NYC Zoning

NYC Zoning Residential Districs

Zoning are codes that regulate the development of property in use, size. shape, and height. All of New York City is broken into Zoning Districts. There are three primary zoning categories M for Manufacturing Districts, C for Commercial Districts, and R for Residential Districts. This article is an overview of the different residential zoning districts in New York City.

NYC Residential Zoning Districts A Basic Introduction

All Residential Zoning districts begin with the letter R (for Residential) and are followed by a number 1 through 10. These numbers reference the density allowed in the district for example R10 is high density with high rise residential sky scrapers and R1 is low density for example a single family detached houses. Bellow is an outline of the different zones and their general features. For additional information see the NYC City Planning Commission Residence Districts Page. Before looking into specific zoning districts the first thing you need to do is understand Floor Area Ration or more commonly FAR.

Floor Area Ratio

One of the most important zoning concepts you need to understand is Floor Area Ratio or FAR.

FAR or Floor Area Ratio is a a regulation that determines the maximum floor area of a building in proportion to the size of the property.

Allowable building square footage = Property size x FAR

If a property is 10,000 square feet and has an FAR of .5  the property can have a 5,000 square foot development.

Allowable building square footage = 10,000 x .5

Allowable building square footage = 5,000

If a property is 10,000 square feet and has an FAR of 12 the property can have a 120,000 square foot development.

Allowable building square footage = 10,000 x 12

Allowable building square footage = 120,000

R1 Zoning

R1 Zoning is a low density residential zoning district that only allows the development of single family houses. It is a somewhat suburban looking and is only in a few areas of New York City. These districts typically have large properties and large houses. Only single family detached homes are permitted in these zones. A detached home is one that has a yard on all 4 sides and is not physically attached to the neighbor’s home like townhouses are. Two family homes are not allowed in R1 Zoning Districts. These zones have very large properties with large yards, you will typically see lots of trees and grass in these neighborhoods. There are 3 types of R1 zones.

R1-1

R1-1 zoning has the largest properties. The properties are a minimum of 9,500 square feet and have large yards and typically very large houses surrounded by open space and lots of grass. R1-1 zoning can be found in Riverdale Bronx and parts of Staten Island. Front Yards are a minimum of 20 feet, The rear yards are a minimum of 30 feet and the side yards combined are 35 feet. The heights of the homes are restricted by what is called a sky exposure plane. All R1 zones only allow single family detached homes.

Lot Width Minimum – 100′

Lot Area Minimum – 9,500 square feet (Largest lot requirement in NYC)

FAR – .5

R1-2

R1-2 Zoning is similar to R1-1 except the minimum property size is 5,700 square feet these zones also have smaller side yard requirements, the side yards are 20 feet combined. The Fieldston Road area in Riverdale, Bronx is primarily R1-2 and a perfect example of the character of such neighborhoods.

Lot Width Minimum – 60′

Lot Area Minimum – 5,700 square feet

FAR – .5

R1-2A

R1-2A zoning is similar to R1-2 but R1-2 the height of the home “building height” is restricted to 35 feet measured at the roof ridge (high point of roof) and the low point “perimeter wall height” is restricted to 25 feet. Also in this zone the front yard has to be at least as deep as the neighbor’s yard with a minimum of 20 feet. The house can cover a maximum of 30% of the property. R1-2A zoning can be found in Queens directly West of Flushing Meadow Park.

Lot Width Minimum – 60′

Lot Area Minimum – 5,700 square feet

FAR – .5

R2 Zoning

R2 Zoning only allows single family detached houses with yards on all 4 sides. The properties and houses in R2 are smaller than those in R1 the minimum property lot size is 3,800 square feet with a minimum property width of 40 feet. Front Yards are a minimum of 15 feet, The rear yards are a minimum of 30 feet and the side yards combined are 13 feet. R2 can be found in City Island in the Bronx or some parts of Queens. R2 Zoning also has contextual zones of R2A and R2B.

Here is a more detailed analysis of R2 Zoning in NYC.

R2

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – .5

R2A

R2A Zoning restricts the “building height” to 35 feet measured at the roof ridge, highest point of the roof. It also restricts the perimeter wall height to 21 feet the wall measured at the eave / low point of the roof.

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – .5

R2X

R2x zoning Is similar to R2A except that R2X permits properties that are only 30 feet wide and property lots that are only 2,850 square feet. This zoning also allows an attic Allowance this a square footage bonus for areas of the attic under a pitched roof.

Lot Width Minimum – 30′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,850 square feet

FAR – .5 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R3 Zoning

R3 zoning allows for 1 and 2 family homes that can be either detached, semi detached, or attached. Meaning the houses can be built sharing a wall between the houses. When built in pairs they are “semi detached”, or in groups they are “attached” houses only have side yards at the ends. R3 is broken into R3-1, R3-2 and contextual zones R3A and R3X. R3 zoning is very common in Staten Island, The Bronx, Queens and Parts of Brooklyn.

R3-1

R3-1 zoning has different requirements for detached or semi detached houses. The detached houses, with yards on all four sides, need property lots to be a minimum of 40 feet wide with a total lot area of 3,800 square feet. The semi detached properties only need to be 18 feet wide and and have a 1,700 total lot area. The semi detached house are built in pairs not in larger groups.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – .5 (Plus Attic Allowance)

Semi Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – .5 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R3-2

R3-2 Zoning is the same as R3-1 Zoning Except it additionally allows attached houses which can be built in groups greater than 2 and have no requirement for a side yard.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – .5 (Plus Attic Allowance)

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – .5 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R3A

R3A zoning has single and two family detached houses but only requires a 25 foot wide property. R3A allows detached houses to be built right up to a side lot property line but the house must be at least 8 feet from the neighbor’s home.

Lot Width Minimum – 25′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,375 square feet

FAR – .5 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R3X

R3X zoning has single and two family detached houses but only requires a 35 foot wide property. R3A allows detached houses to be built within 2 feet of a side property line but the house must be at least 8 feet from the neighbor’s home.

Lot Width Minimum – 35′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,325 square feet

FAR – .5 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R4 Zoning

R4 Zoning allows any kind of residences. Single family homes, two family homes and small multifamily residential (anything over 2 families is considered multifamily). R4 Zoning is very Common in The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and some parts of Staten Island.

R4

R4 Zoning has different requirements for detached or semi detached houses. The detached buildings, with yards on all four sides, need property lots to be a minimum of 40 feet wide with a total lot area of 3,800 square feet. The semi detached properties only need to be 18 feet wide and and have a 1,700 total lot area. The semi detached house are built in pairs not in larger groups. This is similar to R3-1 Except that R4 allows larger square footage of homes and small multifamily buildings. Here is a case study we did for a small multifamily building in R4 Zoning

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – .75 (Plus Attic Allowance)

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – .75 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R4 Infill

R4 Infill Zoning is an optional zoning regulation in some R4 districts. These are specific requirements in R4 Zones that allow for a high floor area of developments in a predominantly built up area. The floor area that can be built is significantly higher. Predominantly built up areas are determined by the surrounding buildings and the extent of the neighboring previously developed properties.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – 1.35

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – 1.35

R4-1

R4-1 Zoning only allows single or two family homes that are detached or semi detached houses. The detached houses, with yards on all four sides, need property lots to be a minimum of 25 feet wide with a total lot area of 2,375 square feet. The semi detached properties only need to be 18 feet wide and and have a 1,700 total lot area. The semi detached house are built in pairs not in larger groups.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 25′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,375 square feet

FAR – .75 (Plus Attic Allowance)

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – .75 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R4A

R4A Zoning only allows one family and two family detached homes.

Lot Width Minimum – 30′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,850 square feet

FAR – .75 (Plus Attic Allowance)

R4B

R4B Zoning allows small attached semi-detached and detached homes, single and two family only. The building height is restricted to 24 feet.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 25′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,375 square feet

FAR – .9

Semi Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – .9

R5 Zoning

R5 Zoning allows any type of residential development here you will typically find 3 and 4 story townhouses / row houses or small multifamily apartment buildings of 3 or 4 stories. R5 is very common and can be found in The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. R5 is also in a few locations within Staten Island.

For more detailed information please see an article we wrote with a zoning analysis of an R5 property- R5 Zoning

R5

Buildings over 30′ tall are required to have a 15 foot setback at the 30 elevation.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – 1.25

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – 1.25

R5 Infill

R5 Infill Zoning is an optional zoning regulation in some R5 districts. These are specific requirements in R5 Zoning that allows for a higher floor area of developments in a predominantly built up area. The floor area that can be built is significantly higher. Predominantly built up areas are determined by the surrounding buildings and the extent of the neighboring previously developed properties on the same block.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 40′

Lot Area Minimum – 3,800 square feet

FAR – 1.65

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – 1.65

R5A

R5a Zoning districts only allow single family and two family homes.

Lot Width Minimum – 30′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,850 square feet

FAR – 1.1

R5B

R5B zoning is made up mostly of 3 story buildings or 3 story townhouses.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 25′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,375 square feet

FAR – 1.35

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – 1.35

R5D

R5D zoning does not require a setback at the fourth floor of a four story building.

Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 25′

Lot Area Minimum – 2,375 square feet

FAR – 2

Not Detached

Lot Width Minimum – 18′

Lot Area Minimum – 1,700 square feet

FAR – 2

R6 Zoning

R6 zoning is one of the most common zones in New York City, covering a great deal of Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx as well as a few small areas in Manhattan and Staten Island. R6 is medium density residential, having medium sized residential apartment buildings. As an architect in NYC of all the inquires for zoning analysis of properties and new residential developments at our Architecture Firm the majority of those inquires are on R6 zoning. R6 is very common and there are many R6 zoning lots with single family houses that can be torn down and redeveloped.

In R6 Zoning you have two options for zoning regulations “Height Factor” or “The Quality Housing Program”

Height Factor

Height Factor is a set of zoning regulations that promote stall skinny buildings with open space on the property. The taller the building gets the skinnier it must get and the more open space you need to provide on the property.

Quality Housing Program 

The Quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings that cover more of the property than a height factor building is allowed to.

R6 Height Factor

FAR Varies Between .78 – 2.43

R6 Quality Housing Program

FAR 3.0 On Street 75′ wide or more Outside Manhattan Core (Manhattan Core is south of East 96th st or South of West 110th st)

FAR 3.6 With Inclusionary housing on Street 75′ wide or more Outside Manhattan Core (Manhattan Core is south of East 96th st or South of West 110th st)

FAR 2.43 On Street 75′ wide or more In the Manhattan Core

FAR 2.2 On Street less than 75′ wide Outside Manhattan Core

For more info on R6 Quality housing program zoning look at R6 Zoning In NYC.

R6A

In R6A zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory.

FAR – 3.0

FAR – 3.6 With Inclusionary housing

R6B

R6B zoning has mostly townhouses that are a maximum of 50 feet but set back from the street at 40 feet.

FAR – 2.0

FAR – 2.2 With Inclusionary housing

For more info on R6B look at an R6B case study we did.

R7 Zoning

R7 zoning is medium density multifamily residential buildings. R7 Zoning is very common in the Bronx and in Harlem, Washington Heights, as well as parts of the Upper West Side and Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is similar to R6 but with buildings that are a little larger and taller.

In R7 Zoning you have two options for zoning regulations “Height Factor” or “The Quality Housing Program”

Height Factor

Height Factor is a set of zoning regulations that promote stall skinny buildings with open space on the property. The taller the building gets the skinnier it must get and the more open space you need to provide on the property.

Quality Housing Program 

The Quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings that cover more of the property than a height factor building is allowed to.

R7 Height Factor

FAR Varies Between .87 – 3.44

R7 Quality Housing Program

FAR – 4.0 On Street 75′ wide or more Outside Manhattan Core (Manhattan Core is south of East 96th st or South of West 110th st)

FAR 3.44 On street less than 75′ wide

R7A

In R7A Zoning Contextual district the Quality Housing Program is mandatory.

FAR – 4.0

FAR – 4.6 With Inclusionary housing

For a more in depth look you can see our other post on R7A Zoning

R7B

In R7B Zoning Contextual district the Quality Housing Program is mandatory but the building will have less floor area than R7A.

FAR – 3.0

R7D

R7D zoning allows a slightly higher floor area than R7A

FAR – 4.2

FAR – 5.6 With Inclusionary housing

R7X

R7X zoning allows the highest floor area of all the R7 Zones.

FAR – 5.0

R8 Zoning

R8 Zoning is considered high density with buildings as low as 8 or 10 stories to much taller developments. The Grand Concourse in The Bronx is R8 as well as the West half of Washington Heights.

In R8 Zoning you have two options for zoning regulations “Height Factor” or “The Quality Housing Program”

Height Factor

Height Factor is a set of zoning regulations that promote stall skinny buildings with open space on the property. The taller the building gets the skinnier it must get and the more open space you need to provide on the property.

Quality Housing Program 

The Quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings that cover more of the property than a height factor building is allowed to.

R8 Height Factor

FAR Varies Between .94 – 6.02

R8 Quality Housing Program

FAR 7.2 On street 75′ wide or more

FAR 6.02 On street less than 75′ wide

R8A

In R8A Zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory.

FAR – 6.02

FAR – 7.2 With Inclusionary housing

R8B

In R8B zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory these buildings are usually 6 stories.

FAR – 4

R8X

In R8A Zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory and the Building Height can be up to 150 feet.

FAR – 6.02

R9 Zoning

R9 zoning districts have tall residential buildings. In certain locations R9 has additional Zoning options for “Towers”. Towers just means really tall buildings. R9 Zoning can be found in Manhattan.

In R9 Zoning you have two options for zoning regulations “Height Factor” or “The Quality Housing Program”

Height Factor

Height Factor is a set of zoning regulations that promote stall skinny buildings with open space on the property. The taller the building gets the skinnier it must get and the more open space you need to provide on the property.

Quality Housing Program 

The Quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings that cover more of the property than a height factor building is allowed to.

R9 Tower / Height Factor

FAR Varies Between .99 – 7.52

FAR – 8 With Inclusionary housing

R9A

In R9A Zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory.

FAR – 7.52

FAR – 8.5 With Inclusionary housing

R9D

R9D zoning is around elevated trains and requires towers to be built who’s interiors comply with the quality housing program.

FAR – 9

FAR – 10 With Inclusionary housing

R9X

In R9X zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory but these buildings are allowed more floor area than R9A.

FAR – 9

R10 Zoning

R10 zoning has the largest and tallest Apartment Buildings in New York City. Park Avenue in Manhattan is an example of an area with R10 zoning. There are also Commercial Districts in Manhattan that allow for R10 Zoning.

In R10 Zoning you have three options for zoning regulations “The Quality Housing Program”, “Tower” and “Tower on a Base”

Quality Housing Program 

The Quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings that cover more of the property than a height factor building is allowed to.

Tower

Tower is basically very tall buildings without height restriction. The buildable Floor Area can be increased in Towers by providing public plazas or affordable housing.

Tower On a Base

Tower On a Base is where the lower floors (the base) cover a greater area than the tower. The base is between 60 and 85 feet tall. There is then a tall thin tower coming out of the base.

R10 Quality Housing

FAR – 10

FAR – 12 With Inclusionary housing

R10 Tower On a Base

FAR – 10

FAR – 12 With Inclusionary housing

R10 Tower

FAR – 10

FAR – 12 With Inclusionary housing

R10A

In R10A zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory.

FAR – 10

FAR – 12 With Inclusionary housing

R10X

In R10A zoning the Quality Housing Program is mandatory.

FAR – 10

FAR – 12 With Inclusionary housing or Public Plaza

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