Village of Highland Falls, NY
Orange County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 4-1-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998]
The title of this chapter shall be "An ordinance regulating and restricting 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 and other open spaces, the density of population and the location and use of buildings, structures and land for trade, industry, residence or other purpose in the Village of Highland Falls; and for said purposes dividing the Village into districts; and providing fines and penalties for the violation of its provisions."
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Village of Highland Falls Zoning Ordinance of 1969."
This chapter is adopted for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, morals and the general welfare of the community and in furtherance of the following related and more specific objectives:
A. 
To guide and regulate the orderly growth, development and redevelopment of the municipality in accordance with a Comprehensive Plan and with long-term objectives, principles and standards deemed beneficial to the interests and welfare of the people.
B. 
To protect the established character and the social and economic well-being of both private and public property.
C. 
To promote, in the public interest, the utilization of land for the purposes for which it is most appropriate.
D. 
To secure safety from fire, panic and other dangers and to provide adequate light, air and convenience of access.
E. 
To prevent overcrowding of land or buildings and to avoid undue concentration of population.
F. 
To lessen and, where possible, to prevent traffic congestion on public streets and highways.
G. 
To eliminate nonconforming uses gradually.
H. 
To conserve the value of buildings and to enhance the value of land throughout the municipality.
I. 
To conserve and reasonably to protect the natural scenic beauty of the municipality and its environs.
A. 
Scope and meaning of certain words and terms.
(1) 
Unless the context clearly indicates the contrary, words used in the present tense include the future; and the singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular.
(2) 
The word "person" includes a profit or nonprofit corporation, company, partnership or individual.
(3) 
The word "shall" is mandatory and not directory; the word "may" is permissive.
(4) 
The word "lot" includes the word "plot" and the word "land."
(5) 
The word "structure" includes the word "building."
(6) 
The word "use" refers to any purpose for which a lot or land or part thereof is arranged, intended or designed to be used, occupied, maintained, made available or offered for use; and to any purpose for which a building or structure or part thereof is arranged, intended or designed to be used, occupied, maintained, made available or offered for use, or erected, reconstructed, altered, enlarged, moved or rebuilt with the intention or design of using the same.
(7) 
The word "used" refers to the actual fact that a lot or land, building or structure, or part thereof, is being occupied or maintained for a particular use.
B. 
Terms defined. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY USE, BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
A subordinate use, building or structure customarily incidental to and located on the same lot occupied by the main use, building or structure. The term "accessory building" may include a private garage, garden shed, a private playhouse and a private greenhouse.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING
A private housing development that is designed to achieve for-sale or rental housing at prices below market rates, utilizing financial subsidies that are secured with participation by the Village of Highland Falls.
[Added 6-14-1994 by L.L. No. 1-1994]
ALTERATION
As applied to a building or structure, a change or rearrangement in the structural parts or in the exit facilities; or an enlargement, whether by extending on a side or by increasing in height; or moving from one location or position to another; the term "alter" in its various modes and tenses and its participial form refers to the making of an alteration.
AUTOMOBILE LAUNDRY
A structure or building designed for the washing, waxing, simonizing or similar treatment of automotive vehicles as its principal function. A filling station having portable washing equipment shall not be deemed to be an automobile laundry where such use is an accessory service to the principal service of the filling station.
BASEMENT
A story partly underground but having less than 1/2 of its clear height below finished grade.
BED-AND-BREAKFAST INN
An establishment in which rooms are rented to transient guests and in which limited food service for such guests may be provided.
[Added 3-19-1996 by L.L. No. 1-1996]
BILLBOARD
A sign which directs attention to a business, commodity, service, entertainment or attraction sold, offered or existing elsewhere than upon the same lot where such sign is displayed, or only incidentally sold, offered or existing upon such lot.
BOARD
The Municipal Board of Appeals.
BUILDING
A structure with a roof supported by columns or walls and having a horizontal area of more than 50 square feet.
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The official Building Inspector of the municipality.
CELLAR
A story partly underground and having 1/2 or more of its clear height below finished grade.
CLUB, COUNTRY
A club for golfing, tennis, hunting, fishing, horseback riding or similar sports.
CLUB, MEMBERSHIP, NONPROFIT
The premises and buildings used by a local chapter holding a valid charter from an international, national or state organization or by a bona fide local civic association catering exclusively to members and their guests primarily for a patriotic, fraternal, benevolent, social, educational, religious or political purpose. The club shall not be used in whole or in part for the conduct of any business or enterprise for profit, but this shall not be construed as preventing the utilization of a club for benefits or performances for a recognized charity nor for the meeting of other organizations nor for educational and cultural purposes.
CONDOMINIUM DEVELOPMENT
A building or buildings, the dwelling units of which are individually owned, each owner receiving a deed enabling him to sell, mortgage or exchange his unit independent of the other units in the building or buildings. No fee simple sale of land is involved.
[Added 6-16-1987 by L.L. No. 4-1987]
CONVENIENCE STORE
A building or lot or part thereof used for the sale at retail of general consumable goods and merchandise, groceries, food, foodstuffs, victuals and incidental household items and may also provide for the sale of gasoline or other equivalent fuel for motor vehicles at retail direct from pumps and storage tanks. A convenience store may not provide facilities for the repair of or storage of motor vehicles.
[Added 6-3-1980 by L.L. No. 5-1980]
COURT
An open, unoccupied space, other than a yard, on the same lot with a building. An offset to a court shall be deemed a separate inner court for the purpose of determining its least dimension, its area and the least dimension and area of the court to which it is contiguous.
COURT, DEPTH OF
The maximum horizontal dimension at right angles to the width.
COURT, HEIGHT OF
The greatest vertical distance measured from the lowest level of such court up to the roof of the building.
COURT, INNER
Any court which is not an outer court.
COURT, OUTER
A court extending to a street, front yard or rear yard.
COURT, WIDTH OF
The horizontal dimension parallel to the principal open side in the case of an outer court; and the least horizontal dimension in the case of an inner court.
CUSTOM WORK, SHOP FOR
A business premises used for the making of clothing, millinery, shoes or other personal articles to individual order and measure, for sale at retail on the premises only, and not including the manufacture of ready-to-wear or standardized products.
DWELLING
A building arranged, intended or designed to be occupied by one or more families living independently of each other upon the premises.
DWELLING, MULTIPLE
A building or portion thereof containing more than two dwelling units.
DWELLING, ONE-FAMILY
A building containing not more than one dwelling unit occupied exclusively for residential purposes and containing not more than one lodger.
[Added 8-1-2011 by L.L. No. 3-2011]
DWELLING, TWO-FAMILY
A building containing not more than two dwelling units occupied exclusively for residential purposes, with each such unit containing not more than one lodger.
[Added 8-1-2011 by L.L. No. 3-2011]
DWELLING UNIT
One or more rooms with provisions for cooking, living, sanitary and sleeping facilities arranged for the use of one family.
[Amended 8-1-2011 by L.L. No. 3-2011]
(1) 
One or more persons occupying a dwelling unit as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit.
(2) 
It shall be presumptive evidence that four or more persons living in a single dwelling unit who are not related by blood, marriage or legal adoption do not constitute the functional equivalent of a traditional family.
(3) 
Criteria for determining that individuals are living together as the functional equivalent of a traditional family unit:
(a) 
The group is one that, in theory, size, appearance, structure and function, resembles a traditional family unit;
(b) 
The occupants must share the entire dwelling unit and live and cook together as a single housekeeping unit. A unit in which more than one of the occupants act as separate roomers/lodgers may not be deemed to be occupied by the functional equivalent of a traditional family;
(c) 
The group shares expenses for food, rent or ownership costs, utilities and other household expenses;
(d) 
The group is permanent and stable. Evidence of such permanency and stability may include:
[1] 
The presence of minor dependent children, regularly residing in the household, who are enrolled in local schools;
[2] 
Members of the household have the same address for purposes of voter registration, driver’s licenses, motor vehicle registration and filing of taxes;
[3] 
Members of the household are employed in the area;
[4] 
The household has been living together as a unit for a year or more, whether in the current dwelling unit or other dwelling units;
[5] 
There is common ownership of furniture and appliances among the members of the household; and
[6] 
The group is not transient or temporary in nature.
(e) 
Any other factor reasonably related to whether or not the group is the functional equivalent of a family.
FENCE
A structure bounding an area of land designed either to limit access to the area or to screen such area from view, or both.
FILLING STATION
A building used for rendering service for the repair of motor vehicles and which also provides for the sale of gasoline at retail.
[Amended 6-3-1980 by L.L. No. 4-1980]
GARAGE, PARKING
A building, not a private garage, used for the storage of automobiles or trucks and not used for making repairs thereto.
GARAGE, PRIVATE
An enclosed space for the storage of one or more motor vehicles, provided that no business, occupation or service is conducted for profit therein.
GARAGE, REPAIR
A building, other than a private or a parking garage, used for adjustment, painting, replacement of parts or other repair of motor vehicles or parts thereof, whether or not accessory or incidental to another use.
HEIGHT OF STRUCTURE OR BUILDING
The vertical distance measured from the average elevation of the finished grade along the side of the structure fronting on the nearest street to the highest point of such structure.
HOME OCCUPATION
Any gainful occupation customarily conducted within a dwelling by the residents thereof that is clearly secondary to the residential use and that does not change the character of the structure as a residence. Said activity shall not occupy more than 1/2 of the ground floor area of the dwelling or its equivalent elsewhere in the dwelling if so used, and further provided that there shall be no external evidence other than an announcement sign and that no mechanical or electrical equipment is used except customary household equipment. However, home occupations shall not be construed to include such uses as the following: clinic or hospital, barbershop or beauty parlor, restaurant, breeding kennel or antique dealer.
HOME PROFESSIONAL OFFICE
The office or studio of a resident physician, surgeon, dentist or other person licensed by the State of New York to practice a healing art, lawyer, architect, artist, engineer, real estate broker or salesman, insurance broker or agent or teacher as herein restricted, provided that not more than two persons are employed who are not members of the family and that such office shall be in the main building and shall not occupy more than the equivalent of 1/2 of the area of one floor of said building. For the purposes of this definition, a teacher shall be restricted to a person giving individual instruction in academic or scientific subjects to a single pupil at a time. A home professional office shall not include the office of any person professionally engaged in the purchase or sale of economic goods. Dancing instruction, band instrument or piano or voice instruction, tearooms, tourist homes, beauty parlors, barbershops, hairdressing and manicuring establishments, convalescent homes, mortuary establishments and stores, trades or businesses of any kind not herein excepted shall not be deemed to be home professional offices. The home professional office of a physician shall not include a biological or other medical testing laboratory.
HOTEL
A building or part thereof that has a common entrance, common heating system and with or without restaurant facilities and which contains living and sleeping rooms used by an individual or individuals or groups of individuals for transient occupancy.
[Amended 5-7-2012 by L.L. No. 2-2012]
HOUSE TRAILER
A movable single-family dwelling originally equipped with or having a vehicular chassis but lacking one or more of the following mechanical systems and equipment: plumbing, heating, electrical, cooking and refrigeration. (See "mobile home.")
JUNKYARD
Any land or structure or part thereof exceeding 300 square feet in area used for collecting, storage or sale of wastepaper, rags, scrap metal or other scrap or discarded material; or for the collecting, dismantling, storage or salvage of machinery or vehicles not in running condition, or for the sale of the parts thereof.
LODGER
Any person occupying a lodging house or a maximum of one person, not a member of the family, occupying a single-family unit or each unit in a two-family unit for remuneration.
[Added 8-1-2011 by L.L. No. 3-2011]
LODGING HOUSE
Any dwelling that provides sleeping accommodations for one or more lodgers, including, but not limited to, single-family and two-family dwellings with one or more lodger.
[Added 8-1-2011 by L.L. No. 3-2011]
LOT
A parcel of land occupied or used by one main building or use with its accessory buildings and the required open spaces.
LOT AREA
The total horizontal area included within lot lines.
LOT, CORNER
A lot at the junction of and fronting on two or more intersecting streets.
LOT COVERAGE
The percentage of the area of the lot covered by a building or buildings.
LOT, INTERIOR
Any lot other than a corner lot.
LOT LINE
Any boundary of a lot. Any lot line not a rear lot line nor a front lot line shall be deemed a side lot line.
LOT LINE, FRONT
The street right-of-way line at the front of a lot. On a corner lot, the owner may specify the front lot line on the plot plan.
LOT LINE, REAR
The lot line opposite to the front lot line.
LOT, THROUGH
A lot extending from one street to another.
LOT WIDTH
The dimension measured from side lot line to side lot line, along a line parallel to the street line at the required minimum front yard depth.
MOBILE HOME
A movable single-family dwelling originally equipped with or having a vehicular chassis and provided with all of the following mechanical systems and equipment: plumbing, heating, electrical, cooking and refrigeration. (See "house trailer.")
MOBILE HOME COURT
A residential land use designed for the location of one or more mobile homes in designated mobile home spaces and including appurtenant facilities and accessory services for residents only.
MOTEL
A building or group of buildings, whether detached or in connected units, used as individual sleeping units with direct outside access and related office, and with or without restaurant facilities, to be used for transient occupancy. A motel shall provide accessory off-street parking facilities. The term "motel" shall also include buildings designed as tourist courts, motor lodges, auto courts and other similar appellations, but shall not be construed to include parking areas for house trailers or mobile homes.[1]
[Amended 5-7-2012 by L.L. No. 2-2012]
NATURAL GRADE
For the purposes of this chapter, the natural grade of a land area to be subdivided shall be determined by calculating the difference in elevation between intersection points along the lines of a two-hundred-foot-square grid system applied to the required topographic mapping for the subdivision, and expressing this difference as a percentage of slope between such points; the natural grade of the individual grid squares shall be that of the maximum slope determined as described above along its bounding grid lines; the natural grade of a subdivision will vary in accordance with the findings for each individual grid square.
NONCONFORMING STRUCTURE
A structure lawfully existing at the effective date of this chapter or any amendment thereto affecting such structure which does not conform to the Table of Dimensional Regulations of this chapter for the district in which it is situated, irrespective of the use to which such structure is put.[2]
NONCONFORMING USE
Any use of a building, structure, lot or land, or part thereof, lawfully existing at the effective date of this chapter or any amendment thereto affecting such use which does not conform to the Table of Use Regulations of this chapter for the district in which it is situated.[3]
NONNUISANCE INDUSTRY
Any industry which is not detrimental to the environment in which it is located by reason of the emission of smoke, noise, odor, dust, vibration or excessive light beyond the limits of its lot or by reason of generating excessive traffic with attendant hazards, and which does not include any outdoor processing of materials or open accessory storage yard, unless completely enclosed by a solid wall or fence not less than six feet in height.
NURSERY SCHOOL
A building or structure, together with its lot and its accessory uses, buildings and structures, used as an organized instructional facility for five or more enrolled children other than the children of the resident family, but not provided with customary commercial public recreation features, such as Ferris wheels or roller coasters, and not furnishing sleeping quarters except for the resident family.
PARKING AREA
A lot or part thereof used for the storage or parking of motor vehicles, with or without the payment of rent or charges in money and/or other consideration.
PARKING SPACE
A stall or berth which is arranged and intended for parking of one motor vehicle in a garage or parking area.
PERMITTED USE
A specific main use of a building, structure, lot or land, or part thereof, which this chapter provides for in a particular district as a matter of right. Any use which is not listed as a permitted use, special exception use or accessory use shall be considered a prohibited use.
PLANNED RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
A residential development of land based on an overall development plan approved by the Planning Board in accordance with the special exception use procedure in which the dimensional regulations of this chapter and the type of housing may be varied as provided in this chapter, and where certain lands are set apart as permanent open space or common land.
PROHIBITED USE
A use of a building, structure, lot or land, or part thereof, which is not listed as a permitted use, special exception use or accessory use.
RESEARCH INSTITUTE or LABORATORY
A building for experimentation in pure or applied research design, development and production of prototype machines or devices or of new products, and uses accessory thereto; with respect to the application of this chapter, such research institute or laboratory shall meet the standards of a nonnuisance industry.
SIGN
Any kind of billboard, signboard, pennant or other shape or device or display used as an advertisement, announcement or direction, including any text, symbol, lights, marks, letters or figures painted thereon or painted on or incorporated in the composition of an exterior surface of a building or structure.
SIGN, BUSINESS
A temporary or permanent sign which directs attention to a business or profession conducted upon the property.
SIGN, PROFESSIONAL OR ANNOUNCEMENT
A temporary or permanent sign which directs attention to a resident's home, a home occupation, a home professional office or a public or semipublic building.
SIGN, REAL ESTATE OR CONSTRUCTION
A sign advertising land, or improvements thereto, or describing construction activity or a firm doing work related to construction on the premises on which the sign is located.
SIGN, TEMPORARY
A temporary sign which directs attention to a special activity or entertainment, or one which indicates the location of a real estate subdivision.
SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE
A use in one or more districts for which the Planning Board may grant a permit pursuant to the provisions of Article VI.
STREET
Any federal, state, County or municipal highway or road, or any street shown upon a subdivision plat filed in the County Clerk's office.
STREET LINE
The dividing line between a lot and a street right-of-way.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected on or under the ground or upon another structure or building.
SWIMMING POOL
An artificial pool of water having a depth at any point of more than 18 inches and a surface area of greater than 100 square feet, designed or intended for the purpose of bathing or swimming and including all appurtenant equipment.
TOWNHOUSE DEVELOPMENT
A series of attached single-family dwelling units, each unit located on its own individual lot under fee simple ownership.
[Added 6-16-1987 by L.L. No. 4-1987]
VARIANCE
A modification of the regulations of this chapter, granted on grounds of practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship not self-imposed, pursuant to the provisions of Article XI.
WALL
A structure of wood, stone or other materials, or combination thereof, intended for defense, security, screening or enclosure, or for the retention of earth, stone, fill or other materials, as in the cases of retaining walls or bulkheads.
YARD, FRONT
An open, unoccupied space on the same lot with a building, situated between the nearest roofed portion of the building and the front lot line of the lot, and extending from side lot line to side lot line.
YARD, REAR
A space on the same lot with a building, situated between the nearest roofed portion of the building and the rear lot line of the lot, and extending from side lot line to side lot line.
YARD, SIDE
An open, unoccupied space on the same lot with a building, situated between the nearest roofed portion of the building or of any accessory building and the side lot line of the lot, and extending through from the front yard, or from the front lot line where no front yard exists, to the rear yard or to the rear lot line where no rear yard exists.
[1]
Editor’s Note: The former definition of “multiple dwelling” which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 2-16-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016.
[2]
Editor's Note: The Table of Dimensional Regulations is included at the end of this chapter.
[3]
Editor's Note: The Table of Use Regulations is included at the end of this chapter.
A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to be specific. Those uses and procedures for which there are no specific provisions in this chapter shall be deemed to be prohibited.
B. 
Use regulations.
(1) 
Except as hereinafter provided, no building or structure or part thereof and no lot or land or part thereof shall hereafter be used except for a purpose specifically permitted by the provisions of the Table of Use Regulations for the district in which such building or structure, lot or land is located on the Zoning Map.
(2) 
Any lawful use that does not conform to the use regulations of this chapter shall be deemed a nonconforming use (see Article X).
(3) 
A special exception use authorized by the Planning Board shall be deemed a conforming use.
(4) 
A use authorized by a variance from the use regulations of this chapter, granted by the Board of Appeals, shall be deemed a nonconforming use.
C. 
Dimensional regulations.
(1) 
Except as hereinafter provided, no building or structure or part thereof shall hereafter be erected, structurally altered, enlarged, rebuilt or moved except in conformity with the provisions of the Table of Dimensional Regulations for the district in which such building or structure is located on the Zoning Map.
(2) 
Any lawful existing building or structure that does not conform to such dimensional regulations of this chapter shall be deemed a nonconforming building or structure, irrespective of the use to which it is put (see Article X).
(3) 
A building or structure or part thereof authorized as a variance from the dimensional regulations of this chapter, granted by the Board of Appeals, shall be deemed a nonconforming building or structure or part thereof.