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A Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.) is the mathematical proportion formed by a building’s built floor area (for all floors) divided by the area of its land parcel.  For example, a one-story building with a floor plan length and width of 100 feet by 100 feet on the same size land parcel would have an F.A.R. of 1.0.  {mosimage}A four (4) story building with a floor plan length and width of 50 feet by 50 feet on the same 100 foot by 100 foot parcel would also have an F.A.R. of 1.0, as shown in the image at right.

F.A.R. is a limited “yardstick” that can convey a general intensity of constructed building space on a given piece of land, but it will not indicate the character of that built volume in terms of the building’s height, length, or width, or the amount of remaining open space (unbuilt land) on the parcel.  As the figures below illustrate, developments with the same F.A.R. can have very different physical characteristics - that may or may not be compatible with the urban scale and density desired in various types of neighborhoods and street environments.