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Inner Courts Shrink

New York City Planning is now allowing some residential districts to have significantly smaller courts. The Zoning for Quality and Affordability Amendment (ZQA) created a category for “small inner courts,” which can be as small as 200 square feet. Small inner courts are permitted in R6 – R10 districts under the following circumstances:

  • Light and air windows cannot face small inner courts.
  • Small inner courts cannot be less than 200 feet.
  • Inner court walls over 75 ft. must have a 50% setback of ten feet.

From a design standpoint, the challenge for the small inner court is preventing light and air windows from facing them. Inner courts that are not “small inner courts” are required to be 1200 square feet.

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