Town of Kinderhook, NY
Columbia County
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A. 
Special provisions for minor conservation subdivisions. When the minor subdivision plat is submitted, the Planning Board shall ensure that the subdivider conformed to the following four design steps in determining the layout of the open space lands, home sites, proposed streets, and property lines: (Page 53 of the Town of Kinderhook Comprehensive Plan contains an illustration of this process.)
(1) 
Designation of open spaces. During the first step, all potential primary and secondary conservation areas are identified on the preliminary plan showing the existing features. Open space may adjoin housing areas that have been designed more compactly to create larger areas that may be used by all residents of the development, if desired. Guidance on which parts of the land to classify as conservation areas shall be based upon:
(a) 
The open space criteria contained in § 215-20D of this chapter;
(b) 
The evaluation criteria listed in § 215-20F of this chapter;
(c) 
The Town of Kinderhook Comprehensive Plan;
(d) 
Information from published data or reports, as may exist; and
(e) 
On-site visits.
(2) 
Location of house sites. During this second step, potential house sites are tentatively located on that portion of the parcel not designated as open space. Tentative locations of house sites shall be prepared for the preliminary plan and, later, proposed houses shown on the subdivision plat. House sites should generally be located not closer than 50 feet to conservation areas, unless further distances are required as setbacks from wetlands by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. House sites shall not be located within 100 feet of the center of any year-round stream having no mapped floodplain, nor may house sites be within 100 feet in depth adjacent to existing wetlands and other surface waters, including springs and ponds.
(3) 
Street layout. After the conservation land has been tentatively located and potential home sites sketched in, this step is to determine the best way to access every residence with a street system, if needed. If a street system is needed, it shall not be located on any portion of the parcel designated as preserved open space. Curving roads or shorter, straight segments connected by ninety-degree and one-hundred-thirty-five-degree bends are preferable. Y-shaped intersections and use of short, curvilinear segments that terminate in frequent intersections make it more difficult for motorists to travel at excessive speeds. Whenever possible, street systems should be designed so that their curvature or alignment produces vistas of the open space elements. Single-loaded streets, where houses exist only on one side, are acceptable and may be used to allow homes to face onto open space. Street layout requirements of §§ 215-14 and 215-15 shall be followed.
(4) 
Lot lines. The third step is to draw in the lot lines. These are generally drawn midway between house locations and may include L-shaped flag lots or other irregularly shaped lots meeting the Town's minimum standards for setbacks, side yards and lots. Lot sizes may vary and have a minimum of 1/2 acre or the minimum size as required for septic system installation by the Columbia County Department of Health. Lot lines may extend into that portion of the parcel preserved as open space.
B. 
Special provisions for major conservation subdivisions. When the major subdivision plat is submitted, the Planning Board shall ensure that the subdivider conformed to the following four design steps in determining the layout of the open space lands, home sites, proposed streets, and property lines: (Page 53 of the Town of Kinderhook Comprehensive Plan contains an illustration of this process.)
(1) 
Designation of open spaces. During the first step, all potential primary and secondary conservation areas are identified on the preliminary plan showing the existing features. Open space may adjoin housing areas that have been designed more compactly to create larger areas that may be used by all residents of the development, if desired. Guidance on which parts of the land to classify as conservation areas shall be based upon:
(a) 
The open space criteria contained in § 215-20D of this chapter;
(b) 
The evaluation criteria listed in § 215-20F of this chapter;
(c) 
The Town of Kinderhook Comprehensive Plan;
(d) 
Information from published data or reports, as may exist; and
(e) 
On-site visits.
(2) 
Location of house sites. During this second step, potential house sites are tentatively located. Tentative locations of house sites shall be prepared for the preliminary plan and, later, proposed houses shown on the subdivision plat. House sites should generally be located not closer than 50 feet to conservation areas, unless further distances are required as setbacks from wetlands by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. House sites should not be located within 100 feet of the center of any year-round stream having no mapped floodplain, nor may house sites be within 100 feet in depth adjacent to existing wetlands and other surface waters, including springs and ponds.
(3) 
Street layout. After the conservation land has been tentatively located and potential home sites sketched in, this step is to determine the best way to access every residence with a street system. Curving roads or shorter, straight segments connected by ninety-degree and one-hundred-thirty-five-degree bends are preferable. Y-shaped intersections and use of short, curvilinear segments that terminate in frequent intersections make it more difficult for motorists to travel at excessive speeds. Whenever possible, street systems should be designed so that their curvature or alignment produces vistas of the open space elements. Single-loaded streets, where houses exist only on one side, are acceptable and may be used to allow homes to face onto open space. Street layout requirements of §§ 215-14 and 215-15 shall be followed.
(4) 
Lot lines. The third step is to draw in the lot lines. These are generally drawn midway between house locations and may include L-shaped flag lots or other irregularly shaped lots meeting the Town's minimum standards for setbacks, side yards and lots. Lot sizes may vary and have a minimum of 1/2 acre or the minimum size as required for septic system installation by the Columbia County Department of Health.
C. 
Setbacks. A front setback shall be a minimum of 35 feet.
D. 
Open space criteria in a conservation subdivision. The minimum percentage of land that shall be designated as permanent open space, not to be further subdivided, part of one or more buildable lots, and protected as stated below:
(1) 
A minimum of 50% of the total tract area.
(2) 
All undivided open space and any lot capable of further subdivision shall be restricted from further subdivision by an appropriate designation on the approved plat and, in addition, through one of the following recorded instruments:
(a) 
A conservation easement (which is the preferred instrument), in a form acceptable to the Town and recorded at the County Clerk's office. Refer to § 215-1, Definitions, of this chapter for the definition of "conservation easement."
(b) 
A declaration of covenants or deed restriction, in a form acceptable to the Town and recorded in the County Clerk's office, where a conservation easement has been shown not to be practicable.
(3) 
The conservation easement, declaration of covenants or deed restriction shall restrict development of the open space to no more than one dwelling and allow the use of such space only for agriculture, forestry, recreation or similar purposes. The Planning Board, with the advice of the Town Attorney, shall approve the form and content of any easement, declaration or restriction. The filing of an approved easement, declaration or restriction shall be made a condition of final plat approval.
(4) 
The required open space may be used for underground drainage fields or for individual or community septic systems. However, septic systems shall not be allowed in open spaces preserved for agriculture.
(5) 
Stormwater management ponds or basins may be included as part of the minimum required open space, as may land within the rights-of-way for underground pipelines. However, land within the rights-of-way of high-tension power lines shall not be included as comprising part of the minimum required open space.
(6) 
Land preserved as open space shall contain at least 50 feet or 3% of the perimeter of the preserved open space of road frontage, whichever is greater.
E. 
Location of open space and lot layout. Other characteristics of qualifying open space are detailed below. The preserved open space shall not include the area within a building envelope.
[Amended 8-8-2005 by L.L. No. 13-2005]
(1) 
The protected open space must have historic, ecological, agricultural, water resource, scenic or other natural resource value, such as floodplains and wetlands. Examples of lands with conservation value include view corridors along scenic roads, agricultural land, ridgelines and hillsides visible from public areas. High-quality agricultural land containing prime soils, even if suitable for development, shall be considered land of conservation value.
(2) 
To the extent practicable, open space shall be directly accessible or viewable from as many home sites as possible within a conservation subdivision.
(3) 
Access roads, local utility distribution lines, trails, temporary structures for outdoor recreation and agricultural structures shall be permitted on land devoted to open space, provided they do not impair the conservation value of the open space land.
F. 
Evaluation criteria. Diversity and originality in lot layout shall achieve the best possible relationship between development and conservation. Lot layout shall also be in such a manner so as to promote traditional residential streets and streetscapes and to facilitate connection of existing streets. The Planning Board shall evaluate proposals and ensure that the proposed layout:
(1) 
Protects all floodplains, wetlands, and steep slopes from clearing, grading, filling or construction (except as may be approved by the Town for essential infrastructure or active or passive recreational amenities).
(2) 
Preserves and maintains mature woodlands, existing fields, pastures, meadows, and orchards, and creates sufficient buffer areas to minimize conflicts between residential and agricultural uses, to the extent possible. If development must be located on open fields because of greater constraints in all other parts of the site, dwellings should be sited at the far edge of a field as seen from existing public roads.
(3) 
Sites dwellings on non-prime-agricultural soils, if present.
(4) 
Maintains or creates a buffer of natural vegetation of at least 100 feet from the center of the stream in depth adjacent to existing wetlands and surface waters, including creeks, streams, springs and ponds. Such buffers are not required for parcels containing existing agricultural uses unless required for wetland protection by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Each parcel in the subdivision may have one view tunnel created by limited removal or thinning of vegetation to allow visual access from the dwelling to the water body.
(5) 
Designs around existing hedgerows and tree lines between fields or meadows and minimizes impacts on large woodlands greater than five acres.
(6) 
Leaves scenic views and vistas unblocked or uninterrupted, particularly as seen from public thoroughfares. A deep, no-build, no-plant buffer is recommended along the road where those views or vistas are prominent or locally significant.
(7) 
Protects wildlife habitat areas of species listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
(8) 
Designs around and preserves sites of historic, archeological or cultural value insofar as needed to safeguard the character of the feature.
(9) 
Provides open space that is reasonably contiguous to other open space locations.
(10) 
Minimizes needed infrastructure.
(11) 
Avoids siting new construction on prominent hilltops or ridges by placing structures at lower topographic locations.
[Amended 5-14-2007 by L.L. No. 5-2007]
(12) 
Protects rural roadside character and improves public safety and vehicular carrying capacity by limiting development fronting directly onto existing public roads to no more than 60% of the allowable building lots in the subdivision. Buffers along rural roads with historic features such as buildings, barns, or stone walls may be used.
G. 
Ownership of open space. Open space land may be held in any form of ownership that protects its conservation values, such as owned in common by a homeowners' association (HOA), dedicated to the Town, county or state governments, transferred to a nonprofit organization, held in private ownership, or held in any other form of ownership. Any development permitted in connection with setting aside of open space land shall not compromise the conservation or agricultural value of such open space land.
(1) 
If the open space is to be owned by a HOA, the HOA must be incorporated before the final subdivision plat is approved.
(2) 
The open space restrictions must be in perpetuity.
(3) 
If land is held in common ownership by a HOA, the ownership shall be arranged in a manner that real property tax claims may be satisfied against the open space lands by proceeding against individual owners and the residences they own. The HOA must be responsible for liability insurance, local taxes, and the maintenance of the conserved land areas. The HOA shall have the power to adjust assessments to meet changing needs.
(4) 
The Planning Board shall find that the HOA documents satisfy the conditions above.
(5) 
Membership in the HOA must be mandatory for each property owner within the subdivision and for any successive property owners.
H. 
Maintenance standards. Open space lands shall be maintained in accordance with any adopted, applicable property maintenance standards of the Town of Kinderhook.