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Cool Map Thing: Meet ZoLa, the City's New Online Zoning Tool

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For New Yorkers with zoning questions, the city has, up to now, had a couple of options: NYCityMap, an online map interface searchable by address, and a zoning help desk standing by for your calls. Today the city's introducing a more streamlined alternative that's been in the works for about a year and a half: ZoLa, the Zoning and Land Use web application, which has zoning, ownership, land use, landmarks and other information about every property in the city collected on a handy layered map. Fun! We spent about a half hour playing around with it (sorry boss!), so here's a quick intro.
ZoLa, like most other city property search applications, allows searches by address; borough, block, and lot; intersection; or place of interest. Click on a property to see its zoning, with links to city pages explaining what the zoning letters and numbers actually mean. Zoning districts are color-coded, as are inclusionary housing zones, areas affected by the waterfront access plan, and areas of potential environmental hazard. The map shows projects currently going through the public review process, too. Our favorite part: there's also an aerial photography layer, with photos from the aerial survey the city takes every two years. We used New York by Gehry as a test case, and going by the aerial photos, it's still a construction site:

New projects from private developers show up in ZoLa when they hit the certification stage, the point at which a sketch map?also visible on ZoLa?is first drawn. ZoLa will be updated monthly, and the map's developers plan to add more property information over time. So will developers check the map before buying potentially zoning-busting sites? It's on our "signs of the apocalypse" checklist.
· ZoLa []