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Zoning in Riverdale

Riverdale property can be subject to several developmental regulations. All property in Riverdale is regulated by NYC's zoning. In addition, some properties are subject to overlapping regulations- the Special Natural Area District (SNAD), The Riverdale Historic District, and the Fieldston Historic District. These regulations have protected green space, unique natural features, and historic properties in Riverdale.

NYC Zoning: For many years, the pastoral neighborhood character of Riverdale has been protected by residential single family detached home (R 1-1) zoning. Minimum lot size of 9,500 square feet and minimum lot width of 100 ft preserve the bucolic feel of the area. While many properties with single family detached homes in the area are zoned R 1-1, others are zoned for denser development. At present, there is community discussion about ending R 1-1 zoning in NYC to further goals of creating affordable housing. Going into the future our community will need to plan for development that meets a growing demand for housing in Riverdale with preservation of the green space and historic character which make our area an attractive home to so many New Yorkers.

Riverdale’s steep slopes, trees, and other natural features on private property are protected through a special set of zoning regulations called the Special Natural Area District. Turn to our zoning page for a summary of requirements and a link to zoning maps and text.

The distinctive, pastoral neighborhood character of some sections of Riverdale is protected under the city’s lowest residential zoning: R 1-1. This zoning envisions that Riverdale will keep its bucolic feel into the future, even as pressures to build intensify. Become familiar with the requirements for yards, building sizes and more on our zoning page.

The Riverdale Historic District was approved in 1990 and encompasses several blocks along Sycamore Avenue, south of West 254th Street. This District showcases buildings built in the 1850s as part of seven estates comprising one of the original suburbs in the United States. Buildings of later construction are also included in the district, but are regulated differently. The designation report by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and the District’s design guidelines are available on our historic preservation pages.

The Fieldston Historic District was approved in January 2005. According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report, Fieldston’s “…picturesque, historical revival style architecture, set in a romantically landscaped setting, epitomizes suburban development in the United States during the early part of the twentieth century. This highly intact neighborhood stands among the country’s most significant suburban developments…”

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report and Frequently Asked Questions about the Fieldston District are available on our historic preservation pages, under Planning, Zoning, Landmarking.

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