Residential Regulation Changes - Approved August 12th, 2004
Commercial Overlay Boundary Changes/Eliminations - Approved October 11th, 2005
LDGMA Follow-Up Text Amendments - Approved December 8th, 2005
Commercial Regulation Changes - Approved December 21st, 2005
Commercial Rezonings - Approved December 21st, 2005
Work in Progress
On December 8, 2005 the City Council adopted text amendments (N 060022 ZRR - Read the CPC report) to clarify the intent and provisions of certain Lower Density Growth Management Area (LGDMA) zoning requirements for residential development in Staten Island. The amendments clarify regulations for Minimum Lot Area, Minimum Lot Width and Open Space in Rear Yards in residence districts.
Summary of New Rules
Following adoption of the new Lower Density Growth Management residential zoning regulations in August 2004, the Task Force identified additional ways in which new developments could circumvent the intent and spirit of the Task Force's recommendations. To address these concerns, the following regulations were adopted and apply only to the Staten Island LDGMA.
Minimum Lot Area (ZR 23-32 and ZR 107-42)
The new regulations require that the minimum lot area be applied to each building on a zoning lot. For example, to construct two buildings on the same lot in an R3X district, which has a minimum lot size of 3,325 square feet, the zoning lot must be at least 6,650 square feet (in the Special South Richmond Development District the minimum lot size for an R3X district is 3,800 square feet, so in order to construct two buildings on the same lot in that district, the zoning lot must be at least 6,800 square feet). This regulation applies to all residential districts in a Lower Density Growth Management Area of Staten Island.
Until the adoption of this regulation, the zoning regulations had been written and interpreted so that each zoning lot – not each building – had to meet certain minimum requirements. With the adoption of this change, the number of buildings will determine the minimum lot size.
A text amendment was also approved (ZR 107-42) to make the South Richmond Special District consistent with the rest of the city and allow a two-family residence on small lots in those zoning districts that permit it. Elsewhere in the city, at least one building (a single-family or, where permitted, a two-family house) is permitted on small lots that existed in 1961 under separate ownership (ZR 23-33). This regulation applied citywide except for the South Richmond Special District, which limited development of pre-existing small lots to one-family residences, even if the underlying zoning allowed two-family residences.
Minimum Lot Width (ZR 23-32 and ZR 107-42)
The Zoning Resolution mandates a minimum zoning lot width for each residential district (e.g., 40 feet in an R2 district, 30 feet in an R4A district). Where streets follow a grid pattern it is easy to determine the width of a zoning lot. On Staten Island, where there is no regular pattern to the street network, most streets follow the natural topography of the island or have been defined by private road development. In many instances, zoning lots are irregular or uniquely shaped. In these circumstances, the prior zoning regulations allowed a property owner to calculate the mean lot width, an averaging, to determine the lot width. The Task Force identified several instances where property owners have used this averaging to subdivide zoning lots to build more houses than is normally anticipated.
The new regulations require that any new building meet all three of the following minimum lot width requirements. A zoning lot has to:
- Meet the existing minimum mean lot width (averaging) requirement;
- Meet the minimum lot width requirement at the street line, and
- A residence can be located only on a portion of the zoning lot where the minimum lot width requirement is met.
In addition, on a corner lot, the minimum lot width requirement has to be met on both of the streets that the lot fronts on.
On an L-shaped lot, the minimum lot width requirement can be met at only one of the two street lines; however, a building can be located only on that portion of the zoning lot where the minimum lot width is met.
Open Area Requirement (ZR 23-89)
To ensure that developments with multiple buildings on a zoning lot have adequate open space, the LDGMA text amendments adopted in August 2004 required buildings to have a 30-foot-deep open area behind the rear wall of the house to serve as a rear yard.
The new regulation clarifies the language so that each building must have its own 30-foot deep open area which can not be shared with other buildings.