New York City’s Department of Buildings has announced a new development challenge process in which architects and engineers are required to submit online diagrams of new buildings and major enlargements.

This process will allow the public to view the size and scale of any proposed development before construction begins and invites them to comment on or challenge buildings’ zoning compliance. The challenge period will run up to 45 days after building diagrams are displayed online.

The public’s challenge to a proposed new building or building enlargement will trigger a department audit to confirm zoning compliance. If the borough commissioner determines the development is not compliant, the department will take appropriate enforcement action which could include the issuing of stop work orders, revoking permits, and/or requiring redesigns.

New York City is the first city in the country to put zoning diagrams online, giving greater transparency to the building process and providing more clarity to the community and developers.