Special Forest Hills Zoning NYC

by | Last updated Feb 6, 2021 | NYC Zoning

The Special Forest Hills District in Queens is one of New York City’s many special zoning districts. Within this district there are special zoning regulations that go beyond the typical requirements of the NYC Zoning Resolution.

The following are some of the special regulations for the Forest Hills Queens Zoning District.

  • Special Use Requirements
  • Transparency
  • Bulk Regulations


Special Forest Hills Zoning Regulations


Special Use Requirements in Forest Hills

On certain areas the first floor must have commercial or community facility uses. For example some parts of Austin Street and 71st Ave. The commercial and community facility uses must be allowed by the Underlying Zoning District.

Within the applicable areas there are certain additional commercial uses permitted that would not otherwise be allowed.

The Zoning Resolution typical prohibits commercial uses and residential uses on the same floor within a mixed use building. In this special district, there are some instances where this is available, specifically, where there is no access between the two different uses. Commercial uses are not allowed above residential uses without authorization by the City Planning Commission.

Transparency Requirements

Zoning can affect building design in many ways. In the Special Forest Hills Zoning District, there are transparency requirements for certain types of buildings that determine how much glass must be used on a building facade.

Bulk Regulations

The building bulk is the general shape and size of a building. The special district has some bulk regulations beyond the typical underlying district requirements.

In commercial zoning districts, the Floor Area Ratio is modified from the underlying district.

Rear yards are not required for commercial or community facility use in C2-3 Zoning in the Forest Hills Special District.

There are also height and setback regulations. Building must comply with the Quality Housing Program height and setback requirements with some exceptions.

In C4-4A Zoning within the Special Forest Hills District, the maximum street wall base height is 60 feet and the maximum building height is 70 feet.

In C4-5X Zoning within the Forest Hills District west of 70th Road, the minimum base height is 40 feet and the maximum is 60 feet. The maximum building height is 120 feet with some exceptions. In some cases it will be 80 feet.


Queens Special Forest Hills Zoning District

As an architect, I study Building Codes and 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 Special Forest Hills Zoning District. 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 the Special Queens Forest Hills Zoning District Requirements.

I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect, you can contact us at Fontan Architecture 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.