The DFA November Committee Meeting was delighted to have Brian Baldor from NYC HPD to present new HPD Design Guidelines, focusing on items related to senior housing, mostly new construction (NC). The update was triggered by HPD’s commitment to decarbonization, electrification and emphasis on affordable housing, referring to Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines, dates for Local Law 154 to eliminate gas use in new construction, and Building and Land Use Approval Streamlining Taskforce (BLAST).

Among the HPD’s New Construction Updates of sustainability, resiliency and design and programmatic requirements, Brian talked especially about senior housing and aging in place:

  • Housing with seniors in at least 50% of units must provide adequate backup power generation to ensure that at least one elevator remains functional during an emergency, and a community space served as a “Place of Refuge” with natural ventilation and lighting and equipped with backup power for heating, cooling, WiFi, etc.
  • To accommodate aging in place, space must have consistent light levels, dual handrails and slip-resistant stair strips, grab bars and accessible bathroom fixtures, and interior and exterior doors to be easily accessible.

The New Construction Two-Track Expedited Design Review Process includes:

  • Design review for new projects which are very useful for special needs housing: Full design review – giving feedback on accessibility; Targeted design review – excluding accessibility if there is an accessibility consultant as part of the team; and Expedited pathway – no further reviews.
  • Mandatory Design Consultation held around 10 months before closing to discuss key Guidelines items, non-sustainability scope items, and address any questions or concerns the development team may have.
  • NC Design Guidelines Workbook transitioned from the Project Summary and submitted by the development teams throughout the process. It can be a useful tool to understand the projects.

The complete meeting agenda with an extended list of ideas from previous meetings and events in formation for Tafel Hall panels can be accessed here. Please note that the DFA December Committee meeting will take pace on Thursday, December 14, featuring landscape architect Brian Bainnson from Portland, Oregon to talk to us about the Portland Memory Garden, a memory garden in a public park. We look forward to seeing everyone in December!