City of Cortland, NY
Cortland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
In considering applications for subdivision of land, the Planning Commission shall be guided by the standards set forth hereinafter. Said standards shall be considered to be minimum requirements.
A. 
Character of land. Land to be subdivided shall be of such character that it can be used safely for building purposes without danger to health or peril from fire, flood or other menace.
B. 
Conformity with Comprehensive Plan. Subdivisions shall conform to and be in harmony with the Comprehensive Plan.
C. 
Specifications for required improvements. All required improvements shall be constructed or installed to conform to the City specifications, which may be obtained from the City Engineer.
D. 
Access. No development may reduce access to an existing community.
A. 
Width, location and construction. Streets shall be of sufficient width, suitably located and adequately constructed to conform to the Comprehensive 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. The arrangement of streets in the subdivision shall provide for the continuation of principal streets of adjoining subdivisions and for the proper projection of principal streets into adjoining properties which are not yet subdivided, in order to make possible necessary fire protection, movement of traffic required, of needed utilities and public services such as sewers, water and drainage facilities. Where, in the opinion of the Planning Commission, topographic or other conditions make such continuance undesirable or impracticable, the above conditions may be modified.
C. 
Local streets. Local streets shall be so laid out that their use by through traffic will be discouraged.
D. 
Special treatment along major streets. When a subdivision abuts or contains an existing or proposed major 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 Commission may require that streets and lots be laid out so as to permit future resubdivision in accordance with the requirements contained in this chapter.
F. 
Dead-end streets. The creation of dead-end or loop residential streets will be encouraged wherever the Commission finds that such type of development will not interfere with normal traffic circulation in the area. In the case of dead-end 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. 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.
G. 
Block size. Blocks generally shall not be less than 400 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 Commission 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 or major roads. Local street openings into such 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 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 Commission may require a street approximately parallel to and on each side of 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. 
Widths of rights-of-way. Rights-of-way shall have the following widths (when not indicated on the Comprehensive Plan, the classification of streets shall be determined by the Board):
(1) 
Major street: 66 feet.
(2) 
Secondary: 60 feet.
(3) 
Collector street: 60 feet.
(4) 
Local street: 50 feet.
B. 
Roadway widths. The minimum width of paving for a new or improved local (or feeder) street shall depend on projected traffic use as interpreted by the reviewing agency. Minimum street widths shall be as follows:
Traffic Projection Average Daily Trips
(ADT)
No Parking
(feet)
Parallel Parking One Side
(feet)
Parallel Parking Both Sides
(feet)
Under 1,000
24
28
36
1,000 or over
24
30
38
C. 
Grades. Grades of all streets shall conform in general to the terrain, and shall not be less than 1/2% nor more than 6% for major or collector streets, or 10% for minor streets in residential zones, but in no case more than 3% within 50 feet of any intersection.
D. 
Changes in grade. All changes in grade of more than 1% shall be connected with vertical curves of variable radius so that clear visibility is provided. Minimum site distances shall be based on the standards provided in the latest issue of the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) Manual.
E. 
Curve radii. Horizontal curves shall be used at all changes in excess of two degrees. Variable radius curves shall be used rather than a series of curves connected by short tangents, so as to give a continuous curvilinear alignment. Minimum radius curves at the end of long tangents will not be approved.
(1) 
Curvature. The minimum radius at the center line for horizontal curves on major streets shall be 400 feet; for collector streets, 200 feet; and for rural or local streets, 150 feet.
(2) 
Tangents between curves. Continuous curvilinear alignment is preferred, but, if not done, there shall be a tangent of at least 100 feet measured at the center line between reverse curves, except for local streets.
F. 
Curve radii at intersections. Street curb intersections shall be rounded by a tangential arc with a minimum radius of 20 feet for local streets, and 30 feet for intersections which incorporate collector and major streets.
G. 
Clear sight triangles. Proper sight lines shall be maintained at all intersections. Measured along the center line, there shall be a clear sight triangle of 30 feet from the point of intersection. This sight line shall be indicated on all plans of street alignment. No existing or proposed structures or plantings, the highest point of which is 3 1/2 feet above the road center line, shall be permitted in this area.
H. 
Culs-de-sac. Where dead-end streets are designed to be permanent, they should, in general, not exceed 500 feet in length and shall terminate in a hammerhead turnaround. At the end of temporary dead-end streets a temporary turnaround shall be provided, unless the Planning Commission approves an alternate arrangement.
I. 
Free flow of vehicular traffic abutting commercial developments. In front of areas zoned and designed for commercial use, or where a change of zoning 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 Commission 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.
J. 
Utilities in streets. The Planning Commission shall, wherever possible, require that underground utilities be placed in the street right-of-way between the paved roadway and street line to simplify location and repair of lines when they require attention. The subdivider shall install underground service connections to the property line of each lot within the subdivision for such required utilities before the street is paved. Such utilities include electric service, telephone, cable television and other services.
K. 
Utility easements. Where topography is such as to make impractical the inclusion of utilities within the street rights-of-way, perpetual unobstructed easements at least 20 feet in width shall be otherwise 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.
L. 
Shade trees. Shade trees shall be planted at appropriate locations along all public ways when required so that the number shall not be less than one per 40 feet of road edge. Locations shall be specified on the Road and Parking Map. These requirements may be waived for sections where existing trees are fully protected and retained. A minimum size of not less than two inches (measured 12 inches above ground level) shall be planted, provided that an alternate plan may be approved consistent with the policy of the City of Cortland encouraging the use of shade trees in subdivisions. Species of trees shall be approved by the Planning Commission.
M. 
Construction.
(1) 
All streets shall be constructed according to applicable requirements of the City Engineer. Streets shall be graded up to subgrade within four inches of the final grade with material approved by the City Engineer.
(2) 
The Planning Commission may require the planting of street trees with the advice of the City Engineer as to appropriate species.
(3) 
Fire alarm boxes shall be installed or provisions shall be made for fire alarm boxes as recommended by the Public Safety Board and the Fire Marshal of the City of Cortland.
[Amended 4-2-2002]
(4) 
Streetlighting facilities shall be installed or provided for as recommended by the Public Safety Board.
[Amended 4-2-2002]
A. 
Type of name. All street names shown on a preliminary plat or subdivision plat shall be approved by the Planning Commission. In general, streets shall have names and not numbers or letters.
B. 
Names to be substantially different. 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 80° without a change in street name.
[Amended 12-5-1989]
A. 
Alleys. Alleys are prohibited in residential developments except as the completion extension of one in existence. In commercial or industrial districts without expressly designed loading areas, alleys with a minimum width of 25 feet shall be required. Where such alleys dead end, they shall be provided with a turnaround having a radius of not less than 25 feet. The roadway shall be a minimum of 20 feet.
(1) 
Paving. The paving requirements shall be the same as for street paving.
(2) 
Intersections. Intersections of right-of-way lines shall be rounded by a tangential arc, the minimum radius of which shall be 10 feet, and the edge of the paving at intersections shall be rounded by a tangential arc the minimum radius of which shall be 15 feet.
(3) 
Obstructions. No fences, hedges, trees, shrubbery, walls, planting or other obstructions shall be located within the right-of-way. Reasonable sight distance shall be provided at intersections with streets.
B. 
Driveways.
(1) 
Location. Driveways shall be so located as to provide reasonable sight distance at intersections with streets, and not closer than five feet from side lot lines. A stopping area measured 20 feet behind the right-of-way line shall be provided not to exceed a grade of 4%.
(2) 
Intersections. Driveways shall be located not less than 40 feet from the street intersection and shall provide access to the street of a lesser classification when there are streets of different classes involved.
(3) 
Pavement widths and grade. Driveway paving widths and grades shall be as follows:
Land Use
Minimum Paving Width
(feet)
Minimum Radius at Curb
(feet)
Maximum Grade
(percent)
Single-family residential
10
5
10%
Multifamily residential
12 (one-way)
10
8%
24 (two-way)
10
8%
12 (one-way)
15
5%
Commercial and industrial
24 (two-way)
15
5%
(4) 
All driveways shall be located, designed and constructed in such a manner as not to interfere or be inconsistent with the design, maintenance and drainage of the highway.
(5) 
Access driveways should be located in such manner that they will not cause the following:
(a) 
Interference to the traveling public;
(b) 
A hazard to the free movement of normal highway traffic; or
(c) 
Areas of undue traffic congestion on the highway.
(6) 
Frontages of 50 feet or less shall be limited to one driveway. Normally not more than two driveways need to be provided to any single property, tract or business establishment. Exceptions may be made where the frontage exceeds 300 feet in length.
C. 
Loading bays and parking areas.
(1) 
Automobile parking facilities shall be provided off street in accordance with requirements of Chapter 300, Zoning, and this chapter.
(2) 
At no time shall angle or perpendicular parking along the curbs of local, public or private access roads or streets be permitted. All parking lots and bays allowing any parking other than parallel shall be physically separated from the cartway by a minimum of seven feet and confined to barrier curbing.
(3) 
No one area for off-street parking of motor vehicles in residential areas shall exceed 36 cars in capacity. Separate parking areas on a parcel shall be physically separated from one another by eight-foot planting strips.
(4) 
No less than 15 feet of open space shall be provided between the curbline of any parking area and the outside wall of the dwelling unit in residential areas.
(5) 
No parking shall be permitted within three feet of a side or rear property line.
(6) 
Parking dimensions shall be a minimum of 8 1/2 feet wide and 18 1/2 feet long.
(7) 
Buffer planting requirements shall be applicable to parking lot and loading bays along the area fronting major, collector or local roads and along the area adjacent to other properties. (See § 250-14.)
(8) 
All dead-end parking lots shall be designed to provide sufficient backup area for the end stalls.
(9) 
No less than a five-foot radius of curvature shall be permitted for all curbline in all parking areas.
(10) 
Planting. A minimum of 20% of the interior of a parking compound shall be maintained as open space with indigenous plantings or by the retention of existing trees. All plantings shall be protected with curbs, bumpers or bollards.
A. 
The lot arrangement shall be such that in constructing a building in compliance with Chapter 300, Zoning, there will be no foreseeable difficulties or other unnatural conditions. Lots should not be of such depth as to encourage the later creation of a second building lot at the front or rear.
B. 
Side lines. All side lines of lots shall be generally 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 for proper building setback from each street and provide a desirable building site.
D. 
Driveway access. Driveway access and grades shall conform to specifications of § 250-12.
E. 
Access from private streets. Access from private streets shall be deemed acceptable only if such streets are designed and improved in accordance with this chapter.
F. 
Monuments and lot corner markers. Permanent monuments meeting specifications approved by the City 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 City Engineer may require.
A. 
Limit of contract. Where the applicant is offering for dedication, to establish a reservation of open space or preserve an area of scenic or historic importance, a limit of contract which will confine excavation, earthmoving procedures and other changes to the landscape may be required to ensure preservation and prevent despoilation of the character of the area in open space.
B. 
Tree preservation. All trees four inches or more in caliper at breast height should not be removed unless within the proposed right-of-way line of a street or impracticable for development. Relocation of noteworthy plant material should be encouraged where retention is impracticable.
C. 
Topsoil preservation. No topsoil shall be removed from the site or used as spoil. Topsoil must be removed from the areas of construction and stored separately. Upon completion of the construction, the topsoil must be redistributed on the site uniformly. All areas of the site shall be stabilized by seeding or planting on slopes of less than 10% and shall be stabilized by sodding on slopes 10% or more and planted in ground cover on slopes 20% or more, and riprap shall be utilized for banks exceeding 25%.
D. 
Landscaping. For all residential, commercial and industrial districts, the developer should incorporate sufficient planting into his design so as to gain approval of the City Planning Commission. It should be of a type recommended by the Planning Commission, including open space, planting strips, screening, formal gardens, shade trees, natural barriers or other types of acceptable growth.
E. 
Buffer planting requirements. The land surrounding any permitted use shall be landscaped except for paved areas, such as walkways, accessways, play areas and necessary parking and service areas, and each apartment house, group apartment development or nonresidential use shall make such other suitable screening provisions as is necessary to safeguard the character of an adjacent area. A buffer area shall be used for no purpose other than planting, screening, lawns or trees except for necessary accessways. Such buffer area shall include a suitable and uninterrupted evergreen planting screen of sufficient height and density to give maximum protection and immediate screening to the abutting district. Such screening shall be permanently maintained and replaced where necessary to present an attractive appearance.
F. 
Preserved landscaping. When there is a conscientious effort to preserve the existing natural integrity and character of a site and where such preservation effectuates areas of woodland and trees comparable to required planting improvements, i.e., landscaping and buffer screening, the plan may be received in lieu of additional landscaping requirements.
G. 
Bikeways and walkways. A pedestrian access system shall be provided alongside streets or preferably in common open space. Paved walkways shall be at least four feet in width, bikeways shall be at least six feet in width, and improved trails shall be at least five feet clear in width. Pedestrian access shall be provided to all community facilities, recreation areas and commercial uses. All walkways shall be separated from a road by a minimum of 10 feet.
A. 
Utilities.
(1) 
Utilities. All utilities shall be placed underground. Common trenches shall be utilized where practical. The minimum easement or dedication width shall be 10 feet. Care shall be taken to avoid excessive clearing and to maintain control of grading.
(2) 
Building setback. Buildings shall be set back 20 feet from all utility easements, except those providing direct service. Setbacks from natural gas transmission lines shall be 50 feet.
(3) 
Construction. All utilities shall be constructed according to the applicable requirements of the agency charged with their maintenance. Underground utilities shall be installed prior to street paving.
(4) 
Limitation. The provisions in this chapter shall not be construed as to limit or interfere with the construction, installation, operation and maintenance of public utility structures or facilities which may hereafter be located within public easements or rights-of-way designated for such purposes.
B. 
Streetlights. Streetlights shall be installed at appropriate locations in an approved manner specified by the City and the electric utility company. Care shall be taken to ensure good distribution and avoid glare while also respecting the quality of the City. Power sources for standards shall be placed underground as required.
C. 
Sewers. Sanitary, collector and storm sewers shall be installed and connected to the City sanitary and storm sewer system by the City Public Works Department according to the specifications of the City Engineer.
D. 
Water supply. A public water distribution system shall be installed by the City Water Board.
A. 
Use of existing facilities. Existing storm sewers maintained by the City shall be utilized in those instances where they are accessible and with available capacity.
B. 
Natural systems. The use of existing natural drainage systems may be employed if the City Engineer certifies that storm sewers would be impractical, and provided that the discharge into adjacent properties at the point of discharge shall net be increased nor create measurable damage. To facilitate the retention of stormwater, to protect against siltation and to prevent measurable damage, on-site improvements such as retention basins, diversion ditches, sodded swales or rubble swales may be required by the reviewing agency.
C. 
Streets. All streets shall be so designed to provide for the discharge of surface water from their paved area and shoulders. Provisions to accommodate stormwater runoff shall be designed to meet the needs of the site. Swales shall be constructed to meet the requirements of the City as interpreted by the City Engineer.
D. 
Erosion controls. The recommendations of the Cortland County Soil Conservation Service shall be complied with during construction. This may include temporary improvements such as the use of grass or ground cover or impounding basins for erosion control both during and after construction.
E. 
Lot grading for subdivision and land developments.
(1) 
Blocks and lots. Blocks and lots shall be graded to secure proper drainage away from buildings and to prevent the collection of stormwater in pools.
(2) 
Design. All drainage provisions shall be of such design as to carry surface water to the nearest practical street, storm drain or natural watercourse. Where drainage swales are used to deliver surface water away from buildings, they shall not have a grade of less than 1% nor more than 4%. The swales shall be sodded or planted as required and shall be of such shape and size as to conform to specifications of the City Engineer.
(3) 
Construction. The subdivider shall construct and/or install such drainage structures and/or pipes which are necessary to prevent erosion damage and to satisfactorily carry off such surface waters to the nearest practical street, storm drain or natural watercourse.
Provisions shall be made for suitable open space for parks, playgrounds and recreational areas. In commercial and industrial areas, provisions shall be made for suitable open space for walkways (connecting parking facilities with structures), malls, sitting areas, etc. Due consideration shall be given to the preservation of natural features, including large trees, groves, waterways, scenic vistas, historic grounds and structures and other community assets.
[Amended 8-2-1983]
A. 
All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
B. 
All subdivision proposals shall have public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems located and constructed to minimize flood damage.
C. 
All subdivision proposals shall have adequate drainage provided to reduce exposure to flood damage.
D. 
Base flood elevation data shall be provided for subdivision proposals and other proposed development which contain at least 50 lots or five acres (whichever is less).