In reviewing site plan applications, consideration shall be given to the public health, safety and welfare, the comfort and convenience of the public in general or the residents or users of the proposed developments and of the immediate neighborhood in particular. Appropriate conditions and safeguards may be required to further the expressed intent of this chapter.
Site plan approval by the Planning Board shall be required for all new permitted land use activities listed on Schedule A: Permitted Principal Uses except for the following uses and activities which shall be exempt from site plan review:
Construction of single-family dwellings and two-family dwellings.
Customary accessory uses.
A change of use that shall not result in a new or expanded structure.
An alteration to the exterior of the principal structure that shall not be a major alteration of appearance.
Surface parking increase of up to four additional spaces.
Ordinary landscaping or grading that is not conducted in connection with land use reviewable under the provisions of this chapter.
Ordinary repair or maintenance or interior alterations to existing structures or uses.
Any project that has received a final determination under the State Environmental Quality Review Act either by the City Council, the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Site plan approval shall also be required for any development which is the functional equivalent of a land subdivision but which is structured for ownership purposes as a condominium project. In such cases, the Planning Board shall apply all relevant review criteria contained in § 57-9, Approval of plats, as well as the provisions of this article.
Application for area variance. Where a proposed site plan contains one or more features which do not comply with the dimensional regulations of this chapter, application may be made to the Board of Appeals for an area variance pursuant to Article XIV, Board of Appeals, without a decision or determination by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
The site plan review process has three steps: sketch plan conference, preliminary site plan approval and final site plan approval. Applications for site plan approval shall be made to the Planning Board using forms supplied by, and delivered to, the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
Sketch plan conference.
Prior to formal submission of a detailed site plan, there shall be a conceptual sketch plan conference with the Planning Board to review the basic site design concept, to provide the applicant with constructive suggestions and, generally, to determine the information to be required in order to have a complete application.
The City of Watervliet acknowledges that some development proposals may be small or have no impact on its surroundings. As such, if at the sketch plan conference the Planning Board considers the application complete with no additional information required and the application fee has been paid, it may, at its discretion, approve the sketch plan as an approved preliminary site plan or final site plan following the procedures set forth in this article.
At the sketch plan conference, the applicant should provide the data discussed below in addition to a statement or sketch describing what is proposed. If any of the data requested is believed to be unnecessary or inapplicable, the applicant may ask for, and be granted, a waiver from such data requirements.
Name and address of applicant and authorization of owner, if different from applicant.
Name and address of owner(s) of record, if different from applicant.
Name and address of person or firm preparing the plan and map.
An area map at an appropriate scale showing the parcel under consideration for site plan review, and all properties, subdivisions, streets and easements within 200 feet of the boundaries of the parcel under consideration.
A map of site topography of at least two-foot contour intervals. If general site grades exceed 5% or portions of the site have susceptibility to erosion, flooding or ponding, a soil's overlay on the topographic map is recommended.
General identification of all existing natural features and utilities on the site and in the area.
All the utilities available, and all streets which are either proposed, mapped or built.
Aerial photograph at an appropriate scale showing the parcel under consideration for site plan review and all properties within 200 feet of the boundaries of the parcel under consideration.
Identification of required additional information. At the sketch plan conference, the Planning Board may request additional information, including any of the items listed in the checklist below. The Planning Board is not limited to this list and may request any additional information it deems necessary or appropriate. In determining the amount of information it will require, the Planning Board will consider the type of use, its location, and the size and potential impact of the project. The Planning Board may require that any plans required as part of a site plan application be stamped by a licensed professional land surveyor, engineer, architect, landscape architect or other appropriate licensed professional as applicable.
Site plan checklist:
Title of drawing, including name and address of applicant and person responsible for preparation of such drawing.
North arrow, scale and date.
Boundaries of the property plotted to scale.
Existing watercourses, wetlands and floodplains.
Grading and drainage plan, showing existing and proposed contours. The drainage plan shall also clearly explain the methodology used to project stormwater quantities and the resultant peak flow conditions.
Location, design, type of construction, proposed use and exterior dimensions of all buildings. This may include an elevation drawing.
Location, design and construction materials of all off-street parking and loading areas, showing access and egress.
Provision for pedestrian access, including sidewalks and street furniture.
Location of any outdoor storage, loading areas and/or dumpsters.
Location, design and construction materials of all existing or proposed site improvements, including drains, culverts, retaining walls and fences.
Description of the method of sewage disposal, and location, design and construction materials of such facilities.
Description of the type and quantity of water supply needed, the method of securing water supply, and the location, design and construction materials of such facilities.
Location of fire and other emergency zones, including the location of fire hydrants.
Location, design and construction materials of all energy distribution facilities, including electrical, gas and solar energy and other public utilities such as cable and telephone.
Location and design of outdoor lighting facilities.
Designation of the amount of building area proposed for retail sales or similar commercial activity.
An estimated project construction schedule and phasing sequences.
Record of application for and approval status of all necessary permits from state, federal and county officials.
Identification of any federal, state or county permits required for the project's execution.
Other elements to the proposed development as considered necessary by the Planning Board, including, within reason:
Engineering plans to illustrate grading plan, public or private utilities systems and such other supporting data as may be necessary.
A traffic study to show impact of project on existing traffic patterns.
Study to review the potential for air pollution when a use is identified as releasing possible pollutants.
Preparation of a visual impact assessment (VIA) for the project using as guidance the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Visual Policy, "Assessing and Mitigating Visual Impacts," DEP-00-2, as part of compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
The project's impact on existing public services, such as ambulance services, fire service, hospitals, utilities and schools.
After the sketch plan conference, the applicant shall provide the required number of application copies for preliminary site plan review to the Zoning Enforcement Officer accompanied by the additional information required by the Planning Board as determined at the sketch plan conference. Plans may be required to be submitted electronically in GIS or CAD format.
The applicant shall submit the fee as established in the City of Watervliet fee schedule and any required escrow deposit for review costs, as required by the Planning Board. The application shall not be deemed complete unless such fee is paid.
The Planning Board shall determine whether the application is complete. If it is not complete, the Board shall notify the applicant within 62 days. Once the Planning Board has determined the application is complete, the sixty-two-day review period begins, unless it is extended by mutual consent.
State environmental quality review. Upon receipt of application materials it deems complete, the Planning Board shall initiate the New York State environmental quality review process by either circulating the application and environmental assessment form to all involved agencies (if coordinated review is undertaken) or by issuing its determination of significance within 20 days. Where the proposed action may have a significant effect on the environment, the Planning Board shall issue a positive declaration and require the submission of a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). No time periods for decisionmaking in this chapter shall begin to run until either acceptance of a DEIS as satisfactory pursuant to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regulations or the issuance of a negative declaration.
Planning Board review criteria. The Planning Board's review of the preliminary site plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following criteria:
Adequacy and arrangement of vehicular traffic access and circulation, including intersections, road widths, payment surfaces, dividers and traffic controls.
Adequacy and arrangement of pedestrian traffic access and circulation, walkway structures, control of intersections with vehicular traffic and overall pedestrian convenience.
Adequacy of water supply and sewage disposal facilities.
Adequacy of fire lanes and other emergency zones and the provisions of fire hydrants.
Adequacy of structures, roadways and landscaping in areas with susceptibility to ponding, flooding and/or erosion.
Adequacy of protection for and compatibility with any adjacent historic resources as identified by the City and the New York State and Federal Registers of Historic Places.
Protection of adjacent or neighboring properties against noise, glare, unsightliness or other objectionable features.
Consultant review. Costs incurred by the Planning Board for consultation fees or other extraordinary expense in connection with the review of a proposed site plan or inspection of required improvements shall be charged to the applicant. Estimated review fees shall be deposited into an escrow account when making application for preliminary site plan approval. Estimated inspection fees shall be deposited into an escrow account prior to Planning Board endorsement of final site plan approval.
Public hearings. The Planning Board may conduct a public hearing on the site plan. Such hearing shall be held within 62 days of the date that the Planning Board determines that the application for site plan review is complete and shall be advertised in the City's official newspaper or, if there is none, in a newspaper of general circulation in the City at least five days before the public hearing.
Planning Board decision.
Within 62 days of a public hearing, the Planning Board shall make a decision unless the period is extended by mutual agreement between the applicant and the Planning Board. A Planning Board decision shall require a majority vote in the affirmative of all Planning Board members regardless of absences or vacancies. A majority is three votes.
A copy of the decision shall be immediately filed in the City Clerk's office and mailed to the applicant. A resolution of either approval or approval with modifications and/or conditions shall include authorization to the Planning Board Chairman to stamp and sign the site plan upon the applicant's compliance with applicable conditions and the submission requirements stated herein.
If the Planning Board's resolution includes a requirement that modifications be incorporated in the site plan, conformance with these modifications shall be considered a condition of approval.
The Planning Board's decision shall be provided to the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
Required referral. Prior to taking action on the final site plan, the Planning Board shall refer the plan to the Albany County Planning Board for review and a report in accordance with § 239 of the General Municipal Law. If the County Planning Board recommends modifications or disapproval, the City Planning Board many not act contrary to such recommendation except by a vote of a majority plus one of all members of the Planning Board.
Editor's Note: So in original.
After receiving approval, with or without modifications, from the Planning Board on a preliminary site plan, the applicant shall submit a final site plan to the Planning Board for approval. Where phasing has been approved, each phase shall be indicated on the plans. If more than six months has elapsed since the time of the Planning Board's action on the preliminary site plan, and if the Planning Board finds conditions have changed significantly in the interim, the Planning Board may require a resubmission of the preliminary site plan for further review and possible revision prior to accepting the proposed final site plan for review. The final site plan shall conform substantially to the approved preliminary site plan. It should incorporate any modifications that may have been recommended by the Planning Board in its preliminary review. All such compliances shall be clearly indicated by the applicant on the appropriate submission.
The following additional information shall accompany an application for final site plan approval:
Planning Board action on final site plan. Within 62 days of receipt of an application for final site plan approval, which is found to be complete by the Planning Board, the Planning Board shall render a decision and notify the Zoning Enforcement Officer and the applicant. If no decision is made within the sixty-two-day period, the final site plan shall be considered approved unless the sixty-two-day period has been extended by mutual agreement. If substantial progress has not been performed within one year after final approval, the final site plan will become null and void.
To ensure the completion of required improvements, such as but not limited to roads, landscaping, or other improvements required by the Planning Board, the applicant may be required to post performance bond(s) or other form of security to cover the full cost of the infrastructure and improvements as estimated by the Planning Board or designated City department in accordance with the procedures provided for in New York State General City Law § 27-a. A period of one year (or such other period as the Planning Board may determine appropriate, not to exceed three years) shall be set forth in the bond within which required improvements must be completed.