A Residence Zone is a type of zoning that regulates the use, size and height of buildings in residential neighborhoods. Different areas have different zoning laws that allow for a wide range of residential uses. Zoning laws are designed to protect the character of a neighborhood and prevent overcrowding or incompatible development.
The primary zoning categories are residential, commercial and industrial. Each category has a set of subcategories that include specific restrictions. For example, commercial zoning laws may include rules about signage and whether or not businesses can operate at home. Residential zoning laws typically include regulations about whether or not a property can be used as a single-family house, multifamily dwelling or apartment building.
Some cities, towns and counties are considering increasing their Residence Zone density to help reduce congestion and traffic problems in urban centers. To do this, they must determine which neighborhoods are best suited for higher-density housing and make sure that new developments won’t overburden local infrastructure or change the character of a neighborhood.
In addition to regulating the type of housing allowed, zoning laws can also set rules about what types of vehicles can be driven on a street, what kinds of parking is required and other factors. Some cities, towns and counties have zoning laws that require businesses to be located within certain zones in order to avoid noise issues or environmental concerns.
Residential zoning laws often limit which animals are allowed at a property and how many of them can be kept. Domestic pets like dogs and cats are usually not regulated, but farm animals like chickens, goats, sheep, pigs and horses may be restricted. Some laws even prohibit keeping these animals in residential areas, while others restrict the number of animals that can be kept based on the size of the property.
Several residential zones exist in New York City, including R1, R2 and R3 districts. These are generally low- to moderate-density neighborhoods that provide a variety of house styles and sizes, while preserving neighborhood character. Other neighborhoods have higher-density R5 and R6 districts. These offer a mix of townhomes and condominiums with open spaces and walkable neighborhoods.
Most districts have a maximum density of two principal dwelling units per lot, but the R4 and R4a zones permit up to six units on each lot. This allows for a more urban, mixed-use environment that is close to public and commercial services but away from intensive industrial and heavy industrial facilities. Some R5 and R6 districts have a Quality Housing Program requirement that promotes shorter, wider buildings that cover more of the site than a standard height factor building.