Inclusionary housing NYC

Inclusionary Housing Program NYC

In New York City the Inclusionary Housing Program is a zoning incentive that offers higher allowable floor area to developers who provide a portion of their building with affordable units or low income housing. The goal is to incentivize developers to include some low income units into their market rate building developments. The entire buildings are not low income. These are mixed income buildings. Let me outline a few basic concepts about Inclusionary Housing NYC regulations, and most importantly discuss the benefits and penalties associated. Most people who are familiar with this program know about the Inclusionary Housing bonus but often forget about the Inclusionary Housing penalty. There are 3 types of zoning that has inclusionary housing: R10 Zoning, Mandatory Inlclusionary Housing, and Designated Inclusionary Housing.


Inclusionary Housing Program NYC

The inclusionary housing Program aims to promote and require private developers to build low income housing. This is done through zoning bonuses and penalties imposed on new construction and building enlargements. 20% of Inclusionary housing building area must be allocated to low income housing. The remaining 80% can be sold or rented for as much as you please. The apartments can be market rate apartments or luxury apartments. There are ways to provide offsite low income housing as an alternative. We will not be going into the details on that in this article. We will be focusing on how this affects your zoning floor area. In most cases when you provide the affordable units you are entitled to the Inclusionary housing Bonus for the building Zoning Floor Area.

There are 3 types of Inclusionary Housing Zoning Areas:

  • Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Areas (low income units required)
  • Inclusionary housing Designated Areas (low income units optional)
  • R10 Zoning with Compensated Zoning Lot (low income units optional)

Just because your property is in one of these zones does not mean you are in a mandatory or designated inclusionary district. You need to verify the applicability of these regulations to your specific property. R10 zoning would qualify anywhere for the optional compensated housing bonus. the following boroughs have mandatory and optional inclusionary zoning areas: Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.

The following are Residential Zoning districts that may be affected:


Inclusionary Housing NYC


Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Areas

Required Inclusionary Zoning NYC districts

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Areas are areas in NYC designated for mandatory inclusionary requirements. Before planning any development you should check to see if you are in one of these areas. These can be found in select areas within Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. these mandatory districts are not very common.

In Mandatory Inclusionary areas you are required to provide 20% of the floor area of your building as low income housing. you will receive the zoning floor area bonus for doing so.


Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas

Optional Inclusionary Zoning NYC districts

There are certain areas zoned as Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas. These areas are optional voluntary Inclusionary housing districts and you have the right to participate or opt out. If you participate you will get a zoning bonus for a larger building see chart bellow. If you opt out you may incur a zoning penalty according to the typical base floor area also see chart below. The chart is based on the quality housing program base floor area, then the Inclusionary Housing NYC base floor area, and the inclusionary housing bonus. Before planning any development you should check to see if you are in one of these areas. These can be found in select areas within Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Quality Housing Program

The Quality Housing Program has nothing to do with low income housing it is a specific set of zoning regulations optional in NYC and required in certain areas. We are using this as the control group so to speak to show the difference in floor area for penalty and bonus.

FAR – Floor Area Ratio

FAR or Floor Area Ratio is a factor to determine how many square feet you can develop on a property. You multiply the lot area by the FAR and that gives you the maximum allowed building floor area. A property that is 10,000 square feet with an FAR of 10 can have a building that is 100,000 sq ft.

How to read the chart below:

The first column is the zoning district.

The second Column is the Base Floor Area Ratio (FAR) as per quality housing program in an area without Inclusionary Housing.

The Third Column is the Base Floor are Ratio (FAR) in Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas. In some districts you will see a reduction or penalty from the second column.

The Fourth Column is the Inclusionary housing BonusFloor are Ratio (FAR).


Inclusionary Housing Penalties & Inclusionary Housing Bonus

Applicable Zoning DistrictsFAR for Quality Housing PRogram outside of Inclusionary Housing Designated AreasFAR Penalty Inclusionary Housing Designated areasFAR Bonus for Inclusionary Housing
R6B22 - No Penalty2.2
R6 beyond 100 Feet of a Wide Street2.22.2 - No Penalty2.42
R6 within 100 feet of a wide street32.70 - Penalty2.6
R6A32.70 - Penalty 3.6
R7-2 beyond 100 Feet of a Wide Street3.442.70 - Penalty3.6
R7-2 within 100 feet of a wide street43.45 - Penalty4.6
R7A43.45 - Penalty4.6
R7-343.75 - Penalty5
R7D4.24.2 - No Penalty5.6
R7X53.75 - Penalty5
R8 beyond 100 Feet of a Wide Street6.025.47.2
R8 within 100 feet of a wide street7.25.47.2
NYC Inclusionary Housing Zoning Bonuses and Penalties


R10 Zoning Districts

Inclusionary Housing NYC

If you are in an R10 Zoning district and not within a mandatory or designated inclusionary district you can still choose to do Inclusionary Housing. There will be no penalty if you do not. You will follow the typical zoning floor area ratio of 10 for noninclusionary buildings. You will have the optional Inclusionary Housing Bonus bringing you to FAR of 12. This is the highest FAR for residential zones. There may be areas where R10 districts also have Mandatory requirements. You may be in a designated area where you have the bonus or alternatively a penalty depending what you choose.


Thank You for reading our blog post on the Inclusionary Housing Program Zoning.

If you would like to learn more about zoning or discuss your project with an architect please feel free to contact us at Fontan Architecture. Leave questions or comments below.

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