R6A Zoning NYC Residential

by | Last updated Jun 4, 2020 | Multifamily Residential, NYC Zoning

R6A Zoning is a Contextual Zoning District in New York City. As a contextual district buildings developed in R6A Zoning must comply with Quality Housing Program Regulations. In NYC R6A is a subdistrict of R6 Zoning.


R6A Zoning 

R6A is a medium density residential zoning district. Similar to R6B Zoning, R6A is a contextual district. Contextual Zoning Districts are meant to promote uniformity in the neighborhoods they are zoned in. This results in shorter low rise buildings with large footprints. In Contextual Zone R6A developments are required to follow the Quality Housing Program Regulations.

R6 Zoning Districts:

Commercial Zoning Districts With R6A Residential Equivalent


R6A Quality Housing Program

The Quality Housing Program is common in R6 zones and is mandatory in R6A and R6B zones. The quality housing program promotes shorter wider buildings. People often confuse the Quality Housing Program with the Inclusionary Housing Program. These are two different things. The Quality Housing Program does not have anything to do with affordable housing. That would be the Inclusionary Housing Program.

The Quality Housing Program can 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 building size.


What is R6A Zoning?

R6A has multifamily buildings that can range from walk up townhouses to small or medium sized apartment buildings. You can only develop residential buildings or community facility buildings unless the property has a commercial overlay.


R6A Zoning Community Facility

In NYC R6A Zoning is a residential zone, but you can develop Community Facility uses in R6A districts. 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.


R6A Zoning Commercial Overlay

Sometimes residential districts have Commercial Overlays. This means the underlying zone is residential but you can develop commercial use instead or develop a mixed use building.



Some properties are subject to the requirements of the Inclusionary Housing Program. These are districts that have optional and sometimes mandatory requirements for low income housing. Typically in these areas you provide 20% of your floor area for affordable units. There can be a zoning bonus if you provide it, but a zoning penalty if you do not.



Lot Size:

Minimum Lot width =18 Feet

Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft

Lot Coverage:

Corner Lot = 80%

Interior or Through Lot = 65%

Floor Area Ratio (FAR):

FAR = 3.0

Density Factor


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

Base height t: = 40 Minimum / 60 Maximum

Overall Building Height: This is the actual building height

Height: = 70 feet


Corner Lot: No Yards Required

Interior Lot = 30 foot minimum rear yard required


50% of dwelling units

Parking Is waived in the Manhattan Core. There are also waivers for small lots and lots with few parking requirements.


R6A Zoning Example Quality Housing Program Residential Use

R6A Zoning Example = FAR 3.0

Here we will see a few of the zoning issues that, as architects, we look into when evaluating the zoning of a property for a Multi Family Residential Development. Basically these are the steps an architect takes in determining what you can build in a new residential development in an R6A district using the Quality Housing Program regulations.

For this example we will use a property that is 100 feet wide and 100 feet deep in an R6A zoning district. This building will be located in the middle of the block on an interior lot, properties at the corners of a block have different regulations with regards to yard requirements.


The property we are looking at is 100 feet by 100 feet and that means the property is 10,000 square feet.

100 x 100 = 10,000 square feet

Our first step is to calculate the floor area ration of the building also called FAR.

Floor Area Ratio

Floor area ratio (FAR) is a proportion that determines how many square feet your building can be. The FAR for this property is 3 as determined by the NYC Quality Housing Program Zoning Regulations. This means we take the property square footage and multiply it by the FAR to figure out the zoning square footage.


Property Square Footage X FAR = Zoning Square footage

Property Square footage = 10,000

FAR = 3

10,000 x 3 = 30,000

The zoning calculations on this property conclude that you can develop 30,000 residential square feet. In reality we can build a little more than 30,000 square feet because there are certain zoning floor area deductions you can get. For example in the Quality Housing Program every floor should have a trash room of 12 sq ft but you do not need to count that 12 sq ft for the zoning square feet. Another example is that cellars are not counted for Floor Area. For the sake of simplicity of this example we will not be considering those deductions.

We can build a building with a maximum of 44 Apartments on this property. This is a really basic example of some of the calculations we do when performing a zoning analysis. There are many more variables and considerations to take into account. The NYC zoning code is thousands of pages.


R6A 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 R6A 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 R6A Zoning Districts

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 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.