New York City's Zoning and Setback Laws Essay by BrainC

New York City's Zoning and Setback Laws
This paper discusses the history of the use of zoning and setback laws that shape New York City and its architecture.
# 52701 | 1,670 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on Sep 13, 2004 in Architecture (Modern) , Law (Property) , Environmental Studies (Urban Issues)

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This paper explains that New York City was the first community in the nation to institute a zoning ordinance, the New York 1916 Zoning Resolution, to establish specific height and setback controls on all buildings in an attempt to create a barrier that would stop manufacturing and industry from encroaching on Manhattan's office and department store district. The author points out that New York had the unique problem of skyscrapers blocking sunlight; therefore, the zoning ordinance laid down rules that buildings would forever be shaped similarly to a wedding cake, layered toward the top in like a stair-step method. The paper explains that newer zoning requirements must take into consideration the idea of environmental and resident protection, social and economic well-being, and the use of natural resources, such as ponds and wildlife habitats.

From the Paper:

"There were attempts by newly disgruntled landowners, those who were zoned out of profits, to try to label the new zoning ordinances as unconstitutional. One specific case set the precedence for the rest of the country. In a small town in Ohio, the local government passed a zoning ordinance and the result devalued some sixty-eight acres of land that was owned by an Ambler Realty Company. Ambler Realty Company subsequently sued the town Euclid because they claimed that their land was literally taken and that the zoning ordinance was in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Ambler Realty Company's argument was the literal interpretation of the Constitution, which says that private property cannot be revoked for public use unless the party revoking the land provides due or just compensation."

Cite this Essay:

APA Format

New York City's Zoning and Setback Laws (2004, September 13) Retrieved March 26, 2023, from

MLA Format

"New York City's Zoning and Setback Laws" 13 September 2004. Web. 26 March. 2023. <>