ZONING FOR DUMMIES

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City residents interested in the finer points of neighborhood zoning got good news last week when the Department of City Planning released a revised version of its Zoning Handbook. First published in 1973, the handbook hadn’t been updated in 16 years. “The new handbook will help communities understand zoning so that they can contribute and be informed participants in planning for the future of their neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Torres, a spokesperson for City Planning. The bright orange handbook goes lengths to make zoning more accessible. Detailed graphics, color-coded sections, photos, and basic English illustrate and explain the often complicated world of mixed-use districts; residential, commercial, and manufacturing zones, height limitations; and Floor Area Ratio. Every elected official and all 59 community boards received a copy of the handbook. It is also available in public libraries, and can be ordered from the department’s website for $24. [3/24/06]