Town of Tonawanda, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 6-20-2011 by L.L. No. 3-2011]

§ 215-70.37 Purpose and intent.

A. 
Purpose. In accordance with the goals and objectives of the Town of Tonawanda Comprehensive Plan and the Delaware Avenue Corridor Redevelopment Study, the NB Neighborhood Business District is created to facilitate growth and redevelopment of commercial properties along the Delaware Avenue Redevelopment Corridor. The intent of the NB Neighborhood Business District is to implement a series of regulations and guidelines that standardize the physical changes associated with redevelopment activities. The District is also intended to encourage the establishment of uses compatible with the surrounding residential neighborhood, provide adequate buffering, landscaping, parking and circulation, and improve the aesthetic character of the corridor, as a primary arterial linking the Town with the Village of Kenmore.
B. 
District characterization. The NB Neighborhood Business District will act to regulate the Delaware Avenue Redevelopment Corridor as an evolving commercial corridor, having the unique characteristics that distinguish it from the other commercial areas in the Town that share the same underlying zoning. The enhanced land use controls offered by the specific regulations of the overlay district target the typical lot size, lot configuration, age of buildings and traffic patterns within the corridor.
C. 
General objectives. The regulations applicable within the NB Neighborhood Business Zoning District, which govern all proposed changes in use and redevelopment, are based on the following objectives:
(1) 
To create a coherent and consistent public landscape along the length of the Delaware Avenue Redevelopment Corridor to provide a visually attractive environment.
(2) 
To promote optimal utilization of properties along Delaware Avenue and to minimize vacancies in existing buildings.
(3) 
To promote pedestrian improvements through site design for the provision of safe and convenient access by reducing potential conflicts between motor vehicles and pedestrians.
(4) 
To ensure adequate parking, circulation and access to meet demand, without creating an oversupply of parking to the detriment of green spaces and good urban design.
(5) 
To preserve future opportunities for economic development by enhancing the functional and financial viability of the commercial corridor.
(6) 
To provide design guidance for private development and public investment along the Delaware Corridor that creates a consistent character and scale appropriate to the Delaware Avenue Redevelopment Corridor.

§ 215-70.38 Boundary description.

The boundary of the NB Neighborhood Business Zoning District shall encompass a corridor along Delaware Avenue extending from the Village of Kenmore to the south side of Brighton Road, exclusive of Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The boundary of this district shall follow property lines to include the entirety of all tax map parcels that front Delaware Avenue within the district including adjoining lots under contiguous ownership. The district shall also extend to all "business lots" as defined and limited by § 215-44, where Delaware Avenue is the "business street."

§ 215-70.39 Permitted uses.

A. 
In an NB Neighborhood Business District, no building, structure or lands shall be used, structurally altered or erected which are intended, arranged or designed to be used for other than the permitted uses in a residential district, M-F Multifamily Dwelling District, C-1 Restricted Business District or the C-General Business District, or for one or more of the following:
(1) 
Retail sales of merchandise and services free from dust, fumes, smoke, odor, gas, noise and vibration.
(2) 
Hotel.
(3) 
Motel.
(4) 
Restaurant.
(5) 
Theater.
B. 
Special use permit cases shall be permitted as indicated in Article XIV.
C. 
All activities, except automobile parking, shall be conducted wholly within an enclosed structure erected in conformance with § 215-39 of this chapter. The displaying, storing and selling of seasonal-type merchandise and products which are related to the retail activities carried on in the structure erected in conformance with § 215-39 of this chapter, except as described in Subsection D hereof, are permitted outside of an enclosed structure, provided that said merchandise and products are neither subject to harm by exposure to the elements nor hazardous, harmful or injurious to abutting premises.
D. 
Seasonal outdoor dining shall be permitted by special annual permit in accordance with Article XXV, § 215-164, of this Chapter.
E. 
Residential uses in the NB Neighborhood Business District must comply with residential property line setback restrictions and applicable restrictions.

§ 215-70.40 Use restrictions.

A. 
Gasoline filling stations and convenience stores with gasoline filling facilities shall not be permitted.
B. 
The keeping, storing and/or parking of a vehicle or trailer with an unladen weight of 10,000 pounds or more is prohibited in an NB Neighborhood Business District, except for those vehicles used for delivery purposes where the vehicle is removed from the property within each 24 hours.

§ 215-70.41 Automobile repair shops, gasoline stations, automobile detail shops and automobile dealers.

A. 
The business of selling, dealing in, detailing or repairing new or used vehicles, whether such vehicles are owned by the business establishment or owned by individuals, shall not be carried on and conducted in the NB Neighborhood Business District, except that a dealer in new vehicles having and maintaining a permanent vehicle showroom in an NB Neighborhood Business District may, in connection therewith and as an accessory use thereto, sell and deal in secondhand or used vehicles, provided that the same shall at all times be in good state and condition, can be operated under their own power and shall comply with all of the requirements of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York for operation thereof on the public highways. In an NB Neighborhood Business District, the premises on which such secondhand or used vehicles are located must be on or immediately adjacent to the premises upon which the new vehicle dealership is located. No more than three such secondhand or used vehicles shall be allowed on any adjacent used vehicle lot for each such new vehicle on the premises occupied by the facility dealing in new vehicles. Notwithstanding the above, a New-York-State-registered auto repair shop may apply for a special use permit pursuant to Article XIV of this chapter for permission to sell secondhand or used vehicles in connection with the operation of a New-York-State-registered auto repair shop and accessory thereto.
B. 
In all cases where auto repair is an activity upon the premises of a permitted establishment, no more than five unlicensed vehicles being repaired on the premises, or more than 10% of the total vehicle storage and repair capacity of the entire premises, whichever is less, shall be kept, stored or worked upon in any way within the outdoor portions of the premises at any one time, and no unlicensed vehicle shall be allowed to remain on an outdoor portion of the premises for longer than two weeks at any one time. Portions of sites used for this purpose shall be screened from public view through fencing and landscaping.

§ 215-70.42 Business streets.

For the purpose of this chapter, the 1/2 of a dedicated right-of-way abutting the plot, lot or lots zoned for C-1 Restricted Business, Neighborhood Business, or C General Business shall be considered and hereinafter defined as a "business street." This shall apply to both a restricted business street and a general business street.

§ 215-70.43 Use of business lots.

Any lot facing on a business street is a business lot. If the owner of the business lot shall own or acquire property abutting the rear of said business lot, the property so owned or acquired may be used for business purposes in conjunction with the lot or lots of said owner facing on said business street, but not otherwise; provided, however, that the combined total depth that may be used for business purposes, which shall include the business lot and the property abutting the rear thereof, shall not exceed 200 feet, measured from the nearest line of the business street on which such business lot faces. Any building or accessory structure placed on said business frontage, as hereinbefore extended, shall not be placed closer than 10 feet from any residential street line of said business lot as so extended by such addition thereto or as shown on Plate E.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said Plate E is included at the end of this chapter.

§ 215-70.44 Business lots parallel to and facing intersecting residential streets.

When a street designated as a business street shall have lots running parallel thereto and facing intersecting residential streets, the lots adjacent to the business street shall be deemed business lots, and business uses shall be allowed to a depth from the business street of not over 200 feet and only when utilized as an accessory use to the current business occupying the lot bordering on the business street. On Delaware Avenue, a building constructed thereon shall not be located less than 15 feet from the adjacent lot line, as shown on Plate E, and not less than 10 feet from the residential street lot line and the required distance from the business street, as established by this chapter according to the width of the business street, provided that in the case of corner lots having frontage on Delaware Avenue, the business depth shall be interpreted as 200 feet.

§ 215-70.45 Construction and architectural design standards.

A. 
Architectural design standards.
(1) 
Scale and design. Any new proposed uses must be appropriate to the scale and character of the Delaware Avenue corridor. Architectural designs should complement land uses in the area and provide a positive image. Appropriate facade designs and building materials that complement and improve the character of the area shall be required. As such, buildings shall meet the following requirements:
(a) 
No structure shall exceed two stories or 35 feet in height, except that chimneys, towers or similar structures, whether located upon and constituted as an integral part of a principal structure or erected separately, may be erected above the height limit specified, but are limited to, a height not exceeding 45 feet above the average finish grade. Mechanical space for building equipment placed on the building roof may be permitted above the maximum height specified, provided that such mechanical space is set back a minimum of 15 feet from any exterior walls, does not exceed 10 feet in height (above the finish roof line of the building upon which it is installed) and is adequately screened from view.
(b) 
Towers and antennas shall comply with the provisions contained in Article XXIV of Chapter 215 of the Code of the Town of Tonawanda.
(c) 
Buildings with long, unbroken, unfenestrated walls should be avoided. No building facade along a public right-of-way shall have an uninterrupted wall of more than 30°. This can be achieved through a combination of divisions or breaks in exterior materials, entrances, windows or other visual design elements. Variation in building footprint, exterior wall offsets, and rooflines are encouraged.
(d) 
Multistory buildings shall incorporate an exterior design that provides an architectural break or other distinguishing characteristic that visually separates the ground floor from the floor(s) above. This can be achieved through a combination of an intermediate cornice line, a difference in building materials or architectural detailing, an awning or distinctive window lintels.
(e) 
Horizontal and vertical features described in Subsection A(1)(c) and (d) above shall be designed as complimentary features that work in unison to create visual interest through cohesive design.
(2) 
Transparency.
(a) 
A minimum of 15% of a building's ground floor facade facing a public right-of-way must be comprised of a combination of transparent windows and doors that allow views of indoor space, in accordance with the New York State Building Code.
(3) 
Exterior materials.
(a) 
Unless otherwise approved by the Planning Board, exterior materials of new buildings, additions and substantial exterior renovations shall be constructed of the following classes of materials:
[1] 
Brick;
[2] 
Natural stone;
[3] 
Finish-grade wood;
[4] 
Architecturally precast textured concrete panels;
[5] 
Specialty concrete block such as textured, burnished block, split faced block, other finished masonry block;
[6] 
Glass (no more than 60% of any facade);
[7] 
Metal (for beams and/or accent purposes only).
(b) 
The same exterior treatment provided to the building front shall also be provided to any side and rear wall facing a public right-of-way or residential district.
(c) 
No fewer than two and no more than three exterior materials (excluding trim) shall be utilized on any one facade.
(d) 
Materials such as vinyl, aluminum siding, plastic panels, stucco, steel panels, "T-111" or similar sheet goods, or asbestos finishes shall be prohibited in the NB Neighborhood Business District, unless otherwise approved by the Planning Board.
(e) 
The use of Dryvit® or equal exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) material as an exterior material shall be reviewed by the Planning Board on a case-by-case basis, where the proposed pattern, area (volume) of material and its application in the context of the overall design will be considered.
(f) 
All buildings shall have durable exterior finish materials that cover all exterior walls.
B. 
Screening and outdoor storage.
(1) 
Mechanical and processing equipment as well as outdoor storage areas associated with any building shall be screened from public view and adjoining residential properties as much as practical with materials matching the design of the building and/or landscaping elements.
(2) 
Rooftop screening shall be incorporated in the design of buildings to shield vents, solar panels, roof mounted mechanical and HVAC equipment from view from the public right-of-way and adjoining residential properties.
C. 
Lighting.
(1) 
Lighting plans are required and shall be submitted to the Planning Board as part of the site plan review process. Lighting plans must include illumination footprints within parking lots and along pedestrian walkways.
(2) 
Parking area lighting fixtures shall be reduced in intensity after 11:00 p.m. and shall be designed to adhere to the requirements set forth in § 215-70.25C(10). Security lighting and other building lighting will be allowed to operate with Town requirements.
(3) 
All lighting fixtures shall be of an appropriate size and scale, as determined by the Planning Board, and aesthetically designed, so as to improve the overall quality of the area.
(4) 
Lighting poles shall not exceed 20 feet in height.

§ 215-70.46 Front yards.

A. 
Minimum front yard setback.
(1) 
The minimum front yard setback for structures fronting on Delaware Avenue within the NB Neighborhood Business District shall be eight feet, or otherwise prescribed by Plate G.[1] On corner lots, all buildings, structures, signs, and landscaping shall provide a minimum of 15 feet of visual clearance from the street line.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said Plate G is included at the end of this chapter.
B. 
Maximum front yard setback.
(1) 
The Planning Board may allow a forty-six-foot maximum front yard setback to accommodate a single row of nineteen-foot parking stalls, a twelve-foot single-loaded one-way aisle, and a five-foot sidewalk along the building. A setback of 10 feet from the right-of-way to any front-side parking shall be required; this area must be landscaped according to the provisions established in § 215-70.51.
C. 
The front yard may be used to accommodate outdoor dining uses provided the primary business has a valid outdoor dining permit issued by the Building Department in accordance with § 215-164. A maximum depth and total area allocated for these uses shall be subject to review and approval by the Planning Board.
D. 
The front yard may be used for sales of seasonal merchandise directly related to the occupancy of the principal building in accordance with § 215-38C. The maximum depth and total area allocated for these uses shall be subject to review and approval by the Planning Board.

§ 215-70.47 Side yards.

A. 
For interior lot lines in an NB Neighborhood Business District, no side yard shall be required for principal structures that utilize a front setback of 10 feet or less.
B. 
Structures having a front yard setback deeper than 10 feet shall have a minimum ten-foot side yard setback between principal and accessory uses and any portion adjoining residential parcels.
C. 
For corner lots, a side yard of variable width shall be required as shown on Plate G[1]; except, however, that where the building is set back from the front street line 65 feet or more, the minimum side yard shall be three feet and shall comply with Plate I.[2]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said Plate G is included at the end of this chapter.
[2]
Editor's Note: Said Plate I is included at the end of this chapter.
D. 
The side yards for accessory structures on a corner lot in an NB Neighborhood Business District shall be all on the street side; that is, the accessory structures shall be built on the lot line away from the street, as shown on Plate F.[3] The side yard for an interior lot abutting the ends of lots facing another street shall be as shown on Plate G under Column D.
[3]
Editor's Note: Said Plate F is included at the end of this chapter.

§ 215-70.48 Projections into yards.

A. 
In an NB Neighborhood Business District, steps may project into a front or side yard on a corner lot or into the front yard of an interior lot.
B. 
A vestibule may project into a required front yard only. A vestibule may project ahead of the front building line six feet, provided that the total width of such shall not exceed 25% of the total frontage of the building.
C. 
A canopy or cornice, constructed of noncombustible material, may project into a required front yard and may also project into a required side yard of a corner lot on the intersecting street side where there is a minimum eight-foot side yard.
D. 
A canopy or cornice, constructed of noncombustible material, may project ahead of the building line six feet, provided that there is a height of not less than eight feet from the grade.

§ 215-70.49 Rear yards.

The rear yard depths shall be governed by the following conditions:
A. 
Principal and accessory uses (including parking) shall be located a minimum of 15 feet from an adjoining residential property.
B. 
The rear yard shall be landscaped and shall include an opaque fence having a height of between six feet and 10 feet above grade as a visual screen between the commercial uses and adjoining residential properties.

§ 215-70.50 Maximum coverage.

[Amended 2-23-2015 by L.L. No. 1-2015]
When new construction or substantial alteration, modification or expansion of existing structures is proposed on a nonresidential property in the NBD - Neighborhood Business District, the maximum building coverage shall be 55% and the maximum coverage of the lot with total impervious or paved surfaces (buildings, parking, storage or sidewalks) shall be 90%. The remaining 10% of the lot (green space) shall be landscaped according to the provisions established in § 215-70.51.

§ 215-70.51 Landscaping.

A. 
All buildings (except one- and two-family dwellings), yards, sidewalks, open spaces, parking areas, storage areas and service areas shall be landscaped in a manner which will harmonize with the proposed buildings and the surrounding commercial area.
B. 
The Town shall require landscaping in the form of appropriate shrub and tree plant materials arranged in rows or clusters, and designed as buffers, screens or hedges which give attractive definition to the street edges or other areas of a lot, or to screen a lot along its lot lines with adjacent properties, or to screen utility buildings, refuse collection areas, storage areas, cooling systems or other similar structures, and other similar installations and features, or to provide landscaped islands or planted sub-areas which punctuate otherwise developed internal portions of a site, in conjunction with appropriate combinations of decorative fences, walls and berms. Landscaping shall be used to give relief and natural beauty to sites within the NB Neighborhood Business District. Emphasis shall be given to landscaped treatments along the principal street edges of a site.
C. 
Areas between street curbing or the edge of rights-of-way and sidewalks on Town-owned streets shall be landscaped. Erie County and New York State rights-of-way may be improved with stamped colored concrete, brick payers, or other approved material.
D. 
The minimum ten-foot yard area between the parking lot and right-of-way shall be landscaped with turf, ground cover or low shrubbery (less than three feet and street trees having branches no lower than 12 feet above grade at maturity.
E. 
Tree planting spacing patterns of one tree for no less than every 30 linear feet of distance in a regular pattern along site edges adjoining principal business streets is required. Landscaping patterns along street right-of-way lines shall be consistent with the unobstructed view corridor standards established by § 215-8, entitled "Sight obstructions," which requires that shrubs and similar materials generally not be higher than three feet above adjacent street grade and that street trees have branches generally no lower than 12 feet above adjacent street grade in order that views not be obstructed for approaching or departing vehicles.
F. 
NB Neighborhood Business District properties which immediately abut residential properties or uses shall install a combination of opaque fencing between six-foot and 10 feet high and tree plantings spaced no farther than 30 feet center to center, or shrub plantings located no farther than five feet center to center, along all property lines abutting residential uses.
G. 
Within large off-street parking areas measuring 25,000 square feet or more in area, the paved area for parking shall be interrupted by landscaped islands or divider strips placed within rows of parking spaces so that no row of parking exceeds 15 spaces without being interrupted by a landscaped island (a mid-row island). The landscaped islands shall have a minimum width of eight feet and minimum length of nineteen feet and shall be planted with a minimum of one deciduous tree for each landscaped island. The islands shall be curbed or provided with an acceptable alternative edge definition material.
H. 
All plants, trees and shrubs shall be planted in accordance with a planting schedule provided by the applicant and approved by the Town. Landscape materials selected shall be appropriate to the growing conditions of this climatic zone. All trees shall be plant species having a minimum height of six feet at planting and a caliper of three inches measured two feet above ground level at the time of planting, an average crown spread of greater than 15 feet at maturity and trunks which can be maintained in a clean condition, free of branches from grade to generally 12 feet above grade along principal street edges and 10 feet above grade elsewhere. Trees having an average mature spread of less than 15 feet may be substituted by grouping the same so as to create the equivalent of a fifteen-foot crown. Shrubs shall be a minimum of two feet in height when measured immediately after planting. Hedges, when measured, shall be planted and maintained so as to form a continuous visual screen within two years after time of planting.
I. 
The side and rear yard areas shall be landscaped with turf and vegetation to provide visual and aesthetic buffers. Hedges, bushes, and evergreen trees may be used to provide screening, but shall not replace fencing along residential property lines.

§ 215-70.52 Multiple dwellings.

In an NB Neighborhood Business District, the percentage of the lot area which may be occupied by multiple dwellings shall not exceed 50%, and the number of square feet of the lot area per dwelling unit shall not be less than 1,100 square feet. Apartment hotels, motels, transient dwellings, motor hotels, motor courts and no-bedroom or so-called one-bedroom efficiency apartments are exempt from this regulation.

§ 215-70.53 Site plan review.

[Amended 6-17-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
A. 
Planning Board jurisdiction. All projects located within the NB Neighborhood Business District shall be subject to site plan review per Article XXIII of Chapter 215 of this Town Code. The Town's Planning and Development Department shall provide the Town Planning Board with the completed preliminary site plan for the NB Neighborhood Business District projects. The Town Planning Board is authorized to review and approve, approve with modifications or disapprove site plans under the provisions of Article XXIII.
[Amended 8-29-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
B. 
Applicability. Site plan review is required for all new land use activities, including changes in land use, new structures, significant alteration or expansion of existing structures, excavation operations, new special uses and legal conversions of existing buildings to other uses, except those specifically exempted in § 215-151.
C. 
Required application content. Any person, before applying for a building permit, change of use, special use permit, or before undertaking any new land use activity within the NB Neighborhood Business District, shall submit a preliminary site plan together with appropriate supporting information to the Town's Planning and Development Department for review and referral to the Town Planning Board in meeting the content requirements of § 215-152D. In addition, the following shall be included with the site plan review applications.
[Amended 8-29-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
D. 
Site design standards.
(1) 
Building and lot orientation. All structures shall be oriented to Delaware Avenue. Loading docks, building mechanicals or waste receptacles shall not be located so as to be visible from the facade view of the building.
(2) 
Parking and circulation.
(a) 
Pedestrian access. Pedestrian access shall be provided through parking lot(s) between the public sidewalk along Delaware Avenue and the primary structure. Pedestrian access may be in the form of a marked "crosswalk," stamped pavement, or sidewalk. Sidewalks shall be provided along the full length of all facades which face a public street, include a customer entrance, and/or are adjacent to a parking area.
(b) 
Shared parking and shared access.
[1] 
Where the Planning Board determines it is appropriate, an applicant may request the Zoning Board of Appeals to authorize the joint use of the required parking spaces for two or more uses located on the same parcel or adjacent parcels. The Planning Board shall take into consideration hours of operation and parking demand. Shared parking arrangements shall be depicted on a site plan approved by the Town Planning Board, and guaranteed by a legal instrument such as an easement, contract, agreement, or deed restriction that is approved by all involved owners. The number of parking spaces to be shared is at the discretion of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
[2] 
Prior to making application to the Planning Board, the property owner may apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for an area variance to reduce the minimum number of off-street parking spaces required by § 215-83J, but by not more than 25% in order to provide additional landscaping. However, the parking area removed shall not be used to meet the minimum green space area required in this zoning district. This area shall be used exclusively for landscaping in accordance with the standards and criteria of this district.
[3] 
Spacing of curb cuts along Delaware Avenue shall meet the requirements set forth in the NYSDOT Access Management Guidelines. In order to facilitate improved circulation, the Planning Board shall encourage site design that provides for shared access or cross-easement agreements to adjacent properties which minimize curb cuts along Delaware Avenue.
(c) 
Landscaping. A landscape plan in the form of a colored rendering, prepared by a registered landscape architect or other design professional authorized to prepare plans, shall be submitted as part of the site plan application materials. The landscape plan shall incorporate a species list which includes a size, height and caliper list.

§ 215-70.54 Permitted accessory structures.

Should the principal structure on a lot not occupy the entire area outside of the front, side or rear yards, accessory structures shall be permitted to occupy the balance of the lot allowed to be occupied, except that such accessory structures shall not occupy the area provided for parking of vehicles in accordance with the off-street parking requirements as provided in Article XIII.