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Town of Niskayuna, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The restrictions and controls intended to regulate development in each district are set forth in the attached Schedule I[1] which is supplemented by other sections of this chapter.
[1]
Editor’s Note: Schedules I-A through I-H are included as attachments to this chapter. Schedule I-I was repealed 3-22-2016 by L.L. 1-2016.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 220-14, Conformity with regulations required, was repealed 10-3-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000.
A. 
Existing lots of record. A single-family dwelling may be constructed on any existing lot of record in any district in which single-family dwellings are not listed as a permitted principal use, provided that:
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
(1) 
The lot exists at the effective date of this chapter as a single tax parcel or as a single legal description on one deed. Two or more previously platted lots combined into one tax parcel or described together on one deed prior to the effective date of this chapter shall not be considered as lots of record.
[Amended 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
(2) 
The owner of the lot demonstrates to the Zoning Board of Appeals that the lot is not suitable for a permitted use in that district.
(3) 
In industrial and commercial zoning districts, the lot shall not be further subdivided for residential purposes. In high-density residential and land conservation zoning districts, further subdivision shall be permitted only by special permit and in accordance with the requirements of Schedule I for that district.[1] A special permit shall not be required for one single-family dwelling on an existing lot of record.
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedules I-A through I-H are included as attachments to this chapter.
(4) 
The dwelling shall meet the minimum yard dimensions as established for single-family dwellings in the R-2 Zoning District unless otherwise specified in Schedule I for that district. Where it may be necessary to modify side yard regulations, under no circumstances shall a dwelling be constructed unless it shall have a minimum side yard of five feet.
B. 
Existing lots of record in R-R, R-1 and R-2 Districts. A single-family dwelling may be constructed on any existing lot of record in the R-R, R-1 and R-2 Districts if said lot does not meet the minimum area or lot dimension requirements for building lots in the district in which it is located, provided that the following conditions exist or are met:
[Amended 12-3-1974 by Res. No. 342; 10-3-1978 by Res. No. 259; 1-15-1981 by Res. No. 48; 5-7-1981 by Res. No. 147; 11-20-1984 by Res. No. 304; 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
(1) 
Availability of adjacent vacant land. No structure shall be erected on any nonconforming lot if the owner of said lot owns any adjoining vacant land which would create a conforming lot or a more conforming lot if said vacant land were combined with the lot deficient in area. Where a sufficient number of lots of record is held in common ownership so as to result in the creation of two or more lots upon combination, such combination of lots shall be subject to subdivision approval by the Planning Board in accordance with Chapter 189, Subdivision of Land, of the Code of the Town of Niskayuna.
(2) 
Side yards. In a nonconforming lot where it may be necessary to modify side yard regulations, under no circumstances shall a structure be constructed unless it shall have a minimum side yard of five feet.
(3) 
Front and rear yards. No structure shall be constructed on a nonconforming lot unless it shall have front and rear yards conforming to the minimums required for the district in which it is located.
(4) 
Existing lots in a subdivision plot. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection B(1) above, this Subsection B shall also apply to existing lots of record on a subdivision plat on file with the Schenectady County Clerk for a period of three years from the date of this chapter and for existing lots on a subdivision plat approved by the Planning Board on or after July 1, 1970, for a period of four years from the date of this chapter, provided that said plat is filed with the County Clerk prior to July 1, 1972.
(5) 
Certain existing lots exempted from area requirements. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other section or subsection of this chapter, all lots previously accepted by the Town of Niskayuna as part of approved subdivisions named below shall be exempt from the minimum area requirements of this chapter, provided that each resulting exempt lot has an area of at least 14,000 square feet. The subdivisions in which lots shall be exempt as stated above are as follows:
Rosendale Estates No. 10
Avon Crest No. 10
Avon Crest No. 13
Avon Crest No. 14
Orchard Park No. 5
Merlin Park No. 2
Rosalene Court
(6) 
Certain lots exempt from area requirements. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other section or subsection of this chapter, Lands of Polsinelli, as shown on a map entitled "Composite Sketch Map, Lands of the Estate of Vincent Polsinelli, Town of Niskayuna, County of Schenectady," dated May 27, 1980, made by C.T. Male Associates, P.C., Map No. 80-174, Sheet 11, last revised November 19, 1984, shall be exempt from the minimum area requirements of this chapter, provided that each resulting exempt lot shall have an area of at least 15,000 square feet subject to the following condition: that any subdivision applications involving these lands conform to the lot layout as shown on Composite Sketch Map, Lands of the Estate of Vincent Polsinelli, Town of Niskayuna, County of Schenectady, dated May 27, 1980, made by C.T. Male Associates, P.C., Map No. 80-174, Sheet 11, last revised November 19, 1984. Pavement of Rosehill Boulevard as shown on the Composite Sketch Map shall be at a width of 26 feet.
C. 
Lot width. The minimum lot width of any lot shall be measured along the minimum building setback line as required for the district in which it is located.
D. 
Corner lots. Front yard minimums shall be required of both yards facing a street on a corner lot. Side yard minimums shall be required of the remaining two yards for properties located in the R-1 and R-2 Zoning Districts. At all street intersections, no obstruction to vision exceeding 30 inches in height above the established grade of the street at the edge of pavement shall be maintained within a triangle formed along the edge of pavement of such lot and a line drawn between the points along such edge of pavement 30 feet distant from their point of intersection as shown in Figure 1. The only exception shall be existing buildings or structures or trees where foliage shall be at least eight feet above grade. (See Figure 1.)[2]
[Amended 9-19-1974 by Res. No. 276; 8-16-1983 by Res. No. 242; 10-3-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000; 3-22-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
[2]
Editor's Note: Figure 1 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
A. 
Use of yards.
(1) 
Every part of a required yard must be open to the sky unobstructed except for landscaping and screening, accessory buildings and structures in a rear or side yard and except for the ordinary projection of open porches, balconies, steps, sills, cornices and for projecting ornamental features as specified in Subsection C.
(2) 
Uses prohibited.
[Amended 3-20-1984 by Res. No. 89]
(a) 
No vehicle, sign, equipment or material of any kind is permitted on a corner lot within the triangular area established by 30 feet from the lot's edge of pavement, as shown in Figure 1,[1] unless otherwise provided for in the chapter. See §§ 220-15D and 220-22A(3) and B(1).
[Amended 10-3-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000; 3-22-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure 1 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(b) 
The storage of any unlicensed or unregistered motorized vehicle is not permitted in the front yard of any residential lot, whether or not on a driveway. No more than two such vehicles are permitted elsewhere on any residential lot. Vehicles defined as "junk vehicles" under Chapter 205 of the Code of the Town of Niskayuna are regulated by that chapter.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
(c) 
Seasonal storage of house coaches, campers or trailers, boats not to exceed 30 feet, car trailers, snowmobiles and snowmobile trailers is permissible. The storage of house coaches, campers or trailers, boats or car trailers of any kind is not permitted in the front yard of any residential lot between November 1 and March 31, whether or not on a driveway. The storage of snowmobiles and snowmobile trailers is not permitted in the front yard of any residential lot between April 1 and October 31, whether or not on a driveway.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
(d) 
The storage or housing of buses or other vehicles used in connection with a religious, social, private or public institution or agency is not permitted in the front yard of any such institution or agency located in a residentially zoned district.
(e) 
The sale, rental, parking and/or storage of vehicles, equipment or material not directly related to and used in the repair and servicing of motorized vehicles is not permitted on the premises of a gasoline service station.
[Added 7-10-1984 by Res. No. 201]
(f) 
The outside storage of junk, including but not limited to vehicles and parts, inoperative machinery and appliances and unused furniture and household furnishings, is not permitted in any area of Town except the Town's landfill or a junkyard, in the case of vehicles and vehicle parts.
[Added 7-10-1984 by Res. No. 201]
(g) 
Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, the outside storage or parking of a vehicle of more than a one-ton load-carrying capacity is not permitted on any residential lot.
[Added 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
(3) 
Outside storage in commercial zoning districts.
[Added 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
(a) 
All accessory outside storage of materials or goods shall be sufficiently enclosed to comply with the landscaping and screening requirements of § 220-21B except that automobile sales lots shall be screened from residential districts only.
[Added 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
B. 
Side yards.
(1) 
Varied side yard width. Where the side wall of a building is not parallel with the side lot line or is broken or otherwise irregular, the side yard may be varied. In such case, the average width of the side yard shall not be less than the otherwise required minimum width; provided, however, that such side yard shall not be narrower at any one point than 1/2 the otherwise required minimum width.
(2) 
Side yard of corner lot. The regulations of § 220-15D shall apply.
C. 
Projections into required yards. The following maximum projections into required yards may be permitted:
(1) 
Open fire escapes: six feet into side or rear yards.
(2) 
Awnings or movable canopies: six feet.
(3) 
Cornices or eaves: three feet.
(4) 
Covered or uncovered steps or stoops: six feet.
(5) 
Ornamental features: four inches.
(6) 
Ramps: twenty feet into front yard and no more than one-half the distance into the required side or rear yards.
[Added 4-15-2003 by L.L. No. 4-2003]
D. 
Transition yard requirements.
(1) 
Front yard. Where a residential district abuts a nonresidential district on a street line, there shall be provided in the nonresidential district for a distance of 35 feet from the district boundary line a front yard at least equal in depth to that required in the residential district.
(2) 
Side or rear yard. Where the side or rear yard in a nonresidential district abuts a side or rear yard in a residential district, there shall be provided along such abutting line or lines a side or rear yard at least equal in depth to that required in the residential district. In no case, however, shall the abutting side or rear yard be less than 25 feet.
E. 
Additional required setback regulation.
(1) 
Pursuant to the intent of §§ 220-7 and 220-9 of Article III, the required front yard requirement as set forth in Schedule I, Column 5,Editor's Note: See Column 5 of Schedules I-A through I-H, which are located at the end of this chapter. shall be measured from the existing right-of-way line or proposed right-of-way line as established by an Official Map adopted pursuant to Town Law § 270.
(2) 
Exceptions. If 70% or more of the lots on the same side of the street within 500 feet of each side of the lot have buildings thereon at the effective date of this chapter, the setback from the street shall be determined by the average setback of the principal building on each lot within 500 feet of each side of the lot. This exception is not applicable to those buildings requiring ramps for accessibility by persons with physical disabilities.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992; 10-3-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000; 4-15-2003 by L.L. No. 4-2003]
[Amended 9-19-1974 by Res. No. 276; 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
A. 
No building or structure shall exceed a height of 35 feet above the average finished grade adjoining the building unless otherwise specified in this chapter. The finished grade of artificial berms or similar earthen structures created for insulation or other purposes adjacent to the building shall be disregarded in the determination of average finished grade.
B. 
Exceptions. Building and structure height regulations shall not apply to radio and television antennas, satellite dishes, transmission towers or cables, spires or cupolas, chimneys, water tanks or cooling towers or any similar structures unless otherwise specified in this chapter.
[Amended 12-16-1997 by L.L. No. 16-1997]
[Amended 5-1-1979 by Res. No. 112; 4-4-1984 by Res. No. 102]
A. 
General.
(1) 
The regulations of this section generally apply to accessory structures other than fences. Regulations for fences are contained in § 220-25 of this chapter.
(2) 
Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, accessory structures are not permitted in the front yard of any lot.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
(3) 
Unless otherwise specified, accessory structures shall not exceed 15 feet in height.
B. 
Accessory structures associated with single-family dwelling lots.
(1) 
Area of coverage. The total area of coverage by accessory structures shall not exceed 50% of the allowed area of coverage of the minimum permitted lot size in R-1, R-2 or R-3 Districts or actual lot size, whichever is smaller.
[Amended 10-22-2013 by L.L. No. 4-2013]
(2) 
Number of permitted structures. There shall not be more than three accessory structures on a lot.
[Amended 10-22-2013 by L.L. No. 4-2013]
(3) 
Minimum yard regulations for detached accessory structures.
(a) 
For corner lots, the setback from the street shall be the same for accessory structures as applies to the principal building.
(b) 
The required yard dimensions for any major accessory structure shall be the same as applies to the principal building.
[Amended 3-22-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
(c) 
Minor accessory structures are not permitted closer than five feet to the side or rear lot lines.
C. 
Accessory structures associated with multiple-family dwelling lots.
(1) 
Minimum yard regulations for detached accessory structures.
(a) 
Unless otherwise specified, detached major accessory structures shall comply with the front, rear and side yard requirements that apply to the principal building with which they are associated.
(b) 
Major accessory structures located on multiple-family dwelling lots that do not abut single-family dwelling lots may be located as close as five feet to the rear or side lot line.
(c) 
Major accessory structures located on multiple-family dwelling lots where the property line abuts a single-family dwelling lot must be located at least the same distance from the property line as applies for major accessory structures located on the abutting single-family dwelling lot.
(d) 
Minor accessory structures are not permitted closer than five feet to the side or rear lot lines.
D. 
Nonresidential lots. Unless otherwise specified, accessory structures shall comply with front, side and rear yard requirements for the principal structure to which they are accessory except that minor accessory structures may be as close as 10 feet to the rear property line.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
In all districts, off-street parking regulations shall be in conformance with the regulations of Schedule 1, Column 6,[1] as relates to specific uses, and also to the following general regulations:
A. 
Applicability. In all districts, off-street parking for the various permitted uses shall be required at the time any of the principal buildings or structures of such uses are constructed, moved or altered.
B. 
Calculation of required spaces.
[Amended 7-19-1994 by L.L. No. 7-1994]
(1) 
In the case of a combination of uses, the total requirements for off-street parking spaces shall be the sum of the requirements for the various uses, unless it can be proven that staggered hours of use would permit modification.
(2) 
Required parking spaces in Schedule I[2] represent a minimum number for each use. Where a recognized reference, such as the most recent edition of Parking Generation, published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, indicates that a greater number of spaces is required, the Planning Board may require that they be provided.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Schedules I-A through I-H, which are located at the end of this chapter.
(3) 
Whenever an ultimate fraction of a space is required, a full space shall be provided.
C. 
Dimensions for off-street automobile parking spaces. Every such space provided shall be at least nine feet wide and 18 feet long, and every space shall have direct and usable driveway access to a street with minimum maneuver area between spaces as follows:
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992; 1-3-2017 by L.L. No. 1-2017]
(1) 
Parallel curb parking: five feet additional between each eighteen-foot space with a ten-foot aisle width for one-directional flow and a twenty-foot aisle for two-directional flow.
(2) 
Thirty-degree parking: ten-foot aisle width for one-directional flow and twenty-foot aisle width for two-directional flow.
(3) 
Forty-five-degree parking: eleven-foot aisle width for one-directional flow and twenty-two foot aisle width for two-directional flow.
(4) 
Sixty-degree parking: sixteen-foot aisle width for one-directional flow and twenty-two-foot aisle width for two-directional flow.
(5) 
Perpendicular parking: twenty-two-foot aisle width for one-directional and two-directional flow.
D. 
Location of required spaces. Required spaces shall be located as specified in Schedule I, Column 6 for each district,[3] except that in the R-R, R-1, R-2 and L-C Districts, required off-street automobile parking spaces shall be provided proximate to the building to which spaces are incidental. In all commercial and industrial districts, parking areas shall not come closer than five feet to any side or rear property line or a distance equal to 20% of the side or rear setback distance whichever is greater.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
[3]
Editor's Note: See Schedules I-A through I-H, which are located at the end of this chapter.
E. 
Construction of parking area. All open parking areas shall be paved and shall be properly drained. If, in the judgment of the Planning Board, the required parking would be excessive, the Planning Board may allow up to 25% of the required parking to be unpaved, under bond, to allow extra landscaped area. The Planning Board may require paving of the area left unpaved if it is deemed necessary at a later date. The bond shall be retained for three years.
[Amended 7-6-1976 by Res. No. 173]
F. 
Barriers. On such premises containing five or more parking spaces, all such spaces within 10 feet of the boundaries of the premises shall be equipped with barriers located so as to confine vehicles entirely within said premises, except in those cases where a wall is provided on the boundary of the premises which, in the opinion of the Zoning Enforcement Officer, is of such construction as to suitably protect the adjoining property and/or right-of-way.
G. 
Required screening. The provisions of § 220-21 shall apply.
H. 
Front yards.
[Amended 7-16-1991 by Res. No. 91-196]
(1) 
Parking in front yards. Off-street parking shall not be permitted between the front building line and the street line except in the driveways of residential lots.
(2) 
Driveways in residential front yards. Driveways shall be permitted in the front yards of lots used for residential purposes to serve as access points to the lot by vehicular traffic. Each lot shall have at least one but not more than two points of access (driveways). A single driveway width between the building line and the street line of residential lots shall not exceed 33 feet wide or 33% of the actual front yard width as measured at the building setback line, whichever is less; and no part of the municipal right-of-way shall be paved in excess of this requirement. The combined width of two separate driveways on the lot shall not exceed a total of 50 feet or 50% of the actual front yard width as measured at the building setback line, whichever is less.
(3) 
[4]Limits on paving. Paving in front yards shall only be for the purposes of providing driveways or walkways on the property.
[4]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection H(3), Driveways in nonresidential front yards, was repealed 7-19-1994 by L.L. No. 7-1994. For current standards, see Subsection I. Said L.L. No. 7-1994 also redesignated former Subsection H(4) as Subsection H(3).
I. 
Driveway standards for nonresidential uses.
[Added 7-19-1994 by L.L. No. 7-1994]
(1) 
General performance standards. Direct access driveways shall meet the following criteria:
(a) 
Driveways shall be permitted in the front yard of lots used for nonresidential purposes to serve as access points to the lot by vehicular traffic.
(b) 
Any driveway shall allow an entering vehicle a turning speed of 15 miles per hour to help reduce interference with through traffic.
(c) 
Driveway design and placement shall be in harmony with internal circulation and parking design so that the entrance can absorb the maximum rate of inbound traffic during a normal weekday peak traffic period as determined by a competent traffic survey.
(d) 
There shall be sufficient on-site storage to accommodate at least three queued vehicles waiting to park or exit without using any portion of the street right-of-way or in any other way interfering with street traffic.
(e) 
Provisions for circulation between adjacent parcels should be provided through coordinated or joint parking systems. Each site, however, is responsible for meeting its own off-street parking requirement.
(f) 
Driveway entrances shall be able to accommodate all vehicle types having occasion to enter the site, including delivery vehicles.
(g) 
Driveway placement shall be such that loading and unloading activities do not hinder vehicle ingress or egress.
(h) 
Direct access driveway placement shall be such that an exiting vehicle has an unobstructed sight distance.
(i) 
Two-way driveways in general shall be 24 feet wide with permissible values ranging up to 30 feet. One-way driveways in general shall be 16 feet wide with permissible values ranging up to 24 feet.
(j) 
Driveway design in general shall be in accordance with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, most recent edition.
(2) 
Driveway spacing guidelines.
(a) 
Spacing between driveways.
[1] 
Spacing between driveways shall be determined as a function of highway operating speeds. Spacing will be determined according to the following schedule:
[Amended 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
Highway Speed Limit
(miles per hour)
Desirable Spacing
(feet)
30
100
35
200
40
300
45
500
[2] 
Minimum separation between one-way driveways in a dual system shall be 30 feet.
(b) 
Corner clearance. All direct-access driveways to an arterial shall be located no nearer than 400 feet to an intersection as measured from the point where the driveway corner radius closest to the intersection intersects the pavement edge to the perpendicular curb face of the intersecting street. All direct-access driveways to a collector shall be located no nearer than 200 feet to an intersection by the same measure.
(c) 
In those cases in which the parcel lacks sufficient highway frontage to maintain adequate spacing, the landowner may proceed as follows:
[1] 
To meet the spacing requirement, the landowner may agree with the adjacent property owner(s) to establish a common driveway. In such cases, the center line of the driveway should be located along the property line between the two parcels. The driveway shall meet the standards specified above, and the estimated driveway volume will be the sum of the trip generation rates of both land uses in question.
[2] 
(Reserved)[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection I(2)(c)[2], regarding the landowner's ability to seek a waiver from this requirement, which followed this subsection, was repealed 10-3-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000.
(3) 
Stricter standards to apply. In the event of a conflict between requirements of this section and other ordinances, the more restrictive requirement shall apply. If there are more restrictive state or County standards, they shall apply on state or County highways, respectively.
(4) 
Modifications and waivers. The Planning Board may waive one or more of the specific requirements of this subsection upon a showing by the applicant that the regulations impose an undue hardship on the site due to its peculiar configuration, topography or location or that the proposed project demonstrates the use of highly innovative architectural, site planning or land use techniques. The Planning Board shall approve the minimum waiver necessary to allow the project to be constructed. The applicant for any such waiver shall have the burden of showing that the proposed project, with such waiver granted, will be as good or better than a project developed in compliance with these regulations in terms of environmental protection, aesthetic enhancement, land use compatibility and traffic considerations.
J. 
Standards for long driveways.
[Added 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
(1) 
For buildings located 150 feet or more from a public street, the following standards shall apply for driveway construction:
(a) 
Driveways shall have a sufficient base to support a twenty-ton emergency vehicle as verified by a detailed cross-section stamped by a licensed engineer.
(b) 
Such driveways shall be maintained free of obstructions, such as cars, trees, tree limbs, shrubs, bushes or anything else that may impede or delay the response of fire fighting or other emergency vehicles. Driveway areas shall be clear of obstructions for a height of 12 feet and a width of 16 feet.
(2) 
For deep lots located on a public street in which public water is available, buildings shall be located on such lots so as to be within 500 feet of a public water hydrant, said distance to be measured as it would be traversed by a fire truck, or the water main shall be extended onto the site and a hydrant placed within 500 feet of the proposed location of the building unless otherwise approved by the Planning Board after consultation with the Department of Public Works and the appropriate Fire District.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Column 6 of Schedules I-A through I-H, which are located at the end of this chapter.
In all districts, off-street loading standards shall be in conformance with the regulations of Schedule I-L[1] as it relates to specific uses and also the following general regulations.
A. 
Applicability. In all districts, off-street loading for the various permitted uses shall be required at the time any of the principal buildings or structures of such uses are constructed, moved or altered.
B. 
Calculation of required spaces. In the case of a combination of uses, the total requirements for off-street loading shall be the sum of the requirements for the various uses, unless it can be proven that staggered hours of use would permit modification. Whenever an ultimate fraction of a space is required, a full space shall be provided.
C. 
Dimensions for off-street loading spaces. Unless otherwise specified, every such space provided shall be at least 15 feet wide, 35 feet long and, if covered, 14 feet high.
D. 
Location. Open off-street loading areas shall not be located within required front yards or parking areas.
E. 
Construction. All off-street loading areas shall be paved and shall be adequately drained.
F. 
Required screening. The provisions of § 220-21 shall apply.
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedule I-L is located at the end of this chapter.
A. 
Enclosed uses. Any enclosed use required by this chapter to be landscaped in accordance with this section may be required to provide fencing, screening and/or landscaping sufficient to obscure such uses from view from abutting properties lying in R Districts or from public rights-of-way.
B. 
Unenclosed uses. Any use which is not conducted within a completely enclosed building, including but not limited to junkyards, storage yards, lumber and building-materials yards, parking and loading areas and which is in, abuts or is adjacent to a residential district or fronts on a public right-of-way shall be obscured from view from such residential districts and public rights-of-way in an effective manner, which shall include, but not be limited to, landscaping and screening, including the installation of berms and/or plantings. This section shall also apply to nurseries and the display for sales purposes of new or used cars, trucks, trailers, bicycles, motorcycles or farm equipment where such uses abut a residential district, but not when such uses abut a public right-of-way.
[Amended 8-17-1999 by L.L. No. 12-1999]
C. 
Trash collection and compaction. No areas or facilities for trash collection or trash compaction shall be located within 20 feet of any public street, public sidewalk, on-site roadway or internal pedestrianway. Trash-collection and trash-compaction facilities shall be incorporated into the overall design of the building and the landscaping so that the visual and acoustic impacts of these functions are fully contained and out of view of adjacent properties, public streets, public sidewalks, on-site roadways or internal pedestrianways. No attention shall be attracted to these service facilities by the use of screening materials that are different from or inferior to the principal materials of the building and landscape. These provisions shall not apply to individual outdoor trash receptacles and recyclable receptacles intended for use by pedestrians or visitors.
[Added 8-17-1999 by L.L. No. 12-1999[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also redesignated former Subsection C, Maintenance, as Subsection D.
D. 
Maintenance. Any fencing or landscaping installed in accordance with this section and the provisions of Articles V and VI shall be maintained in good order to achieve the objectives of this section, including replacement of dead or diseased plants used in screening and/or landscaping.
E. 
Waivers. The Planning Board may waive one or more of the specific requirements of this section upon a showing by the applicant that the regulations impose an undue hardship on the site or will result in a threat to public health or safety.
[Added 10-3-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000]
No sign or other device for advertising purposes of any kind may be erected or established in the Town of Niskayuna, except and as provided as follows:
A. 
For uses in all districts.
(1) 
Signs shall be nonflashing, nonanimated and nonrevolving, and illumination shall not cause excessive glare to adversely affect abutting properties.
(2) 
Signs must be constructed of durable materials, maintained in good condition and not allowed to become dilapidated.
(3) 
Directional signs, such as entrance, exit, etc., shall be of a size not to exceed three square feet and not to exceed four feet in height above the existing grade of the street unless otherwise specified in this chapter.
[Amended 9-19-1974 by Res. No. 276; 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 8-1992]
(4) 
Signs shall not project beyond property lines nor over public sidewalk areas, except as expressly permitted in commercial districts. In those cases where a sign is permitted to project beyond property lines or over public sidewalks, the owner of the sign or his authorized agent shall file with the Town Clerk a bond in the amount of $5,000 prior to erection of the sign. Such bond shall be kept in effect at all times until the sign is removed. In the event of the abandonment of the sign by the owner, such bond may be used to defray the cost of removal by the Town.
(5) 
Signs shall be accessory to the principal use where they are erected.
(6) 
A zoning and building permit shall be required for the erection, alteration or reconstruction of any business or advertising sign. Signs associated with the promotion and/or sale of materials, merchandise or service dealing with the principal use on a commercial property are advertising signs and require a permit, regardless of the time said signs are displayed.
[Amended 8-13-1981 by Res. No. 239]
(7) 
Permission must be secured from the Building Inspector to erect any temporary sign for a special event. Each such sign must be removed promptly by the property owner when its purpose has been served, but in no case shall a temporary sign remain on the property for more than 30 days unless further permission has been granted. There shall be no more than a total of two temporary signs for special events on the property in a calendar year. This shall not apply to a temporary sign advertising a garage sale.
[Amended 8-13-1981 by Res. No. 239]
(8) 
One temporary nonilluminated sign advertising the sale, lease or construction of or on the premises shall be permitted for a period not to exceed 12 months. Such sign shall not exceed 16 square feet in area.
(9) 
No sign shall be painted or similarly applied to a building or part thereof, except in compliance with these regulations.
(10) 
At any time there is a new sign or a modification or a replacement of an existing sign associated with a nonresidential use identified in § 220-10 as a permitted or special principal use, with a legally nonconforming nonresidential use or with multifamily dwellings, the following standards shall apply. These sign requirements shall apply in addition to the standards in Schedule I[1] and § 220-26J.
[Added 9-19-1974 by Res. No. 276; amended 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997; 12-8-1998 by L.L. No. 8-1998]
(a) 
In residential and conservation districts:
[1] 
A legally permitted nonresidential use is permitted one sign.
[2] 
A sign for a nonresidential use shall not exceed twenty square feet in area or eight feet in height above the average grade at its location.
[3] 
Freestanding signs shall be ground (monument) signs only. Building signs shall be wall signs only.
[4] 
Freestanding signs shall have a minimum setback of 10 feet from the right-of-way line and ten feet from the side property line. They shall be located in a manner that does not interfere with required minimum sight distance at driveways or intersections.
[5] 
Additional signs for nonconforming gasoline service stations are permitted. They may include one sign not exceeding nine square feet in area for advertisement of principal product prices and one sign not exceeding six square feet in area for advertisement of sales promotional material. These signs shall be located not less than five feet from any street lot line, on the side away from the street. Such signs may be double-faced.
[6] 
Signs shall not be internally lit. External lighting shall be placed in a manner that minimizes glare to adjacent properties and streets.
[7] 
Sign materials and colors shall be compatible with the essentially residential character of the area in which they are located.
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedule I is located at the end of this chapter.
(11) 
In the Highway Commercial (C-H) and Shopping Center Commercial (C-S) Districts, signs, other than an official traffic sign, shall not be erected within the right-of-way lines of any street or between the street line and building line.
[Added 9-19-1974 by Res. No. 276]
(12) 
Except as otherwise specified for residences, address signs shall not exceed 12 square feet in area or six feet in height above the average grade at its location.
[Added 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
B. 
Exemptions. The provisions and regulations of this section and of Schedule I, Column 7,[2] shall not apply to the following signs:
(1) 
Traffic or other municipal signs, school signs, legal notices, railroad crossing signs and such temporary, emergency or nonadvertising signs as may be authorized by the Town Board.
(2) 
Memorial signs and/or tablets not exceeding three feet by two feet in size when cut into any masonary surface or when constructed of bronze, stainless steel or similar material and attached to the main structure.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Column 7 of Schedules I-A through I-H, which are included as attachments to this chapter.
C. 
District regulations. The provisions and regulations of Schedule I, Column 7,[3] shall apply as specified in each district for specified uses.
[3]
Editor's Note: See Column 7 of Schedules I-A through I-H, which are included as attachments to this chapter.
D. 
Subdivision signs.
[Added 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997; amended 3-22-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016; 1-3-2017 by L.L. No. 1-2017]
(1) 
Building permit. A zoning and building permit shall be required for the erection, alteration or reconstruction of any subdivision sign.
(2) 
Location. Subdivision signs shall be located on private property owned by the subdivision developer, his or her successor or assign and not in the public right-of-way unless otherwise permitted by the Town Board. In general, subdivision signs shall be located near entrances to the subdivision, but no subdivision sign shall be placed on a lot containing a residence. Subdivision signs shall not be placed on a corner lot within a triangle formed along the edge of pavement of said lot and a line drawn between the points along such edge of pavement 30 feet distant from their point of intersection, as calculated in Figure 1.[4]
[4]
Editor's Note: Figure 1 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(3) 
Number. The number of signs shall be limited to no more than one per entrance street to the subdivision, up to a maximum of three signs.
(4) 
Size. A subdivision sign may be a maximum of 16 square feet in area and eight feet in height above the average grade at its location.
(5) 
Maintenance. Subdivision signs shall be maintained in good condition by the subdivision developer, his successor or assign. The developer may provide payment to the Town of Niskayuna in a sum to be determined by the Town Board to be held in a fund to be used by the Town of Niskayuna to maintain the subdivision sign in good condition.
(6) 
Design. The Planning Board and Zoning Commission shall have final approval over the design and size of any proposed subdivision sign.
E. 
Neighborhood signs.
[Added 1-3-2017 by L.L. No. 1-2017]
(1) 
In accordance with the Town of Niskayuna's 2013 Comprehensive Development Plan, duly adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Niskayuna in November 2014, the Town recognizes the importance of identifying neighborhoods throughout the Town through various means such as freestanding monument signs or street signs. This subsection shall only apply to those neighborhoods or subdivisions with no existing neighborhood or subdivision sign per Subsection D of this section.
(2) 
A "neighborhood" is an area of the Town of Niskayuna defined by its residents and its distinctive characteristics as enumerated and defined more in depth in the 2013 Comprehensive Plan, consisting of the narratives of 20 identified neighborhoods within the Town.
(3) 
Petition. A petition for the establishment of a neighborhood sign shall be signed by owners of taxable real property situated in the neighborhood or subdivision for the proposed sign. In order to proceed, signatures must be obtained from at least 51% of the residences whose aggregate assessed valuations make up at least 51% of the total assessed values of the properties in the proposed neighborhood or subdivision. Such petition shall be certified by the Town Assessor.
(4) 
Standards.
(a) 
Permitted signs:
[1] 
Freestanding monument signs.
[2] 
Street signs.
(b) 
Materials.
[1] 
Freestanding monument signs shall be constructed of materials compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
(c) 
Height.
[1] 
Freestanding monument signs shall be no greater than five feet in height above finished grade.
(d) 
Size.
[1] 
Freestanding monument signs shall have a maximum area of 16 square feet.
(e) 
Illumination.
[1] 
Neighborhood signs shall not be illuminated.
(f) 
Lettering.
[1] 
A maximum of two lettering styles shall be permitted on signs.
(g) 
Setbacks.
[1] 
Freestanding monument signs shall not be located in such a way as to obstruct a motor vehicle driver's vision at intersections. As such, freestanding monument signs shall not be placed on a corner lot within a triangle formed along the edge of pavement of said lot and a line drawn between the points along such edge of pavement 30 feet distant from their point of intersection, as calculated in Figure 1.[5] Such signs may be located in the public right-of-way with approval of the Town Board. Should such signs be located on private property, an access easement along with a signed, notarized statement of approval from the impacted property owner must be filed with the Schenectady County Clerk's office.
[5]
Editor's Note: Figure 1 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(h) 
Number.
[1] 
A maximum of four freestanding monument signs shall be permitted to be set in locations on major arterials as approved by the Town Board. A maximum of six street signs shall be permitted to be set in locations approved by the Town Board.
(5) 
Maintenance. Neighborhood signs shall only be permitted if the petitioners provide a means of maintaining the neighborhood signs in good repair and condition. A neighborhood association, or similar committee or group of neighborhood residents, shall file with the Town Clerk a notarized statement stating that the undersigned will undertake the responsibilities of maintaining the neighborhood signs in good repair and condition for a period of one calendar year from the date of notarization. Such statement shall be renewed on a yearly basis. At any time such statement expires, within 60 days, the Town may exercise the right to remove the neighborhood signs.
The following performance standards, regulations and standards to be enforced shall apply to all districts within the Town.
A. 
General.
(1) 
Prior to construction and operation. Any application for a zoning and building permit for a use which shall be subject to performance standards shall be accompanied by a sworn statement by the owner of the subject property that said use will be operated in accordance with the performance standards set forth herein.
(2) 
Continued compliance. Continued compliance with performance standards is required and enforcement of continued compliance shall be the responsibility of the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
(3) 
Determination of violation. The Zoning Enforcement Officer shall investigate any purported violation of performance standards, and, if there is reasonable ground for the same, such violation shall be terminated as provided in Subsection A(4) following.
(4) 
Termination of violation. All violations, as ascertained in accordance with Subsection A(3) above, shall be terminated within 30 calendar days of notification of the user and owner by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, except that certain uses established before the effective date of this chapter and nonconforming as to performance standards shall be given not more than six months in which to conform therewith. Failure to comply shall subject the violator to the provisions of § 220-73A of this chapter.
B. 
Regulation of nuisance elements.
(1) 
Definition of elements. No land, structure or building shall be used, occupied or operated in such a manner so as to create any dangerous, injurious, noxious or otherwise objectionable fire, explosive or other hazard; noise or vibration; smoke, dust, odor, dirt or other form of air pollution; electrical or other disturbance; glare; or other substance, condition or element in such amount as to adversely affect the surrounding area or premises (referred to herein as "dangerous or objectionable elements"); provided that any use permitted by this chapter may be undertaken and maintained if it conforms to the regulations of this subsection limiting dangerous and objectionable elements at the specified point or points of the determination of their existence.
(2) 
Location where determinations are to be made for enforcement of performance standards. The determination of the existence of any dangerous and objectionable elements shall be made at:
(a) 
The point or points where such elements shall be most apparent for fire and explosion hazards, for radioactivity and electrical disturbances and for smoke and other forms of air pollution.
(b) 
The property lines of the use creating such elements for noise, for vibration, for glare and for odors.
C. 
Standards to be enforced.
(1) 
Particulates. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit escape from premises owned or occupied by him of such quantities of soot, cinders or fly ash in quantities that exceed 0.3 grain per cubic foot of flue gas at stack temperatures of 500° F. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit the escape from premises owned or occupied by him of other forms of airborne dust, dirt or other particulate matter in concentration which, measured at any point on the boundary of such premises, exceeds 0.3 grain per cubic foot of air, as corrected to standard conditions of temperature and pressure or be of such size as to be retained on a United States Standard No. 325 mesh sieve.
(2) 
Smoke. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit the emission of any smoke from any source whatever on premises owned or occupied by him in a density which, measured at or beyond the boundary of the premises, is equal to or greater than that density described as No. 2 on the Ringelmann Smoke Chart, as published by the United States Bureau of Mines in Information Circular No. 7718.
(3) 
Noxious gases. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit the escape from premises owned or occupied by him of poisonous, corrosive, unhealthful or noxious gases, vapors, fumes, alkalies, oxides or acids in such form, manner or concentration as to create an uncleanly, destructive, offensive or unhealthful condition or to cause damage or detriment to property, business or vegetation or to infringe upon the health, comfort, repose or welfare of the public. Such form, manner or concentration of noxious gases shall be as established and measured in accordance with standards of the United States Public Health Service.
(4) 
Odor. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit the emission of any odor that is unreasonably offensive at any point at or beyond the boundary of the premises. Specifically, those odors characteristic of animal wastes or excrements, of burning or decay of animal matter, protein wastes, of rubber, of mercaptans, of hydrogen sulfide or of ammonia are hereby declared and shall be deemed to be unduly offensive if any is present at any point at or beyond the boundary of the premises in such concentration as to be readily detectable when diluted in the ratio of one volume of odorous air to four or more volumes of clean air.
(5) 
Fire and safety hazards. Operations and processes that are commonly held to be unusually dangerous or hazardous, including the manufacturing or storage of explosives, combustible gases and flammable liquids, shall comply with the applicable provisions of state and federal law. In addition to these regulations, the bulk storage of flammable liquids, liquid petroleum, gases or explosives shall conform to the applicable standards in the National Fire Protection Association Code. All such storage tanks shall be located not closer to any property line or building than the greatest depth to the bottom of the buried tank plus the required building setback. The storage of rags, paper, wastes or similar materials other than those normally used for janitorial purposes shall be allowed only in an enclosed masonry building of four-hour construction, and such building shall be located at least 100 feet from any property line or any building. Open storage for other combustible material and scrap metal shall not be less than 100 feet from any property line and shall be enclosed with a fence not less than eight feet in height so as to screen the stockpiles from public view.
[Amended 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
(6) 
Glare and heat. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on a process such that a direct or sky-reflected glare, whether from floodlights or from high temperature processes such as combustion or welding or other such process that is unreasonably offensive when visible at the individual property lines. No lighting of signs or buildings shall be allowed unless it is of such low intensity or brilliance as not to cause glare or impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle.
(7) 
Noise. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit the emission of any sound, as measured at or beyond the outer boundary of premises owned or occupied by him, which exceeds 70 decibels above the auditory threshold between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. and 60 decibels above the auditory threshold between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. The sound level may exceed these established levels during a total period not to exceed six minutes in any single 60 minutes, and then shall not exceed these established sound levels by more than 10 decibels unless otherwise prohibited by Chapter 142 of the Code of the Town of Niskayuna.
[Amended 7-16-1996 by L.L. No. 5-1996]
(8) 
Wastes. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit the discharge into an open stream, storm sewer or drainage ditch any of the following: animal wastes, industrial wastes or wastes of any other nature until treatment of the same has been completed in accordance with regulations established by the New York State Health Department. Any wastes discharged into a public sewer shall be treated in accordance with the regulations established in the Plumbing Code of the Town.
(9) 
Radioactive materials. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or permit the emission of radioactive substances of any nature whatever in such quantities as to be unsafe as established by the New York State Health Department or any other governmental agency having jurisdiction.
A. 
General.
(1) 
Except for the installation of driveways or minor operations designed to change existing land contour by not more than two feet, no topsoil, sod or earth shall be stripped, excavated or removed for sale or any use, except in connection with the grading and excavation necessary for the construction alteration or addition to a building on the premises from which it is excavated.
(2) 
Any excavation or grading which adversely affects natural drainage or the structural safety of adjoining buildings is prohibited.
(3) 
Excavations shall not create conditions of objectionable noise or dust and shall not otherwise constitute a public hazard.
B. 
Excavations for construction.
(1) 
Excavation in connection with the construction of a building for which a building permit has been issued shall be permitted in any district.
(2) 
Any excavation must at all times be marked, covered or fenced to sufficiently protect public safety at all times during the operation.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection C, Excavations for quarrying and soil mining, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997.
[Added 4-4-1984 by Res. No. 102]
A. 
General.
[Amended 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997; 3-22-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
(1) 
The type of fence and construction shall be consistent with the existing character of the area in which it is located.
(2) 
Fences erected on corner lots shall comply with the requirements of § 220-15D.
(3) 
A fence may be located up to the property line.
(4) 
The ornamental side of any fence, if there is an ornamental side, shall face away from the lot on which it is located.
(5) 
A fence associated with a recreational facility other than a swimming pool shall be considered an integral part of that recreational facility and shall not be subject to the height limitation of Subsection B. Fences associated with recreational facilities other than swimming pools shall comply with the setback requirements of the principal building.
(6) 
A fence associated with a swimming pool shall be considered an integral part of the swimming pool if it is located around the apron or immediate area of the swimming pool. Fences associated with swimming pools shall be subject to the height limitations of § 220-30, Swimming pools.
(7) 
Fences on vacant lots may be permitted subject to the following requirements:
(a) 
Fences on vacant lots located in residential zoning districts or located adjacent to residential dwelling lots in nonresidential zoning districts shall not exceed four feet in height.
(b) 
Fences on vacant lots in nonresidential zoning districts adjacent to nonresidential lots shall not exceed six feet in height.
(c) 
Hazardous materials, electric fences and barbed wire are not permitted for fences on vacant lots.
B. 
Fences associated with residential dwelling lots.
(1) 
For residential dwelling lots.
[Amended 9-5-2006 by L.L. No. 8-2006]
(a) 
The maximum height for fences in a rear yard shall not exceed six feet. For fences located in the front yard and side yard, the maximum height shall be four feet.
(b) 
The maximum height for fences in a side yard associated with swimming pools shall be four feet, six inches or 54 inches.
(c) 
Hazardous materials, electric fences and barbed wire are not permitted.
(2) 
For nonresidential lots adjacent to residential lots.
[Amended 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
(a) 
Fences on nonresidential lots shall, in general, be no higher than the height permitted on the contiguous lot line of the adjacent residential lot. Upon its determination that fence height in excess of this height is in the interest of public health and safety, the Planning Board may approve additional height not to exceed a total of 10 feet on the nonresidential lot.
(b) 
Hazardous materials, electric fences and barbed wire are only permitted on the upper portion of a fence, above eight feet, subject to the approval of the Planning Board based on a determination that the use of said materials is in the interest of public health and safety.
C. 
Fences between nonresidential lots.
[Amended 9-2-1997 by L.L. No. 11-1997]
(1) 
A maximum height of 12 feet is permitted.
(2) 
Materials such as barbed wire or hazardous material are only permitted on the upper portion, above eight feet.
(3) 
If the fence is topped with barbed wire, the barbed wire is to cant away from the adjoining lots.
(4) 
Unless otherwise specified, electric fences are not permitted.
D. 
Fences associated with utility substations.
(1) 
Unless otherwise specified, the maximum height shall be 12 feet.
(2) 
Fencing along streets or facing residential areas shall be screened with natural growth. The natural growth shall be maintained in a healthy, trimmed and attractive condition.
(3) 
Materials such as barbed wire or hazardous materials shall only be used to top the fence, and they shall not be located so as to endanger the public.
(4) 
Unless otherwise specified, if the fence is topped with barbed wire or other hazardous material, it shall cant away from adjoining property.
E. 
Fences associated with farms. Use of barbed wire and electric fences is permitted.