R2 Zoning NYC Single Family Residential District
R2 Zoning is a low density residential zoning district in NYC. You can only build single family detached homes in R2 zoning districts. R2 also has subdistricts R2A and R2X.
The R2 Zoning District is a sub district of R2 Zoning in NYC. It’s characterized by detached single family homes. R2A Zoning is mapped in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
R2 Zoning NYC
R2 Zoning Districts
R2 Contextual Districts
R2 Zoning Regulations
The New York City Zoning Resolution is complicated and quite in depth. In this article we will review some basic Zoning Codes with regards to NYC residential zoning district R2. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue, but provide a general overview of the zoning codes.
R2 Zoning Community Facility
R2 Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility Zoning uses are allowed in R2 zones. In the instance of a community facility the zoning calculations may be different as community facilities can have alternate requirements.
What is R2 Zoning?
R2 is a low density zoning district in NYC where one can build single family detached residences. A detached house is one that has yards on all sides of the house and is not attached to the neighbor’s house. Row houses, attached houses, townhouses and two family houses and multi family buildings are prohibited in R2 districts. You can find R2 zoning in areas like Riverdale Bronx or parts of Queens and Staten Island. These are lower density residential areas with single family homes only.
There are 3 types of R2 Zoning districts: R2, R2A, and R2X. The specifications below are for regular R2 zoning.
R2 Zoning Specifications
Minimum Lot Size: Lot Area & Lot Width
You can only build single family detached homes in R2 zoning. A Detached house has yards on all sides and does not touch any other buildings or houses.
Minimum Lot width =40 Feet
Minimum Lot Area = 3,800 Sq Ft
R2 Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.):
Floor Area Ratio determines the floor area that can be built on the property. The floor area ratio is multiplied by the lot area.
FAR = .5
Density Factor or Dwelling Unit Factor (DU) for R2
The Dwelling Unit factor determines the maximum number of dwellings or families on the property. In R2 you can only build a single family home but the density factor is 1,900 square feet. Density Factor will matter if you have a small zoning lot. Otherwise it is not a real concern for R2 since you cannot build more than one family per house.
R2 Building Heights:
Sky Exposure Plane starting at 25 Feet.
Yard Requirements for R2A
Front Yard = 15 Feet minimum
Rear Yard = 30 Feet
Side Yards = 13 Feet of side yards combined with the smaller of the two yards being 5 feet minimum.
1 Parking Space is required on site open or enclosed.
R2 Zoning Example, Building a New Home
Here is a basic zoning analysis for an R2 single family home. We will be using basic R2 regulations for this example. Zoning will determine the maximum size, square footage, location of house on the property, yard requirements, and many other variables.
How big of a house can I build in R2 Zoning?
Floor Area Ratio
Lets assume we are dealing with a property that is 40 feet wide and 100 feet deep and is on an interior lot. An interior lot is located in the middle of the block with neighboring properties on 3 sides (corner lots have different rules). We have another blog post if you want to learn about different lot types.
Floor Area Ratio (FAR)
The floor area ratio of a property is a zoning term that governs how many square feet you can build on a property. You multiply the property square footage by the floor area ratio and then you get the maximum square footage allowed for your house.
The Floor area ratio in an R2 Zoning district is .5
The lot square footage is 40 x 100 = 4,000
Lot square footage X Floor Area Ratio = Maximum square footage of house
4,000 square feet X .5 = 2,000 square feet (Maximum House size)
In this example, we can build a house that is 2,000 square feet or less (2,000 is the maximum). There are certain zoning deductions you can get that change from zone to zone. We will not go into that level of detail here but sometimes you can discount certain parts of the house like a boiler room. If you have a cellar it does not count for the zoning square footage but a basement would. Please be aware there is a difference between cellar and basement. A basement does count for zoning square footage.
So we now know we can build a 2,000 square foot house on a 4,000 square foot R2 lot.
R2 Zoning NYC Yard Requirements.
In an R2 zone you will be required to have yards on all sides of the property.
The front yard in an R2 district is 15 feet minimum.
The rear yard in R2 is 30 feet minimum.
Corner lots do not require rear yards. Instead they have 2 side yards and 2 front yards.
You need 2 side yards, the smallest a side yard can be in R2 is 5 feet but the two side yards combined must be at least 13 feet. So lets assume 1 side yard of 5 feet and 1 side yard of 8 feet for a combined 13 feet of side yard.
Below is a diagram showing the required yards and where we can put our new home. We can build the house anywhere within the shaded area.
We now know where we can build our house and how big it can be. Since our house can be a maximum of 2,000 square feet lets make it 2 stories of 1,000 square feet each. Which we can locate anywhere in the buildable area. I am going to make the house 25 feet by 40 feet 1,000 square feet per story and two stories for a 2,000 square foot house.
In this last diagram, you can see the buildable area previously established and the house footprint is a little smaller. Although the house can be located anywhere in the buildable area, I located it at the front yard 15 foot line. I left a large rear yard and we made one of the side yards a little bigger by aligning the side of the house with the 8 foot side yard.
As an architect, I study zoning very closely. NYC Zoning is complicated and quite involved. In this article, we reviewed some of the basic Zoning Codes with regards to residential zoning district R2. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue and condition, but provide a general overview. This post does not substitute the NYC Zoning Resolution. If you truly want to understand the zoning of a property you can get an Architectural Zoning Analysis.
Thank You for reading our post on R2 Zoning in NYC.
I hope this was helpful. You can leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project please feel free to contact Fontan Architecture directly or learn more about our private house architectural services. We will be happy to see if we can help.
Author Jorge Fontan AIA
This post was written by Jorge Fontan, a Registered Architect and owner of Fontan Architecture.