NYC Commercial Overlay

Commercial Overlay NYC Zoning

What is a commercial overlay?

Commercial overlays are located in residential zoning districts. It means that you can have a commercial use in a residential area. These uses are usually retail, restaurants, bakeries, beauty salons, small offices, etc…

 

Commercial Overlay In Residential Zoning NYC

Since commercial overlays are in primarily residential neighborhoods they often result in mixed use buildings depending on the zoning. Or one to 2 story commercial spaces. In these districts you have 3 options:

  1. Build a Residential Building
  2. Build a Commercial Building
  3. Build a mixed use building

 

Build a residential Building (Option 1)

You are not required to build a commercial building in a commercial overlay within a residential zoning district. So if you want to ignore the commercial aspect just build a regular residential building. For example one of our clients had a property in Bushwick Brooklyn that was in an R6 Residential Zone with a C2-3 Commercial Overlay. This client had no interest in the commercial use of the building so we designed a building as per typical R6 Zoning. See anothe post if you want to learn more about R6 Zoning. 

Build a commercial building (Option 2)

You have the choice of only building a commercial building with a retail store for example. If this is the case you need to follow the zoning regulations for the commercial overlay. Lets use the example of the Bushwick project we mentioned. The building is in an R6 with a C2-3 zoning.

R6 with Quality Housing Program on a wide street has an FAR of 3

C2-3 Zoning has an FAR of of 2 when in an R6 Zoning district.  You have to use this FAR to determine the building square footage if it is only a commercial building.

If you do a building with only commercial you would have an FAR of 2 not 3. The commercial building would result in a smaller building than the residential.

Build a Mixed Use Building (Option 3)

As per NYC zoning a mixed use building is any building that has residential and another use in it. In residential districts with commercial overlays you can build mixed use buildings. The residential use has to be above the commercial portion.

In order to determine the FAR of a mixed use building you choose the higher of the 2 FARs.

If the Residential FAR is 3 and the Commercial FAR is 2 the the entire mixed use building can be 3. Since the Commercial is the smaller use it cannot exceed an FAR of 2. You can build the commercial less than its max FAR but you cannot build more than 2.

Commercial Overlay Zoning Districts:

In R1-R5 with the exception of R5B The FAR for a commercial overlay is always 1.

In R5b and R6 – R10 The FAR for a commercial overlay is always 2.

The specific commercial uses permitted change depending on the commercial overlay bellow is a list of all commercial overlay districts. Remember these are all located within a residential districts. They may have parking requirements depending on size and use.

C1-1

C1-2

C1-3

C1-4

C1-5

C2-1

C2-2

C2-3

C2-4

C2-5

 

I hope this was helpful. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to Contact Fontan Architecture. We will be happy to help.

24 Comments

  • Jay

    January 10, 2017 7:32 pm
    Reply

    Taking this example, in C2-3/R7A zoning, what would be the FAR ? is it 4. Are you limited by parking requirements

      • Sanjay

        January 13, 2017 3:01 am
        Reply

        Isn’t the parking requirement waived if you need 15 or less parking spots ? For a small lot of 2500 sq feet in this zoning, with 65% coverage max, if you put 1600 feet commercial and consider 14 residential units of 602 sq feet each, there is not enough space for 50% unit parkingWill appreciate if you can clarify this point I’m looking at a lot and will appreciate your help

  • Tang

    April 6, 2017 8:25 pm
    Reply

    Currently I have a C2-2/R5 8,000 sqft lot. Would like to build a Condo and commercial mixed used building. What will be the approximate buildable square feet? And I heard if I build community center like for day care of doctor office, it will be exclude my buildable square feet? Thank you very much!

      • Tang

        April 6, 2017 9:04 pm
        Reply

        thank you for your quick reply. Therefore i would have approximate 8,000 x 3 = 24,000 sqft total for Commercial, Community Facility, and Residential mixed together? Would it be individual FAR for Commercial, Community Facility, and Residential?

    • Tang

      April 6, 2017 9:07 pm
      Reply

      Would it be FAR 1.0 for the commercial space, 1.25 FAR for residential space, and 2.0 FAR for community facility space?

  • Brandt

    April 26, 2017 2:12 am
    Reply

    I have a lot in a c1-4 overlay of an R8 district. The rear lot line is adjacent to an R6A. I am interested in building a mixed use building. Would there be any conflict to include a restaurant with an outdoor patio in the rear yard adjacent to the residential district?

  • Nathan S

    June 14, 2017 3:17 am
    Reply

    Hey, I have a 80×100 lot in an R5 with a FAR of 1.25 Residential and 2.0 Facility does that mean I have the total amount of both as buildable?

      • Nathan S

        June 14, 2017 11:01 pm
        Reply

        Thank you!

      • Mathew

        June 23, 2017 1:20 pm
        Reply

        I have a 100×125 lot with R6 zoning. It’s on a wide street outside Manhattan.

        If I wanted to do mixed use, based on your explanation above I would have 4.8 FAR total with 3.0 as my max residential and 1.8 for the community facility. This means 37, 500 sq. ft. residential and 22,500 sq. ft. of community facility.

        The max building height for R6 is 70 ft. This would be your limiting factor at that point.

        Would I be correct in saying that at that point the architect would come in and develop floorplans to maximize residential unit size and the community facility area? I am trying to develop a pro forma plan and was wondering how off the initial pro forma numbers would be vs. the actual developed plans.

  • Reed

    August 27, 2017 6:55 am
    Reply

    Hello Jorge,

    Thank you so much for this information. Very helpful. Based on the above information. I want to check if I understand this correctly,

    Question 1:

    If I have a lot that is approximately 9,800, located in an R5 zone (assuming R5 infill), with an FAR of 1.65, this lot will produce a maximum floor area of 16,170 sqft?

    The maximum # of dwellings for an R5 is based on the factor of ‘760’ and based on FAR will yield 21 units. Is that correct? In addition calculating the 66% parking would make = 14 parking lots.

    Question 2

    If we factor in C1-2 overlay with an FAR of 1 onto the same lot, we are left with one level of commercial, and two levels of residential that results in 14 units and 9 parking lots?

    Just wanted to check if understand this correctly? Otherwise I might need to consult a professional. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Reed

  • Simon M

    September 6, 2017 12:42 pm
    Reply

    Hi,
    I have a 41×100 lot which is divided in R5 & R6 zoning. 21 feet is in R6a zoning and within 100 ft from wide street and 20 feet is in R5 zoning. My question is does the majority rule and I get the R6a for the full property?

  • Sol Kopelowitz

    September 14, 2017 11:31 pm
    Reply

    Hello Jorge,
    Thank you for providing all of this information. I have a lot that is C1-3 in R5 district. Am I correct in saying that total Residential FAR is 1.25 plus .75 facility bonus to be used as facility? Does the commercial zoning become completely irrelevant? If the building would be used as both a community facility and residential units how would that play into my parking requirements?

  • Vishal

    October 11, 2017 4:40 am
    Reply

    Hi,

    I have a 45×25 lot zoned R6 with a commercial overlay of C2-3. I would like to develop a mixed use building and build out the 1st floor as a commercial space from back to front and side to side of the lot lines but using less than the available commercial FAR of 2.0 while I would like to use the quality housing FAR of 2.2 to build 2 X 2 bedroom apartments above the commercial space using a set-back from the 2nd floor. I would like to build either 2 single floor 2 bedroom residential unit on the 2nd and 3rd floor or a duplex 2 bedroom unit on the 3rd and 4th floor. Is this possible on this lot size?

    Appreciate your advice

    Best,

    Vishal

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