R7A Zoning NYC, Multifamily Residential
In this article we will be looking at R7A Zoning in NYC. This from a zoning analysis we did for a client. The client was looking to purchase 2 adjacent lots in an R7A Zoning District in Brooklyn, NYC. They wanted to know what the potential for development was on this property. R7A is a contextual zone within R7 Zoning. It will have different rules than the other R7 zones. We have another article on R7 Zoning if you are interested.
R7A Zoning Districts
Basic R7 Zoning Districts
- R7-1 Zoning
- R7-2 Zoning
R7 Contextual Districts
COMMERCIAL ZONING WITH RESIDENTIAL EQUIVALENT R7-2 ZONING
Most Commercial Zoning districts allow for residential use. Below are Commercial zones with R7-2 Residential Equivalents.
R7A is a medium density residential zoning district in New York City. A few examples of neighborhoods with R7A zoning would be Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Jackson Heights in Queens, and Harlem & East Village in Manhattan. R7A districts have multifamily buildings about 7 or 8 stories high. Zoning districts that end in a letter are “Contextual Districts” and follow the rules of the Quality Housing Program.
R7A Zoning Analysis Example
This is an actual property we did a zoning analysis for. Check out another post we wrote to learn more about what goes into a Zoning Analysis.
The property consisted of 2 adjacent lots sharing a property line. The clients wanted to build 1 multifamily apartment building. This would require a lot merger which is very common. We would take the 2 lots each 25 x 100 and merge them into one tax lot.
What can you build on this R7A Zoning Lot?
The first step is to calculate the Floor Area Ratio or FAR. The FAR is a ratio between the lot square footage and the allowed building square footage. The Floor Area Ratio in R7A is 4. The lot area as we can see above is 100 feet x 50 feet or 5,000 square feet.
Lot Area is 50 X 100 or 5,000 sq ft
R7A FAR = 4 as per Zoning Code
Zoning Floor Area = Floor Area Ratio X Lot Area
Zoning Floor Area = 4 X 5,000 sq ft
Zoning Floor Area = 20,000 square feet
We now know we can build a 20,000 square foot building on this property. This number is the zoning floor area. In actuality the building will be a little larger than that because there are certain zoning deductions you can take. We aren’t getting into that level of detail in this article.
How many apartments can we have?
To figure out the maximum number of apartments you can have is simple. You have to do a density calculation. The density factor for R7A zoning is 680. So you take the Zoning floor area and divide by the density factor. We use the term dwelling unit that means apartment.
R7a Density Factor = 680 As per Code
Zoning Floor Area = 20,000 sf
Number of Allowed Dwelling Units = Zoning Floor Area / Density Factor
Number of Allowed Dwelling Units = 20,000 sq ft / 680
Number of Allowed Dwelling Units = 29 units
On this property we can build a maximum of 29 apartments. We can always build less but cannot build more. If you prefer to do large apartments you can do that with a lower unit count.
R7A Building Bulk / Massing
Now that we know the square footage we can build we need to figure out the building envelope that is the massing or bulk. The building envelope is the general size and shape of the building. It is the 3 dimensional volume of the building.
Site Planning: Where on the lot can we build?
zoning districts have requirements for yards. We have a 30 foot required rear yard. So we cannot build in that area. Also we have to align with the neighbors buildings in the front. The neighbors are 5 feet back from the property line so we will match them. See diagram for the Building Site Plan. We can only build on an area 65 feet by 50 feet. This results in 3,250 square feet. that should easily give us a building with 6 or 7 stories.
I hope this was helpful. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to Contact Fontan Architecture. We will be happy to help.
Author Jorge Fontan AIA
This post was written by Jorge Fontan, a Registered Architect and owner of Fontan Architecture.