R6A Zoning NYC

R6A Zoning NYC Residential

(Last Updated On: July 3, 2019)

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. In NYC 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 common in R6 zones and is mandatory in R6A and R6B zones. The quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings. People often confuse the Quality Housing Program with the Inclusionary Housing Program. These are two different things. The Quality Housing Program does not have anything to do with affordable housing. That would be the Inclusionary Housing Program.

The Quality Housing Program can 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 can only develop residential buildings or community facility buildings unless the property has a commercial overlay.


R6A Zoning Community Facility

In NYC R6A Zoning is a residential zone, but you can develop Community Facility uses 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 underlying zone is residential but you can develop commercial use instead or develop 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 a zoning bonus if you provide it, but a zoning penalty if you do not.



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


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 what you can build in a new residential development in an R6A district using the Quality Housing Program regulations.

For this example we will use a property that is 100 feet wide and 100 feet deep in an R6A 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 calculations on this property conclude that you can develop 30,000 residential square feet. 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. For the sake of simplicity of this example we will not be considering those deductions.

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.


R6A Zoning in NYC

As an architect I study Zoning Codes closely, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to the R6A Zoning in NYC. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


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.



  • 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.

      • Lana

        February 11, 2019 2:21 pm

        Hi, thank you for detailed article. When that rule went in effect, allowing owners to have a commercial unit instead community centers in R6A zoning, and do any restrictions applied to these expeptions especially in refference to noise, vent system etc?

  • 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.

  • Anthony Garcia

    February 14, 2019 5:17 pm

    R6A zoning allows for an FAR of 3.0. I’ve come across a few sites we are looking at for a client in the Williamsburg area and I keep coming up with a FAR of 2,7 on sites with R6A zoning. Is that correct?

    Also, are these R6A sites eligible for a community FAR of 4.8?

  • Nae Kim

    March 10, 2019 4:33 am

    I’m currently working on my school project, my site is R6A. with MIH, it will have 3.6 FAR.
    I wonder if I add community facility such as day care center for 1 FAR of designated space, can I use total 4.6 FAR?
    As a result, I will build residential units including affordable units under 3.6 FAR and day care center for 1 FAR. Is this make sense? Thank you so much for your help.

  • Stella S

    March 29, 2019 2:53 am

    what does it mean if we apply the FRESH program to our R6A lot? Do we get additional FAR? So can we build higher?

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