R6 zoning districts are widely mapped in built-up, medium-density areas in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The character of R6 districts can range from neighborhoods with a diverse mix of building types and heights to large-scale “tower in the park” developments such as Ravenswood in Queens and Homecrest in Brooklyn. Developers can choose between two sets of bulk regulations. Standard height factor regulations, introduced in 1961, produce small multifamily buildings on small zoning lots and, on larger lots, tall buildings that are set back from the street. Optional Quality Housing regulations produce high lot coverage buildings within height limits that often reflect the scale of older, pre-1961 apartment buildings in the neighborhood.
Height Factor Regulations
Buildings developed pursuant to height factor regulations are often tall buildings set back from the street and surrounded by open space and on-site parking. The floor
(FAR) in R6 districts ranges from 0.78 (for a single-story building) to 2.43 at a typical height of 13 stories; the open space ratio
(OSR) ranges from 27.5 to 37.5. Generally, the more open space, the taller the building. In the diagram, for example, 81% of the zoning lot
with the 13-story building is required to be open space (2.43 FAR × 33.5 OSR). Thus, the maximum floor area ratio 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 height limits for height factor buildings although they must be set within a sky exposure plane
which begins at a height of 60 feet above the street line
and then slopes inward over the zoning lot. Off-street parking is required for 70% of a building’s dwelling units, or it can be waived if five or fewer spaces are required.