What Is My Zoning District in NYC?

by | Last updated Jul 13, 2020 | NYC Zoning

New York City is broken into zoning districts. These zoning districts can be found on the NYC Zoning Maps or by using Zola, the NYC Zoning and Land Use website.

You can use Zola, the NYC Zoning and land use website, to look up your zoning district.


Types of NYC Zoning Districts

NYC is broken into three types of zoning districts:

  • C for Commercial Zoning 
  • M for Manufacturing Zoning 
  • R for Residential Zoning 

Commercial Zoning

Commercial Zoning Districts start with a Letter C, e.g., C6-6 Zoning. In commercial zoning districts you can build commercial buildings, community facility buildings, and in most cases, residential buildings. A commercial zoning district must have a residential equivalent in order to develop residential use.

Manufacturing Zoning

Manufacturing Zoning Districts start with the letter M, e.g., M1-5 Zoning. In manufacturing zoning districts, you can build manufacturing buildings, commercial buildings, community facility uses, and in some few cases, residential use. M1 zones allow for hotels, but there are new special permit regulations for hotel zoning in certain M1 areas.

Residential Zoning

Residential Zoning Districts start with the letter R, e.g., R8 zoning. In Residential zones, you can build residential buildings and community facility buildings. You cannot have a commercial use in a residential zone unless there is a commercial overlay.

Contextual Districts

Some zoning districts in NYC are Contextual Zoning Districts. These districts are meant to preserve a certain character and scale of the neighborhood. One example is R6A zoning. In R6A the rules are modified to maintain a certain uniformity. For example you can not develop a building that is closer to the street than the neighboring building. So if the neighbor building is 5 feet back from the property line, you need to be 5 feet back as well.

Commercial Overlay

Sometimes a residential zoning district has a commercial overlay These start with a letter C, e.g., C1-4 zoning. A commercial overlay is an area within a residential zoning district that also allows for commercial use.

Special Use Districts

Aside from the basic zoning districts many parts of New York City have Special Purpose Districts. These areas still have the basic zoning districts of C, M, or R but also fall in special districts. A special district will have additional regulations beyond the typical requirements for the C, M, or R Zones.

One example of a special purpose district is the Special Lower Manhattan District or LM. In the LM zoning special district you do not have to comply with the “Sliver Law“. There are also other special regulations to contend with.

Split Lot Zoning

A split lot is a zoning lot that is in two or more different zoning districts. This is actually quite common. Zoning districts can cut through a property, which can be confusing. There are various ways to address this . In some cases, you can apply the regulations of one. In many you will treat them separately.

NYC Zoning

As an architect, I study zoning very closely. NYC Zoning is complicated and quite involved. In this article, we mention some of the basic premises in the Zoning Resolution with regards to determining your zoning district. 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 How to find your Zoning district in NYC.

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak 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.