For the purposes set forth earlier in this chapter and to promote natural resource preservation and conservation and to minimize the construction and maintenance costs of community facilities, all directed towards the objective of fostering and obtaining land development of good quality and design at reasonable economic cost, the Planning Board is hereby authorized to review and act upon all subdivisions in accordance with the following provisions. In all cases, the Planning Board shall have the full power of subdivision approval, approval with conditions or denial, as authorized by Town Law.
Conservation subdivisions with smaller average lot sizes will preserve the important natural characteristics of the site and forever provide residents proximity to a rural setting. The ability to require conservation cluster subdivisions is allowed by New York State Town Law, Section 281.
Conventional subdivisions. Simultaneously with the approval of a subdivision plat and pursuant to § 281 of the Town Law, at the request of the applicant, the Planning Board is authorized to modify the zoning regulations with respect to lot area and dimensions, provided that the average size of all lots shown on the subdivision plat shall be equal to or greater than the permitted minimum lot area in such district, and further provided that no lot shall have less than the minimum area and dimensions required for lots in the next less restrictive residential zoning district to the one in which the property is located. For the purpose of this section, residential density shall be determined by the number of single-family residences which could be built under the zoning district standards in full conformity with Chapter 132, Subdivision of Land, and all other applicable requirements. The basis for this determination by the Planning Board shall be a conventional subdivision sketch layout for the subject property.
Conservation cluster subdivisions. Simultaneously with the approval of a subdivision plat and pursuant to § 281 of Town Law, at the written request of the applicant, the Planning Board is authorized to modify the zoning regulations in single-family residence districts with respect to lot area and dimensions provided that:
Such modifications result in design and development which promotes the most appropriate and efficient use of the land, facilitates the adequate and economical provision of streets, utilities, and easements and preserves sensitive and unique natural environmental features of the land.
The permitted number of dwelling units in no case shall exceed the number permitted, in the Planning Board's judgment, if the land were subdivided into lots conforming to the conventional requirements of this Chapter, Chapter 132, Subdivision of Land, the Dutchess County Department of Health Regulations and all other applicable standards. The basis for this determination by the Planning Board shall be a conventional subdivision sketch layout for the subject property this plan shall be accompanied by an Environmental Resources Plan illustrating all existing site characteristics and constraints, plus such other information as may be required and deemed necessary by said Board.
The maximum permitted building height and the minimum permitted floor area requirements shall be the same as those applicable to other dwellings in the zoning district in which the property is located.
The dwelling units permitted may be detached, semidetached or attached structures, provided that there shall be no more than four dwelling units in any single structure.
In the event that some part of said subdivision plat includes land to be devoted to park, recreation or open space, the Planning Board, as a condition of plat approval, may establish such conditions on the ownership, use and maintenance of such lands as deemed necessary by the Planning Board, and such conditions shall be approved by the Town Board. Open space preserved as part of a conservation cluster subdivision shall be subject to a legally binding and permanent agreement, such as a conservation easement, which shall permanently restrict the open space from future subdivision, shall define the range of permitted activities, and shall give the Town the ability to enforce these restrictions. Such agreement shall be reviewed and approved by the Town Attorney. Open space should generally be large, contiguous tracts of land and where possible, should maintain connections to adjacent local trails, habitats or open spaces.
In addition to compliance with any special standards, requirements and procedures as set forth in Subsection B(1) hereof, conservation cluster developments shall also be subject to review and public hearing by the Planning Board in accordance with Chapter 132, Subdivision of Land. Upon the filing of the plat in the office of the County Clerk, a copy shall also be filed with the Town Clerk, who shall make the appropriate notations and references thereto on the official copy of the Town Zoning Map.
All community septic systems or central sewage treatment plants developed as part of a conservation cluster subdivision shall be subject to formation of a Town sewer district.
The Planning Board may require the use of a conservation cluster subdivision design where it finds that any one of the following elements or conditions are present:
The following conservation cluster development guidelines are to be considered and implemented in design wherever practicable:
Minimize the clearing of vegetation and preserve important natural features.
Retain stone walls, hedgerows and other rural landscape elements.
Place buildings and access roads within tree lines on mildly sloping land or along the edges of fields; avoid construction in open fields or on ridgelines.
Locate structures and septic systems more than 100 feet from streams or ponds to protect water quality.
Whenever possible reuse farm roads or country lanes, rather than constructing new wide roads.
Maintain or enhance scenic views. Protecting the character of the landscape also protects the property's most valuable assets.