R9D Zoning NYC

by | Last updated Jul 13, 2020 | NYC Zoning

R9D Zoning in NYC is high density contextual residential zoning district. This is contextual zoning which means following the Quality Housing Program requirements.

This post will only be addressing R9D Zoning, here is a list of all the other R9 Zoning Districts.


R9 Zoning Districts

Basic R9 District:

R9 Contextual Districts

Commercial districts with an R9D Residential Equivalent 


R9D Zoning NYC

What Is R9D Zoning?

R9D Zoning is considered “high density” residential zoning. It typically has multifamily buildings that are often around 10 stories or more. In an R9D zone you must follow the Quality Housing Program zoning regulations.


Quality Housing Program R9D 

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 just another set of optional 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.


R9D Zoning Community Facility

R9D 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 would be different. One can also build a mixed use building with both community facility and residential use.


R9D 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.


R9D 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.


R9D 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 =9

With Inclusionary Housing Bonus FAR = 10

Density Factor


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

0 – 25 Along Elevated rail

60 – 85 not along elevated rail

Overall Building Height: 

There is no maximum building height


Corner Lot: No Yards Required

Interior Lot = 30 foot minimum rear yard required


R9D 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.

R9D Zoning Example Lot

Lets assume we have a 50 foot wide and 100 foot deep property in an R9D Zoning District.

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 9. The Floor Area Ratio or 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 9

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 = 9

Zoning Floor Area = 5,000 sq ft x 9

Zoning Floor Area = 45,000 sq ft

How many apartments can we build on our R9D lot?

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

R9D Zoning Example Conclusion

In this example we are proposing to build a 45,000 sq ft building. The apartment building will be at least 13 stories tall and have a setback at least on the top floors. The Building will have a foot print of 50 x 70. It will have a maximum of 66 apartments but can have less as well.


NYC R9D Zoning

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 commercial zoning district R9D. This analysis does not assume to cover every possible issue and condition, but provide a general overview of the zoning codes.


Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on R9D Zoning in NYC.

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