Zoning Handbook

A court is an unoccupied space, not a court niche, open to the sky, on the same lot with a building, which is bounded on two or more sides by the exterior walls of the building or by two or more exterior walls, lot lines, or yards. A court may also be bounded by a single curved wall of a building.

Where a court is provided for a building or portion of a building it shall be provided with the area and dimensions required in each zone or as prescribed in the applicable subtitle.

For the purposes of determining court area and dimensions, "residential uses" shall include dwellings, flats, multiple dwellings, hospitals, and community-based residential facilities.

In the case of a building devoted to both residential and nonresidential uses, the minimum width and area of a court shall be computed as follows:

  • When the residential and nonresidential uses are located on different floors of the building, the width and area requirements shall be computed for each use at the plane of each floor of the building; and
  • When the residential and nonresidential uses are located on the same floor of the building, the width and area requirements for that plane shall be computed based on the requirements for a residential building.

No required opening for the admission of light and natural ventilation shall open onto a court niche where the ratio between the width of court niche and the depth of court niche is less than two to one (2:1). No portion of a court niche shall be farther than three feet from a point where the court niche is less than three feet wide.

In the case of an alteration affecting the amount of light and ventilation required by other municipal law or regulation in an existing structure, no legally required window shall be permitted to open onto a court that does not comply with the dimensions in the applicable subtitle.


For more information on the following topic, please see the corresponding referenced chapter: