Rules for Special Areas

In PDF Document Lower Density Growth Management Areas (LDGMA), special zoning controls aim to match future development to the capacity of supporting services and infrastructure in parts of the city experiencing rapid growth. Community Districts 1, 2 and 3 in Staten Island and Community District 10 in the Bronx are designated Lower Density Growth Management Areas.

Within an LDGMA, special regulations apply to any development in an R1, R2, R3, R4-1, R4A or C3A district, any development accessed by a private road in a R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 or C3A district, and C1, C2 and C4 districts in the borough of Staten Island.

Summary of LDGMA rules

Parking and Related Requirements
  • Parking and Related Requirements: Parking requirements are increased to accommodate high auto ownership in these outlying areas distant from mass transit. Residences are required to provide parking at a rate of 1.5 spaces per dwelling unit. Therefore, a new one-family home requires two off-street parking spaces and a two-family house requires three spaces. Required parking is not permitted in front yards. The location of driveways and width of curb cuts, including splays, is governed by lot frontage; driveways must be spaced far enough apart to allow for adequate front yards and sufficient curbside parking space for visitors. All driveways and parking areas with five or more spaces must be screened from adjacent zoning lots.

  • Building Bulk and Lot Size: At-grade, in-house garages that accommodate increased parking required in R3, R4-1 and R4A districts are encouraged by permitting higher perimeter walls, increasing minimum lot widths, prohibiting steep driveways and providing a floor area exemption of up to 300 square feet for one parking space and up to 500 square feet for two parking spaces located in a garage.

    The attic allowance for traditional pitched roofs requires steeper rooflines in R3, R4-1 and R4A districts in an LDGMA which produces more usable interior space and replicates the rooflines of older neighborhoods. The 35 foot overall height limit for lower-density contextual zoning districts remains in place; R1 and R2 districts are governed by the sky exposure plane.

  • Yards, Open Space and Landscaping: On the large and irregularly shaped lots common to areas that lack a regular street grid, LDGMA rules ensure that buildings are adequately spaced and that full 30 foot rear yards are provided. An increase in the amount of open space required between homes in an LDGMA limits the number of homes that can be built behind other homes on the same zoning lot. The required planted buffer between any group parking lot and an adjacent zoning lot must be six foot high and composed of dense, evergreen shrubs.

  • Private Road Development: In an LDGMA, a private road is a right-of-way, other than a street, that provides vehicular access from a public street to three or more buildings or building segments located wholly beyond 50 feet of a public street. All residential developments on private roads are governed by the same yard and parking rules as those for developments on public streets. Parking spaces on a private road do not count toward off-street parking requirements. Sidewalks are required along all private roads, which are required to meet NYC Department of Transportation public street standards for lighting, signage and crosswalks.

  • Commercial Development: In the Staten Island LDGMA, where far less land is zoned for commercial use than elsewhere in the city, special rules prohibit residential-only development in the borough’s commercial overlays and commercial districts. To encourage the retail stores and services needed by a growing population— and the traditional mixed use arrangement of apartments located above shops at the street level—residences are not allowed on the ground floor in any C1 or C2 commercial overlay district or established town centers within C4 districts. On large sites in C4-1 districts, which typically contain regional shopping malls and commercial centers, any residential or mixed use development requires a City Planning Commission special permit. Screening is required between residential and non-residential uses.

  • Medical Offices and Day Care Centers: In order to preserve the character of lower-density neighborhoods, medical offices and day care centers are now subject to the residential bulk regulations of the zoning district. Future facilities will be required to meet a minimum lot size to accommodate accessory parking.

    Medical offices and day care centers are encouraged in commercial districts through additional FAR and reduced parking requirements.

In 2008, the LDGMA rule that mandated street trees for all new developments was extended citywide. In 2010, certain LDGMA provisions regarding yards, sidewalk planting strips, driveways and parking locations were extended to R1 through R5 districts citywide because they had proved effective in producing greener streetscapes that improve the quality of life and are environmentally sustainable.