R4A Zoning NYC

by | Last updated Jul 3, 2020 | NYC Zoning

R4A Zoning is a low density, contextual residential zoning district in NYC that allows for one family and two family detached residences only.

R4A is a sub district or R4 zoning. Two major differences between R4 and R4A is that R4A does not allow multi family (3 families or more is multifamily) and does not allow attached buildings. R4A is mapped in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.


R4 Zoning Districts

R4 Contextual Districts


R4A 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 R4A. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue, but provide a general overview of the zoning codes.


R4A Zoning Community Facility

R4A Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are allowed in R4 zones. In the instance of a community facility the zoning calculations may be different as community facilities can have alternate requirements.


R4A Zoning Specifications

Lot Size 

You can only build detached homes in R4A. A Detached house has yards on all sides.

Minimum Lot width =30 Feet

Minimum Lot Area = 2,850 Sq Ft

Floor Area Ratio (FAR):

Floor Area Ratio determines the floor area that can be built on the property.

FAR = .75

FAR attic allowance = 20% bonus (.9 FAR total)

Density Factor or Dwelling Unit Factor (DU)


Building Heights: 

Perimeter Wall Height = 21 Feet

Building Height = 35 Feet


Front Yard = 10 Feet

Rear Yard = 30 Feet

Side Yards = 10 Feet of side yards combined with the smaller of the two yards being 2 feet minimum.


1 Parking Space must be provided for each dwelling unit.



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.


Lets assume we have a 30 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R4B Zoning District in queens on an interior lot. If we are looking to build the most units we can, we would want to divide the lot into 2 different lots.

Zoning Floor Area/ Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

So the floor area ratio is .75. 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 .75

The lot Size is 30 feet x 100 feet.

Zoning Floor Area = Lot Area X FAR

Lot Area = 30 x 100

Lot Area = 3,000 sq ft

FAR = .75 or

Zoning Floor Area = 3,000 sq ft x .75

Zoning Floor Area = 2,250 sq ft

There is a zoning Bonus for Attic allowance of up to 20%. Attic allowance is a little complicated, you will not always be able to maximize the attic allowance. In this case we can maximize it because this is based on a real project of ours.

Zoning Floor Area with Bonus 2,700 sq ft

So we can build a 2,700 sq ft for the house.


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


We can build a 2 family house of 2,700 square feet counting the attic. We will need to provide parking for every family.


R4A 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 R4A Zoning Districts. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.



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.


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.