Town of Pittsford, NY
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 5-20-2014 by L.L. No. 4-2014]

§ 185-12 Purpose.

The RN Residential Neighborhood District is established to provide and maintain land area for neighborhoods of single-family dwellings and to preserve the context of such neighborhoods.

§ 185-13 Permitted uses.

The following uses are permitted:
A. 
Single-family dwelling.
B. 
Accessory uses, subject to § 185-113.

§ 185-14 Special permit uses.

The following uses may be allowed pursuant to a special permit issued by the Planning Board:
A. 
Place of worship, subject to § 185-124.
B. 
School, subject to § 185-133.

§ 185-15 Applicability.

All lots shall comply with the lot and bulk standards of this article. Any lot existing at the time of adoption of this article shall be considered legal as to lot size.

§ 185-16 Context-based approach.

A. 
Lot and bulk standards for the construction, expansion, or alteration of homes and accessory structures are based on their neighborhood context. To determine this context, the average lot dimensions of nearby residentially developed properties have been used. In some cases (such as side yard and building envelope), averages have been established based on an analysis of existing conditions for parcels throughout the district. The Town has utilized tax parcel data, published aerial orthophotography and other mapping data to determine relevant measurements. As necessary and appropriate, these data sources have been supplemented with other data available to the Town, including, but not limited to, subdivision plats, property surveys, etc. Unless otherwise noted, all distances are rounded to the nearest foot.
B. 
For the convenience of property owners, the Town has established and maintains a database for the district that is on file with the Planning Department and available online. For each parcel in the district, the database contains most of the dimensional requirements outlined in this article, based on precalculated averages derived from existing data as described above. In cases where a property owner has an official survey stamped by a licensed surveyor which indicates a different existing lot width or lot size measurement from what the Town has determined in the database, the survey measurement shall be used as the basis for other dimensional requirements that are derived from lot width or lot size.
C. 
Lot and bulk requirements for individual lots are determined by applying the provisions of § 185-17 to the lot dimensions derived from applying the provisions of Subsection B of this section.

§ 185-17 Lot and bulk requirements.

A. 
Front yard: The front yard is the area from the public right-of-way to the building line. Structures and additions are prohibited in the front yard, except as permitted within the facade area.
B. 
Building line: The minimum front yard depth for each lot within the district has been determined by the Town, based on the average front yard depth of nearby properties on the street. That average distance from the right-of-way determines the location of the building line. The Town maintains a database that includes the location of the building line for each lot, expressed as the distance from the public right-of-way to the closest structural wall of each primary structure, not including cornices, unroofed and unwalled terraces, entrance steps, chimneys or cantilevers that extend two feet or less from the structural wall. In some cases when primary structures are facing a private street, the average front yard depth has been measured and the building line located based on distance from the edge of pavement. In the case of some flag lots, and as provided in § 185-17L, where the relationship to a street is ambiguous, the building line has been located across the front facade of the existing house.
(1) 
Structures and additions are not permitted to extend past the building line, except as permitted in a facade area, as provided in Subsection D of this section. Existing structures which already extend past the building line are permitted minor facade additions, provided that such additions are contained wholly within the facade area.
(2) 
For construction of new primary structures, the building line shall serve as an approximate "build-to" line, and the front facade of the primary structure shall be located within 10 feet of the building line. However, upon proper application, the Design Review and Historic Preservation Board may permit a deeper front yard if appropriate within the context of the neighborhood.
Figure 1. Area and Bulk Elements
185 Figure 1.tif
C. 
Lot width: the width of the lot, measured at the building line.
D. 
Facade area: Minor facade additions, such as unenclosed porches, unenclosed entry vestibules, entry canopies and bay windows, are permitted to extend forward of the building line into the facade area. The depth of the facade area shall be the greater of either six feet or 10% of the front yard depth, as illustrated in Figure 2. The maximum depth of the facade area shall not exceed eight feet.
(1) 
For example, if the building line is 40 feet from the right-of-way, the allowed depth of the facade area would be 10% of that 40 feet (four feet) or six feet, whichever is greater. In this case, the six-foot distance is greater, so the facade area would be six feet in depth, measured from the building line toward the property line (right-of-way).
Figure 2. Facade Area
 
185 Figure 2.tif
E. 
Side yard: The minimum side yard for a lot is based on the width of the lot, as specified in Table I. The only permitted structures within the side yard area are permitted accessory structures pursuant to § 185-113.
Table I. Minimum Total Required Side Yards
Lot Width
(feet)
Minimum One Side
(feet)
Minimum Both Sides Total
(feet)
Less than 60
5
15
60 to 90
10
20
91 to 120
10
25
121 to 140
10
30
141 to 160
15
40
161 to 180
15
60
181 to 225
20
90
Greater than 225
20
120
F. 
Buildable area: The buildable area on a lot is where the primary and any accessory structure may be built. The buildable area does not include the front yard, side yard or rear buffer.
G. 
Maximum building footprint: The building footprint includes all roofed structures that are attached to the primary structure. The maximum building footprint permitted is based on the size of the lot, as specified in Table II.
(1) 
Example: According to Table II, the lot referred to in Subsection F(5) of this section[1] would be permitted to have a maximum building footprint equivalent to 3,675 square feet plus 5% of the lot area over 17,500 square feet (5% of 500 square feet equals 25 square feet). Therefore, the maximum building footprint would be 3,700 square feet.
Table II. Building Footprint
Lot Size
(square feet)
Maximum Building Footprint
(square feet plus percentage of lot size)
Less than 10,000
29%
10,000 to 12,500
2,900 + 19% of area over 10,000
12,501 to 15,000
3,375 + 9% of area over 12,500
15,001 to 17,500
3,600 + 3% of area over 15,000
17,501 to 20,000
3,675 + 5% of area over 17,500
20,001 to 25,000
3,800 + 9% of area over 20,000
25,001 to 30,000
4,250 + 5% of area over 25,000
30,001 to 35,000
4,500 + 1% of area over 30,000
35,001 to 45,000
4,550 + 4% of area over 35,000
Greater than 45,000
4,950 + 2% of area over 35,000
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection F(5) referred to a lot of 18,000 square feet, upon which size the calculations in this example are based.
H. 
Maximum lot coverage: The maximum lot coverage shall not exceed 40% of the total area of the property. Lot coverage includes all improved surfaces, buildings, driveways, porches, decks, patios, pools and other similar lot improvements.
I. 
Rear buffer: A rear buffer shall be applied to all lots extending 20 feet from the rear property line, for the width of the property. Primary or accessory structures are not permitted within this area, except fences and garden sheds in accordance with § 185-113.
J. 
Rear yard: The rear yard is the portion of the buildable area located behind the rear wall of the primary structure, in between the side yards and forward of the rear buffer.
Figure 3. Rear Yard and Rear Buffer Areas
 
185 Figure 3.tif
K. 
Corner lots: Corner lots are lots that front on more than one road right-of-way and shall include curved lots that function as a corner lot. Corner lots shall contain a front yard abutting each road right-of-way. The Town has determined a building line for each front yard in existing corner lots. The front yard toward which the front entry door faces shall be considered the primary front yard for establishing all other dimensional requirements described in this section (facade area, lot width, etc.). The yard behind the house, from the front entry door perspective, shall be considered the rear yard, while the remaining yard shall be considered the only side yard. (See Figure 4.)
(1) 
In cases where a corner lot abuts three streets, each yard abutting a road right-of-way shall be considered a front yard and the remaining yard shall be considered the rear yard.
(2) 
Notwithstanding the provisions of § 185-17E of this article, the side yard of a corner lot shall, in all cases, be 20 feet in width.
(3) 
A new primary structure on a corner lot shall be oriented to face the more primary road, unless, upon proper application, it is otherwise determined by the Design Review and Historic Preservation Board that this does not meet the intent of this section or is otherwise out of character with the neighborhood. In cases where there is no clear distinction which street is the more primary road, the property owner may elect which direction the house will face.
Figure 4. Corner Lots
 
185 Figure 4.tif
L. 
Flag lots: A flag lot is a lot with access that is provided to the bulk of the lot by means of a narrow corridor. Flag lots that front on or are immediately at the end of a private road or common driveway shall have the same requirements as regular lots. Flag lots which do not front on or are immediately at the end of a private road or common driveway shall be subject to the following modifications and/or additional requirements:
(1) 
Flag lots (developed): Lot and bulk requirements for preexisting flag lots which already have a primary residential structure present are illustrated in Figure 5 and shall be as follows:
Figure 5. Flag Lots (Developed)
 
185 Figure 5.tif
(a) 
The building line ("A" in Figure 5) shall be determined as a line running parallel with the front facade of the existing house along its frontmost face. Upon proper application, the Design Review and Historic Preservation Board shall make a determination as to the location of the building line, if it is not readily apparent due to the unusual shape or orientation of the house.
(b) 
The depth of the facade area shall, in all flag lots, be eight feet ("B" in Figure 5).
(c) 
In cases where the existing primary structure is closer than 60 feet from an adjoining lot line, the buildable area may maintain that same distance along that property line segment only. In these cases, the edge of the buildable area shall run parallel to that segment of the property line, extending no closer to the property line than the existing house ("E" in Figure 5). Distances measured from detached garages, sheds or similar accessory buildings shall not be counted toward this provision. Distances measured from additions that are granted an area variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals after the adoption of this article shall also not be counted toward this provision.
(d) 
All accessory structures, with the exception of fences and garden sheds, shall be located within the rear yard ("C" in Figure 5).
(2) 
Flag lots (undeveloped). The lot and bulk requirements for preexisting and approved flag lots which do not already have any residential structures present shall be as follows:
Figure 6. Flag Lots (Undeveloped)
 
185 Figure 6.tif
(a) 
The front yard, side yards and rear buffer shall all have a depth of 60 feet (Figure 6).
(b) 
Upon proper application, the Design Review and Historic Preservation Board shall determine and set the building line.
(c) 
The depth of the facade area shall be eight feet.
(d) 
All accessory structures, with the exception of fences and garden sheds, shall be located within the rear yard.
M. 
Building height: The maximum permitted height for structures or additions is 30 feet, except that chimneys attached to such structures may extend five feet above the highest point of the structure. However, upon proper application, the Design Review and Historic Preservation Board may permit additional height, provided that it finds that such height is appropriate within the context of the neighborhood, to a maximum of 40 feet. Further, no portion of the structure shall be taller than twice its distance from the nearest side property line, up to the maximum permitted height (Figure 7).
Figure 7. Building Height
185 Figure 7.tif

§ 185-18 Subdivision of existing lots without creation of new road.

A. 
Determining context. The subdivision potential of a lot without the creation of a new public or private road shall be determined based on its context to its adjacent lots, which shall be chosen as follows:
(1) 
The adjacent lots must be on the same side of the street as the subject lot, with lot frontage on the same public or private road.
(2) 
The adjacent lots must be residential lands. Other land use types, such as recreational, institutional, commercial or public lands (schools, golf courses, ball fields, parks, playgrounds or utilities), shall not be counted as adjacent lots.
(3) 
The adjacent lots must be immediately next to and contiguous to the subject lot and to each other.
(a) 
The two adjacent lots on either side of the subject parcel should be used whenever possible ("Lot A" in Figure 8). If it is not possible to use two lots on either side, then the closest similar combination should be used, such as one to the left and three to the right ("Lot B" in Figure 8), or all four to the same side if necessary ("Lot C" in Figure 8).
Figure 8. Determining Adjacent Lots
 
185 Figure 8.tif
(b) 
If it is not possible to find four adjacent lots which are contiguous with the subject lot and to each other, then three lots may be used ("Lot D" in Figure 8).
(c) 
Adjacent and contiguous lots do not include those on the other side of a street.
(d) 
In cases where it is not possible to find three adjacent lots for consideration, upon proper application, the Planning Board shall determine which surrounding lots are to be considered adjacent lots, including lots further removed or on the opposite side of the public or private road.
(e) 
On lots which are on or adjacent to corners, the orientation of the proposed primary structure shall dictate which lots shall be counted as the adjacent lots. In the example on the left in Figure 9, the proposed primary structure is oriented toward the primary road, so that the four lots along the primary road would be considered the adjacent lots, because they are oriented in the same direction. In the example on the right, the four lots on the secondary road would be considered the adjacent lots, while the lot on the corner would not be considered an adjacent lot since its primary structure is oriented toward a different street.
Figure 9. Determining Adjacent Lots by Orientation
 
185 Figure 9.tif
B. 
Lot requirements. The lot requirements for a subdivision that does not include the creation of a new public or private road shall be calculated based on the average dimensions of the adjacent lots and shall be determined as follows:
(1) 
Average lot area. The average lot area is the average of the adjacent lots. If this average exceeds two acres, then two acres shall be used as the minimum lot size of the newly created lot(s).
(2) 
Average lot width. The average lot width is the average of the adjacent lots. If this average exceeds 100 feet, then 100 feet shall be used as the minimum lot width for the newly created lot(s).
(3) 
Average lot depth. The average lot depth is the average of the adjacent lots. The depth shall be measured from the midpoint of the front property line to the furthest part of the rear property line. If this average exceeds 200 feet, then 200 feet shall be used as the minimum lot depth for the newly created lot(s).
(4) 
Example calculation. In the example below, the average lot area of the four adjacent lots is 1.40 acres. The subject lot may use this average lot area or a default lot area of two acres, whichever is lower, as the minimum lot area for any new lots. (In this example, 1.4 acres is the minimum lot area.) The average lot width of the four adjacent lots is 205 feet. The subject lot may use this average lot width of 205 feet or a default lot width of 100 feet, whichever is lower, as the minimum lot width for any new lots. (In this example, the default lot width of 100 feet is the minimum lot width.) This calculation is repeated for lot depth to determine the final minimum dimensional requirement for any new lots created from the subject lot.
Example A. Context-Based Subdivision: Example Calculation
Adjacent Lots
May Use Smaller Dimension of Average or Default
Minimum Required for New Lots
Context Criteria
1
2
3
4
Average
Default
Lot area
0.98
1.16
1.65
1.84
1.40 acres
2.0 acres
1.4 acres
Lot width
175
215
240
190
205 feet
100 feet
100 feet
Lot depth
285
350
315
256
301 feet
200 feet
200 feet
C. 
Reduction for unbuildable land. In determining the lot area of the subject lot and of the adjacent lots, the site capacity calculation worksheet referred to in the Town's Subdivision Regulations shall be used to calculate the buildable area.
D. 
Building line. As part of the subdivision process, the Planning Board shall determine the building line for each new lot, based on the context of the adjacent lots.

§ 185-19 Subdivision of lots that include creation of new road.

A. 
Subdivision context and lot requirements. New subdivision lots that include the creation of a new public or private road should be arranged in a fashion which is in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood context and in a manner that respects abutting lots in terms of lot area width and depth, as well as yard orientation and street orientation. In general, the subdivision layout shall achieve the following design principles to the extent practical:
(1) 
As part of the subdivision approval process, the Planning Board shall determine the appropriate number of allowable lots, as well as the building line, lot area, lot width and lot depth for each new lot, based on the context of the new lots to adjacent existing lots and to one another.
(2) 
Rear yards of new lots should face the rear yards of existing adjacent lots.
(3) 
Front yards of new lots should not face into the rear or side yards of existing adjacent lots unless there is a significant distance, as determined by the Planning Board, between the front of the new home and the rear or side yard of the adjacent lot.
(4) 
Front yards of new lots should not face into the rear or side yards of new lots unless there is a significant distance, as determined by the Planning Board, between the front of the new primary structure and the rear or side yard of the other new lots.
(5) 
A vegetated buffer may also be required by the Planning Board to create appropriate screening.
(6) 
Front yards should face the front yards of lots across the street, and side yards should face into the side yards of adjacent lots.
(7) 
The examples in Figure 10 illustrate and describe how the subdivision context and lot requirements in this subsection can be used to evaluate proposed subdivision layouts. In these examples the proposed layouts are not acceptable.
Figure 10. Sample Subdivision Layouts (Unacceptable)
185 Figure 10a.tif
185 Figure 10b.tif
Poor - This proposed layout creates awkward relationships where front yards are facing side or rear yards of adjacent properties. Removing one of the proposed lots could allow for a redesign that would provide adequate separation and make this type of layout more acceptable.
Poor - This proposed layout does a better job of having the rear yards of proposed new lots face the rear yards of existing properties to the right; however, it creates a street directly abutting the rear yards of the existing properties to the left.
(8) 
The examples in Figure 11 illustrate and describe how the subdivision context and lot requirements in this subsection can be used to evaluate proposed subdivision layouts. In these examples the proposed layouts are acceptable.
Figure 11. Sample Subdivision Layouts (Acceptable)
185 Figure 11a.tif
185 Figure 11b.tif
Better - This proposed layout keeps rear yards facing rear yards and also provides a vegetated buffer along the new road to shield it from the rear yards of the existing properties to the left.
Preferred - This proposed layout keeps the rear yards of proposed lots facing the rear yards of existing properties to the left and the right. It also creates a front-yard-to-front-yard relationship across the street for the new homes in the subdivision.

§ 185-20 Lot consolidation.

Proposals to merge two or more lots, or lot line adjustments resulting in a net increase of 10,000 square feet or more to one lot, shall be reviewed by the Planning Board as if it were a subdivision. As part of its review, the Planning Board shall consider the potential impact of the proposed consolidation on neighborhood context and, in particular, the potential size of a primary structure on the larger lot in relation to existing primary structures in the neighborhood. Based on its review, the Planning Board may approve the consolidation or lot line adjustment, grant approval with specific conditions limiting the potential size of primary structures on the modified lots, or disapprove the application.