Town of Ghent, NY
Columbia County
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Within any Residential Agricultural or Residence District, a building, structure or lot shall only be used for one of the uses indicated in Appendix A, Table of Use Regulations, for the specific district in which it is located on the Zoning Map, and in accordance with the particular classification of that use in that district. Further, any such building, structure or lot shall only be utilized in conformance with the provisions of Appendix B, Table of Dimensional Regulations. In addition, such use shall also comply with all other applicable provisions of this chapter. There shall be no more than one use permitted on any one lot, except as otherwise expressly permitted herein.
A. 
Purpose. This article is designed to permit modification of the strict application of the provisions of this chapter for the following purposes and when such modification would conform to the appropriate and orderly development of the Town and the neighborhood:
(1) 
To permit tracts of land of considerable size to be developed and designed as harmonious units.
(2) 
To permit the establishment of uses of land, buildings and other structures that are not otherwise permitted when such uses would be beneficial to the Town.
(3) 
To permit the design and construction of buildings, structures and facilities that otherwise do not conform to the present area, location and bulk standards and which by virtue of their location, orientation, texture, materials, landscaping or other features demonstrate design merit.
B. 
Procedure. In Planned Residential Districts, land and buildings may be used for the purposes as authorized by the Town Board in accordance with the following procedure: Application for establishment of a Planned Residential District shall be made to the Town Board. The Town Board shall refer the application to the Town Planning Board for consideration.
(1) 
The proposal for a Planned Residential District shall generally be submitted and reviewed with the Planning Board and Town Board in three stages, as follows:
(a) 
Preliminary proposal.
[1] 
This submission is intended to permit initial review and evaluation of the design and development concept and to secure agreement of and approval of the general concept.
[2] 
Submission of the following type of information is required: sketch plan, sketches, diagrams and other materials as may be requested to clarify or explain the design or other aspect of the proposal, a written statement of the proposal.
(b) 
Interim proposal.
[1] 
This proposal is intended to permit further review, including any revision based upon prior review or otherwise proposed by the developer.
[2] 
Submission of the following type of information is required: preliminary site development plan, general building plans and other information as may be requested.
(c) 
Final proposal. The following information is required: site plan developed in detail to describe the character and scope of the proposal completely. In addition, the developer may be required to furnish such drawings and specifications for a further understanding of the project. In reaching its final decision on the proposed development, the Planning Board shall consider, among other things, the need for the proposed use in the proposed location, the existing character of the neighborhood in which the use would be located, and the safeguards provided to minimize possible detrimental effects of the proposed use on adjacent property.
(2) 
The Planning Board shall approve, approve with modifications or disapprove such application and shall report its decision to the Town Board.
(3) 
The Town Board shall hold a public hearing on the application with the same notice as required by law for amendment to this chapter. After the public hearing the Town Board may approve the application, approve it subject to modifications or disapprove the application. If the application is approved, or approved subject to modifications, the Planned Residential District shall be considered established and this chapter and the Zoning Map shall be considered modified to permit establishment of the development in accordance with plans approved as part of the application and in accordance with any additional standards and conditions specified by the Town Board.
(4) 
Time limit. Within three years after the decision of the Town Board, any construction authorized by such decision shall have been completed and any use authorized by such decision shall have been commenced; otherwise, the Planned Residential District shall be null and void and the land area covered by such District shall revert, after public hearing, to the previous zoning district, provided that upon written request of the applicant and after public hearing the Town Board may grant extensions of the three-year limitation for periods of not more than one year when the applicant shows good cause for such extension.
(5) 
Zoning Map. An approved Planned Residential District shall be shown on the Zoning Map with a reference to the records of the Town Board where the approved standards and plans may be seen.
C. 
Standards.
(1) 
Minimum size. A Planned Residential District shall be at least 15 acres.
(2) 
Access. All Planned Residential Districts of 20 or more dwelling units shall have direct ingress and egress to either a state or County highway.
(3) 
Sewage and water system. Any Planned Residential District must be serviced by either a central or public sewer and water system that has been approved by the Columbia County Health Department.
(4) 
Buffering. In the absence of an intervening secondary or major street dividing a Planned Residential District from an abutting residential district (Agricultural, Suburban or Village), a seventy-five-foot minimum buffer strip shall be left as open space. If the Planned Residential District abuts a commercial, industrial or business district, a one-hundred-foot minimum buffer strip shall be in addition to side yard requirements.
(5) 
Dwelling types.
(a) 
A Planned Residential District may include single-family dwellings, townhouses, condominium and/or multifamily dwellings.
(b) 
There may be no more than eight townhouse units or condominiums in any continuous group.
(c) 
Multiple dwellings may be no more than 35 feet in height and may not include more than 12 dwelling units per structure.
(6) 
Average density. The average density of the entire Planned Residential District shall not exceed one dwelling unit per 40,000 square feet.
(7) 
Minimum lot and yard requirements and off-street parking (see Planned Residential District Schedule located at the end of this chapter).
(8) 
Open space. At least 25% of the entire land area of any Planned Residential Development shall remain as open space. Such land shall be held in corporate ownership by the owner of lots within the development or, if the Town Board, in its sole discretion, agrees, may be deeded to the Town or a special district created by the Town. The Town hereby retains the right to refuse to accept such land. If such land is to be held in corporate ownership the developer shall incorporate into the deeds of all property within the development a clause giving to the owners an interest in such open land which shall be used for the recreational or agricultural purposes only. No structure save those incidental to the recreational, preservation of natural features or agricultural use shall be permitted thereon. Such land shall be suitably maintained.
(9) 
Districts. Application for a Planned Residential District may only be made if the subject property is located exclusively within an agricultural or residential zone.
(10) 
Low-impact business uses. Low-impact business uses which are compatible with the district and offer goods or services to the residents of the district may be permitted where it is shown that such uses are secondary to the residential district and contribute to the project for the benefit of the residents of said district. Examples of such uses include a professional office or a small retail store of less than 1,600 square feet. The number of business uses shall not constitute more than 20% of the total number of units to be constructed or developed in the district.
[Added 5-17-2012 by L.L. No. 4-2012]
(11) 
Sidewalks. All planned residential districts shall have adequate sidewalks or some alternate approved pathway for pedestrian traffic.
[Added 5-17-2012 by L.L. No. 4-2012]
(12) 
All planned residential districts shall have at least 50% open space.
[Added 5-17-2012 by L.L. No. 4-2012]
[Amended 5-17-2012 by L.L. No. 4-2012]
Any mobile home located in a RRA-1 or RRA-2 zone, and not in an approved mobile home park, may not be located within 500 feet from any other mobile home in that zone, exclusive of any mobile home located in an approved mobile home park. Individual mobile homes:
A. 
Shall be located on a permanent foundation or concrete slab and shall be permanently anchored. The foundation or slab shall be at least four inches thick.
B. 
Shall be skirted within 30 days of installation on the site.
C. 
Prior to the occupation of the mobile home, the water and sewer system shall be inspected and approved by the Columbia County Health Department and such proof shall be presented to the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
D. 
Electrical wiring to the mobile home shall be underground from the last pole to the mobile home, and the last pole shall be at least 50 feet from the mobile home.
E. 
Prior to occupancy, a mobile home shall have sleeping accommodations, flush toilet, a tub or shower, kitchen facilities, plumbing and heating connections for attachment to outside systems and shall otherwise fully comply with the requirements of the State Building Code.
A. 
There are two levels of home occupation, HO-1 and HO-2. Home Occupation-1 (HO-1) is limited to a use occurring fully within the principal dwelling on the lot and shall be considered a permitted use. Those home occupations occurring wholly or partially in an outbuilding shall be considered as Home Occupation-2 (HO-2), and which may only be authorized by special use permit granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
B. 
All home occupations must comply with the definition set forth in § 190-2 of this chapter. A use permit is required for all home occupations. Application for a use permit shall be made to the Zoning Enforcement Officer. The application shall include a description of the proposed use and shall address each of the items listed below. If, after such use permit is granted, it is subsequently determined that the home occupation use no longer complies with any of these conditions, the Zoning Enforcement Officer may revoke such use permit. If this occurs, the applicant may appeal such determination to the Zoning Board of Appeals, provided that such appeal is taken within 30 days of the decision of the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
(1) 
The following additional requirements shall be applicable for all home occupations. The applicant shall have the burden of establishing, by clear and convincing proof, that the proposed home occupation will comply with all of these items.
(a) 
Not more than two home occupations may occur on a single residential lot.
(b) 
A home occupation shall not cause a significant increase in neighborhood traffic.
(c) 
There may be no more than two vehicles used in connection with the operation of the business on the premises. Any such vehicles shall be screened or stored in an enclosed structure. However, this does not refer to a passenger vehicle and/or pickup truck used by the occupants for their personal use.
(d) 
A sign is allowed, which shall not exceed dimensions two feet by three feet and may be double-sided. It may be located in the required front yard, provided that it is set back at least 15 feet from all property lines, and is not more than six feet above the natural ground level at its location. The sign shall not be lighted.
(e) 
Retail sales shall not be permitted on the premises except for small scale sales of goods actually produced on the premises or small scale sales of goods incidental to the main service provided.
(f) 
There may be no exterior storage of materials or exterior variations from the residential character of the neighborhood. Generally, the display of goods in the front yard of the premises shall not be permitted. However, the applicant may have a sample display of goods in the front yard where the applicant can demonstrate that this will not have an adverse impact on the residential area and that such display will be maintained in a neat and orderly condition. Goods for retail sale only may be displayed elsewhere on the property if appropriately covered by a structure and/or screened by a fence or natural vegetation, provided that outdoor display of goods does not occur within 40 feet of an adjoining lot.
(g) 
The proposed home occupation shall not produce any unusual appearance, noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat, glare or electrical disturbances that would exceed those normally produced by a residence.
(h) 
Storage, use and disposal of hazardous substances and petroleum products must meet applicable state and federal regulations.
(i) 
Any new construction undertaken to accommodate the home occupation activity shall be wholly consistent with the character of a residential premises.
(j) 
No more than three persons, other than members of the household occupying such dwelling, shall be employed on the residential premises in the conduct of all home occupations thereon; provided, however, that the applicant shall have the right to appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals which, after public hearing, may allow more than three persons in such circumstances where the Zoning Board of Appeals has determined that the use of the property, with such additional employees, still qualifies as a home occupation under the definitions and requirements set forth in this chapter. Should the Zoning Board of Appeals determine that more than three persons other than members of the household may be employed at the property in the conduct of such home occupation(s), the Zoning Board of Appeals shall set the maximum number of persons, other than members of the household occupying the dwelling, who may be employed on the residential premises in such circumstances.
(k) 
There may be no sharing, letting or subletting of space for use by others in connection with a home occupation.
(l) 
There shall be sufficient off-street parking to avoid parking congestion in the public roadway and in order to adequately accommodate the anticipated use of the property in connection with such home occupation.
(2) 
The following shall apply to HO-1: a home occupation within a principal dwelling shall not be permitted where more than 1/3 of the total square footage is utilized in connection therewith.
(3) 
The following shall apply to HO-2: a home occupation in outbuildings shall be limited to a maximum of 1,000 square feet and the structure shall otherwise comply with the dimensional requirements in the applicable zone. However, the Zoning Board of Appeals may grant an area variance with respect to any setback requirement.
A. 
A home occupied business (HOB) involves a lot containing both the principal residence of the owner/operator of the business, and an outbuilding in which such owner conducts such business. Where the principal residence is separated from an outbuilding by an existing Town, County or state road, and where both buildings are in existence as of April 19, 2001, both lots together shall be considered a single lot for purposes of an HOB permit, if both lots have the same tax parcel identification number. The review process for a home occupied business shall be conducted by the Planning Board which may authorize such use by special permit in the RRA-1 and RRA-2 zones. An application to the Planning Board for a special permit for a home occupied business shall include a site plan of the property, drawn to scale by a professional. In general, the Planning Board in granting such a special permit shall determine that the applicant has established by clear and convincing evidence that the impact to the residential area is acceptable, in the sense that, although there is the possibility of generating some impact, the overall use of the lot will not have an adverse impact on the present character of the neighborhood. In addition, the granting of a permit for a home occupied business is subject to the following requirements and provisions. The applicant must establish compliance with these requirements and provisions by clear and convincing evidence.
[Amended 5-17-2001 by L.L. No. 2-2001; 5-17-2012 by L.L. No. 4-2012]
(1) 
The residence and the business structure may not be subdivided from each other while the business use is in force. If subdivided, the business use may not continue nor shall the same be considered to be grandfathered to become a separate structure.
(2) 
The lot must be a minimum of four acres.
(3) 
The business use shall be a nonnuisance use in accordance with the definition for nonnuisance industry, § 190-2.
(4) 
The owner/resident of the residence must be the active and primary owner/operator of the business.
(5) 
The business structure shall be located to the rear of the residence, except for a structure in existence as of the effective date of this chapter. This limitation shall also not apply to any outbuilding which is located farther than 200 feet from the front yard boundary line.
(6) 
The business structure shall have a minimum setback of 100 feet from any boundary line. This requirement shall not be applicable for structures existing as of the effective date of this chapter.
(7) 
All trash and waste must be kept in covered containers and disposed of as required. No trash or waste materials may be disposed of on the parcel.
(8) 
Noise. The applicant must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that there shall be no noise emanating from the business which is excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud due to volume, intermittence, beat frequency or shrillness, such that the same shall be perceptible outside the property from where it originates.
(9) 
Parking. There shall be one space for each employee plus two additional spaces, and in addition there shall be at least two parking spaces for the residents.
(10) 
Employees. The Planning Board shall determine the maximum number of employees allowed to work at the premises, including the proprietor(s). Such determination shall be based upon each of the factors set forth herein and the requirement that the impact to the residential area is acceptable as provided for herein. In no event shall more than nine employees be allowed to work at the premises, including the proprietor(s).
(11) 
Exterior lighting must be employed so as not to provide excess glare or lighting directed toward an adjoining property.
(12) 
Screening. Minimum screening shall be planting or fencing of such type, height, spacing and arrangement as will effectively screen the business activity from any adjoining lot.
(13) 
The business use shall not be entitled to any further accessory uses or additional structures for the business use.
(14) 
Sign. A sign is allowed, which shall not exceed dimensions two feet by three feet and may be double-sided. It may be located in the required front yard, provided that it is set back at least 15 feet from all property lines, and is not more than six feet above the natural ground level at its location. The sign shall not be lighted.
(15) 
A home occupied business shall not cause a significant increase in neighborhood traffic.
(16) 
The Planning Board shall determine the number of vehicles that may be used or stored at the property in connection with the operation of the business. In making such determination, the Board shall consider the size of the lot, the location for parking, and the overall impact the storage and/or use of such vehicles will have with regard to the use of the lot and the present character of the neighborhood. All such vehicles shall be adequately screened or stored in an enclosed structure. The maximum number of vehicles which can be used or stored on the property in connection with the operation of the business shall be four. However, this does not refer to a passenger vehicle and/or pickup truck used by the occupants for their personal use.
(17) 
The proposed business use shall not produce any unusual appearance, noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat, glare or electrical disturbances that would have an adverse impact on the present character of the neighborhood.
(18) 
Storage and use and disposal of hazardous substances and petroleum products must meet applicable state and federal regulations.
(19) 
Generally, any outbuilding constructed after the effective date of this chapter which is sought to be utilized as a home occupied business shall not be greater than 1,600 square feet. However, the Planning Board may permit a larger structure taking into consideration the proposed location, size of the lot, adequate setbacks, screening and any other pertinent factors and conditions as set forth herein in support of the requirement that the applicant shall establish by clear and convincing evidence that the size of such building will not have an adverse impact on the present character of the neighborhood. This provision regarding the size of the outbuilding shall not be applicable to existing buildings as of the effective date of this chapter, provided that this shall not relieve the applicant from complying with all of the other terms and provisions required herein. However, in no event shall any such structure exceed 5,000 square feet.
B. 
If the Planning Board determines that all of the requirements as set forth herein are met, a special permit will be issued for a period of up to one year, extendable every December 1. For extension, the owner/operator will make an application for such extension to the Zoning Enforcement Officer. The Zoning Enforcement Officer will ascertain (by inspection) that all conditions (general and specific) of the permit are being met. If conformance is determined, then the Zoning Enforcement Officer will renew the special permit for another year. If the Zoning Enforcement Officer believes that not all conditions of the permit are being met, or if there are other zoning violations on the subject property, the Zoning Enforcement Officer shall deny the renewal of the permit and the use of the property for home occupied business shall cease.
C. 
The applicant has the right to request a review of any determination by the Zoning Enforcement Officer with respect to renewal of the permit to the Zoning Board if the Zoning Enforcement Officer determines nonconformance, with which the applicant does not agree. Such request must be made within 30 days of such determination by the Zoning Enforcement Officer. The applicant may also make a new application for a special permit at any time, should conditions change and the applicant find that he/she is unable to conform to the conditions of the current special permit.
D. 
The fee for a special permit for a home occupied business and the fee for renewal of any such permit shall be as set from time to time by resolution of the Town Board.
[Amended 4-27-2000 by L.L. No. 1-2000]
E. 
The construction of any building(s) or structure(s) by the applicant in connection with any permit issued for a home occupied business shall not be considered as grounds for a variance under any other provision(s) of this chapter or for any proposed use which is not permitted under this chapter, should the special use permit for home occupied business be discontinued.