The East Village and Lower East Side neighborhoods have been known for generations as a gateway for untold numbers of immigrants. At one point during its history it was reported to house the densest concentration of people in the world. Many of the area’s 19th and early 20th-century tenement-style buildings remain intact today, and it is this particular building type and scale, along with other low- to mid-rise, multiple-dwelling apartments and row houses, built to the street line, that remain so strongly associated with these neighborhoods.
The typical four- to seven-story buildings (see maps of building heights and land use below), the wide range of active, ground-floor commercial uses and the area’s access to subway and bus service all foster the vibrant sense of street life that has made these neighborhoods such desirable destinations for both visitors and residents.
The existing zoning, which has remained in place since 1961, is R7-2 or C6-1. Both of these are height factor, or non-contextual, districts that allow residential uses at a maximum floor area ratio (FAR) of 3.44, community facility uses at 6.5 FAR, and commercial uses (in the C6-1 districts) at 6.0 FAR. These districts allow the development of tall, slender buildings surrounded by open space. They do not require that buildings be built to the street line, and they place no fixed limit on building heights. (The rezoning area does not include the residential development known as Village View, located between East 2nd Street and East 6th Street, from First Avenue to Avenue A.)
In recent years an increasing number of new buildings have been constructed at heights significantly above most existing buildings in the East Village and Lower East Side. It is this mismatch between what is permitted under the existing zoning and the predominant neighborhood character that this proposal seeks to remedy.
The rezoning area is currently zoned R7-2 and C6-1, with C1-5 and C2-5 commercial overlays along the avenues between East 13th Street and Houston Street; on Houston/East 1st Street between Avenue A and Avenue B; and on Clinton Street between Houston and Delancey streets.
View the East Village / Lower East Side Zoning Comparison Chart.
An R7-2 district is mapped in the area generally bounded by Third Avenue, East 13th Street, Avenue D, Pitt Street, Delancey Street, Norfolk Street and Houston Street. Residential and community facility uses are permitted in R7-2 districts, with a maximum floor area ratio (FAR) of 3.44 for residential use and 6.5 for community facility use. The maximum height of residential buildings in R7-2 districts is regulated by the sky exposure plane, which begins at a height of 60 feet above the front lot line. Because the entire rezoning area is located in the “Manhattan Core”, no off-street parking is required.
Existing R7-2 Zoning: Allows out-of-scale building forms (west side of First Avenue, between East 9th Street and East 10th Street)
A C6-1 district is mapped in the area generally bounded by the Bowery and Houston, Norfolk and Grand streets, and includes frontages on Second Avenue between Houston Street and East 7th Street. Residential, commercial, and community facility uses are permitted in C6-1 districts, with a maximum FAR of 3.44 for residential use; 6.5 for community facility use; and 6.0 for commercial use. For commercial or residential development in C6-1 districts, the maximum building height is regulated by the sky exposure plane, which begins at a height of 85 feet above the front lot line for commercial development and at 60 feet above the front lot line for residential development. C6-1 districts permit a wide range of commercial uses which typically require a central location, including large retail stores, entertainment facilities, hotels and office space.
Existing C6-1 Zoning:
New out-of-scale building (south side of Rivington Street, between Ludlow Street and Essex Street)
Overview | Existing Context and Zoning | Proposed Zoning | "A" Applications
Environmental Review | Public Review
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Brief explanations of terms in green italics can be viewed by clicking on the term. Words and phrases followed by an asterisk (*) are defined terms in the Zoning Resolution, primarily in Section 12-10. Consult the Zoning Resolution for the official and legally binding definitions of these words and phrases.