R6 Zoning

R6 Zoning NYC Residential Development

(Last Updated On: October 18, 2018)

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 if the issues concerning properties zoned R6.


R6 Zoning Districts

Basic R6 District

  • R6
    • 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 2 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

Lot Size:

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

Lot Coverage:

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

Manhattan Core Narrow Street: = 2.2

Everywhere Else:

Narrow street  = 2.2

Wide street = 3.0

Density Factor

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

Everywhere Else:

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

Everywhere Else:

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.

Property Line 100 x 100

Property Line 100 x 100

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. 


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 StoriesOpen Space RatioFloor Area Ratio
Over 21 Stories37.5 +.5 per story over 21HF FAR Formula



New Building In Brooklyn R6 Zoning

Here is an example of one of our new building designs in an R6 Zoning District with Quality Housing Program Zoning.


New Building R6 Zoning NYC

This is a rendering of a new Townhouse we are building in Brooklyn in an R6 zoning District.


Thank You for Reading our Blog Post on R6 Zoning

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.


Author Jorge Fontan AIA

This post was written by Jorge Fontan, a Registered Architect and owner of Fontan Architecture.


  • Darpan Thakur

    August 5, 2017 11:11 am


    Thank you for the information in your article. I had a question regarding minimum lot area in R6 zoning. Is there any such requirement ? I see you mention mininum lot area and width upto R5 zoning in your article but from R6 onwards, does it not apply ?

  • Michele pietragesa

    August 6, 2017 8:14 pm

    What. Happens If you Have 2 20×100 r5b then a 40×100 r6 all Together I either side Of The three Brick Walls Lot Line on lot line what can be built?

  • Maxim

    August 30, 2017 8:03 pm

    Can I open a hotel in R6 zone? Thank you.

  • Stefanos

    October 19, 2017 5:55 am

    Hi , thank you for taking my question. I have a 61 by 124 property in Bronx and I am thinking of subdividing . Existing house is 20 by 50 on the side. So I have 41 feet availble by 124 deep. How many apt am I able to build. It’s r6 zone. Thanks in advance.

  • Suchitra Van

    December 18, 2017 5:23 pm

    we have a 2 family R6B class B1 building, can we build a floor above the second floor with a setback as required?

  • Jj Kohn

    January 23, 2018 5:53 am

    Hi,regarding a wide st is it 70ft or 75ft?
    And how do I measure it from house to house sidewalk to sidewalk? What do I include and what do I exclude?


  • Salvatore giannone

    May 26, 2018 10:13 am

    Hi Jorge, I am looking into a 17×50 r6 Lot (not corner) in Brooklyn.
    Because of the small dimensions will I have a hard time building? Is this lot unbuildable?

  • Rogelio Morban

    June 14, 2018 7:05 am

    Hi Jorge,
    Can you explain why (R6) requires 8ft minimum side yard or 0ft.
    I’m trying to legalize my basement (Bronx) and this particular item could be troubling since the space measure is actually 5′ 6”. do you think that is possible to get this approved by DOB.
    Thanks a lot.

  • nancy pezzolla

    October 22, 2018 8:29 pm

    can you tell me if condos can be built on a C4-2 zone

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