As of Right Zoning Definition NYC

by | Last updated Jul 14, 2020 | NYC Zoning, Property Development

As of Right is a term used in property development to describe a proposed development that complies with all applicable zoning codes. In NYC an As of Right Development does not require special permits, variances, or any discretionary action from the City Planning Commission or the Board of Standards and Appeals.


  • As of Right Definition
  • DOB Review of As of Right Developments
    • DOB Objections
  • Special Permits (Not As Of Right)
  • Variances (Not As Of Right)


As of Right Definition

The term As of Right does not a defined term in the New York City Zoning Resolution although it does appear on the City Planning Commissions website. Below is the term as defined by the NYC City Planning Commission:

“As-of-right Development An as-of-right development complies with all applicable zoning regulations and does not require any discretion­ary action by the City Planning Commission or Board of Standards and Appeals. Most developments and enlargements in the city are as-of-right.”

The first thing I will point out about the definition is that most property developments are “As of Right”. This means no special consideration will be required. Essentially an As of Right development is any development that you are entitled to do and requires nothing more than The Department Of Buildings review for Zoning. As of Right Developments comply 100% with the current zoning codes.


NYC DOB Review 

Even though a proposed property development is As of Right it must be filed and approved by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). When an architect such as myself submits an application to the DOB  for a property development we must include a zoning analysis and drawings to prove the building is in compliance with all applicable zoning codes.

NYC DOB Objections

When you file a project with the DOB it is subject to their review process. The project will be assigned to a DOB Plan Examiner this is an architect or engineer who works for the department Of  Buildings. This process is not as bad as people make it out to be. Even though the development may be As of Right it will still be disapproved and receive objections. Almost all projects filed with the DOB  get some objections these are a list of questions or comments from the plan examiner. The architect applying for the permit must answer all the questions and respond to all comments before the project gets approved. The application will be put on disapproved status during this time. People often panic when they see their job has been disapproved but it is perfectly normal. Sometimes the job is disapproved for minor issues and can be easily resolved but sometimes it is disproved for serious issues.


Special Permits

If a property development requires a “Special Permit” then it is not an As Of Right Development. Special Permits are issued at the Discretion of The City Planning Commission and or the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).


Zoning Variance

If a property development requires a zoning variance then it is not an As of Right Development. A zoning variance is filed with the Board Of Standards and Appeals. This is for authorization to build something that is not in compliance with the Zoning Code. you can see another post we wrote to learn more about applying for a Zoning Variance in NYC.


NYC Development Protocols

As an architect I study codes closely. NYC Codes and protocols are complicated and quite involved. In this article, we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to the definition of As of Right Developments. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview.


Thank you for reading our blog post on the meaning of As of Right Developments.

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


Contact Fontan Architecture


Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.