The NYC Zoning Resolution outlines 3 types of zoning lots. There are Corner Lots, Through Lots, and the most common Zoning Lot, Interior Lots. Zoning requirements vary depending on the type of lot.
The NYC Zoning Resolution has a definition for the term Zoning Lot that is almost 4 pages long. Below is a simplified explanation of how the term zoning lot applies to NYC Zoning.
What is a zoning lot?
A zoning lot is a tract of land comprised of one or more lots. The zoning lot is the extent of the lot(s) for witch development rights are calculated and the basis of such calculations. For the purposes of zoning, multiple lots on one zoning lot are to be treated as a single lot even though they may be owned separately. A zoning lot can be one lot or can be comprised of several lots owned by different owners. Zoning Lots can be merged without merging the real property.
We have another article on Zoning Lot Mergers if you want to learn more about the subject. zoning lot mergers are often used for selling development rights. Development Rights is the actual term for what people often refer to as air rights. The term air rights has no legal definition and is not defined in the NYC Zoning Resolution. You cannot find the expression “air rights” in the NYC Zoning Code.
NYC Zoning Lot Types
The NYC Zoning Resolution identifies 3 types of lots.
- Corner Lot
- Through Lot
- Interior Lot
The following is the exact definition of a corner lot from the NYC Zoning Resolution followed by a brief interpretation:
A “corner lot” is either a #zoning lot# bounded entirely by #streets#, or a #zoning lot# which adjoins the point of intersections of two or more #streets# and in which the interior angle formed by the extensions of the #street lines# in the directions which they take at their intersections with #lot lines# other than #street lines#, forms an angle of 135 degrees or less. In the event that any #street line# is a curve at its point of intersection with a #lot line# other than a #street line#, the tangent to the curve at that point shall be considered the direction of the #street line#. The portion of such #zoning lot# subject to the regulations for #corner lots# is that portion bounded by the intersecting #street line# and lines parallel to and 100 feet from each intersecting #street line#. Any remaining portion of a #corner lot# shall be subject to the regulations for a #through lot# or for an #interior lot#, whichever is applicable.
What is a corner lot?
In NYC a Corner lot is a lot at the intersection of 2 streets intersecting at an angle of no more than 135 degrees. Any portion of the lot that is more than 100 feet from the corner does not follow corner lot regulations but would follow interior or through lot regulations whichever applies. A corner lot is also a lot entirely bordering streets with no other lots between.
One distinct feature of a corner lot is that it has no rear yard requirements. A typical corner lot has 2 front yards and 2 side yards. The front yards are the yards on the 2 streets. The 2 side yards are the yards touching the neighbors property.
The following is the exact definition of a through lot from the NYC Zoning Resolution followed by a brief interpretation:
A “through lot” is any #zoning lot#, not a #corner lot#, which adjoins two #street lines# opposite to each other and parallel or within 45 degrees of being parallel to each other. Any portion of a #through lot# which is not or could not be bounded by two such opposite #street lines# and two straight lines intersecting such #street lines# shall be subject to the regulations for an
What is a through lot?
A through lot is a lot that connects 2 streets opposite of each other and parallel or within 45 degrees of being parallel. any portion of the lot that is not touching the 2 streets must follow the requirements of an interior lot. If the lot qualifies as a corner lot as well then it is a corner lot and not a through lot.
One unique zoning characteristic of a through lot is that it has regulations for a Rear Yard Equivalent instead of rear yards.
The following is the exact definition of an interior lot from the NYC Zoning Resolution followed by a brief interpretation:
An “interior lot” is any #zoning lot# neither a #corner lot# nor a #through lot#.
What is an interior lot?
In NYC an interior lot is by definition any lot that is not a corner lot or a through lot. An interior lot is the most common lot type.
Lot Types and Zoning Regulations
The zoning regulations that apply to your property can vary based on the type of lot. The following are some examples of issues that vary for differ types of lots.
Always make sure you know what type of Zoning Lot you are dealing with before beginning a zoning analysis or any type of building planning.
Thank You for reading our post on NYC Zoning lot types.
I hope this was helpful. You can leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect you can contact us directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.