Sky Exposure Plane NYC Zoning

by | Last updated Jul 13, 2020 | NYC Zoning

A sky exposure plane is an imaginary plane that sets an inclined boundary that a building cannot penetrate. The sky exposure plane establishes a limit for a building envelope as specified in the zoning code.


Sky Exposure Plane

  • Front Sky Exposure Plane
  • Rear Sky Exposure Plane

The sky exposure plane is specified for certain zoning districts in the NYC Zoning Resolution. There are 2 types the front and rear sky exposure plane.


What is a Sky Exposure Plane?

The Sky Exposure plane is an imaginary sloping boundary. A building development cannot penetrate the sky exposure plane, with the exception of permuted obstructions.

The Slope of the sky exposure plane is specified in the Zoning Resolution as a ratio of vertical to horizontal this ratio will change in different zoning districts and with different conditions. The plane can start at the property line or be set back this will be specified int he code. Additionally the plane can start at an elevated point the height is also specified in the zoning code.

A Sky Exposure plane can result in buildings with setbacks for zoning, pitched roofs, or sloping facades.


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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.