Town of Tonawanda, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 215-1 Statutory authority; scope of provisions.

Pursuant to the authority conferred in § 261 of Article 16 of the Town Law of the State of New York and all amendments of said article as they may apply, the Town Board of the Town of Tonawanda, County of Erie, State of New York, has ordained and does hereby enact the following chapter regulating and restricting by districts the height, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures; the percentage of lot that may be occupied; the size of yards, courts or other open spaces; the density of population; and the location and use of buildings, structures and land for trade, industry, residence and other purposes; such regulations to apply to and affect only such part of the Town of Tonawanda as is outside of the Village of Kenmore. The enforcement of this chapter shall be consistent with and in compliance with §§ 239-l and 239-m of Article 12-B of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York.

§ 215-2 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Zoning Local Law of the Town of Tonawanda, County of Erie, State of New York."

§ 215-3 Purpose.

These regulations are made in accordance with a comprehensive plan and are designed to lessen congestion in the streets; to secure safety from fire, panic and other dangers; to promote health and general welfare; to provide adequate light and air; to prevent overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to make provision for, so far as conditions may permit, the accommodations of solar energy systems and equipment and access to sunlight necessary therefor; and to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements. All premises or parcels of land, occupied or not for the permitted or other uses, shall be maintained in a neat and clean condition in concert with the purposes above stated. All references to written notices contained herein shall include the delivery of such notices by personal service thereof or by certified mail.

§ 215-4 Word usage; administrative agencies; definitions.

[Amended 1-11-1988 by L.L. No. 1-1988; 10-5-1992 by L.L. No. 5-1992; 3-15-1993 by L.L. No. 1-1993; 6-7-1993 by L.L. No. 3-1993; 4-7-1997 by L.L. No. 2-1997; 10-20-1997 by L.L. No. 4-1997]
For the purpose of this chapter, certain words, administrative agencies and terms used herein shall be defined as follows:
A. 
Word usage.
(1) 
All words used in the present tense include the future tense.
(2) 
All words in the plural number include the singular number and all words in the singular number include the plural number, except as to the number of permitted structures, unless the natural construction of the wording indicates otherwise.
(3) 
The word "person" includes an association, partnership or corporation.
(4) 
Unless otherwise specified, all distances shall be measured horizontally along the ground.
(5) 
The word "building" includes the word "structure."
(6) 
"Lot" includes the words "plot," "parcel," "tract" or "site."
(7) 
The word "premises" includes a lot and all buildings or structures thereon.
(8) 
"To erect," "to construct" and "to build" a building or structure each have the same meaning and also include "to excavate" for a building and "to relocate" a building by moving it from one location to another.
(9) 
"Used" shall be deemed also to include "designated, intended or arranged to be used or occupied."
(10) 
"Shall" is mandatory and not discretionary; "may" is permissive.
(11) 
The word "he" also includes the word "she."
B. 
Administrative agencies defined.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The official designated by the Town Board of the Town of Tonawanda to enforce the provisions of this Zoning chapter and the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code in the Town of Tonawanda.
[Amended 3-26-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
COUNTY PLANNING BOARD
The Planning Board of Erie County.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The New York State Department of Health and any other health board or department established pursuant to the laws of the State of New York and having authority for the regulation of matters pertaining to the public health within the Town of Tonawanda.
DEVELOPMENT SERVICES STAFF
Includes personnel from the Building Department, Planning and Development Department, and/or the Technical Support Department.
[Added 8-29-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The official designated by the Town Board of the Town of Tonawanda to administer the provisions of this chapter.
[Added 8-29-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
PLANNING BOARD
The Planning Board of the Town of Tonawanda.
TOWN BOARD
The Town Board of the Town of Tonawanda.
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
The Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Tonawanda.
C. 
Definitions.
ABANDONMENT
To cease or discontinue a use or activity without intent to resume it.
ACCESSORY RESIDENTIAL USE
A use or occupancy of a premises in conjunction with or for the service of the residential use. Such accessory use may be located within a residential building or on the same or adjoining premises and may include but not be limited to:
(1) 
Offices for the building management.
(2) 
Public dining rooms, banquet rooms, public kitchens and ballrooms.
(3) 
Recreation and play rooms.
(4) 
Laundries for the use of occupants provided by or in connection with the management and operation of a residential building.
(5) 
Maintenance and workshops and storage rooms for linen, bedding, furniture and supplies and for occupants' equipment and effects.
(6) 
Garages used for the storage of motor vehicles.
ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
A structure subordinate to a principal structure on the same lot and used for purposes customarily incidental to those of the principal structure. Accessory structures include but are not limited to portable, demountable or permanent enclosures, shade structures, carports, swimming pools, garages and storage sheds.
ACCESSORY USE
A use customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use or occupancy of a building and located on the same lot with such principal use or building.
ADULT-CARE FACILITY
A family-type home for adults, a shelter for adults, a residence for adults or an adult home which provides temporary or long-term residential care and services to adults who, though not requiring continual medical or nursing care provided by facilities licensed or operated pursuant to Article 28 of the Public Health Law or Articles 19, 21, 29 and 31 of the Mental Hygiene Law, are by reason of physical or other limitations associated with age, physical or mental disabilities or other factors unable or substantially unable to live independently.
ALLEY
A public or private narrow passageway designed for the special accommodation of the property it reaches or abuts, to be used mainly for the convenience of said abutting property owners and those dealing with them, which passageway is not dedicated to the public use or established for that purpose by the Town or its officials.
ALTERATION
As applied to a building or structure, a change or rearrangement in the structural parts or in exit facilities of such building or structure, or any enlargement thereof, whether by extension on any side or by any increase in height, or the moving of such building or structure from one location to another.
ALTERNATIVE TOWER STRUCTURE
Any man-made trees, clock towers, bell steeples, light poles and similar alternative design mounting structures that camouflage or conceal the presence of antennas or towers.
AMUSEMENT GAME CENTER
A continuous commercial use in which there are four or more mechanical, electrical or electronic machines or devices used or designed to be operated for entertainment or as a game, and either activated by the insertion of a coin, token, etc., or use for which a charge is made.
ANTENNA
Any device or exterior apparatus mounted on a tower, building, utility pole, light pole or other structure designed for telephonic, radio, data, Internet or television communications to transmit or receive communication signals or electromagnetic waves for the purpose of providing cellular services, telecommunications services, personal communications services, personal wireless services, wireless cable, commercial paging, data, or wireless services, and its attendant base station, utilizing microcells or frequencies authorized by the Federal Communications Commission.
ANTENNA SUPPORT STRUCTURE
Any structure, mast, pole, tripod or tower utilized for the purpose of supporting an antenna or antennas for the purpose of transmission or reception of electromagnetic waves.
APARTMENT HOUSE
A structure containing three or more dwelling units for permanent residency and designed or used for occupancy by three or more families living independently of each other.
APPROVED
Approved by the Town Code Enforcement Officer under the regulations of this chapter, or approved by an authority designated by this chapter.
[Amended 3-26-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
AREA, BUILDING
The total of areas taken on a horizontal plane at the main grade level of the principal building and all accessory buildings exclusive of terraces and uncovered steps. All dimensions shall be measured between the exterior faces of walls.
AREA, LOT
The total area within the lot boundary lines excluding any area included in a public street right-of-way.
ATTIC
That space of building which is between the top of the uppermost floor construction immediately below and wholly or partly within the roof framing and that is not finished as habitable or occupied space (See also "story, half.")
AUXILIARY HOUSING UNIT
A room or group of rooms within a detached single-family dwelling forming a semi-independent habitable unit which may be occupied by elderly or disabled members of the family occupying the dwelling for separate living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes.
BACKHAUL NETWORK
The lines that connect a provider's towers/cell sites to one or more cellular telephone switching offices and/or long distance providers or the public switched telephone network.
BAR
A business establishment licensed by the State of New York to serve alcoholic beverages and which establishment is designed primarily for the consumption of such alcoholic beverages on the premises, irrespective of whether or not food and/or entertainment are also provided as accessory uses.
BASEMENT
Any space of a building which is partly below finished grade but having more than 1/2 of its height measured from floor to ceiling above average finished grade. (See also "cellar.")
BED-AND-BREAKFAST
A building containing a single dwelling unit in which at least one but not more than four sleeping rooms are provided by the owner/occupant as overnight lodging facilities for the accommodation of transient guests.
BOARDING HOUSE
A building, other than a hotel, containing a general kitchen and a general dining room, in which at least three but no more than six sleeping rooms are offered for rent, with or without meals, to nontransient guests. A lodging house or rooming house shall be deemed a boarding house.
BOATYARD
A facility for servicing all types of recreational watercraft, as well as providing supplies, storage and fueling facilities, and with facilities for the retail sale, rental or charter of boats, motors and marine equipment.
BUFFER YARDS
An area of land forming a visual and/or physical separation or barrier between two uses. In the case of a visual barrier, the land shall be covered with natural plantings or man-made material to provide a continuous physical screen preventing visual access and reducing noise.
BUILDING
A structure wholly or partially enclosed within exterior walls, or within exterior and party walls, and a roof and which is permanently affixed to the land. The term "building" shall be construed as if followed by the phrase "or part thereof," unless otherwise indicated by the text, and shall include any structure other than a fence, sidewalk or driveway.
BUILDING, ACCESSORY
See "accessory structure."
BUILDING, DETACHED
A building surrounded by open space on the same lot.
BUILDING FRONTAGE
The linear footage of a building facing the front yard as defined in this chapter of the Code of the Town of Tonawanda, New York.
BUILDING GROUP
A group of two or more principal buildings and any buildings accessory thereto occupying a lot in one ownership and having any yard in common.
BUILDING HEIGHT
The vertical distance measured from the average elevation of the proposed or existing finished grade to the highest point of the roof for flat or shed roofs to the deck of mansard roofs, and to the highest point of the ridge for pitched, gable, hip and gambrel roofs.
BUILDING-INTEGRATED SOLAR/PHOTOVOLTAIC (BIPV) SYSTEM
A solar energy system incorporated into and becoming part of the overall architecture and design of a building or structure in a manner that the solar energy system is a permanent and integral part of the building envelope or structure.
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
BUILDING LINE
A line parallel to the street line, between which line and the street line no building or part thereof may be built or located, except as otherwise permitted by legislation of the Town of Tonawanda, New York.
BUILDING-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A solar energy system that is affixed to the side(s) of a building or other structure either directly or by means of support structures or other mounting devices, but not including those mounted to the roof or top surface of a building. Solar energy systems constructed over a parking lot are considered building-mounted solar energy systems.
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
BUILDING, PRINCIPAL
A building in which is conducted the main or principal use of the lot on which said building is situated.
BUILDING, SEMIDETACHED
A building attached by a party wall to another building normally of the same type on another lot, but having one side yard.
BULK
A term to describe the size, volume, area and shape of buildings and structures, and the physical relationship of their exterior walls or their location to lot lines, other buildings and structures or other walls of the same building; and all open spaces required in connection with a building, other structure or tract of land.
BUSINESS
Includes the purchase or sale or other transactions involving the handling or disposition of any article, substance or commodity, including animals; it also includes offices, rentable spaces, provision of services and recreational and amusement enterprises conducted for profit.
BUSINESS STREET
The 1/2 of a dedicated right-of-way abutting the plot, lot or lots zoned for C-1 Restricted 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.
CAR WASH
A building, premises or portions thereof where automobiles and other vehicles are washed either by the patron or others either by hand or using machinery and mechanical devices specifically designed for this purpose.
CELLAR
Any space in a building the structural ceiling level of which is less than four feet above average finished grade where such grade meets the exterior walls of the building. (See also "basement.")
CELL SITE
A tract or parcel of land that contains the personal wireless service facilities, including any antenna, support structure, accessory buildings and parking and may include other uses associated with and ancillary to personal wireless services.
CEMETERY
Land used or intended to be used for the burial of the dead and dedicated for cemetery purposes, including columbarians, crematories, mausoleums and mortuaries when operated with and within the boundaries of such cemetery.
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
A certificate issued by the Code Enforcement Officer upon completion of construction, alteration or change in occupancy or use of a building. Said certificate shall acknowledge compliance with all the requirements of this chapter and such adjustments thereto granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
[Amended 3-26-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
CHILD-CARE FACILITY
Any licensed building or structure operated for the purpose of providing daytime care and instruction for two or more children on a regular schedule and also known as a "day-care center." (See also "day-care center.")
CHURCH OR PLACE OF WORSHIP
A building or premises used for regular public worship by members or representatives of a religious sect or organization as defined by state statute.
CONDOMINIUM
A building or group of buildings in which residential, commercial or industrial units are owned individually while the structure, common areas and common facilities are owned jointly by all the owners on a proportional basis.
CONTIGUOUS PARCEL
A tract of land under the control of the applicant or its agent that is not divided by any natural or man-made barriers such as existing streets and highways or public rights-of-way identified on the Official Map and is not bisected by water bodies.
CONTRACTOR'S YARD
Any space, whether inside or outside a building, used for the storage or keeping of construction equipment, machinery or vehicles or parts thereof which are in active use by a construction contractor.
CONVALESCENT HOME
See "nursing home."
CONVENIENCE/MINI-MARKET
A commercial retail use which combines the sale of beverages, dairy and baked goods, snack foods, prepackaged grocery items and daily household items and which may also be accompanied by the sale of motor vehicle fuel and accessory substances for automobiles.
CORNER LOT
A lot at the junction of and abutting two or more intersecting streets.
COVERAGE
That lot area or percentage of lot area covered by buildings or structures, including accessory buildings and structures.
CREMATORIUM OR CREMATORY
A facility which includes a furnace for the cremation of the dead, whether located in and associated with a freestanding building, a cemetery or a funeral home.
DAY-CARE CENTER
Any licensed building or structure operated for the purpose of providing daytime care for two or more adults or children on a regular schedule. (See also "child-care facility" and "adult-care facility.")
DEVELOPED LAND AREA
Land which is occupied by either structures, parking lots, outdoor storage areas or recreation areas, and any combination thereof.
DISTRICT OR ZONE
That portion of the Town within which specific uses are permitted according to the designation applied thereto in Article III and in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
DRIVE-IN USE
Any commercial or business activity which incorporates as a principal or accessory feature a service window, booth or other like arrangement on the exterior of the building or structure designed primarily for drive-through or carry-out service.
DRIVEWAY
That portion of a paved surface (consisting of concrete, blacktop or paving brick) on a premises used or set aside for the use of motor vehicles.
DUMP
A lot or land used primarily for the disposal by abandonment, burial, burning or any other means and for whatever purpose of garbage, sewage, trash, refuse, junk, discarded machinery, vehicles or parts thereof or waste materials of any kind.
DWELLING
A building for occupancy in the whole by one or more families.
DWELLING, ONE-FAMILY
A building containing one dwelling unit only. This term shall not be deemed to include motels, hotels, rooming houses or other accommodations used for more or less transient occupancy.
DWELLING, ONE-FAMILY DETACHED
A building containing one dwelling unit and having two side yards. This term shall not be deemed to include motels, hotels, rooming houses or other accommodations used for more or less transient occupancy.
DWELLING, ONE-FAMILY SEMIDETACHED
A building containing one dwelling unit and having one party wall and one side yard. This term shall not be deemed to include motels, hotels, rooming houses or other accommodations used for more or less transient occupancy.
DWELLING, TWO-FAMILY
A building containing two dwelling units. This term shall not be deemed to include motels, hotels, rooming houses or other accommodations used for more or less transient occupancy.
DWELLING, MULTIPLE-FAMILY
A building containing three or more dwelling units with shared or individual entrances and/or other essential facilities and services. This term shall not be deemed to include motels, hotels, rooming houses or other accommodations used for more or less transient occupancy.
DWELLING UNIT
One room or rooms connected together, consisting of a separate, independent housekeeping establishment with living, sleeping, cooking and sanitary facilities for use by one family.
FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration.
FCC
The Federal Communications Commission.
FAMILY
Any number of individuals related by blood, marriage or adoption, or not more than three individuals who are not so related, living together as a single housekeeping unit and occupying a dwelling unit.
FENCE
A barrier, enclosure, wall or boundary separation made of posts, boards, wood, wire, metal, masonry, natural stone, shrubs, bush vegetation or other such material for either decorative or security purposes.
(1) 
- A fence located on or within three feet of a lot line.
(2) 
- A product commonly made of parallel wood slats alternately held by continuous parallel lines of wire or reinforced plastic.
FINISHED GRADE
The elevation at which the finished surface of the surrounding lot intersects the walls or supports of a building or other structure. If the line of intersection is not reasonably horizontal, the finished grade used in computing the height of buildings and other structures or for other purposes shall be the average elevation of all finished grade elevations around the periphery of the building.
FLOODPLAIN
The low lands adjoining the channel of a river, stream or watercourse, lake or other body of standing water which have been or may be inundated by floodwater. The channel of a stream or watercourse is a part of the floodplain in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FLOODWAY
The channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height, in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Also referred to as a "regulatory floodway."
FLOOR AREA
The sum of the gross areas of all floors of a building as measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls. Floor area shall not include attic or basement space.
FRONT YARD
A yard across the full width of a lot extending from the front of the building to the street line.
FUNERAL HOME
A building or part thereof used for human funeral services, including chapels, embalming, autopsies, storage of caskets, funeral urns and other related funeral supplies, and the storage of funeral vehicles.
GARAGE, SERVICE/REPAIR
A building or premises used for the repair of motor vehicles, including painting and the sale of related parts and accessories. A junkyard or auto salvage yard is not to be construed to mean or be the same as a garage.
GASOLINE FILLING STATION
An area of land, including structures thereon, or any building or part thereof that is used primarily for the sale and direct delivery to the motor vehicle of gasoline or any other motor vehicle fuel or oil and other lubricating substances, which may include as accessory uses sale of motor vehicle accessories and which may or may not include facilities for lubricating, washing (which does not require mechanical equipment) or otherwise servicing motor vehicles, but not including auto body work, welding or painting.
GENERAL BUSINESS OFFICE
A non-retail, service-oriented office or agency such as insurance brokers, travel agents, computer programming, consulting organizations or similar uses.
GROUND-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A solar energy system that is affixed to the ground either directly or by support structures or other mounting devices.
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
HEIGHT
When referring to a tower or other structure, the distance measured from the finished grade of the parcel to the highest point on the tower or other structure, including the base pad and any antenna.
HOME OCCUPATION
An accessory use which is clearly incidental to or secondary to the principal residential use of a dwelling unit and does not change the character thereof, and is carried on wholly within the enclosed walls of a dwelling unit or accessory building by the resident of such dwelling unit only.
HOSPITAL
An institution for the care and treatment of the sick and injured, equipped with technical facilities and medical, nursing and other professional and technical personnel necessary for diagnosis and treatment of persons suffering from sickness or injury which require bed care, outpatient care or emergency room care.
HOTEL
A building or any part thereof which contains living and sleeping accommodations for transient occupancy, has a common exterior entrance or entrances and which may or may not include dining facilities. This term shall not be deemed to include an inn, bed-and-breakfast, boarding house or other such accommodations.
INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS PARK
A planned, coordinated development of a tract of land with two or more separate parcels or lots for industrial, business or mixed industrial/business development. Such development is planned, designed, constructed and managed on an integrated and coordinated basis with special attention given to site planning and layout, attractive appearance, entrance signage, general landscaping, vehicular circulation, service and delivery, parking, utility needs, building design and orientation, equipment storage, refuse disposal and open space. Typically, an industrial/business park is developed or controlled by one proprietary interest and has an enforceable master plan and/or covenants, conditions and restrictions.
INDUSTRIAL USE
Any activity conducted in connection with the manufacture, assembly, disassembly, fabrication, resource recovery, storage or processing of materials or products all or any part of which are marketed off the premises or marketed to other than the ultimate consumer.
INN
A building containing a single dwelling unit in which more than four and less than 15 sleeping rooms are provided by the owner/occupant for compensation for the accommodation of transient guests, with or without meals.
JUNKYARD
An area of land with or without buildings used for or occupied by the storage, keeping, abandonment or the salvage of junk material, including processing such as sorting, baling, packing, disassembly, exchange and/or purchase and sale of materials, and including scrap metals or other scrap, used or salvaged building materials, or the dismantling, demolition or abandonment of automobiles or other vehicles, machinery or parts thereof. A lot on which any motor vehicle that is not licensed and/or is incapable of meeting minimum NYS motor vehicle inspection standards is stored for a period of thirty days or more shall be considered to meet this definition.
KENNEL
Any place at which there are kept three or more domestic animals or any number of dogs that are kept for the primarily commercial purpose of sale or for the boarding, care or breeding for which a fee is charged or paid.
LANDSCAPED AREA
Paths, patios, walkways and existing natural treed areas and shall consist of, at least, lawn and/or ornamental shrubs, which shall be maintained in a healthy growing condition, neat and orderly in appearance, but shall not include driveways, ramps, lanes or parking areas.
LANDSCAPING
Arranging the effects of natural scenery over a given area so as to produce the best aesthetic effect considering the land use.
LAND USE ACTIVITY
Any construction or other activity which changes the use or appearance of land or a structure or the intensity of use of land or a structure. Land use activity shall explicitly include but not be limited to the following: new structures, expansions to existing structures, new uses, changes in or expansions of existing uses, roads, driveways and excavations for the purpose of extracting soil or mineral deposits.
LARGE-SCALE SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
Any solar energy system that cumulatively on a lot meets all of the following criteria:
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
(1) 
Is an accessory or principal use or structure, designed and intended to generate energy primarily for use on site, potentially by multiple tenants, through a distribution system or electrical grid that is not available to the general public. If excess energy is produced, it can be sold to a utility under a net metering agreement.
(2) 
Consists of an overall footprint of not less than 20,000 and not exceeding 100,000 square feet. Overall footprint shall be determined by the outline created on the ground, building/structure surface, or combination thereof, excluding all rooftop-mounted solar energy systems that meet the requirements of a small-scale or large-scale solar energy system, by wholly enclosing all components/structures of a solar energy system on a lot.
LIGHT INDUSTRY
Any of the following uses which, when conducted within a completely enclosed building, do not present a hazard to occupants of the community:
(1) 
A laboratory engaged in research, testing and experimental work, including any process normal to laboratory practice and technique.
(2) 
The manufacture, compounding, assembling and/or treatment of articles or merchandise from previously prepared materials consisting of fiberglass, fur, leather, paper, plastics, wax, wood, metal and minerals, provided that no chemical process is involved in the basic manufacture of such articles.
(3) 
The manufacture and/or assembly of electronic devices and electrical appliances.
(4) 
The manufacture and/or assembly of musical instruments, novelties, toys or related products.
(5) 
The manufacture, compounding, processing and storage of candy and confections, frozen foods, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, toiletries and food products, excluding a slaughterhouse.
(6) 
A wholesale business and storage for the following types of commodities: clothing, drugs, dry goods, packaged food, furniture, hardware and beverages.
LODGING HOUSE
See "boarding house."
LOT
A contiguous parcel of land considered as a unit, devoted to a specific use or occupied by a building or a group of buildings that are united by a common interest, use or ownership, and the customary accessories and open spaces belonging to the same and which abuts and is accessible from a private or public street.
LOT, CORNER
A lot situated at the junction of and adjacent to two or more intersecting streets when the interior angle of intersection does not exceed 135°.
LOT COVERAGE
See "coverage."
LOT, DEPTH OF
The mean distance from the front street line of a lot to its rear line.
LOT FRONTAGE
A lot line which is coincident with the right-of-way line of a public road or which is measured 20 feet from the center line of a private road.
LOT LINES
The lines bounding a lot as defined herein.
LOT, THROUGH
A lot which faces on two streets at opposite ends of the lot and which is not a corner lot.
LOT WIDTH
The width of a lot measured between the side lot lines along the rear line of the required front yard.
MAIN BODY OF A DWELLING
The building as originally constructed, not including vestibules, porches or other appurtenances.
MARINA
A facility for the berthing and fueling of all types of recreational watercraft.
MEDICAL CLINIC
A place where medical or dental care is furnished to persons on an outpatient basis by five or more physicians who have common offices in a building which shall also offer laboratory and diagnostic facilities to patients on an outpatient basis and not just in conjunction with normal professional services.
MOTEL
A building or group of buildings containing individual living and sleeping accommodations for hire, each of which is provided with a separate exterior entrance and a parking space, and is offered for rental and use principally by motor vehicle travelers. The term "motel" includes but is not limited to every type of similar establishment known variously as an "auto court," "motor hotel," "motor court," "motor inn," "motor lodge," "tourist court," "tourist cabins" or "roadside hotel."
MULTIFAMILY DWELLING
A structure or portion thereof containing three or more dwelling units and designed or used for occupancy by three or more families living independently of each other.
NONCONFORMING BULK
That part of a building, other structure or tract of land which does not conform to one or more of the applicable bulk regulations of this chapter, either following its effective date or as a result of subsequent amendment thereto.
NONCONFORMING USE
Any use of a building, other structure or tract of land which does not conform to the use regulations for the district in which such use is located, either at the effective date of this chapter or as a result of subsequent amendment thereto.
NONPROFIT OR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
A charitable or a religious organization, a benevolent society, a private school, an organized fire department, a United States veterans' organization, including auxiliaries, or any not-for-profit organization.
NONRESIDENTIAL PLANNED DEVELOPMENT
One or more commercial uses proposed as a unit, or one or more industrial uses proposed as a unit.
NURSERY SCHOOL
Any place, however designated, operated for the purpose of providing both daytime care and instruction for two or more children from two to five years of age inclusive, and operated on a regular basis, including kindergartens, day nurseries, and day-care centers.
NURSING HOME
A facility regulated by the State of New York for the purpose of providing room and board and nursing care to sick, invalid, infirm, handicapped or convalescent persons.
OFF-STREET PARKING
A parking facility established with an approved surface off of the public right-of-way and meeting all other restrictions of this chapter.
OWNER
A person, persons or others who hold title to real property as is determined by the current assessment roll for the Town of Tonawanda, New York.
OPEN SPACE
An area which is not developed with principal or accessory structures and which is intended to provide light and air and is designed for either environmental, scenic or recreational purposes. Open space may include but is not limited to decorative planting, preservation of existing natural areas, walkways, active and passive recreation areas and playgrounds. Open space shall not be deemed to include driveways, roadways or parking areas.
PARKING LOT, COMMERCIAL
Any tract of privately owned land with an approved surface which is used for the storage of motor vehicles and is not accessory to any other use on the same or any other lot, and contains parking space rented to the general public or reserved for a group of individuals by the hour, day, week, month or year.
PARKING AREA APPROVED SURFACE
A concrete or blacktop paving, paving brick or other comparable hard surface applied to a parking area, properly drained and approved by the Town of Tonawanda.
PARKING LOT, PRIVATE
Any tract of privately-owned land with an approved surface which is used for storage of motor vehicles and is accessory to a use on the same parcel or lot or on another parcel or lot, and contains parking spaces reserved or leased in some manner for that principal use and not available to the general public.
PARKING LOT, PUBLIC
An off-street parking area with an approved surface where motor vehicles may be stored by the general public, with or without a fee, for temporary, daily or overnight parking.
PARKING SPACE
An off-street space available for the parking of one motor vehicle exclusive of passageways and driveways appurtenant thereto and giving access thereto, and having direct access to a street or alley.
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS
Standards which are adopted as part of this chapter or are involved in the electrical or plumbing code of the Town of Tonawanda or the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code or County of Erie or New York State laws or regulations.
[Amended 10-5-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998]
PERSONAL SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT
A commercial operation, office, store or other place of business catering to the personal needs of a customer, such as normally conducted by a beautician, tailor or dressmaker.
PORCH
Includes any porch, veranda, gallery, terrace, piazza, portico or similar common projection from the main wall of a building, if covered by a roof or if enclosed, with sidewalls or walls other than the main building walls.
PREEXISTING TOWERS AND PREEXISTING ANTENNAS
Any tower or antenna for which a building permit or special use permit has been properly issued prior to the effective date of Article XXIV of this chapter, including permitted towers or antennas that have not yet been constructed so long as such approval is current and not expired.
PREMISES
A lot together with all the buildings and uses thereon.
PROFESSIONAL OFFICE
An office principally occupied by a licensed professional such as a physician, dentist, lawyer, engineer, architect, accountant, insurance or real estate agent or similar occupation.
REAR DWELLING
A separate detached dwelling in the rear of a lot occupied by another building.
REAR YARD
A yard across the full width of the lot extending from the rear of the building to the rear lot line.
RECREATION USES, COMMERCIAL
Uses designed as recreational activities operated by private businesses for profit, including privately operated amusement parks or rides, games, miniature golf courses and similar uses.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
A registered self-propelled vehicle which is used or designed to be used for seasonal and/or temporary living or sleeping purposes, and which is customarily standing on wheels or rigid supports.
REFLECTOR, SOLAR
A device for which the sole purpose is to increase the solar radiation received by a solar collector.
REPAIR SHOP, PERSONAL SERVICE
A store or other place of business at which is conducted the repair of personal customer items, such as shoes, clothing, jewelry, etc.
RESIDENCES, RESIDENTIAL
A building or any part of a building which contains dwelling units for permanent occupancy. Residence, therefore, includes all one-family, and multifamily, boarding, fraternity and sorority houses. However, residences shall not include the following:
(1) 
Transient accommodations, such as hotels, motels, and hospitals; or
(2) 
That part of a building containing both residences and other uses which is used for any nonresidential uses, except accessory uses for residences.
RESIDENT PROFESSIONAL
A doctor, dentist, chiropractor, engineer, accountant, lawyer or architect living on the premises.
RESTAURANT
Any establishment whose principal business is the retail sale of foods, which includes all edible and drinkable substances, in a ready-to-consume state for consumption on the premises.
RESTAURANT, FAST-FOOD
An establishment where food and/or beverages are sold in a form ready for consumption and where, by design or packaging techniques, all or a significant portion of the consumption can or does take place outside the confines of the building.
RESTAURANT, STANDARD
Any establishment, however designated, whose primary use is the preparation and sale of food for consumption to patrons seated within an enclosed building or on the premises.
RETAIL USE
A business or commercial use or activity involving primarily the sale of merchandise or stock-in-trade to the public.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
The property under public ownership or easement normally used for the movement of vehicles and/or persons, including but not restricted to any pavement area.
ROADSIDE STAND
A light structure with a roof, either attached to the ground or movable, not for year-round use and at which produce is offered for sale to the general public.
ROOFTOP-MOUNTED SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
Any solar energy system that is affixed to the roof of a building and wholly contained within the limits of the roof surface.
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
ROOMING AND BOARDING
The providing of shelter or food to individuals other than those of the family in a dwelling unit, with or without compensation.
ROOMING HOUSE
See "boarding house."
SATELLITE TELEVISION ANTENNA
An antenna the purpose of which is to receive television and/or radio signals from orbiting satellites and which is located external to or attached to the exterior of any structure.
SENIOR CITIZEN HOUSING
A building or group of buildings where occupancy is restricted to persons 55 years or older. In the case of double occupancy of a unit, only one resident is required to be at least 55 years of age.
SETBACK
The required distance in feet from:
(1) 
Any survey boundary forming a lot or contiguous parcel; or
(2) 
The right-of-way of a public street.
SHOPPING CENTER
A building or group of buildings containing a combination of three or more separate shops, stores or offices on a single lot providing primarily retail services with supporting service and office establishments.
SHORELINE
The point of convergence between the Niagara River during the nonflood conditions and the land mass within the Town of Tonawanda corporate limits.
SIDEWALK
That portion of a paved surface, consisting of concrete, blacktop or paving brick, on a premises used or set aside for the use of pedestrians.
SIDE YARD
A yard between a building and the adjacent lot line and extending from the front yard to the rear yard.
BANNER or PRIVATE BANNER — A display, informational sign or other advertising device constructed primarily of cloth, canvas, fabric, wood or other temporary material, with or without a structural frame, and attached to a pole or building, which is intended for a limited period of display, including decorative displays for holidays or public events.
DISPLAY OF MERCHANDISE — The showing, exhibiting, exposing or leaving open to view of any product, wares or goods. This includes a display within a structure which is visible to the exterior.
FACE AREA — The surface area of a panel or group of panels on one side of a sign, inclusive of decorative appendages and background but exclusive of supports; that area upon which the information or message of the sign is located.
SIGN — Any structure or part thereof or any object or device attached to a structure or painted or represented on a structure which shall display or include any lettering, wording, model, drawing, picture, banner, flag, insignia, device, marking or representation used as or which is in the nature of an announcement, direction or advertisement, and which is designed to be visible from the exterior of the property. A sign includes a billboard, but does not include the flag or insignia of any nation or of any governmental agency or of any political, educational, charitable, philanthropic, civic, eleemosynary, professional, religious or similar organization or of any campaign, drive, movement or event which is temporary in nature. A sign shall also include any material or structure or part thereof composed of lettered or pictorial matter or upon which lettered or pictorial matter is placed which is on the exterior of any vehicle other than delivery or service vehicles garaged on the premises or other object located on the same parcel as a building, and which lettered or pictorial matter is designed to serve as a sign for the nature of the business, the goods sold or services rendered on the premises. Such sign is hereby prohibited when it is located on the same, adjoining or adjacent parcel as a building or in the immediate vicinity thereof.
SIGN, ADVERTISING — A sign which directs attention to a business commodity, service or entertainment conducted, sold or offered elsewhere than on the same lot. This shall include billboards.
SIGN, AWNING, CANOPY OR MARQUEE — Any visual message or sign incorporated into an awning, canopy or marquee.
SIGN, BANNER — See "banner or private banner."
SIGN, BILLBOARD — Any sign that attracts attention to an object, product, service, place, activity, institution, organization or business not available or not located on the premises where the sign is located. The definition set forth above shall not be deemed to include a sign advertising the sale or rental of real property so long as such sign does not exceed six square feet in face area.
SIGN, BUSINESS — A sign which directs attention to a business or profession conducted or to products sold on the same lot. A "for sale" sign relating to the lot on which it is displayed should be deemed a business sign.
SIGN, CONTRACTOR — Any temporary sign advertising, identifying or drawing attention to the name or address of, or providing other pertinent information about, any construction or improvements, contractor or subcontractor or any other building or landscaping tradesman or professional who is actually involved in the current construction, repair or improvement of the same premises upon which such sign is located.
[Added 10-5-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998]
SIGN, DIRECTORY — Any sign which designates the names and occupations of companies or persons located therein.
SIGN, FLASHING — A moving or animated sign or any illuminated sign on which the artificial or reflected light is not maintained stationary and constant in intensity or color at all times when in use. Any revolving sign shall be considered a flashing sign.
SIGN, GROUND — Any sign resting on or affixed to the ground, independent of any adjacent building or structure, having one or more supports, including an A-frame style sign but excluding a pole sign or billboard sign.
SIGN, IDENTIFICATION — A sign showing the name and profession, occupation or pursuit conducted on the premises or which designates the name of the building and/or address of the same.
SIGN, ILLUMINATED — Any sign as herein defined in connection with which artificial light is used.
SIGN, MESSAGE CENTER — Any sign which contains an illuminated, programmable message or graphic.
[Added 10-1-2007 by L.L. No. 7-2007; 9-13-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010]
SIGN, POLE — A sign supported by or suspended from either one or two freestanding columns of concrete, structural steel, aluminum pipe or structural aluminum which are attached to the ground.
SIGN, PORTABLE — Any temporary freestanding sign which can be disassembled and moved by one person, or one which is on wheels and can be trailered or towed from one location to another.
SIGN, PROJECTING — Any sign which projects from the exterior of any building.
SIGN, ROOF — Any sign constructed upon the roof of a building.
SIGN, TEMPORARY — Any sign so designed, erected and used as to be intended for use for only a limited period of time.
SIGN, WALL — A sign attached to, erected against or painted on the wall of a building or structure with the exposed face of the sign in a plane parallel to the plane of the wall.
TOTAL FACE AREA — The total face area of all sides of a sign or of several signs whose total face area is computed under the requirements of this chapter.
TRADEMARK — A graphic representation registered for the exclusive use by a firm to identify a product, service or activity and graphically displayed on a sign face.
WINDOW SIGN, PERMANENT — Any window sign other than a temporary window sign that is permanently painted or otherwise affixed to a window or door.
WINDOW SIGN, TEMPORARY — Any sign that is affixed to the inside of a window directing attention to a special event, announcement or sale; said sign shall not be displayed for more than 30 days.
SINGLE OWNERSHIP
Possession of land under single or unified control, whether by sole, joint, common or other ownership or by a lease having a term of not less than 10 years, regardless of any division of such land into parcels for the purpose of financing.
SITE PLAN
Maps and supporting information required under Article VIII of this chapter.
SMALL-SCALE SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
Any solar energy system that cumulatively on a lot meets all of the following provisions:
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
(1) 
Is an accessory use or structure, designed and intended to generate energy primarily for a principal use located on site. If excess energy is produced, it can be sold to a utility under a net metering agreement.
(2) 
Consists of an overall footprint of less than 20,000 square feet. Overall footprint shall be determined by the outline created on the ground, building/structure surface, or combination thereof, excluding all rooftop-mounted solar energy systems that meet the requirements of a small-scale or large-scale solar energy system, by wholly enclosing all components/structures of a solar energy system on a lot.
SOLAR COLLECTOR
A solar or photovoltaic cell, plate, panel, film, array, reflector, or other structure affixed to the ground, a building, or other structure that harnesses solar radiation to directly or indirectly generate thermal, chemical, electrical, or other usable energy, or that reflects or concentrates solar radiation to a solar or photovoltaic cell, plate, panel, film, array, reflector, or other structure that directly or indirectly generates thermal, chemical, electrical, or other usable energy.
[Amended 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
A complete system intended for the collection, inversion, storage, and/or distribution of solar energy and that directly or indirectly generates thermal, chemical, electrical, or other usable energy. A solar energy system consists of, but is not limited to, solar collectors, mounting devices or structures, generators/turbines, water and energy storage and distribution systems, storage, maintenance and/or other accessory buildings, inverters, combiner boxes, meters, transformers, and all other mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components.
[Amended 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
SOLAR SKYSPACE
The space between a solar collector and the sun through which solar radiation passes.
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
SOLAR SKYSPACE EASEMENT
A right, expressed as an easement, covenant, condition, or other property interest in any deed or other instrument executed by or on behalf of any property owner that protects the solar skyspace of any solar energy facility at a designated location for designated time periods by forbidding or limiting activities, land uses, development, and/or vegetation that would interfere with or obstruct the solar skyspace, thus reducing the feasibility of operating the solar energy system.
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
SPECIAL USE
A use which because of its unique characteristics requires individual consideration in each case by the Town Board and the Planning Board before it may be permitted in the district enumerated in this chapter.
STORY
The part of a building comprised between a floor and the floor or roof next above it. A basement shall be considered a story. A cellar shall not be considered a story.
STORY, HALF
That portion of a building situated above a full story and having at least two opposite exterior walls meeting a sloping roof at a level not higher above the floor than a distance equal to 1/2 the floor-to-ceiling height of the story below. An attic with a finished floor shall be considered a half story. Half stories have structural headroom of less than seven feet six inches and shall not be included within the definition of floor area for the purposes of this chapter. (See "floor area.")
STREET
An existing public or private way which affords principal means of access to abutting properties and is suitably improved; or a proposed way shown on the Official Map and recorded in the office of the County Clerk.
STREET GRADE
The elevations of a street as established by the Town. Where no such grade has been established, the elevation of the traveled street shall be considered the street grade for the purpose of measurement.
STREET LINE
The line which is the joint boundary line between a lot and street or highway right-of-way, and is not to be confused with the curbline of the street.
STREET, LOCAL
A street or road designed primarily to provide access to abutting properties.
STREET, MARGINAL ACCESS
Those streets which are parallel to and adjacent to arterial streets and highways, and which provide access to abutting properties and protection from through traffic.
STREET, PRIMARY
A street which serves or is designed to serve heavy flows of traffic and which is used primarily as a route for traffic between communities and/or other heavy traffic areas.
STREET, PRIVATE
A drive that serves or is designed to serve no more than two principal uses and is built to Town specifications that remains in the ownership of and is maintained by the developer or development association and is not dedicated to the Town.
STREET, PUBLIC
A road or street that serves three or more principal uses that is built to Town specifications and is dedicated to the Town for maintenance.
STREET, SECONDARY
A public street which serves or is designed to serve as a traffic way for a neighborhood or as a feeder to a primary street.
STRUCTURE
An assembly of materials forming a construction framed of component structural parts for occupancy or use, including buildings.
SUBDIVISION
A parcel of land which has been divided into several lots, all of which front onto one or more streets, the layout of which has been approved by the Town Board.
SWIMMING POOL
Any enclosure, excavation or receptacle for water having a depth at any point greater than two feet designed, used or intended to be used for swimming or bathing, including all appurtenant equipment.
SWIMMING POOL, PRIVATE
A swimming pool operated as an accessory use to a residential dwelling unit or units and located on an individual residential lot or site.
SWIMMING POOL, PUBLIC
A publicly or privately owned pool open to the general public or to individuals on a membership basis and having appropriate dressing room facilities and recreation and off-street parking area.
TOPSOIL
A surface layer of the soil containing more or less organic matter to a depth usually plowed in cultivation. The A-horizon of the soil solum.
TOWER
Any structure that is designed and constructed primarily for the purpose of supporting one or more antennas for telephone, radio and similar communication purposes, including self-supporting lattice towers, guyed towers or monopole towers. The term includes radio and television transmission towers, microwave towers, common-carrier towers, cellular telephone towers, alternative tower structures and the like. The term includes the structure and any support thereto.
TOWNHOUSE
A building consisting of three or more attached single-family dwelling units each having separate entrances and common vertical party walls. (See also "building, semidetached.")
TOWN LAND
Real estate located in the Town of Tonawanda which is owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the Town of Tonawanda.
TRAILER
A nonmotorized wheeled vehicle designed to be transportable when towed by a motorized vehicle and which has been designed for human occupancy as a dwelling unit.
TRAILER, UTILITY
A nonmotorized wheeled vehicle designed to be transportable when towed by a motorized vehicle and which has been designed for the storage of tools and/or equipment.
TRAVEL TRAILER
A registered vehicle which is used or designed to be used for seasonal and/or temporary living or sleeping purposes, and which is customarily standing on wheels or rigid supports and is towed by another vehicle.
TRUCKING TERMINALS
A building or part of a building or premises for the storage and/or transfer of goods, wares and merchandise for the owner or others by truck transport.
(1) 
The purpose for which any buildings, other structures or land may be arranged, designed, intended, maintained or occupied.
(2) 
Any occupation, business activity or operation conducted in a building or other structure or on land.
USE, PRINCIPAL
The main or primary purpose for which a building, other structure and/or lot is designed, arranged or intended or for which it may be used, occupied or maintained under this chapter.
UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
Any solar energy system that cumulatively on a lot meets at least one of the following:
[Added 7-12-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
(1) 
Is a principal use or structure, designed and intended to supply energy solely into a utility grid for sale to the general public; or
(2) 
Consists of an overall footprint of greater than 100,000 square feet. Overall footprint shall be determined by the outline created on the ground, building/structure surface, or combination thereof, excluding all rooftop-mounted solar energy systems that meet the requirements of small-scale or large-scale solar energy systems, by wholly enclosing all components/structures of a solar energy system on a lot.
VEHICLE SALES AREA
A premises, including open areas, other than a street or way, and enclosed showrooms for the display and sale of new or used automobiles, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, boats and/or recreational vehicles.
VETERINARY HOSPITAL
A building for the treatment of animal illness including facilities for boarding animals receiving treatment.
VISION CLEARANCES, UNOBSTRUCTED
Lines of sight or clear view within the first 15 feet of depth of private properties, in order that persons moving across property or right-of-way lines from public streets and ways to private properties may have unobstructed views of approaching vehicles, as defined by § 215-8 of this chapter.
WAREHOUSE
A building or premises for the storing of goods, wares and merchandise, whether for the owner or for others, whether publicly or privately owned or used.
WAY
A thoroughfare, street, alley, way or right-of-way, however designated, permanently established for passage of persons or vehicles.
WHOLESALE (STORE, BUSINESS, ESTABLISHMENT)
A business establishment engaged in selling to retailers or jobbers rather than directly to consumers.[1]
YARD
That portion of a lot extending open and unobstructed from the ground upward.
[Added 3-26-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]
YARD, FRONT
An open area extending the full width of the lot between the street right-of-way and the building line projected to the side lot lines.
YARD, REAR
An open area extending the full width of the rear lot line situated between the rear lot line and the building line projected to the side lot lines.
YARD, REQUIRED
That portion of the open area of a lot extending open and unobstructed from the ground upward along a lot line for a setback depth or width as specified by the bulk regulations of the district in which the lot is located. No part of such yard shall be included as part of a yard or other open space similarly required for buildings on another lot.
YARD, SIDE
An open area extending between the building line and the side line of a lot and extending from the front yard rear line (or from the front lot line, if there is no required front yard) to the rear yard front line (or to the rear lot line if there is no required rear yard).
[1]
Editor's Note: The definition of “Wind Energy Conversion System (Windmill),” which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 11-20-2006 by L.L. No. 9-2006. See now Art. XXVI, § 215-170, of this chapter.