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Projects & Proposals > Bronx > Williamsbridge/Baychester Rezoning Printer Friendly Version
Williamsbridge/Baychester Rezoning - Approved!
Existing Zoning and Context
Overview | Existing Zoning & Context | Proposed Zoning | Public Review

Land Use and Existing Zoning Map
Land Use and Existing Zoning Map
PDF Document View a larger image.
The rezoning area, comprised of 181 full or partial blocks, contains a diverse mix of building types ranging from large apartment buildings along Carpenter Avenue to single-family detached homes along Tillotson Avenue by the New England Thruway. The Department of City Planning has undertaken this rezoning study in response to community concerns that the current zoning permits out-of-character development and does not reflect the area’s character. Three main zoning districts, R6, R5, and R4, dominate the study area. R5 and R4 districts allow for infill densities higher than their base density, which have led to the development of out-of-context buildings in the residential areas of Williamsbridge and Baychester.  The other designations mapped in the area are: R4-1, R7-1, C4-2, C8-1, and M1-1. 

The new housing is inconsistent with the surrounding context despite complying with the current zoning. Generic residential districts do not promote orderly or predictable growth and have altered the scale and character of the lower density areas of Williamsbridge and Baychester. Recent development trends include tearing down single-family detached homes and erecting attached, semi-detached, and multi-family dwellings that break the former coherent street wall and sky plane. Combined with C1-2 and C2-2 commercial overlays mapped throughout the area, the established mix of zoning districts and land use patterns promotes unpredictable and inappropriate development and commercial invasions of residential streets.

Major Residential/Commercial Corridors
White Plains Road is a major north-south arterial and the longest street in The Bronx, running from the southern end of the Soundview Penninsula to the Mount Vernon border.  The portion which traverses the western edge of Williamsbridge is a 100-foot wide street used by the local Bx-39 bus, the express BxM-11 bus, and the number 2 and 5 trains which operate on an elevated structure above the street. Between East Gun Hill Road and East 217th Street, the street widens out as several islands are located between the north and southbound traffic lines.  The avenue in general sees little pedestrian activity, except at the previously discussed transit nodes. The corridor contains a range of buildings which are generally one and two-story commercial structures and some small apartment buildings.  Typical uses include grocery stores, beauty parlors, discount stores, eating and drinking establishments and houses of worship.  The more active uses are located within two blocks of subway stations at East Gun Hill Road, East 225th Street and East 233rd Street. The underlying residential zoning is R5 north of East 222nd Street and R6 to the south. 

East Gun Hill Road is a major 100-foot wide east-west corridor running from Mosholu Parkway at its western terminus to the New England Thruway on the east.  The street contains several institutional uses, including religious and educational facilities, but is generally lined with low density commercial uses and occasional residences.  The Bx-28, Bx-30 and Bx-38 bus runs along this portion of Gun Hill Road. The portion with the study area lacks a distinct character and street wall due to the various general zoning districts on either side of the street, which include R6, R5, R4, and C8-1.

East 233rd Street is a 100 foot-wide east-west corridor running from Jerome Avenue on the west to the Hutchinson River in the east.  While there are several apartment buildings along this street including a 13-story apartment building west of Bronxwood Avenue, the street is generally under built and contains vacant land.  Most commercial uses are single-level stores and several provide on-site parking. The Bx-31 serves the portion of East 233rd Street within the study area.

Bronxwood and Laconia Avenues are local 100-foot wide arterials which are predominantly lower to mid-density residential streets with pockets of commercial structures.  Bronxwood avenue south of East 226th Street is served by the Bx-8 bus while a few blocks of Laconia Avenue near East 233rd Street are served By the Bx-31 route. 

Williamsbridge Neighborhood
Except for the previously discussed residential/commercial thoroughfares, the Williamsbridge neighborhood is a low to mid density residential area.  As a general pattern, the oldest housing, some of which dates back to the pre-annexation era of the Village of Williamsbridge, is found in the area closest to White Plains Road.  Buildings include detached two-story single family homes, roughhouses, small apartment buildings and the occasional larger multi-family structures found mainly between White Plains Road and Carpenter Avenue.  Both density levels and the age of the housing stock decreases as one moves further east from White Plains Road.  Over the last decade, the neighborhood has experienced significant out-of-context development, replacing the older housing with new larger residential buildings.

Baychester Neighborhood
Unlike the Williamsbridge neighborhood in the western part of the study area, the Baychester neighborhood (generally east of Laconia Avenue) was largely developed during the middle of the 20th century.  Although several early 20th century houses are located in this area, a substantial amount of housing dates to the post World War II era, when the area became developed as a automobile oriented suburb.  Although existing zoning is generally of a lower density than in Williamsbridge, there are similar issues of out-of-context development as existing infill housing provisions allow for housing to be built at greater densities than is found in many parts of the area.  Boston Road, the main commercial corridor contains a variety of uses, including numerous auto-related facilities such as showrooms and auto repair centers.  The northern portions of this neighborhood (which included the remnants of the historic Eastchester Village) were rezoned in 2007 as part of the Wakefield rezoning.


Existing Zoning
The Williamsbridge/Baychester rezoning area is currently composed of three main zoning designations, R4, R5, and R6, with pockets of R4-1, R7-1, C4-2, C8-1, and M1-1 districts. These zoning designations have remained unchanged since their initial mapping in 1961. View PDF Document the zoning comparison chart.

R4

R4 districts are currently mapped in a portion of the rezoning area generally bounded by Bronxwood Avenue, East Gun Hill Road, Laconia Avenue and 233rd Street and east of Baychester Avenue and Boston Road. R4 districts allow a variety of housing types, including garden apartments, row houses, semi-detached and detached houses. The maximum floor area ratio (FAR) is 0.9, which includes a 0.15 attic allowance. On a block entirely within an R4 district, optional regulations may be used to develop infill housing in predominately built-up areas. On blocks that are predominantly built up, a maximum FAR of 1.35 is permitted through the R4 infill provision. The R4 district along Paulding Avenue is predominantly R4 infill.  Infill zoning permits multifamily housing on blocks entirely within R4 or R5 districts in predominantly built-up areas.  Detached residences are limited to lots with a minimum of 3,800 square feet in area and a minimum lot width of 40 feet. Semi-detached and attached residences are limited to lots with a minimum of 1,700 square feet in area and a minimum lot width of 18 feet. R4 districts require a minimum front yard depth of 10 feet, which is increased to 18 feet if front yard parking is provided. The maximum building height is 35 feet with a maximum perimeter wall height of 25 feet. Community facilities are permitted at an FAR of 2.0. One parking space is required for each dwelling unit.

R5
R5 districts are located in two sections of the rezoning area. The first section is located in between 222nd Street, 233rd street, White Plains Road and Bronxwood Avenue. The second section is located in the eastern portion of the study area, generally from Laconia Avenue to the New England Thruway and is bifurcated by zoning districts along Boston Post Road. R5 zoning districts allow all housing types including detached, semi-detached, attached and multi-family residences. The maximum (FAR) for all housing types is 1.25. On a block entirely within an R5 district, optional regulations may be used to develop infill housing in predominately built-up areas. On blocks that are predominantly built up, a maximum FAR of 1.65 is permitted through the R5 infill provision. Detached residences are limited to lots with a minimum of 3,800 square feet in area, and a minimum lot width of 40 feet. All other housing types are limited to lots with a minimum of 1,700 square feet in area and a minimum lot width of 18 feet. R5 districts require a minimum front yard depth of 10 feet, which is increased to 18 feet if front yard parking is provided. The maximum building height is 40 feet with a maximum perimeter wall height of 30 feet. Community facilities are permitted an FAR of 2.0. Off-street parking in a grouped facility is required for at least 85 percent of the dwelling units.

R6
R6 districts currently encompass portions of the study area bounded by Carpenter Avenue, 222nd Street, Bronxwood Avenue and East Gun Hill Road and an area bounded by Eastchester Road, Wilson Avenue, Hicks Street and Boston Road. R6 is a height factor district wherein residential and community facility uses are permitted with no fixed height limits and building envelopes are regulated by a sky exposure plane and open space ratio.  A maximum FAR of 2.43 is allowed for residential uses. A maximum FAR of 4.8 is allowed for community facility uses.  Residential development under the Quality Housing program within a R6 district has a maximum FAR of 2.2 on narrow streets (less than 75 feet wide) with a 55-foot building height limit and a maximum of 3.0 FAR on wide streets (75 feet wide or greater) with a height limit of 70 feet. Off-street parking is required for 70 percent of the dwelling units. This requirement is lowered to 50 percent of the units if the lot area is less than 10,000 square feet or if Quality Housing provisions are used.  If fewer than five spaces are required, then the off-street parking requirement is waived.

R7-1
A R7-1 district covers a small portion of the rezoning area between Bronx Boulevard and Carpenter Avenue between 233rd Street and 219th Street. R7-1 zoning districts permit residential and community facility uses (Use Group 1-4) with a maximum floor area ratio (FAR) of 3.44 for residential uses and 4.8 FAR for community facility uses. There are no fixed height limits and building envelopes are governed by the sky exposure plane. Off-street parking is required for 60 percent of the dwelling units. Off-street parking is waived if five spaces or less are required. Developers can also use the Quality Housing Program, which permits a 3.44 FAR on a narrow street with a base height of between 40 and 60 feet and a maximum building height of seventy five feet and 4.0 FAR on wide streets with a base height of between 40 and 65 feet, and a maximum building height of eighty feet. Off-street parking is required for 50% of the dwelling units under Quality Housing.

C4-2
A C4-2 district is mapped on Boston Post Road between Pearsall Street and Eastchester Road. C4 districts are generally intended for regional commercial centers where uses, such as specialty and department stores, serve a larger area and generate more traffic than a neighborhood shopping area. C4-2 districts permit residential uses with a maximum FAR of 2.43 (R6 residential equivalent), commercial uses with a maximum FAR of 3.0 and community facility uses with a maximum FAR of 4.8.  C4-2 districts have no fixed height limits and building envelopes are governed by the sky exposure plane. Development under the Quality Housing Program within a C4-2 District has a maximum FAR of 2.2 on narrow streets with a 55-foot building height limit and a maximum FAR of 3.4 on wide streets with a height limit of 70 feet. Off-street parking is required for 70 percent of the dwelling units in a C4-2 District. This requirement is lowered to 50 percent of the units if the lot area is less than 10,000 square feet or if Quality Housing provisions are used.

C8-1
Three C8-1 districts are mapped along Boston Road. C8-1 districts are general service districts that allow commercial and community facility uses in Use Groups 4 through 14 and 16. The most prevalent uses in C8 districts are automotive and heavy commercial uses such as auto repair and showrooms, warehouses, gas stations and car washes. Residential uses are not permitted. The maximum commercial FAR in C8-1 districts is 1.0. The maximum building height is determined by its sky exposure plane, which begins 30’ above the street line. Community facilities are permitted at an FAR of 2.4. Off-street parking requirements vary with the use, but generally most uses require one accessory parking space per 300 square feet of commercial space.

M1-1
An M1-1 district is located at the edge of the study area between De Reimer Avenue and Bivona Street on Boston Post Road. In M1-1 districts only light manufacturing and commercial uses are allowed at a maximum FAR of 1.0.  Certain community facilities are allowed at a maximum FAR of 2.4. Building envelopes are regulated by the sky exposure plane. Parking requirements vary by use.


Commercial Overlays
In many locations in the rezoning area, commercial overlay districts are mapped to a depth of 150 feet, although most lots along the retail corridors of White Plains Road, 233rd Street, East Gun Hill Road, Bronxwood Avenue and Laconia Avenue are 100 feet deep.



Streets lined with single-family homes have been transformed by multi-family buildings
Streets lined with single-family homes have been transformed by multi-family buildings
Out-of-context development has altered the scale and character of lower density areas
Out-of-context development has altered the scale and character of lower density areas
East Gun Hill Road, a major corridor, is developed with a mixture of low-scale commercial uses, and limited residential. Inconsistent zoning on both sides of the corridor has limited development potential and created an uninviting urban landscape.
East Gun Hill Road, a major corridor, is developed with a mixture of low-scale commercial uses, and limited residential. Inconsistent zoning on both sides of the corridor has limited development potential and created an uninviting urban landscape





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