R6 Zoning NYC Residential Development
R6 Zoning in NYC is a residential zoning district that allows for multifamily apartment buildings and single or two family homes. R6 is medium density non contextual zoning. In R6 you have a choice of Height Factor Zoning or Quality Housing Program. It is the only residential zoning district found in every New York City Borough: Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
R6 Zoning NYC
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 of the issues concerning properties zoned R6.
R6 Zoning Districts
Basic R6 District
- Option 1: R6 Quality Housing Program
- Option 2: R6 Height Factor
R6 Contextual Districts
Commercial Zoning With Residential Equivalent R6 Zoning
Most Commercial Zoning districts allow for residential use. Below are Commercial zones with R6 Residential Equivalents.
R6A & R6B Contextual Districts:
R6A and R6B are contextual zoning districts and would have some different regulations than basic R6 Zoning. In this article, we are only going to be addressing basic R6 zoning, not the subdistricts.
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. 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 that are zoned R6. 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 two options for zoning rules. You can use Height Factor Zoning or Quality Housing Program.
R6 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 Incusionary Housing Program
Always check if your property is subject to requirements of the Inclusionary Housing Zoning. These are districts that have either optional and sometimes mandatory requirements for low income housing. Typically in these areas you provide 20% of your floor area for affordable units. There can be zoning penalties if you choose not to provide it. And zoning bonuses if you do.
R6 Zoning Regulations For Quality Housing Program
Minimum Lot width =18 Feet
Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft
For Single or Two Family Detached homes:
Minimum Lot width =40 Feet
Minimum Lot Area = 3,800 Sq Ft
Corner Lot = 100%
Interior or Through Lot = 60%
Interior or Through Lot within 100 feet of a wide street (Inside Manhattan Core) = 60%
Interior or Through Lot within 100 feet of a wide street (Outside Manhattan Core) = 65%
Wide street is over 75 feet
Narrow Street is under 75 feet
Floor Area Ratio (FAR):
Manhattan Core Wide Street: = 2.43 (within 100 feet of wide street)
Manhattan Core Narrow Street: = 2.2
Narrow street = 2.2
Wide street = 3.0 (within 100 feet of wide street)
680 – This is used to calculate how many apartments you can have. The total residential floor area is divided by this factor to get the maximum allowable number of dwelling units.
Building Base Height: This indicates a setback is required at these heights
Manhattan Core Wide street: = 40 Minimum / 55 Maximum
Wide street = 40 Minimum / 65 Maximum
Narrow street = 30 Minimum / 45 Maximum
Overall Building Height: This is the actual building height
Manhattan Core Wide street: = 65 feet
Narrow street = 55 feet
Wide street = 70 feet
Corner Lot: No Yards Required
Interior Lot = 30 foot minimum rear yard required
50% of dwelling units
Parking Is waived in the Manhattan Core. There are also waivers for small lots and lots with few parking requirements.
R6 Zoning Example Quality Housing Program Residential Use
R6 Zoning Narrow Street Example = FAR 2.2
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 street (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.
R6 Zoning Height Factor
Height factor is one set of zoning regulations that promotes building taller skinnier buildings. Height factor does not apply in “contextual districts.” There are proportional requirements governing the height, footprint, and general size of the building. With height factor zoning the taller the building gets the less area it can cover on the site, basically the taller it gets the skinnier it needs to be with more open space on the property. Additionally the taller buildings are allowed a higher floor area.
R6 Height Factor Example:
A 5 story building in an R6 Zone would have a Floor Area Ratio of 2.02 If you went to 14 stories you would be able to use the maximum Floor Area Ratio of 2.43. The floor area changes based on the number of stories and is proportional to the area the building can cover on the lot.
|Number Of Stories||Open Space Ratio||Floor Area Ratio|
|Over 21 Stories||37.5 +.5 per story over 21||HF FAR Formula|
New Building In Brooklyn R6 Zoning NYC
Here is an example of one of our new building designs in an R6 Zoning District with Quality Housing Program Zoning.
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 R6. 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 Blog Post on R6 Zoning NYC
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. Also you can see our multi family Architectural Services Page.
Author Jorge Fontan AIA
This post was written by Jorge Fontan, a Registered Architect and owner of Fontan Architecture.