R6A Zoning NYC Residential(Last Updated On: January 21, 2018)
This post is going to be discussing the basics of R6A Zoning in New York City. R6A is a subdistrict of R6 Zoning, and is considered a contextual district.
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 arequired to follow the Quality Housing Program Regulations.
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.
R6A INCLUSIONARY HOUSING PROGRAM
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.
R6A ZONING REGULATIONS = QUALITY HOUSING
Minimum Lot width =18 Feet
Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft
Corner Lot = 80%
Interior or Through Lot = 65%
Floor Area Ratio (FAR):
FAR = 3.0
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.
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.
Author Jorge Fontan AIA
This post was written by Jorge Fontan, a Registered Architect and owner of Fontan Architecture.