R7A Zoning NYC, Multifamily Residential

by | Last updated Jun 3, 2020 | NYC Zoning, Property Development

R7A Zoning is a Contextual Residential Zoning District in NYC. This is a multifamily residential zone with medium sized buildings. As a contextual zone it is required to follow the Quality Housing Program Zoning Regulations.


R7A Zoning NYC

Basic R7 Zoning Districts

  • R7-1 Zoning
  • R7-2 Zoning

R7 Contextual Districts


Most Commercial Zoning districts allow for residential use. Below are Commercial zones with R7A Residential Equivalents.


R7A Zoning

R7A is a medium density residential zoning district in New York City. A few examples of neighborhoods with R7A zoning would be Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Jackson Heights in Queens, and Harlem & East Village in  Manhattan. R7A districts have multifamily buildings often about 7 or 8 stories high. Zoning districts, such as R7A, that end in a letter are “Contextual Districts” and follow the rules of the Quality Housing Program.


R7A Zoning Analysis Example

This is an actual property we did a zoning analysis for. Check out another post we wrote to learn more about what goes into a Zoning Analysis.

The property consisted of 2 adjacent lots sharing a property line. The clients wanted to build 1 multifamily apartment building. This would require a lot merger which is very common. We would take the 2 lots each 25 x 100 and merge them into one tax lot.


Tax lot merger


What can you build on this R7A Zoning Lot?

The first step is to calculate the Floor Area Ratio or FAR. The FAR is a ratio between the lot square footage and the allowed building square footage. The Floor Area Ratio in R7A is 4. The lot area as we can see above is 100 feet x 50 feet or 5,000 square feet.

Lot Area is 50 X 100 or 5,000 sq ft

R7A FAR = 4 as per Zoning Code

Zoning Floor Area = Floor Area Ratio X Lot Area 

Zoning Floor Area = 4 X 5,000 sq ft

Floor Area = 20,000 square feet

We now know we can build a 20,000 square foot building on this property. This number is the zoning floor area. In actuality the building will be a little larger than that because there are certain zoning deductions you can take. We aren’t getting into that level of detail in this article.

On this property we can build a maximum of 29 apartments. We can always build less but cannot build more. If you prefer to do large apartments you can do that with a lower unit count.


R7A Building Bulk / Massing

Now that we know the square footage we can build we need to figure out the building envelope that is the massing or bulk. The building envelope is the general size and shape of the building. It is the 3 dimensional volume of the building.

Site Planning: Where on the lot can we build?

Zoning districts have requirements for yards. We have a 30 foot required rear yard. So we cannot build in that area. Also we have to align with the neighbors buildings in the front. The neighbors are 5 feet back from the property line so we will match them. See diagram for the Building Site Plan. We can only build on an area 65 feet by 50 feet. This results in 3,250 square feet. that should easily give us a building with 6 or 7 stories.


R7A Site Plan


R7A Zoning NYC 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 R7A Zoning in NYC. 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 R7A Zoning.

I hope this was helpful. If you are interested in getting a zoning analysis on a property or looking for 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.