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Development Rights: Current Trends and Legal Concerns


Understand what air rights are, the difference between airspace and air rights, and when such air rights can be transferred.

Newspapers and real estate blogs are full of articles about the huge sums of money paid in NYC for air rights. Property owners may wonder whether they can monetize the airspace above their property or an existing building by selling the air. Do they really own and can use all the air above their property? Do they need some government to establish specific sites to which they can transfer the rights, or can they transfer anywhere? Other property owners wonder if the miracle of TDR provisions will allow them to increase density on their land if they can find anyone to sell them air rights. And if a landowner can sell or buy air rights, how do they do it? This presentation will help property owners and attorneys understand what air rights are, the difference between airspace and air rights, and when such air rights can be transferred -- either to or from their land. This presentation will explain the processes and issues that can arise in connection with such transfers. The topic will provide a brief introduction to New York City air rights and the transfers that seem to be worth a fortune.



Robin A. Kramer

Robin A. Kramer

Duval & Stachenfeld LLP

  • Partner at Duval & Stachenfeld LLP and chair of its Land Use Department
  • Over 30 years of experience in all aspects of land use and real estate development in both New York City and throughout the country
  • Practice encompasses a broad range of land use matters for developers, investors, non-profits, and institutional clients
  • Advises on site acquisition and assembly, development feasibility, and zoning-related matters, including the purchase and sale of air rights
  • Represents clients in applications for discretionary and non-discretionary land use approvals, including rezonings, special permits, and variances
  • Has represented local governments in New York, California, Florida, Minnesota and Missouri, and drafted an amicus brief on behalf of law professors supporting the City of New London in Kelo v. City of New London at the Supreme Court
  • Experience has also included litigation on behalf of local governments, representation of mine operators and gas producers in seeking government approvals, challenges to and defenses of annexations, preparation of a county-wide economic development program, and preparation of impact fee ordinances
  • Has written an article titled Buying And Selling Air Rights In New York City, published by Law360, and a Practice Guidance for Lexis on Zoning and Land Use Laws in New York
  • Adjunct instructor at NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, where she has been teaching Land Use and Environmental Regulation for more than 15 years
  • Member of the Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Graduate of New York University School of Law; the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs, with a concentration in housing policy; and the University of Rochester, where she majored in Urban Affairs
  • Admitted to practice in New York, Kansas, and Missouri
  • Can be contacted at [email protected] or 212-692-5554

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