R6 Zoning NYC Residential Development
This post is going to be discussing the basics of R6 Zoning in New York City. As Architects in NYC we get a large number of inquires about R6 Zoning so lets look at some if the issues in R6.
R6 Zoning NYC Residential District
New York City is broken up into different zoning districts. The purpose of these districts is to restrict what people build based on the location. For example you wouldn’t want someone building a nightclub next to your single family house. A zoning district that begins with R is a residential district. They go from R1 through R10. The higher the number the larger the building you can build there. R6 is most commonly found in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. There are a few areas in Manhattan and Staten Island with R6 zoning. In fact R6 zoning is the only residential zone found in all 5 Boroughs of NYC.
What is R6 Zoning?
R6 Zoning is considered medium density residential. It has multifamily buildings that can range from walk up townhouses to taller apartment buildings. In R6 zones you have 2 options for zoning rules you can use Height Factor Zoning or Quality Housing Program.
There are also R6A and R6B districts this article is only focusing on regular R6 zoning in NYC. Check out a post we wrote on R6B Zoning to learn more about the R6B subdistrict.
Height factor is one set of zoning regulations that promotes building taller skinnier buildings. There are proportional requirements governing the height and size of the building. The taller the building gets the less area it can cover of the site, basically the taller it gets the skinnier it needs to be with more open space on the property.
Quality Housing Program
The quality housing program is probably more common in R6 zones and in fact is required in R6A and R6B zones. The quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings. This is not to be confused with the Inclusionary Housing Program for affordable housing. The quality housing program typically will result in a larger building of a higher quality. There are more zoning floor area deductions in quality housing that would give you a boost to your building size.
R6 Zoning Community Facility
R6 Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are also allowed in R6. In the instance of a community facility the zoning calculations would be different. One can also build a mixed use building with both community facility and residential use.
R6 Zoning Commercial Overlay
Sometimes residential districts have commercial overlays. this means the zone is primarily residential but commercial use is allowed instead or as a mixed use building. Here is a link to an article we wrote on Commercial Overlays.
R6 Zoning Example Quality Housing Program Residential Use
Here we will see a few of the zoning issues that, as architects, we look into when evaluating the zoning of a property for a Multi Family Residential Development. Basically these are the steps an architect takes in determining how many residential units you can put in a new residential development in an R6 district using the Quality Housing Program.
For this example we will use a property that is 100 feet wide and 100 feet deep in an R6 zoning district. This building will be located in the middle of the block, properties at the corners of a block have different regulations with regards to yard requirements.
The property we are looking at is 100 feet by 100 feet and that means the property is 10,000 square feet.
100 x 100 = 10,000 square feet
Our first step is to calculate the floor area ration of the building also called FAR.
Floor Area Ratio
Floor area ratio (FAR) is a proportion that determines how many square feet your building can be. The FAR for this property is 2.2 as determined by the NYC Quality Housing Program Zoning Regulations. This means we take the property square footage and multiply it by the FAR to figure out the zoning square footage.
In R6 zoning the FAR would vary depending on the width of the street. If the street is a narrow street (less than 75 feet wide) the FAR is 2.2. If you are on a wide streeet (more than 75 feet wide) then the FAR is 3 but only for that portion of the property that is within 100 feet of the wide street. This example will just address a property entirely on a narrow street.
Property Square Footage X FAR = Zoning Square footage
Property Square footage = 10,000
FAR = 2.2
10,000 x 2.2 = 22,000
The zoning on this property allows 22,000 square feet to be built. In reality we can build a little more than 22,000 square feet because there are certain zoning floor area deductions you can get. For example in the Quality Housing Program every floor should have a trash room of 12 sq ft but you do not need to count that 12 sq ft for the zoning square feet. 22,000 is the maximum required zoning square footage but the actual building can be a little larger after working out these deductions. For the sake of simplicity of this example we will not be considering those deductions.
How Many Apartments Can We Build?
Our next task is to determine how many apartments we can build on the property. This is determined by dividing the Zoning Square Footage by 680 (680 is determined in the Zoning Code). We do not count zoning deductions in this formula. The Zoning square footage was previously established as 22,000 square feet.
Zoning Square footage ÷ 680 = Allowed Number Of Apartments
22,000 ÷ 680 = 32.35
We can build a building with 32 Apartments on this property.
This is a really basic example of some of the calculations we do when performing a zoning analysis. There are many more variables and considerations to take into account. The NYC zoning code is thousands of pages. If you are interested in discussing zoning with an architect please feel free to Contact Us or check out our Zoning Services page.