Mitch Korbey: A New Plan for Air Rights that Could Lead to Major Planning and Development Benefits

Department of City and Regional Planning Professional Planning Colloquium

Mitch Korbey (M.R.P. ’85) is a partner and chair of Herrick's Land Use and Environmental Group. He is an urban planner and land-use attorney with more than 20 years of experience in private practice and government service. Prior to joining Herrick, Korbey served for six years as commissioner of the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and as director of the New York City Department of City Planning's Brooklyn office, where he guided Brooklyn's first mixed-use zoning districts through the public review process and spearheaded plans for the rezoning and revitalization of a number of neighborhoods, including Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Korbey leverages his experience in local government to provide real estate owners and developers with strategic legal counsel on land use and zoning issues and advises clients in connection with site acquisitions and assemblages, site development options, zoning lot mergers, and the transfer of development rights. 

Korbey is an adjunct professor at Hunter College Graduate School's Urban Affairs and Planning Department where he teaches land-use law. He is also a coauthor of Herrick's land use and environmental blog, ZONE, which keeps readers up-to-date on the latest issues in land use and environmental law. 

Korbey’s lecture will examine air rights which are literally the development rights appended to land. The transfer (or sale) of air rights is limited to parcels that adjoin the selling site, making the movement of these rights more flexible. “Fashioning a new regime for the transfer and use of air rights could be a boon to property rights, in an era of increasingly restrictive zoning. Establishing looser rules, in return for property owners providing certain public benefits, is an innovative concept that should be explored.”