R7X Zoning NYC, Multifamily Residential

by | Last updated Jul 10, 2020 | NYC Zoning

In NYC R7X Zoning is a medium density residential zoning district. It is a contextual zone and must follow the regulations for the Quality Housing Program. R7X is found in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn , and Queens.

This post will focused on R7X Contextual Zoning, here is a list of all the R7 Zoning Districts.


Basic R7 Zoning Districts

R7 Contextual Districts

Commercial Districts With R7X Residential Equivalent


R7X Zoning NYC

R7X is a medium density contextual residential zoning district in New York City. R7X districts have multifamily buildings about 10 to 12 stories high.


Quality Housing Program R7X Contextual Zoning 

The Quality Housing Program is a separate set of zoning rules that are mandatory in Contextual Districts. Quality Housing 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.

Zoning districts that end in a letter like R7X are “Contextual Districts” and must follow the rules of the Quality Housing Program.


R7X Inclusionary Housing Program

Always check if your property is subject to requirements of the Inclusionary Housing Program. These are districts that have either 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 zoning penalties if you choose not to provide it, and zoning bonuses if you do.


R7X Zoning Community Facility

R7X 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 may be different. One can also build a mixed use building with both community facility and residential use.


R7X 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.


R7X 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 = 70%

Floor Area Ratio (FAR):

FAR = 5

Inclusionary Housing FAR (with bonus) = 6 (The zoning code Chapter 23-154 says 5, I think this is a mistake and it is meant to be 6. The Zoning Handbook says 6)

Density Factor


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

Base Height = 60 Minimum / 85 Maximum (95 with Qualifying Ground Floor)

Inclusionary Housing Base Height = 60 Minimum / 105 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

Building Height: = 120 feet (125 with Qualifying Ground Floor)  12 story building maximum

Inclusionary Housing Building Height: = 140 feet (155 with Qualifying Ground Floor) 14 story building maximum


Corner Lot: No Yards Required

Interior Lot = 30 foot minimum rear yard required


R7X Zoning Analysis Example

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.

R7X Zoning Example Lot

Lets assume we have a 50 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R7X Zoning District in Manhattan on an interior lot.

Building Foot Print:

First Lets start with Lot Coverage and Yards. We know we will need a minimum rear yard of 30 feet. We can cover 70% of the property. So this will work out well we can make a 30 foot rear yard and build on 50 x 70 feet giving us a building footprint of 3,500 square feet.

Zoning Floor Area/ Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

The floor area ratio is 5. 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 5

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 = 5

Zoning Floor Area = 5,000 sq ft x 5

Zoning Floor Area = 25,000 sq ft

How many apartments can we build on our R7X lot?

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

R7X Zoning Example Conclusion

In this example we are proposing to build a 25,000 sq ft building. The apartment building will be 8 stories tall and have a setback at least on the top floor. The Building will have a foot print of 50 x 70. It will have a maximum of 37 apartments but can have less as well.


R7X Zoning Codes

The New York City Zoning Resolution is complicated and quite in depth. In this article we reviewed some basic Zoning Codes with regards to R7X Zoning. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue, but provide a general overview of the relevant zoning codes. Every project is unique and should be assessed by a professional licensed Architect.


Thank you for reading our Blog Post on R7X Zoning.

I hope this was helpful. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to 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.