R10 Zoning NYC

by | Last updated Jun 12, 2020 | NYC Zoning

R10 Zoning is a residential zoning district in NYC that allows for the highest buildable floor areas of all residential zoning. In R10 zoning you have an optional zoning bonus for providing 20% affordable units. There are several building typologies that can be developed in R10 Zoning.


R10 Zoning 

This post is going to focus on regular R10 Zoning and not with R10 contextual Zoning.

R10 Zoning Districts

Regular R10 District:

  • R10

R10 Contextual Districts

Commercial Zoning With Residential Equivalent R10 Zoning

Most Commercial Zoning districts allow for residential use. Below are Commercial zones with R10 Residential Equivalents.


What is R10 Zoning?

R10 Zoning is considered “high density” residential zoning. R10 is the largest Residential Zoning District with the highest floor area ratios. It typically has large multifamily buildings including high rise residential towers. In an R10 zone you have 3 options for zoning regulations you can use Quality Housing Program, Tower, or Tower On A Base.

All R10 Zoning Districts have an optional Inclusionary Housing Zoning.



The Quality Housing Program promotes shorter wider buildings that are typically larger in square footage. The Quality Housing Program is not to be confused with the Inclusionary Housing Program for affordable housing. The quality housing program is just another set of optional zoning regulations and has nothing to do with low income or affordable housing. Typically QHP will 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 total building size.

Quality housing is optional in R10 but Mandatory in Contextual Zoning: R10A Zoning and R10X Zoning.


R10 Tower Zoning

Standard Tower Zoning is only allowed on narrow streets (Streets under 75 feet wide). If you are on a wide street (75 wide or more) you must go with Quality housing or Tower on a Base. Tower zoning results in high rise buildings as they are allowed to penetrate the sky exposure plane which limits building height.

R10 Tower on a Base Zoning

Tower on a Base Zoning is a tower that sits on a wider base. The base follows the quality housing program regulations. And the tower follows tower regulations.



R10 Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are allowed in all R10 zones. 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.



Sometimes residential districts have commercial overlays. This means the zone is primarily residential but commercial use is allowed instead or you can have both as a mixed use building. If you are building in a commercial zone with a residential equivalent you can also build mixed use buildings.



Always check if your property is subject to requirements of the Inclusionary Housing Program. These are districts that have either optional and sometimes mandatory requirements for low income housing. Typically in these areas you provide 20% of your floor area for affordable units and you get a 20% increase to the allowable floor area of the building. There can be zoning penalties if you choose not to provide it. And zoning bonuses if you do. In R10 you always have the option to do Inclusionary Housing.



Lot Size:

Minimum Lot width =18 Feet

Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft

Lot Coverage:

Corner Lot = 100%

Interior or Through Lot = 70%

Floor Area Ratio (FAR):

FAR = 10

FAR With Inclusionary Housing = 12

Density Factor

680 – This is used to calculate how many apartments you can have. The total residential floor area is divided by this factor to get the maximum allowable number of dwelling units.

Building Base Height: This indicates a setback is required at these heights

Narrow street  = 60 Minimum / 125 Maximum

Wide street = 125 Minimum / 155 Maximum

Inclusionary Housing Base Height:

Narrow street  = 60 Minimum / 155 Maximum

Wide street = 125 Minimum / 155 Maximum

Overall Building Height: This is the actual building height

Narrow street  = 185

Wide street = 200 (215 with qualifying ground floor)

Inclusionary Housing Building Height:

Narrow street  = 210 (215 with qualifying ground floor)

Wide street = 230 (235 with qualifying ground floor)

R10 Zones are subject to “Sliver Law” zoning restrictions for properties less than 45 feet wide. The sliver law is an additional restriction on the height of the building and supersedes the typical building height requirements. Sliver law is not applicable in certain special zoning districts.


Corner Lot: No Yards Required

Interior Lot = 30 foot minimum rear yard required


R10 Zoning Example for Quality Housing

Here is an example zoning analysis. Be aware that zoning is complicated and I am only addressing the basics here. I assure you there are many additional issues and variations to consider beyond this example.

R10 Zoning Example Lot

Lets assume we have a 50 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R10 Zoning District in Manhattan on an interior lot and lets say it is on a wide street.


R10 Quality Housing Program Example:

Building Foot Print:

First Lets start with Lot Coverage and Yards. We know we will need a minimum rear yard of 30 feet. That tells us we have 50 x 70 to build on, and we can cover 70% of the property. This works out well with a 3,500 sq ft area we can build on.

Zoning Floor Area/ Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

So the floor area ratio is 10. The FAR is a ratio that determines how many square feet you can build on the property. You simply take the property size and multiply it by the FAR.

In this example we have:

FAR of 10 (it would be 12 with Inclusionary Housing)

Lot Size of 50 feet x 100 feet.

Zoning Floor Area = Lot Area X FAR

Lot Area = 50 x 100

Lot Area = 5,000 sq ft

FAR = 10

Zoning Floor Area = 5,000 sq ft x 10

Zoning Floor Area = 50,000 sq ft

So we can build a 50,000 sq ft building.

How Many Apartments Can We Develop on our R10 Lot?

Zoning regulates the maximum number of residential units you can put in a building.


In this example we are proposing to build a 50,000 sq ft building. The apartment building will be 15 stories tall and have a setback at least on the top couple floors. The Building will have a foot print of 50 x 70. It will have a maximum of 73 apartments but can have less as well.


NYC Zoning

As an architect I study zoning very closely. NYC Zoning is complicated and quite involved. In this article we reviewed some of the basic Zoning Codes with regards to residential zoning district R10. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue and condition, but provide a general overview. This post does not substitute the NYC Zoning Resolution.


R10 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 R10 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 R10 Zoning.

I hope this was helpful. You can leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to contact us directly. We will be happy to help.


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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.