R7B Zoning NYC, Multifamily Residential

by | Last updated Jul 10, 2020 | NYC Zoning

In NYC R7B Zoning is a medium density residential zoning district. It is a contextual zone and must follow the regulations for Quality Housing Program. R7B is found in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn , and Queens.

This post will focused on R7B Contextual Zoning, here is a list of all the R7 Zoning Districts.

R7 Zoning Districts

R7 Contextual Districts


R7B Zoning NYC

R7B is a medium density contextual residential zoning district in New York City. R7B districts have multifamily buildings about 5 or 6 stories high. Zoning districts that end in a letter are “Contextual Districts” and follow the rules of the Quality Housing Program.


Quality Housing Program R7B 

The Quality Housing Program promotes shorter wider buildings that are typically larger in square footage then a tall skinny building. The Quality Housing Program is not to be confused with the Inclusionary Housing Program for affordable housing. The quality housing program is separate set of zoning regulations and has nothing to do with low income or affordable housing. The quality housing program typically will 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 total building size.


R7B Zoning Community Facility

R7B Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are allowed in all R7 zones. 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.


R7B Zoning Commercial Overlay

Sometimes residential districts have commercial overlays. This means the zone is primarily residential but commercial use is allowed instead or you can have both as a mixed use building. Here is a link to an article we wrote on Commercial Overlays.


R7B Zoning Regulations For Quality Housing

Lot Size:

Minimum Lot width =18 Feet

Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft

Lot Coverage:

Corner Lot = 100%

Interior or Through Lot = 65%

Floor Area Ratio (FAR):

FAR = 3

Density Factor


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

Base Height = 40 Minimum / 65 Maximum

A setback is required in the base height range. Or this can be the maximum height of the building without a setback.

Overall Building Height: This is the maximum building height

Manhattan Core: = 75 feet


Corner Lot: No Yards Required

Interior Lot = 30 foot minimum rear yard required


R7B Zoning Example

Here is an example 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.

R7B Zoning Example Lot

Lets assume we have a 50 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R7B Zoning District in Manhattan on an interior lot.

Zoning Floor Area/ Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

So the floor area ratio is 3. 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 3

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 = 3

Zoning Floor Area = 5,000 sq ft x 3

Zoning Floor Area = 15,000 sq ft

So we can build a 15,000 sq ft building. This is the zoning square footage, the actual building will be a little bigger than that.

We said our building foot print would be 50 x 65. Or 3,250 per floor.

This will give us a 5 story building.

How many apartments can we build on our R7B lot?

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

R7B Zoning Example Conclusion

In this example we are proposing to build a 15,000 sq ft building. The apartment building will be 5 stories tall and have a setback at least on the top floor. The Building will have a foot print of 50 x 65. It will have a maximum of 22 apartments but can have less as well.


R7B 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 R7B 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 Blog Post on R7B Zoning.

I hope this was helpful. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to Contact Fontan Architecture. We will be happy to help.


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.