New York City adopted its first zoning regulations in 1916. Many parts of the city – including Riverdale – were zoned for high-density development, even though they were sparsely populated at the time.
Change came slowly to Riverdale until after World War II, when the Henry Hudson Bridge opened and a wave of apartment houses began to make their way north along the Henry Hudson Parkway. Community activists quickly organized and developed a vision of Riverdale’s future that balanced growth and preservation. In late 1953, the NYC Department of City Planning won approval for zoning changes that would implement the community’s vision.
In the new scheme, the apartment houses would follow the top of the ridge along Riverdale Avenue. They would be balanced by a wide ribbon of single-family, detached homes and the existing institutions on the slopes between the ridge and the River. There would be a gradual transition from single-family to high rise areas, and commercial development would be concentrated in areas where the traffic it generated would not infringe on residential streets.
The planning effort was so comprehensive that the resulting zoning changes still define large parts of Riverdale today.
In 2003, the City Council approved Community Board 8’s newest land use plan: CD 8 2000: A River to Reservoir Preservation Strategy. The new plan looked at current needs in the District, and made it clear that preservation of neighborhood character is an overriding concern. Thirteen areas were recommended for rezoning. To see a summary of all of the Plan’s recommendations, click here.
Current Zoning in CD 8
The table below lists the zoning districts that are currently mapped in Bronx CD 8. Actual regulations are much more extensive; this table only gives a broad idea of the types of development envisioned for each zoning district.
Zoning Districts in Bronx Community District 8
Selected distinguishing characteristics and functions. (For full regulations, see zoning text)
|R 1-1||lowest density residential zone in the city; single-family detached only||minimum lot width: 100 ft.; minimum lot size: 9,500 square feet|
|R 1-2||single-family detached residences only||minimum lot width: 60 feet; minimum lot size: 5,700 square feet|
|R 2||single-family detached residences||minimum lot width: 40 feet; minimum lot size: 3,800 square feet|
|R 3-1||single- and two-family residences, detached or semi-detached||minimum lot width for detached: 40 feet; for semi-detached: 18 feet|
|R 3A||contextual residential district; single- and two-family residences, detached only||allows much narrower lot width for detached than R3-1: 25 feet; lowest density district to allow zero-lot-line buildings|
|R 4||allows multiple dwellings such as garden apartments and row houses|
|R 4A||contextual residential district; single- and two-family residences, detached only|
|R 5||allows same housing types as R4 but at higher density||often used as transition between lower- and higher-density areas|
|R 6||medium-density housing||typically between 3 and 12 stories tall|
|R 6A||contextual residential district; allows more lot coverage than R 6, but typically lower heights.||typically 6 stories|
|R 7-1||medium-density residential||typically 14 stories|
|R 7A||greater lot coverage and lower height and setback requirements than R 7.||typically bulky 6- to 8-story residential buildings|
|C 1-2; C 1-3||commercial district; accommodates the retail and personal service shops needed in residential district||typical uses are intended to serve the daily needs of the immediate neighborhood|
|C 2 districts permit a wider range of local retail and service establishments than C 1 districts||intended for businesses that cannot be supported solely by the immediate neighborhood|
|automotive and other heavy commercial services||bridge between commercial and manufacturing districts|
|light manufacturing; must meet strict noise, air pollution, and other nuisance-creating activity levels||located adjacent to low-density residential districts|
|SNAD||Special Natural Area District overlay intended to preserve unique natural characteristics of an area|