R3-2 Zoning NYC

by | Last updated Jul 3, 2020 | NYC Zoning

R3-2 Zoning is a low density residential zoning district in NYC. You can build single or two family homes as well as small multifamily buildings in R3-2.

The R3-2 Zoning District is a sub district of R3 Zoning in NYC. R3-2 Zoning is mapped in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. R3-2 is the only R3 zoning where you can develop multi family buildings.

R3 Zoning Districts

  • R3-2

R3 Contextual Districts


R3-2 Zoning Regulations

The New York City Zoning Resolution is complicated and quite in depth. In this article we will review some basic Zoning Codes with regards to residential zoning district R3-2. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue, but provide a general overview of the zoning code.

R3-2 Zoning Community Facility

R3-2 Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are allowed in R3 zones. In the instance of a community facility the zoning calculations may be different as community facilities have alternate requirements.


R3-2 Zoning Specifications

Minimum Lot Size: Lot Area & Lot Width

Lot Size Single or Two Family Detached:

A Detached house has yards on all sides and does not touch any other buildings or houses.

Minimum Lot width =40 Feet

Minimum Lot Area = 3,800 Sq Ft

Lot Size for Semi-Detached or Attached (single family, two family, or multifamily):

Semi detached houses are built in pairs where they touch in the middle but have yards on the sides. Attached houses touch the property line on both sides or are attached on both sides.

Minimum Lot width =18 Feet

Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft

Lot Coverage & Open Space

Maximum Lot Coverage: 35%

The development can not cover more then 35% of the property.

Required Open Space: 65%

The development must leave 65% of the property with open space.

R3-2 Floor Area Ratio (FAR):

Floor Area Ratio determines the floor area that can be built on the property. The floor area ratio is multiplied by the lot area.

FAR = .5

Attic Allowance 20% bonus

In R3-2 Zoning districts the FAR may be increased by 20% for floor area located under a pitched roof. This is not always possible to achieve.

Density Factor or Dwelling Unit Factor (DU) for R3-2

625 – For Single or Two family detached and semi detached buildings.

870 – For any multifamily buildings, and one or two family attached

R3-2 Building Heights: 

Perimeter Wall Height = 21 Feet

Building Height = 35 Feet

Yard Requirements for R3-2

Front Yard = 15 Feet minimum

Rear Yard = 30 Feet

Side Yards Detached = 13 Feet in total with the smaller being 5 feet each

Side Yards Semi Detached = 8 Feet

Multi Family Buildings must have 2 side yards 8 feet wide.


R3-2 Zoning Example

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.

R3-2 Example Lot

Lets assume we have a 50 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R3-2 Zoning District in Queens on an interior lot. We are going to plan to build one multifamily building. A multi-family building is any structure with more than 2 families.

Optional Lot Subdivision

In this example we could potentially divide the lot into two separate lots with  a lot subdivision. We will not be looking into that in this example.

Zoning Floor Area/ Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

So the floor area ratio is .5. 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 .5

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 = .5

Zoning Floor Area = 5,000 sq ft x .5

Zoning Floor Area = 3,000 sq ft

There is a zoning Bonus for Attic allowance of up to 20%. Attic allowance is a little complicated, so you will not always be able to maximize the attic allowance. We will assume that we can maximize the attic allowance for the purpose of this example.

Zoning Floor Area with Bonus 3,000 sq ft

So we can build a 3,000 sq ft for each house.

How may families can we have on our R3-2 lot.

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

R3-2 Zoning Example Conclusion

In this example we are proposing to develop a single 3 family detached building. We will need to provide parking for every family.


R3-2 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 R3-2 Zoning Districts. 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 post on R3-2 Zoning in NYC.

I hope this was helpful. You can leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect you can contact us directly.


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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.