R9 Zoning is a residential zoning district in NYC that allows for one of the highest buildable floor areas of all residential zoning in NYC. There are different options for zoning regulations in R9 they are height factor / tower, tower on a base, or Quality Housing Program.
This post is going to focus on regular R9 Zoning and not with R9 contextual Zoning.
R9 ZONING DISTRICTS
REGULAR R9 DISTRICT:
R9 CONTEXTUAL DISTRICTS
COMMERCIAL ZONING WITH RESIDENTIAL EQUIVALENT R9 ZONING
Most Commercial Zoning districts allow for residential use. Below are Commercial zones with R9 Residential Equivalents.
WHAT IS R9 ZONING?
R9 Zoning is considered “high density” residential zoning. R9 is a Residential Zoning Districts with higher floor area ratios and results in larger buildings. It typically has large multifamily buildings including high rise residential towers. In an R9 zone you have options for zoning regulations you can use Quality Housing Program, Height Factor / Tower or Tower on a Base.
Some R9 Zoning Districts have optional Inclusionary Housing Zoning and may have mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirements.
Height Factor for R9 Zones
Height factor is one set of zoning regulations that promotes building taller skinnier buildings. Height factor does not apply in “contextual districts.” There are proportional requirements governing the height and size of the building. The taller the building gets the less area it can cover on the site, basically the taller it gets the skinnier it needs to be with more open space on the property.
R9 Height Factor Example:
An 8 story building in an R9 Zone would have a Floor Area Ratio of 6.13 If you went to 14 stories you would be able to use the maximum Floor Area Ratio of 7.52.
|Number Of Stories||Open Space Ratio||Floor area Ratio|
|Over 21 Stories||9 + .4 per story over 21||HF FAR Formula|
QUALITY HOUSING PROGRAM FOR R9 ZONES
The Quality Housing Program promotes shorter wider buildings that are typically larger in square footage. The Quality Housing Program is not to be confused with the Inclusionary Housing Program for affordable housing. The quality housing program is just another set of optional zoning regulations and has nothing to do with low income or affordable housing. Typically QHP 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. the Quality housing Program regulations for R9 are the same as the regulations for R9A Zoning,
Quality housing is optional in R9 but Mandatory in Contextual Zoning: R9A Zoning, R9D Zoning and R9X Zoning.
R9 TOWER ZONING
R9 Zoning allows for Towers these are tall skinny buildings. Additionally you can develop a Tower on a Base which is a thin tower on a wider base.
R10 TOWER ON A BASE ZONING
Tower on a Base Zoning is a tower that sits on a wider base. The base follows the quality housing program regulations. And the tower follows tower regulations.
R9 ZONING COMMUNITY FACILITY
R9 Zoning is a residential zone but Community Facility uses are allowed in all R9 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.
R9 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. If you are building in a commercial zone with a residential equivalent you can also build mixed use buildings.
R9 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 affordable housing. Typically in these areas you provide 20% of your floor area for affordable units and you get a 20% increase to the allowable floor area of the building. There can be zoning penalties if you choose not to provide it and zoning bonuses if you do.
R9 ZONING REGULATIONS FOR QUALITY HOUSING
Minimum Lot width =18 Feet
Minimum Lot Area = 1,700 Sq Ft
Corner Lot = 100%
Interior or Through Lot = 70%
Floor Area Ratio (FAR):
FAR = 7.52
FAR With Inclusionary Housing = 8
680 – This is used to calculate how many apartments you can have. The total residential floor area is divided by this factor to get the maximum allowable number of dwelling units.
Building Base Height: This indicates a setback is required at these heights
Narrow street = 60 Minimum / 95 Maximum
Wide street = 60 Minimum / 105 Maximum
Inclusionary Housing Base Height:
Narrow street = 60 Minimum / 125 Maximum
Wide street = 60 Minimum / 125 Maximum
Overall Building Height: This is the actual building height
Narrow street = 135
Wide street = 145
Inclusionary Housing Building Height:
Narrow street = 160 (165 with qualifying ground floor)
Wide street = 170 (175 with qualifying ground floor)
R9 Zones are subject to “Sliver Law” zoning restrictions for properties less than 45 feet wide. The sliver law is an additional restriction on the height of the building and supersedes the typical building height requirements. Sliver law is not applicable in certain special zoning districts.
Corner Lot: No Yards Required
Interior Lot = 30 foot minimum rear yard required
R9 ZONING 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.
R9 ZONING EXAMPLE LOT
Lets assume we have a 50 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R9 Zoning District in Manhattan on an interior lot and lets say it is on a wide street.
R9 QUALITY HOUSING PROGRAM EXAMPLE:
Building Foot Print:
First lets start with Lot Coverage and Yards. We know we will need a minimum rear yard of 30 feet. That tells us we have 50 x 70 to build on, and we can cover 70% of the property. This works out well with a 3,500 sq ft area we can build on.
Zoning Floor Area/ Floor Area Ratio (FAR)
So the floor area ratio is 7.52. 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 7.52 (it would be 8 with Inclusionary Housing)
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 = 7.52
Zoning Floor Area = 5,000 sq ft x 7.52
Zoning Floor Area = 37,600 sq ft
So we can build a 37,600 sq ft building.
HOW MANY APARTMENTS CAN WE DEVELOP ON OUR R9 LOT?
Zoning regulates the maximum number of residential units you can put in a building.
Maximum Number Of apartments = 55
R9 ZONING EXAMPLE CONCLUSION
In this example we are proposing to build a 37,600 sq ft building. The apartment building will be 12 stories tall and have a setback at least on the top couple floors. The Building will have a foot print of 50 x 70. It will have a maximum of 55 apartments but can have less as well.
As an architect I study zoning very closely. NYC Zoning is complicated and quite involved. In this article we reviewed some of the basic Zoning Codes with regards to residential zoning district R9. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue and condition, but provide a general overview. This post does not substitute the NYC Zoning Resolution.
THANK YOU FOR READING OUR BLOG POST ON R9 ZONING.
I hope this was helpful. You can leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to contact us directly. We will be happy to help.
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.