Residence Districts: R8 - R8A - R8B - R8X

Residence Districts: R8 - R8A - R8B - R8X

Apartment buildings in R8 districts can range from mid-rise, eight- to ten-story buildings to much taller buildings set back from the street on large zoning lots. This high density residential district is mapped along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and on the edge of Brooklyn Heights. R8 districts are also widely mapped in Manhattan neighborhoods, such as Washington Heights. New buildings in R8 districts may be developed under either height factor regulations or the optional Quality Housing regulations that often reflect the older, pre-1961 neighborhood streetscape.

Height Factor Regulations

The floor area ratio (FAR) for height factor development in R8 districts ranges from 0.94 to 6.02; the open space ratio (OSR) ranges from 5.9 to 11.9. A taller building may be obtained by providing more open space. In the diagram, for example, 64% of the zoning lot with the 17-story building must be open space (6.02 FAR x 10.7 OSR). Thus, the maximum FAR is achievable only where the zoning lot is large enough to accommodate a practical building footprint as well as the required amount of open space. There are no absolute height limits; the building must be set within a sky exposure plane which, in R8 districts, begins at a height of 85 feet above the street line and then slopes inward over the zoning lot.

Off-street parking is required for only 40% of dwelling units since these districts are easily accessed by mass transit. It can be waived if 15 or fewer parking spaces are required or if the zoning lot is 10,000 square feet or less.

An apartment building in a high-density R8 district, where height limits do not apply (although buildings cannot penetrate the sky exposure plane), in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn>                       <div class=

An apartment building in a high-density R8 district, where height limits do not apply (although buildings cannot penetrate the sky exposure plane), in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

R8 Height Factor Regulations Table

 

Quality Housing Regulations

The optional Quality Housing regulations in R8 districts utilize height limits to produce lower, high lot coverage buildings set at or near the street line. With floor area ratio (FAR) equal to or greater than can be achieved using R8 height factor regulations, the optional Quality Housing regulations produce new buildings in keeping with many of the city’s established neighborhoods.

The maximum FAR is 6.02, and the base height before setback is 60 to 80 feet with a maximum building height of 105 feet. On wide streets outside the Manhattan Core, the FAR rises to 7.2, and the base height before setback is 60 to 85 feet with a maximum building height of 120 feet. The street wall of the building must extend along the width of the zoning lot and at least 70% of the street wall must be within eight feet of the street line.

The area between a building’s street wall and the street line must be planted and the building must have interior amenities for residents pursuant to the Quality Housing Program.

Off-street parking requirements are the same as for height factor buildings: 40% of the dwelling units.

A building which availed of quality housing regulations in an R8 district, where height limits have been utilized to produce a lower, high lot coverage building set at or near the street line, in Downtown Brooklyn
A building which availed of quality housing regulations in an R8 district, where height limits have been utilized to produce a lower, high lot coverage building set at or near the street line, in Downtown Brooklyn
R8 Height Factor Regulations Table

The contextual Quality Housing bulk regulations, which are mandatory in R8A districts, typically result in high lot coverage 10- to 12-story apartment buildings, set at or near the street line. Limitations on the base height and maximum building height of new buildings ensure compatibility with existing buildings on the street. Parts of DUMBO in Brooklyn and West Chelsea in Manhattan are R8A districts.

The floor area ratio (FAR) in R8A districts is 6.02. Above a base height of 60 to 85 feet, the building must set back to a depth of 10 feet on a wide street and 15 feet on a narrow street before rising to its maximum height of 120 feet. On a wide street, the street wall must extend along the entire width of the zoning lot and at least 70% of the street wall must be within eight feet of the street line.

The area between a building’s street wall and the street line must be planted and the building must have interior amenities pursuant to the Quality Housing Program.

Off-street parking is not allowed in front of a building. Parking is required for 40% of dwelling units.

A building in an R8A contextual district in West Chelsea, Manhattan, where quality housing bulk regulations are mandatory
A building in an R8A contextual district in West Chelsea, Manhattan, where quality housing bulk regulations are mandatory

R8B contextual districts usually present the same unified blocks of “brownstone” rowhouses as R5B and R6B districts but the higher floor area ratio (FAR) of 4.0 creates a taller building that is commonly found on the narrow side streets of the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side in Manhattan. The mandatory Quality Housing bulk regulations encourage new six-story apartment buildings, with a setback at the top story, that fit in well with the rows of 19th century houses.

The base height of a new building before a setback is 55 to 60 feet. The maximum building height is 75 feet. Many buildings are set back from the street with stoops in shallow front yards. To maintain the traditional streetscape, curb cuts are prohibited for zoning lot frontages less than 40 feet. The street wall of a new building, on any lot up to 50 feet wide, must be as deep as one adjacent street wall but no deeper than the other. On lots with at least 50 feet of frontage, the street wall must be no closer to the street line than the street wall of an adjacent building. Street walls need not be set back beyond 15 feet. Buildings must have interior amenities for residents pursuant to the Quality Housing Program.

Off-street parking is not allowed in front of a building and any open area between the street wall and the street line must be planted. Parking is required for 50% of dwelling units, and can be waived if 15 or fewer parking spaces are required or if the zoning lot is 10,000 square feet or less. In Brooklyn, however, parking is required for 40% of dwelling units, and parking waivers are not allowed.

A characteristic rowhouse block in an R8B contextual district in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where quality housing bulk regulations are mandatory
A characteristic rowhouse block in an R8B contextual district in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where quality housing bulk regulations are mandatory

R8X contextual districts are governed by Quality Housing bulk regulations. R8X districts are similar to R8A districts but permit a higher building height that typically produces 14- to 16-story apartment buildings that replicate the building envelope of the older, traditional buildings in Prospect Heights and Park Slope that surround Grand Army Plaza.

The floor area ratio (FAR) in R8X districts is 6.02. Above a base height of 60 to 85 feet, the building must set back to a depth of 10 feet on a wide street and 15 feet on a narrow street before rising to a maximum building height of 150 feet. As in R8A districts, the street wall on a wide street must extend along the entire width of the zoning lot and at least 70% of the street wall must be within eight feet of the street line. Buildings must have interior amenities for residents pursuant to the Quality Housing Program.

Off-street parking is not allowed in front of a building. Parking is required for 40% of dwelling units, and it can be waived if 15 or fewer spaces are required or if the zoning lot is 10,000 square feet or less.

A residential development in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn in an R8X contextual district, which is governed by quality housing bulk regulations
A residential development in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn in an R8X contextual district, which is governed by quality housing bulk regulations