Lower Density Growth Management Areas (LDGMAs) are areas with special regulations in place which are intended to preserve the character and suburban nature of certain neighborhoods in New York City. LDGMAs are essentially a form of downzoning, where restrictions on development aim to maintain lower density residential districts and avoid overcrowding.
Currently, the borough of Staten Island and Community District 10 (Throgs Neck) in the Bronx are designated as Lower Density Growth Management Areas. The designation first occurred in Staten Island in 2004 under then-Mayor Bloomberg, and Throgs Neck followed shortly thereafter.
Special regulations within an LDGMA apply to any development in a residential R1-R4A (low density) or commercial C3A district, and can apply to an R5 district if the development is accessed by a private road.
· Parking requirements: High rates of car ownership in LDGMAs due to distance from mass transit require a parking at a rate of 1.5 spaces per dwelling unit. For example, a new one-family home requires two off-street parking spaces, and a two-family home requires three.
· Building Bulk and Low Size: In-house garages are encouraged through higher perimeter walls and floor area exemptions
· Yards, Open Space and Landscaping: Back yards must be no less than 30 square feet, which limits the number of homes that can be built behind other homes on the same zoning lot. (nyc.gov, 2021)
The downzoning in Staten Island led to slower growth compared to the other four boroughs in the city, with data on housing units on the island showing over 3,000 new certificates of occupancy in 2000, compared to fewer than 500 in 2015. And while many have praised the effectiveness of LDGMAs, others have noted that the lack of development incentives has made it more difficult to provide affordable housing for low-income families. (citylimits.org, 2017)