Town of Potsdam, NY
St. Lawrence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 93-13
Minimum requirements. 

§ 93-14
General considerations. 

§ 93-15
Street layout. 

§ 93-16
Street design. 

§ 93-17
Street names. 

§ 93-18
Lots. 

§ 93-19
Drainage improvements. 

§ 93-20
Parks, open spaces and natural features. 

In considering applications for subdivision of land, the Planning Board shall be guided by the standards set forth hereinafter. Said standards shall be considered to be minimum requirements and shall be waived by the Board only under circumstances set forth in Article VI herein.

A. 

Land that is to be subdivided will have such character that it can be used safely for building purposes.

[Amended 7-13-1993 by L.L. No. 2-1993]

B. 

Conformity to Official Map and Master Plan. Subdivisions shall conform to the Official Map of the town and shall be in harmony with the Master Plan.

C. 

Specifications for required improvements. All required improvements shall be constructed or installed to conform to the town specifications listed herein and any other applicable town specifications.

A. 

Width, location and construction. Streets shall be of sufficient width, suitably located and adequately constructed to conform to the Master Plan and to accommodate the prospective traffic and afford access for fire fighting, snow removal and other road maintenance equipment. The arrangement of streets shall be such as to cause no undue hardship to adjoining properties and shall be coordinated so as to compose a convenient system.

B. 

Arrangement.

(1) 

The arrangement of streets in the subdivision shall provide for the continuation of principal streets of any adjoining subdivision and for proper projection of principal streets into adjoining properties which are not yet subdivided in order to make possible necessary fire protection, movement of traffic and the construction or extension, presently or when later required, of needed utilities and public services, such as sewers, water and drainage facilities. Where, in the opinion of the Planning Board, topographic or other conditions make such continuance undesirable or impracticable, the above conditions may be modified.

(2) 

Subdivisions containing 20 lots or more shall have at least two street connections with existing public streets, or streets on an approved subdivision plat for which a bond has been filed.

C. 

Minor streets. Minor streets shall be so laid out that their use by through traffic will be discouraged.

D. 

Special treatment along arterial streets. When a subdivision abuts or contains an existing or proposed arterial street, the Board may require marginal access streets, reverse frontage with screen planting contained in a nonaccess reservation along the rear property line, deep lots with rear service alleys or such other treatment as may be necessary for adequate protection of residential properties and to afford separation of through and local traffic.

E. 

Provision for future resubdivision. Where a tract is subdivided into lots substantially larger than the minimum size required in the zoning district in which a subdivision is located, the Board may require that streets and lots be laid out so as to permit future resubdivision in accordance with the requirements contained in these regulations.

F. 

Dead-end streets. The creation of cul-de-sac or loop residential streets will be encouraged wherever the Board finds that such type of development will not interfere with normal traffic circulation in the area. In the case of such streets, where needed or desirable, the Board may require the reservation of a twenty-foot-wide easement to provide for continuation of pedestrian traffic and utilities to the next street.

G. 

Block size. Blocks generally shall not be less than 600 feet nor more than 1,200 feet in length. In general, no block width shall be less than twice the normal lot depth. In blocks exceeding 800 feet in length, the Planning Board may require the reservation of a twenty-foot-wide easement through the block to provide for the crossing of underground utilities and pedestrian traffic, where needed or desirable, and may further specify, at its discretion, that a four-foot-wide paved footpath be included.

H. 

Intersections with collector, major or arterial streets or roads. Minor or secondary street openings into collector, major or arterial streets or roads shall, in general, be at least 500 feet apart.

I. 

Street jogs. Street jogs with center-line offsets of less than 125 feet shall be avoided.

J. 

Angle of intersection. In general, all streets shall join each other so that, for a distance of at least 100 feet, the street is approximately at right angles to the street it joins.

K. 

Relation to topography. The street plan of a proposed subdivision shall bear a logical relationship to the topography of the property, and all streets shall be arranged so as to obtain as many of the building sites as possible at or above the grade of the streets. Grades of streets shall conform as closely as possible to the original topography.

L. 

Other required streets. Where a subdivision borders on or contains a railroad right-of-way or limited access highway right-of-way, the Planning Board may require a street approximately parallel to such right-of-way, at a distance suitable for the appropriate use of the intervening land, as for park purposes in residential districts or for commercial or industrial purposes in appropriate districts. Such distances shall also be determined with due regard for the requirements of approach grades and future grade separations.

A. 

Width of rights-of-way and improved surface area. Streets and improved surface areas shall have the following widths. The classification of streets shall be determined by the Board.

Street Classification Minimum Right-of-Way (feet) Minimum Improved Surface (feet)
Major street 66 40
Collector street 60 30
Minor street 50 22 (rural)
30 (urban)
B. 

Required street improvements.

(1) 

Not later than 90 days after the granting of final approval, the subdivider shall have installed or shall have furnished adequate bond or other security for the installation, within a specified time, of the required improvements listed and described in this section. All of the required improvements shall be made by the subdivider in full compliance with the specifications for each of the various units of work, as required by town, county or state authorities, according to the nature of the improvement.

(2) 

Subgrade. All topsoil, muck, quicksand, spongy material and other objectionable material shall be removed from an area on each side of the center line sufficient to provide the required base course for the improved surface and shoulder width called for. After it has been properly shaped to the approved profile, the subgrade should be rolled and compacted. Adequate drainageways, at least 18 inches below the crown of the finished pavement, shall be provided on each side of the road to the satisfaction of the Town Engineer and Planning Board. Fills shall be made with material approved by the Town Engineer and shall be placed in layers not over six inches thick, and each layer shall be properly rolled and compacted. No gravel or stone for the base course is to be placed on the subgrade until the subgrade and drainage is approved by the Town Engineer.

(3) 

Base course. The thickness and methods of constructing the base course may vary, depending upon the amount of traffic anticipated, the type of material used and the condition of the subgrade. A base course at least 30 feet wide and corresponding to the required pavement and shoulder width consisting of not less than 12 inches of compacted stone or gravel approved by the Town Engineer shall be installed. All materials and construction procedures shall be subjected to the approval of the Town Engineer and shall comply with current construction and material specifications of the New York State Department of Transportation.

(4) 

Final course. The final course of the street pavement shall be as specified by the Town Board and shall be dependent upon the street classification, the size of the proposed development, the volume and nature of anticipated traffic and the nature and location of adjacent development.

C. 

Street drainage.

(1) 

Street and road culverts, headwalls or other appurtenances shall be installed by the developer where necessary. Where there is no natural stream or watercourse for the drainage of surface water from the proposed street or road, the developer shall secure rights-of-way and construct ditches or install stormwater drains to a natural waterway or as a Town Engineer directs. All street storm and sanitary sewers shall be constructed according to the grades on the plat submitted at the public hearing. Any changes in grade shall require the approval of the Town Board.

(2) 

Driveway culverts shall be not less than 18 inches in diameter and 24 feet in length and shall be of corrugated metal or reinforced concrete. Installation is to be approved by the Town Engineer.

D. 

Utilities in streets. Water and sewer lines shall be placed in the street right-of-way between the street pavement and the street right-of-way line, wherever possible to simplify location and repair of lines when they require attention. Electrical and telephone service, gas mains and other utility installations shall be arranged for by the developer within each subdivision. Consideration shall be given to placing these utilities underground to increase safety, enhance aesthetic values, improve practicality on curving streets and to reduce maintenance costs and utility failures due to accidents and storm damage.

E. 

Utility easements. Where topography is such as to make impractical the inclusion of utilities within the street rights-of-way, easements at least 20 feet in width shall be provided with satisfactory access to the street. Wherever possible, easements shall be continuous from block to block and shall present as few irregularities as possible. Such easements shall be cleared and graded where required.

F. 

Grades.

(1) 

Grades of all streets shall conform in general to the terrain and shall be not less than 1/2% nor more than 6% for major, 8% for collector, or 10% for minor streets in residential areas, but in no case more than 3% within 50 feet of any intersection.

(2) 

All changes in grade shall be connected by vertical curves of such length and radius as meet with the approval of the Town Engineer so that clear visibility shall be provided for a safe distance.

(3) 

A combination of steep grades and curves shall be avoided.

G. 

Curves and visibility at intersections.

(1) 

All street right-of-way lines at intersections shall be rounded by curves of at least 20 feet in radius, and curbs shall be adjusted accordingly.

(2) 

In order to provide visibility for traffic safety, that portion of any corner lot, whether at an intersection entirely within the subdivision or of a new street with an existing street, which is within the triangular area formed by the intersecting street right-of-way lines and a straight line joining said lines at 30 feet distant from the point of intersection shall be cleared of all growth, except isolated trees, and obstructions more than three feet higher than the center line of the street. If directed, ground shall be excavated to achieve visibility.

H. 

Culs-de-sac. Where cul-de-sac streets are designed to be so permanently, they should, in general, not exceed 500 feet in length and shall terminate in a circular turnaround having a minimum right-of-way radius of 75 feet and an outside improved surface radius of 60 feet. At the end of temporary dead-end streets, a temporary turnaround with a surface radius of 50 feet shall be provided, unless the Planning Board approves an alternate arrangement.

I. 

Watercourses. Where a watercourse separates a proposed street from abutting property, provision shall be made for access to all lots by means of culverts or other structures of design approved by the Town Engineer.

J. 

Curve radiuses. In general, street lines within a block, deflecting from each other at any one point by more than 10º shall be connected with a curve, the radius of which for the center line of street shall not be less than 400 feet on major streets, 200 feet on collector streets and 100 feet on minor streets.

K. 

Reserve strips prohibited. Reserve strips of land, to be used to control access from the proposed subdivision to any neighboring property or to any land within the subdivision itself, shall be prohibited.

L. 

Free flow of vehicular traffic abutting commercial developments. In front of areas zoned and designed for commercial use, or where a change to a zone which permits commercial use is contemplated, the street width shall be increased by such amount on each side as may be deemed necessary by the Planning Board to assure the free flow of through traffic without interference by parked or parking vehicles and to provide adequate and safe parking space for such commercial or business district.

All street names shown on a preliminary layout or final subdivision plat shall be approved by the Planning Board. In general, streets shall have names and not numbers or letters. Proposed street names shall be substantially different so as not to be confused in sound or spelling with present names, except that streets that join or are in alignment with streets of an abutting or neighboring property shall bear the same name. Generally, no street should change direction by more than 90º without a change in street name.

A. 

Lot size. All lots shall have area and width equal to minimum requirements of the Zoning Regulations, if any,

Editor's Note: See Ch. 110, Zoning.
and local and State Department of Health regulations applying to the district in which they are located.

B. 

Side lines. Side lines of lots shall be at right angles to straight street lines and radial to curved street lines, unless a variance from this rule will give a better street or lot plan.

C. 

Corner lots. In general, corner lots should be larger than interior lots to provide a desirable building site with proper building setback from each street.

D. 

Driveway access. Driveway grades between the street and the setback line shall not exceed 7%.

E. 

Access from private streets. Lots on private streets shall be deemed acceptable only if such streets are designed and improved in accordance with these regulations.

F. 

Monuments and lot corner markers. Permanent monuments meeting specifications approved by the Town Engineer as to size, type and installation shall be set at such block corners, angle points, points of curves in streets and other points as the Town Engineer may require, and their location shall be shown on the subdivision plat.

Adequate storm drainage systems shall be required in all new subdivisions. The drainage system shall be designed by a person licensed to perform such work.

A. 

Removal of spring and surface water. Any spring or surface water that may exist, either previous to or as a result of subdivision, shall be carried away by pipe or open ditch. Such drainage facilities shall be located in the street right-of-way where feasible, or in permanent easements of appropriate width.

B. 

Drainage structure to accommodate potential development upstream. A culvert or other drainage facility shall, in each case, be large enough to accommodate potential runoff from its entire upstream drainage area, whether inside or outside of the subdivision. The Town Engineer shall approve the design and size of the facility based on anticipated runoff from a ten-year storm under conditions of total potential development permitted by the Zoning Regulations in the watershed.

Editor's Note: See Ch. 110, Zoning.
The cost of a culvert or other drainage facility in excess of that required for the particular subdivision may be deemed to be the responsibility of the town, or may be prorated among the upstream property owners.

C. 

Responsibility from drainage downstream. The subdivider's engineer shall also study the effect of each subdivision on the existing downstream drainage facilities outside the area of the subdivision; and this study shall be reviewed by the Town Engineer. When it is anticipated that the additional runoff incident to the development of the subdivision will overload an existing downstream drainage facility during a five-year storm, the Planning Board shall notify the Town Board of such potential condition. In such case, the Planning Board shall not approve the subdivision until provision has been made for the improvement of said condition.

D. 

Land subject to flooding. Land subject to flooding or land deemed by the Planning Board to be uninhabitable shall not be platted for residential occupancy nor for such other uses as may increase danger to health, life or property, or aggravate the flood hazard, but such land within the plat shall be set aside for such uses as shall not be endangered by periodic or occasional inundation or improved in a manner satisfactory to the Planning Board to remedy said hazardous condition.

E. 

Individual lot drainage. All subdividers shall present an individual lot drainage plan for each lot in their proposed subdivision. Such plan shall be used in the grading of lots before a certificate of compliance is granted, as required by the Zoning Regulations.

Editor's Note: See Ch. 110, Zoning.
No roof leaders or footing drains which carry stormwater will be permitted to use a sanitary sewer nor a so-called dry well in an area where the dominant soil is hardpan but shall be adequately disposed of upon the ground surface.

A. 

Recreation areas.

(1) 

The Planning Board shall require that the plat show sites of a character, extent and location suitable for the development of a park, playground or other recreation purpose in the vicinity of the subdivision. Where a proposed park, playground or open space shown on the Town Plan is located in whole or in part in the subdivision, the Board shall require that such area or areas be shown on the plat in accordance with the requirements specified above. Such area or areas may be dedicated to the town by the subdivider if the Town Board approves such dedication. A maximum of 10% of the area of the subdivision may be required for dedication for park, playground and other recreation purposes.

(2) 

In the event that an area suitable for a park or playground is located in the subdivision, the subdivider shall submit to the Board, prior to final approval, three prints (one on cloth) drawn in ink, showing, at a scale of not less than 40 feet to the inch, such area and the following features thereof:

(a) 

The boundaries of said area.

(b) 

Existing features, such as brooks, ponds, clusters of trees, rock outcrops and structures.

(c) 

Existing and, if applicable, proposed changes in grade and contours of said area and of the area immediately adjacent.

B. 

Waiver of plat designation of area for parks and playgrounds.

(1) 

In cases where the Planning Board finds that due to the size, topography or location of the subdivision, land for park, playground or other recreation purposes cannot be properly located therein or if, in the opinion of the Board, it is not desirable, the Board may waive the requirement that the plat show land for such purposes. The Board may then require, as a condition to approval of the plat, a minimum payment to the town of $500 per gross acre of land that would otherwise have been acceptable for recreation purposes, up to 10% of the total area to be applied to the purchase and/or improvement of a suitable adjacent site.

(2) 

Such amount shall be paid to the Town Board at the time of final plat approval, and no plat shall be signed by the authorized officer of the Planning Board until such payment is made. All such payments shall be held by the Town Board in a special Town Recreation Site Acquisition and Improvement Fund to be used for the acquisition of land that is suitable for permanent park, playground or other recreational purposes; and is so located that it will serve primarily the general neighborhood in which the land covered by the plat lies; and shall be used only for park, playground or other recreational land acquisition or improvements. Such money may also be used for the physical improvement of existing parks or recreation areas serving the general neighborhood in which the land shown on the plat is situated, provided that the Planning Board finds there is a need for such improvements.

C. 

Preservation of natural features. The Planning Board shall, wherever possible, establish the preservation of all natural or historic features which add value to residential developments and to the community, such as large trees or groves, watercourses and falls, vistas, architectural or historic sites and similar irreplaceable assets.