The general regulations affecting the use of buildings, structures and land for each of the districts established by Article III are hereby established and set forth in this article.
[Added 7-12-1999 by L.L. No. 1-1999]
Purpose. In order to protect and preserve the scenic qualities of the lands within the Schunnemunk Agricultural/Scenic Overlay District area as set forth in the Town of Cornwall Master Plan, which may include historic, scenic, community character, architectural and other resources of historic interest, to help preserve and protect the ability to maintain the active use of existing tracts of agricultural lands and high-value agricultural soils within the same to the extent practicable, the Town of Cornwall hereby establishes the Schunnemunk Agricultural/Scenic Overlay District and regulations applying thereto.
Prohibitions. Notwithstanding any contrary provisions set forth in the Table of Use Regulations for the ARR Zoning District, earth operations, as defined herein, are prohibited in the Schunnemunk Agricultural/Scenic Overlay District.
Editor's Note: Said table is included at the end of this chapter.
Commercial forestry within the scenic overlay district. The following restrictions shall apply to commercial forestry operations within the Schunnemunk Agricultural/Scenic Overlay District, in order to protect aesthetic values where logging operations occur along travel corridors and/or near property boundaries:
Maintain a one-hundred-foot scenic buffer strip along public roadways, where at least 50 square feet of basal area shall be retained, including some trees over 12 inches in diameter as measured four feet above the ground level. Remove all trash and debris, and keep all logging debris out of the public road right of way and ditches.
Directionally fell trees within the scenic buffer so that their tops land away from the road, and pull down partly fallen trees. Keep stumps as low as possible.
Keep skidders back in the woods, away from the roads. Where possible, locate landings behind a land form that hides them from the road, or set back in the woods as far as practicable. Where practicable, lay out landings so that the long axis lies perpendicular to the road, so that they are less visible.
Where practicable, curve access roads to landings to make them less visible to the road, and keep entrances narrow.
Procedure. All land uses within the Schunnemunk Agricultural/Scenic Overlay District shall to the greatest extent possible be carried out so as to protect and preserve the existing scenic and other qualities of the district. The Planning Board shall have the option of requiring a Conservation Subdivision Design layout, implementing the procedures set forth in Subsection E(1) through (6) below. In the event that the Conservation Subdivision Design Layout is not chosen and a standard lot layout is pursued, such standard layout shall incorporate consideration of and protective measures where deemed necessary for the criteria set forth in Subsection E(5) below, to the extent such criteria may be applicable.
Conservation Subdivision Design: Definition and Procedure. A conservation subdivision design is a specific type of clustered subdivision layout within the Agricultural/Scenic Overlay District. The procedures for implementing the same are set forth below:
Determine allowable density or yield. To determine the number of lots which can be obtained from subdividing a given parcel, a sketch plan shall be prepared in accordance with standard zoning requirements and conventional lot layouts. Each single-family lot, its building envelope and the entire subdivision layout must comply with all applicable regulations affecting land use, as appropriate; e.g., ponds, wetlands for which no permit for use has been granted, streams, floodway, flood zone. This step takes place prior to the development of the conservation subdivision plan.
Minimum percent open space: At least 50% of the land within a conservation subdivision plan should be preserved as permanent open space, protected against structural use by the imposition of easements or appropriate covenants and restrictions. Where approved by the Planning Board and, as applicable, by any other appropriate jurisdictional agency, a portion of the required open space may be used for either individual or community septic disposal systems, for any required stormwater management facilities or for individual or community water supply wells, in order to effectuate the goals of the conservation subdivision plan.
Bonus density provision. An applicant may opt to receive up to 15% more units than was calculated in Step 1 as a bonus for pursuing a conservation development subdivision plan.
Location, use and maintenance of open space; lot layout procedure.
For each conservation subdivision plan, the open space areas to be retained must first be identified and shown on a plan. The choice of open space areas would include Primary Conservation Areas: which are areas that would either be prohibited by other law or regulation from residential and other structural development, e.g., water bodies, streams and floodways, and wetlands, and/or areas which constitute significant barriers to development, such as a slope of 30% or more; and Secondary Conservation Areas: which are areas that constitute valuable resources which are identified as significant and worthy of protection in the Town of Cornwall Comprehensive Plan, such as prime agricultural lands, historic or cultural resources, scenic view areas, either into the parcel itself or of other scenic resources, or critical habitat areas. Buffer areas of 50 feet to 100 feet separating development from water bodies, waterways and wetlands would be included in this category unless otherwise required to be in the Primary Conservation Area. Meadows, pastureland, active farm fields and upland forest lands may therefore be included as Secondary Conservation Areas.
The permissible number of lots calculated in Step 1, together with any bonus density opted by way of Step 3, shall then be designed to accommodate the mapped primary and secondary open space areas. House locations should be identified first, then access road locations, with the lot lines being delineated as the last step.
Open space areas shall be designed to be visually and/or physically accessible to as many lots within the subdivision as practicable. Pedestrian access shall be provided to the open space lands within the subdivision both for passive recreational access and for maintenance purposes, unless such use is not compatible with the open space reservation (e.g., active agriculture, or historic or other resource areas which may be vulnerable to trampling and disturbance.) Open space areas shall be maintained in as large a contiguous land area as possible. Open space parcels in adjoining conservation subdivisions shall, if possible, be interconnected in order to maximize the habitat value and integrity of the open space.
Evaluation criteria for lots and open space. The Planning Board shall evaluate the proposed conservation subdivision layout according to the following criteria:
Minimizes intrusion into wetlands, floodways and floodplains, water bodies and steep slope areas. Although some intrusion may be necessary in order to obtain road access to the site, this should be keep to a minimum. Any pedestrian access to primary and secondary conservation areas shall also be designed to minimize impact on these resources.
Recognizes existing scenic views and vistas and, to the extent possible, preserves the existing visual character of the site area within the overlay district. This includes protecting the visual character and appearance into the site from existing public roads. This avoids siting new construction in a way that will be visually prominent, where possible, and gives attention to the appropriate architectural design vernacular in the homes that will unavoidably be visually prominent. Where possible, existing field hedgerows and stone walls should be preserved.
Provides reasonably contiguous open space and/or avoids habitat fragmentation. The open space resulting from the subdivision should avoid fragmenting habitat to the greatest extent possible, in keeping with the resources of concern within the overlay district. Where open space abuts another conservation subdivision, open space shall generally abut.
Designs, around critical habitat areas, areas of unique environmental interest or concern and sites of historical or cultural value, as well as preserving active farm fields for continued agricultural use where possible.
Includes a pedestrian circulation system where appropriate for open space lands. Depending on the purpose for the open space reservation, provision of a footpath connecting site features within the open space lands and the lots within the subdivision may be appropriate and should be considered. For example, land in use for active farm purposes would not lend itself to a pedestrian trail, in contrast to woodlands or open meadows.
Shows the location and dimensions of all building envelopes, and shows the location of all structural and nonstructural lot uses for each lot, including any open space parcel(s). Where the lots within the conservation subdivision may be clustered lots, the standard zoning bulk requirements would be modified for such resulting lots. Any applicable setback requirements governing the location of houses and other structures on the lots shall be clearly set forth. Further, other nonstructural elements, such as specific driveway locations, in addition to required facilities, wells and sanitary systems, may need to be established within the plan in order to ensure that the plan functions properly. Location of fencing, if desired, and landscape features should also be considered.
Open space ownership and maintenance provisions.
As an integral part of the final conservation subdivision, the ownership of any conservation area established thereunder must be determined relative to its intended function and the lot layout. Provisions must be made to ensure the proper management, maintenance or care of the conservation easement area, where any is needed. Its relationship to the lots, its purpose and habitat function and even the number of lots within the subdivision should be considered in this regard. For example, it may be appropriate to retain an existing farmhouse and barn with open space lands which are to be preserved for agricultural use, particularly if a smaller subdivision of approximately 10 lots or fewer is involved. The conservation easement area should be planned with the objective of minimizing any maintenance requirements in order to reduce the long-term costs associated with doing so. If it is important for land to be preserved in grassland or meadow vegetation, some minimum maintenance needed to preserve the groundcover should be provided for. The owner of the open space shall be responsible for all moneys required to maintain the same.
Preserved features may be held commonly. Common areas and any associated facilities must be held by a homeowners' association or such other ownership as the Town Board may find acceptable. Membership within such association shall be mandatory for all lots within the subdivision. The Town shall review and approve the association bylaws prior to their adoption, in order to ensure that they are in harmony with and properly effectuate the goals of the conservation subdivision and zoning law, including regarding any use and maintenance of the open space.
The accompanying tables entitled "Table of General Use Regulations Residential Districts" and "Table of General Use Regulations Nonresidential Districts" shall be deemed part of this article and referred to herein as "use tables."
Editor's Note: The use tables are included at the end of this chapter.
The use tables are divided into columns, with each column headed by a number for reference. Horizontal lines divide the regulations for one district from those of another.
In the use tables, the words "same as" followed by the symbol of the district shall be construed to include all of the matter set forth in the same column for the district or districts thus referred to, thereby incorporating such matter by reference.
Uses carried through from one district to another are cited "same as..." followed by the district from which carried through and a number or numbers referring to the particular use as identified in the district to which referred. The term "subject to the same bulk regulations" indicates that the bulk regulations applying to the specific use are unchanged from the district cited.
Any use not identified in the use table but found by the Board of Appeals to be substantially the same or having the same characteristics as a use identified in the table may be permitted, after application and hearing, subject to any special conditions. In permitting such uses, the Board of Appeals shall provide to the Town Board a recommended revision to the use table for review under Article XI, Amendments.