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Special Natural Area District (SNAD)

Section 197-a of the NYC City Charter authorizes local communities to create a Community Plan to guide local development.  Our 197-a Plan was adopted by the New York City council in 2003.  The plan was sponsored by Bronx Community Board 8, after several years of study and discussions with city agencies, residents, and business owners.  The Riverdale Nature Preservancy was a leader in shaping the recommendations for the 197-a Plan, which designates portions of our neighborhood as a Special Natural Area District (SNAD).

Special Natural Area District designation creates an additional layer of protection for properties in the designated area.  The designated area has been selected because of its unique historical sites and sensitive ecological features.  A property located in the SNAD must comply with general zoning for the local area, as well as the SNAD regulationsUpdates to local zoning, and in the 197-a Plan are proposed at times to meet the needs of the community. Demographic shifts change our local demands for housing, commercial space, transportation, recreation space, and educational resources.  As New York City responds to the challenges of climate change, shifts in regulation can be tailored to preserve access to green spaces and healthy ecological development for future generations.  The Riverdale Nature Preservancy stewards the informed development of policy.

Which natural features are protected in the SNAD?

  • Mature Trees: 6" caliper or greater.

  • Topography:  Modifications to the slope of land can affect stormwater and groundwater drainage patterns, soil conditions, and the health of vegetation. SNAD regulations protect topographical features including steep slopes (incline of 25% or greater), existing natural topography (0 % to < 25 % slope), and topsoil.

  • Rock Outcrops and Erratic Boulders:  The unique geology of Riverdale is displayed in its outcrops and boulders.  We protect these geological features from modification for the aesthetic enjoyment of residents and to provide continued access for scholars.

  • Wetlands and Surface Water Features

  • Botanic Environments:  Certain groupings of plant growth are unique to our local ecology.


For more detailed information on SNAD protections, see NYC City Planning's Zoning Resolution (Sec. 105-11)

alder brook.jpg

The Alder Brook at Palisade Ave and Spaulding Lane


Edgehill Church was built in 1888.  Photo: 2550 Independence Ave.

Map of the SNAD
SNAD Map.jpg
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