R5A Zoning NYC

by | Last updated Jul 3, 2020 | NYC Zoning

R5A Zoning in NYC is a low density contextual residential zoning district. It is a subdistrict of R5 zoning. In R5A you can only build single family or two family detached houses.

R5A is a sub district of R5 zoning. The major differences between R5 and R5A is that R5A does not allow multi family (3 families or more is multifamily) you can only build one or two family homes. R5A is mapped in The Bronx and Queens.

R5 Zoning Districts


R5 Contextual Districts: R5A, R5B, and R5D are contextual districts and have a few additional requirements.


R5A Zoning Regulations:


R5A Zoning Community Facility

R5A Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are allowed in R5 zones. When developing a community facility the zoning calculations may be different as community facilities tend to have alternate requirements.


R5A Zoning Specifications

You can only build one or two family homes in R5A and they must be detached having yards on all sides.

Lot Size 

Lot Size For Detached 

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 = 1.1

Density Factor or Dwelling Unit Factor (DU)


Building Heights: 

Street Wall Maximum  Height = 25

Maximum Building Height = 35 Feet


Front Yard = 10 Feet, In this contextual District the front yard must be at least as deep as an adjacent yard or 10 feet minimum.

Rear Yard = 30 Feet

Side Yards = 2 side yards combined adding up to 10 feet required with the smaller yard being at least 2 feet.


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 40 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R5A Zoning District in Queens on an interior lot.

Zoning Floor Area/ Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

So the floor area ratio is 1.1. 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 1.1

The lot Size is 40 feet x 100 feet.

Zoning Floor Area = Lot Area X FAR

Lot Area = 40 x 100

Lot Area = 4,000 sq ft

FAR = 1.1

Zoning Floor Area = 4,000 sq ft x 1.1

Zoning Floor Area 4,400 sq ft

So we can build a 4,400 sq ft for the house.

How Many Families Can we Have On Our R5A

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


We can build a 2 family house of 4,400 square feet. We will need to provide parking for both families.


R5A Zoning Codes

The New York City Zoning Resolution is complicated and quite in depth. In this article we review some basic Zoning Codes with regards to Zoning R5A. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue or circumstance, but provide a general overview of the basic and most common zoning codes.


Thank You for reading our Blog Post on R5A Zoning.

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.