built in appropriate areas. This new zoning amendment also requires any existing hotel to acquire a special permit for any enlargement, or extension that exceeds 20% of the existing floor area where designated.

The bottom line is New York City does not want developers turning entire M1 neighborhoods into nothing but hotels.

M1 Hotel Amendment

The City Planning Commission States:

“The special permit would ensure that new hotels in M1 districts do not introduce conflicts with surrounding uses and do not detract from the existing or planned industrial, commercial, and institutional growth in the area. It would require the CPC to consider the appropriateness of a new hotel development in light of the unique neighborhood contexts of specific M1 districts”

The M1 Hotel Text Amendment was added to the NYC Zoning Resolution on 12/20/2018.


Uses That Require a Special Permit 

The NYC Zoning requirement for a Special Permit to develop a hotel applies to Use Group 5 and Use Group 7A. The following uses are specifically listed in the Zoning Code:

  • Hotels (Transient Hotels)
  • Motels
  • Tourist Cabins
  • Boatels

The Special permit will apply to Hotels when:

  • Building a new hotel.
  • Converting a building into a hotel.
  • Enlargement of an existing hotel where the use is increased by 20% or more.


M1 Hotel Zoning Excluded Areas and Exemptions

There are a few exemptions and areas excluded by the M1 text amendment within certain M1 areas. The following are areas that will not require a special permit:

  • Certain areas around JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
    • The Zoning code has maps outlining the boundaries of the excluded areas around the airports.
  • Special Mixed Use Districts or Areas where M1 and Residential Zoning Districts are paired. 
  • This restriction will not apply in areas that otherwise have special permit provisions for Hotels in M1 Zoning including Special Purpose Districts or Historic Districts. 
    • This does not mean all Special Districts it just means special districts with special permit provisions for hotel use. 
  • There are a few other very specific and rare exemptions that we will not review in this post.


M1 Hotel Special Permit Requirements

Below are some of the requirements for a Special Permit to develop hotels in M1 Zoning Districts.

  • The proposal must include a plan that addresses conflicts with the proposed building and neighboring buildings such as: building orientation, the building entrance, landscaping, trash areas, and laundry.
  • The building design specifically the street wall and landscaping cannot “impair the character of the existing streetscape”
  • The proposed hotel cannot cause excessive congestion be it vehicles, pedestrian, or loading.
  • The new hotel cannot “impair the essential character including, but not limited to, existing industrial businesses, or future use or development of the surrounding area.
  • The City Planning Commission can add additional requirements on a case by case basis.

Special Permit for Hotels in M1-6D

In certain instances a property in M1-6D may qualify for a special permit if:

“a sufficient development site is available in the area to meet the residential development goal; or a harmonious mix of residential and non-residential uses has been established in the area, and such transient hotel resulting from a development or enlargement is consistent with such character of the surrounding area.”

The City Planning Commission can add additional requirements on a case by case basis.


M1 Zoning Hotels

As an architect I study Zoning Codes closely, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to Developing Hotels in an M1 Zoning District in NYC. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank you for reading our blog post on M1 Hotel Zoning Regulations.

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly.


Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.