Originally Posted by krulltime
It's the FAR thing ... The smaller the footprint the higher up they can go in a single mass (up to maximium allowable height) ... by pulling back away from the street the footprint is smaller and therefore they can get, say, 30 stories instead of 25 ...
The maximum size (or bulk) of a building on a lot is determined by the floor area ratio (FAR) assigned in the resolution to each zoning district. It is the principal bulk regulation in the resolution, controlling the physical volume of buildings. The floor area ratio expresses the relationship between the amount of usable floor area permitted in a building and the area of the lot on which the building stands.
A building can contain floor area equal to the lot area multiplied by the floor area ratio (FAR) of the district in which the lot is located. For example, a building to be constructed on a 10,000-square-foot lot in a district with a FAR of 10 could contain 100,000 square feet (10 x 10,000 square feet) of floor area. Similarly, a building on a 6,000-square-foot lot in a zoning district with a FAR of 6 could contain 36,000 square feet (6 x 6,000 square feet) of floor area.