Special Natural Area District

Special Natural Area District

(Last Updated On: July 2, 2019)

New York City has four Special Natural Area Districts. These Natural Areas are meant to protect wildlife, aquatic life, plant life and the natural beauty of the designated areas.

Special Natural Area Districts in NYC

There are four Special Natural Area Districts in NYC:

  • NA-1 Emerson Hill, Dongan Hills, Todt Hill, Lighthouse Hill and the Central Wetlands Area of Staten Island
  • NA-2 Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil and Fieldston, The Bronx
  • NA-3 Shore Acres Area of Staten Island
  • NA-4 Fort Totten Queens

 

Special Natural Area District Regulations

The primary focus of the Natural Area Districts in NYC is to preserve natural beauty, natural foliage, and wildlife. New buildings, enlargements of existing buildings, site work, or any other construction that can disturb the natural areas will be subject to review by the Department Of City Planning. The following is a list of examples of some of the features to be preserved in natural areas:

  • Geological Features
    • Rock Outcrops
    • Geological Deposits
    • Topography / Slope
    • Topsoil
  • Aquatic Features
    • Laminarian zone
    • Beach
    • Tidal wetland and saltwater littoral zone
    • Swamps, Marsh, Bogs & Meadows
    • Creeks, streams, Brooks
    • Lakes and Ponds
    • Natural Springs
  • Botanical
    • Primary succession community area
    • Secondary succession community area
    • Climax community area
    • Dune or heathland
    • Wild grassland

 

NA-1 Emerson Hill, Dongan Hills, Todt Hill, Lighthouse Hill and the Central Wetlands Area of Staten Island

The central hilly area of Staten Island and the Central Wetlands Area are part of the Staten Island NA-1 Special Natural Area District. This district intends to preserve certain natural features including:

  • Steep slopes
  • Rock outcrops and boulders
  • Ponds, lakes, swamps and creeks
  • Glaciated Oak-Chestnut trees
  • Tidal wetlands
  • Marine life and water fowl

 

NA-2 Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil and Fieldston, The Bronx

The Riverdale area of the Bronx composes the NA-2 Riverdale Special Natural area District. This district intends to preserve certain natural features including:

  • Steep slopes
  • Rock outcrops
  • Ponds, brooks, and swampy areas
  • Mature trees
  • Marshes that are feeding areas for water fowl
  • The shore line and its “aquatic food web necessary to sustain marine life”

 

NA-3 Shore Acres Area of Staten Island

The Shore Acres Area of Staten Island makes up the NA-3 Shore Acres Special Natural Area District in Staten Island. This district intends to preserve certain natural features including:

  • Shore Acres Pond, “which is fed predominantly by springs percolating from an underground aquifer through Pleistocene strata of sand and gravel. The Pond is a resting place for migratory and local fowl as well as a watering hole for opossums.
  • Natural drainage

 

NA-4 Fort Totten Queens

Fort Totten Queens has its own Natural area district NA-4. This district intends to preserve certain features including:

  • “Historically significant buildings and other structures, public open spaces, outstanding scenic views and pedestrian and vehicular circulation system”
  • “Aquatic, biologic, geologic, topographic and other natural features”
  • To create new public amenities and recreational facilities
  • To Preserve the character of the Fort Totten area

Fort Totten Natural Area District has 5 parts:

  • Area A – Historic Fort Area
  • Area B – Planned Community Area
  • Area C – Water Related Area
  • Area D – Bay Area
  • Area E – Development Area

 

NYC Special Natural Area Districts 

As an architect, I study Zoning Codes closely, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article we reviewed some of the basics with regards to the Special Natural Area Districts 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 NYC Special Natural area Districts.

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly.

 

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