R6A Zoning NYC Residential

(Last Updated On: December 1, 2018)

R6A Zoning is a Contextual Zoning District in New York City. As a contextual district buildings developed in R6A Zoning must comply with Quality Housing Program Regulations. R6A is a subdistrict of R6 Zoning.


R6A Zoning 

R6A is a medium density residential zoning district. Similar to R6B Zoning, R6A is a contextual district. Contextual Zoning Districts are meant to promote uniformity in the neighborhoods they are zoned in. This results in shorter low rise buildings with large footprints. In Contextual Zone R6A developments are required to follow the Quality Housing Program Regulations.

R6 Zoning Districts:

Commercial Zoning Districts With R6A Residential Equivalent


R6A Quality Housing Program

The quality housing program is quite 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.


What is R6A Zoning?

R6A has multifamily buildings that can range from walk up townhouses to small or medium sized apartment buildings. You are only allowed to build residential buildings or community facility buildings unless the property has a commercial overlay.


R6A Zoning Community Facility

R6A Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are also allowed in R6A districts. 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.


R6A 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.



Some properties are subject to the requirements of the Inclusionary Housing Program. These are districts that have 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.



Lot Size:

Minimum Lot width =18 Feet

Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft

Lot Coverage:

Corner Lot = 80%

Interior or Through Lot = 65%


Floor Area Ratio (FAR):

FAR = 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

Base height t: = 40 Minimum / 60 Maximum


Overall Building Height: This is the actual building height

Height: = 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.


R6A Zoning Example Quality Housing Program Residential Use

R6A Zoning Example = FAR 3.0

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 R6A district using the mandatory Quality Housing Program regulations.

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 on an interior lot, properties at the corners of a block have different regulations with regards to yard requirements.

R6A Zoning

Property Lot For R6A Zoning

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 3 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.


Property Square Footage X FAR = Zoning Square footage

Property Square footage = 10,000

FAR = 3

10,000 x 3 = 30,000

The zoning on this property allows 30,000 residential square feet to be built. In reality we can build a little more than 30,000 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. Another example is that cellars are not counted for Floor Area. 30,000 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 step 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 30,000 square feet.

Zoning Square footage ÷ 680 = Allowed Number Of Apartments

30,000 ÷ 680 = 44.11 

We can build a building with a maximum of 44 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.


Thank You for reading our Blog Post on R6A Zoning Districts

I hope this was helpful. You can leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect or get help with a Zoning Analysis please feel free to Contact Fontan Architecture directly. We will be happy to help.


New York Architects, Jorge Fontan

Author Jorge Fontan AIA

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


  • Alex L.

    May 31, 2018 9:02 pm

    Hi. If a property within R6A and it is not within the designated inclusionary housing area, can the owner do the inclusionary housing? Thank you.

  • huseyin yilmaz

    June 25, 2018 1:13 pm

    Hi, I have question i hope i will not bother you,
    I am working on a project R6A zoning, #qualifying ground floors #, I am reading ZR 26-51 section but something is not placing into my logic, What is the reason to apply for #qualifying ground floors #, the only bonus of 500 sf ? As i understand ‘
    – Elevating the whole building can make residents feel safer at first,
    – We can develop more better green ground floor,
    – Parking on ground floor ( is it deductible ?)+ not need to excavate !! huge saving for owners!!
    – we can get up to 500 sf ( if it is outside of Manhattan core, (raising 5 feet min)
    – we can have higher building and more stories,

    these are so good plusses, but what is the minuses regarding to zoning? If we are right about advantages, why we do not see more of these buildings especially in williamsburg brooklyn area, wher are mostly new developments on r6 and above ?
    I hope we can share what we know, I appriciate how you set up a website to ask and learn from other profeessionals.

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