TOWN OF SANTA CLARA PLANNING BOARD

June 9, 2019 - Proposed amendments to the TSC Land Use Code (LUC)

Current code:

3.20 DISTRICT MAP

Said districts are bounded as shown on the map entitled "TOWN OF SANTA CLARA LAND USE MAP", which map is hereby adopted by the Town Board upon the date of enactment of this code and which together with all explanatory material thereon is hereby made a part of this code by reference.

Current Land Use Designation
TaxlDOwnerDistrictAcres
453.3-1-1.300CHR LlC MarinaR-1.32.00
453.3-1-1.100CHRlLC-CampsiteR-C-1.33.50
453.3-1-1.200Hickok, RobertR-C-1.30.57
453.3-1-7Hickok, RobertR-C-1.30.47
Proposed Map Amendment:
TaxlDOwnerDistrictAcres
453.3-1-1.300CHR llC MarinaR-C-1.32.00

Rationale: The land on which the marina is situated has been in continuous commercial use since 1929. Since it has been a commercial use and the lots surrounding it are all designate R-C-1.3, this property should also be designated R-C-1.3 to allow the continued operation of a valuable service to the community and to be compatible with the surrounding properties.


Proposed Amendment #2: To address setback issues

Current code:

ARTICLE V - DISTRICT DIMENSIONAL REGULATIONS

5.10 GENERAL LOT REGULATIONS

Schedule of Dimensions - The dimensional restrictions and controls intended to regulate the intensity and density of land use within all districts are set forth in the following Table:

District R-1-1.3 R-1-3.2 R-1-8.5 R-1-42.7 R-C-1.3 R-C-3.2 GR H
Maximum Principal Buildings Per Square Mile5002007515500200N/AN/A
Minimum Lot Size (acres)1.33.28.542.71.33.2N/AN/A
Minimum Road Frontage (ft)100125150200100125132060
Minimum Shoreline Lot Width (ft)1502002503001502001320N/A
Minimum Front Yard Setbacks (ft) 505075100505050050
Minimum Rear Yard Setbacks (ft) 25252525252550025
Minimum Side Yard Setbacks (ft) 25252525252550025
Minimum Shoreline and Wetland Setbacks (ft) 757575100757550075
Maximum building height (ft) 3030303030303030


Proposed Amendment:

Schedule of Dimensions - The dimensional restrictions and controls which regulate the intensity and density of land use within all districts are set forth in the following Table:

District R-1-1.3 R-1-3.2 R-1-8.5 R-1-42.7 R-C-1.3 R-C-3.2 GR H
Maximum Principal Buildings Per Square Mile5002007515500200N/AN/A
Minimum Lot Size (acres)1.33.28.542.71.33.2N/AN/A
Minimum Road Frontage (ft)100125150200100125132060
Minimum Shoreline Lot Width (ft)1502002503001502001320N/A
Minimum Front Yard Setbacks (ft) 50505075100505050050
Minimum Rear Yard Setbacks (ft) 25252525252550025
Minimum Side Yard Setbacks (ft) 25252525252550025
Minimum Shoreline and Wetland Setbacks (ft) 757575100757550075
Maximum building height (ft) 3030303030303030

Rationale: From Minutes 06-06-17: The current Land use Code specifies in Article V, District dimensional Regulations, Section 5.1 General Lot Regulations, Schedule of dimensions a minimum front yard setback of 50 f.t for R-1-1.3 and 75 ft. for R-1-3.2. The Chief Enforcement Officer (CEO) reported that due to the topography of the land in most areas of TSC, and especially properties on the Upper Saranac Lake, a 75 ft. setback is difficult to obtain. A 50 ft. setback for R-1-3.2 would be more practical (resulting in fewer variance requests and delays in construction to homeowners). Additionally, R-C-3.2 should correspond to R-1-3.2.

The Board agreed that changing the front yard setbacks for R-1-3.and R-C-3.2 from 75 ft. to 50 ft. should be one of the proposed amendments to the current Land Use Code.

The change from "intended to regulate" to "which regulate" is suggested by the special counsel.


Proposed Amendment #3: To address shorefront issues: Decks built along the water

Dock - A horizontal platform-type structure (including but not limited to a wharf, pier or similar structure), fixed or floating and/or removable, the principal use of which is the mooring of boats or other watercraft, for storing, loading or unloading.

Proposed Amendment:

Dock - Any horizontal platform-type structure (including but not limited to a wharf, pier or similar structure), fixed or floating and/or removable, on the shoreline, the principal, but not necessarily exclusive, use of which is the mooring of boats or other watercraft, for storing, loading or unloading.

Rationale: "Decks" have been built along the waterfront, which do not conform to the land use code restrictions for docks. The basic premise behind restricting dock and boathouse size is to preserve as much natural waterfront as possible. Under current code these decks are not restricted because they are not docks in the traditional currently defined sense, that is they are not being used for mooring of boats or other watercraft, for storing, loading or unloading.


Proposed Amendment #4: To address shorefront issues: Boathouse definition

Current code:

Boathouse - A structure with direct access to a body of water (1) which is used for the storage of boats and associated equipment, and (2) which does not have bathroom or kitchen facilities and is not designed or used for lodging or residency.

Revised code:

Boathouse - A covered structure, with direct access from inside the boathouse, to a navigable body of water, (1) which is used only for the storage of boats and associated equipment and (2) which does not contain any bathroom, kitchen facilities, living quarters, bedrooms, plumbing or heating.

Rationale: This updated definition is based on a recent ruling by the DEC on a boathouse application in the Town of Santa Clara. The proposed boathouse had a solid floor (no boat slips) and access to the water was across a deck on the front of the boathouse. It was boat storage shed rather than a traditional boathouse and could potentially be used for other than boat storage. The language specifying what the boathouse could not be used for was clarified in an attempt to eliminate any potential misunderstanding.


Proposed Amendment #5 To address shorefront issues: Size of waterfront structures in relationship to waterfront.

Current code:

7.35 Boathouses, Wharf, Dock or Pier

For any waterfront lot, the dimension of any wharf, dock or pier along the shoreline (commonly referred to as the "width" of such wharf, dock or pier) shall not exceed 15% of the length of the shoreline of the lot measured along the mean high water line as determined by the APA and DEC. If DEC and APA have different mean high water marks or lines, the shoreline length shall be measured along the higher of such marks or lines. No dock, wharf or pier shall extend away from land more than 30 feet from the mean high water mark closest to such dock, wharf or pier. Total surface area of any dock, wharf or pier shall not exceed 500 sq. ft.

The covered area within a boathouse at water level (its "footprint") shall not exceed an area of 625 sq. ft. A boathouse shall be limited to one story. The maximum height of a boathouse shall be 15 feet, not including required railings, above the mean high water mark. The use of a boathouse shall be limited to the storage of boats, oars, personal flotation devices and similar equipment for boating. A boathouse shall not contain any living quarters, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen facilities or plumbing. C. In no event shall the combined areas of units in A and B above exceed 875 sq. ft. on any lot.


Proposed Amendment:

7.35 Boathouses, Docks, Decks, Wharves and Piers For every waterfront lot

The maximum dimension of any individual boathouse, dock, deck wharf or pier, or the total dimension of any combination of such structures, along the shoreline of the lot (such dimension being commonly referred to as the "width" of such boathouse, dock, deck wharf or pier in relation to the shoreline) shall not exceed 15% of the width of the shoreline of the lot. The width of the lot shall be as measured from lot sideline to lot sideline along the mean high water line, as such line is determined by the APA and/or DEC or in relation to any reference point(s) established by either or both of them. If DEC and APA have established different mean high water marks or lines for the subject body of water, the lot width shall be measured along the higher of such marks or lines. No boathouse, dock, deck, wharf or pier shall extend away from land more than 30 feet from the mean high water mark closest to such structure. Subject to the limitation in sub-section 7.35(C) below, the total surface area ("footprint") of any dock, deck, wharf or pier shall not exceed 500 sq. ft. including the area of any openings or "slips" in which boats or other watercraft may be berthed.

Subject to the limitation in subsection 7.35(C) below, the covered area within a boathouse at water level (its "footprint") shall not exceed an area of 625 sq. ft., including the "slips" or floor openings in which boats or other watercraft are berthed. A boathouse shall be limited to one story. The maximum height of a boathouse shall be 15 feet, not including any required railings, above the mean high water mark. The use of a boathouse shall be limited to the storage of boats, oars, personal flotation devices and similar equipment for boating. A boathouse shall not contain any living quarters, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen facilities or plumbing.

The combined surface area or "footprint" of any combination of boathouse, dock, deck, wharf or pier, including any "slips" or floor openings in which boats and/or other watercraft may be berthed, shall not exceed 875 sq. ft. for any lot.

Rationale: The current code only specifies "wharf, dock, or pier along the shoreline" being restricted by 15% of the length of the shoreline. Additionally, the current code only specifies that "No dock, wharf, or pier shall extend away from land more than 30 feet from the mean high water mark closest to such dock, wharf, or pier," The basic premise behind restricting shoreline structures is to preserve as much natural waterfront as possible. Therefore, it seems that boathouses and decks should be included in any width and length considerations.

The word boathouse has been removed from Section 7.35A in the sentence below because boathouse size is addressed in Section 7.35 B. Section 7.35C addresses the combined area. Subject to the limitation in sub-section 7.35(C) below, the total surface area ("footprint") of any boathouse, dock, deck wharf or pier shall not exceed 500 sq. ft. including the area of any openings or "slips" in which boats or other watercraft may be berthed.

In Section 7.35C, The combined surface area...shall not exceed 875 sq. ft FOR any lot. "on" has been changed to "for" at the suggestion of special counsel to avoid potential ambiguities.


Proposed Amendment #6: ADIRONDACK PARK LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN MAP

Current code:

3.40 ADIRONDACK PARK LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN MAP

The boundaries of the land use area established by the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan Map, as may be from time to time amended, pursuant to Subdivision 2 of Section 805 of the Adirondack Park Agency Act, which relates to the Town of Santa Clara or indicated on the separate map entitled "The Town of Santa Clara Land Use Map" adopted by the Town Board on the same date as adoption of this code and which shall be considered incorporated in this code by reference. Any change of the boundaries within the Town of a land use area due to an amendment of the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan Map pursuant to Subdivision 2 of Section 805 of the Adirondack Park Agency Act shall take effect for the purposes of this code concurrently with that amendment without further action by the Town of Santa Clara and the Town of Santa Clara Land Use Map shall be changed in accordance with that amendment. The amendment provisions of Article X of this code do not apply to the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan Map, which can be amended only pursuant to the provisions of the Adirondack Park Agency Act. Copies of the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, which may from time to time be published and distributed by the Adirondack Park Agency are accurate only as of the date of their printing and bear words to that effect.

Revised code:

Delete Section 3.4

Rationale: The highlighted portion of the Land Use Code would seem to indicate that the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) can amend the Land Use designations within the Town of Santa Clara. This would seem to negate the efforts of the Town to develop their own land use designations appropriate to the Town. Section 3.4 was originally included because there was the possibility that the Town of Santa Clara Land Use Code would be approved by the APA. Approval of the Town of Santa Clara Land Use Code by the APA is not necessary, although individuals must still comply with APA regulations in addition to the TSC Land Use Code. The Code Enforcement Officer usually imparts information about which regulations are in effect when a building permit is requested. All Site Plan Review Applications are issued with the caveat that they must comply with any APA or other agency regulations. Therefore this section can be eliminated.


Additional Proposed Amendments to Land Use Code:

Recent applications for a subdivision have revealed that the Land Use Code requires updating on procedures to be used to register minor subdivisions and boundary line adjustments with Franklin County.


Proposed Amendment #7: Boundary Line Adjustment

Current code:

10.10 BOUNDARY LINE ADJUSTMENTS

The Planning Board shall have the authority to review a proposed deed or Boundary Line Adjustment agreement and map showing the proposed Adjustment. The map shall be prepared, signed and sealed by a licensed surveyor and shall show and identify the Granting Parcel, Receiving Parcel, Boundary Line Adjustment Area and any other details deemed necessary by the Planning Board. The map shall bear a prominent note stating that the Boundary Line Adjustment Area is hereby merged into and with the Receiving Parcel as a single, unified lot. The Planning Board shall determine whether the proposed transfer satisfies the definition of a Boundary Line Adjustment and requirements of this section or would be a subdivision subject to further review. If the Planning Board determines that the proposal is for a Boundary Line Adjustment, rather than for a subdivision, and that the map and other documents submitted are satisfactory, the Planning Board shall be authorized to approve the proposed Boundary Line Adjustment. Upon such approval, the Chairman of the Planning Board shall be authorized to stamp and sign the map depicting the Boundary Line Adjustment. The Applicant shall then file the signed map and the deed or Boundary Line Adjustment agreement in the office of the County Clerk within 62 days after the map is signed by the Planning Board Chairman..

Proposed Amendment:

10.10 BOUNDARY LINE ADJUSTMENTS

The Planning Board shall have the authority to review a proposed deed or Boundary Line Adjustment agreement and map showing the proposed Adjustment. The map shall be prepared, signed and sealed by a licensed surveyor and shall show and identify the Granting Parcel, Receiving Parcel, Boundary Line Adjustment Area and any other details deemed necessary by the Planning Board. The map shall bear a prominent note stating that the Boundary Line Adjustment Area is hereby merged into and with the Receiving Parcel as a single, unified lot. The Planning Board shall determine whether the proposed transfer satisfies the definition of a Boundary Line Adjustment and requirements of this section or would be a subdivision subject to further review. If the Planning Board determines that the proposal is for a Boundary Line Adjustment, rather than for a subdivision, and that the map and other documents submitted are satisfactory, and that the proposed Boundary Line Adjustment meets the definition and necessary requirements for a Boundary Line Adjustment, the Planning Board shall be authorized to approve the Boundary Line Adjustment. Upon such approval, the Applicant shall provide the Planning Board with five (5) twenty four inch x thirty six inch (24"x36") maps as follows: 1 mylar and 2 paper copies to be filed with Franklin County, 1 paper copy for the Town of Santa Clara and 1 paper copy for the applicant. The Chairman of the Planning Board (or the Vice-Chairman, if designated by the Chairman) shall be authorized to stamp and sign the maps depicting the Boundary Line Adjustment. The Applicant shall then file the signed maps and record the deed or Boundary Line Adjustment agreement in the office of the Franklin County Clerk within 62 days after the maps are signed by the Planning Board Chairman. Within ten (10) days after filing and recording with the County, the Applicant shall provide the Town's Code Enforcement Officer with a copy of the filed map and a copy of the recorded Deed or Boundary Line Adjustment agreement by which the Boundary Line Adjustment Area was conveyed and merged into the Receiving Parcel.

Rationale: Experience has demonstrated that the applicants would like to have very specific instructions available on what is required of them after the application is approved. The previous definition did not define the size of the maps nor how many were required.


Proposed Amendment #8: Minor Subdivisions

Current code:

10.170 MINOR SUBDIVISION (2 - 4 LOTS) PLAT REQUIREMENTS

10.172 Plat Details The plat to be filed with the County Clerk shall be printed upon linen or be clearly drawn in India ink upon tracing cloth or mylar. The size of the sheet shall be twenty-two by twenty-six (22x26) inches..


Proposed Amendment:

10.172 Plat Details Upon approval of the subdivision, the Applicant shall provide the Planning Board with five (5) twenty-four inch x thirty-six inch (24"x36") maps as follows: 1 mylar and 2 paper copies to be filed with Franklin County, 1 paper copy for the Town of Santa Clara and 1 paper copy for the applicant. The Chairman of the Planning Board (or the Vice-Chairman, if designated by the Chairman) shall be authorized to stamp and sign the maps depicting the subdivision. The Applicant shall then file the signed maps, the deed and subdivision agreement in the office of the Franklin County Clerk within 62 days after the maps are signed by the Planning Board Chairman. Within ten (10) days after filing with the County, the Applicant shall provide the Town's Code Enforcement Officer with a copy of the filed map.

Rationale: Experience has demonstrated that the applicants would like to have very specific instructions available on what is required of them after the application is approved. The requirements for minor subdivision and a boundary line adjustment should be similar. The requirement for a plat to be on linen using India ink is outdated. The size of the plat has been changed to conform to modern surveying and architectural standards.


Proposed Amendment #9: Boundary Line Adjustment Definition

Current code:

Boundary Line Adjustment – a transfer of land intended to correct the boundary between two lots and which meets all of the following conditions:

(i) The land to be transferred ("Boundary Line Adjustment Area") is less than 25 feet (25') in width and totals not more than one-quarter acre in area;

(ii) The Boundary Line Adjustment Area is conveyed to the owner of the adjoining parcel ("Receiving Parcel");

(iii) The Boundary Line Adjustment Area is merged with and becomes a part of the Receiving Parcel so that the transfer does not create an additional parcel of land; and

(iv) The transfer and merger does not cause a lot-size deficiency or other dimensional deficiency in the parcel from which the boundary line adjustment area is transferred ("Granting Parcel")..

Proposed Amendment:

Boundary Line Adjustment – a transfer of land from one lawfully existing lot to another lawfully existing adjacent lot intended to adjust the boundary line between the two lots and which meets all of the following conditions:

(i) The lots to be subjected to the proposed Boundary Line Adjustment share a common boundary line, not just a single point of contact.

(ii) Ownership of the area to be transferred (the "Boundary Line Adjustment Area") from the owner of one lot (the "Granting Parcel") to the owner of the adjacent lot (the "Receiving Parcel") will be conveyed by Deed or by a Boundary Line Adjustment Agreement.

(iii) The Boundary Line Adjustment Area will be legally merged, by the Deed or Boundary Line Adjustment Agreement, with and into and become an undivided part of the Receiving Parcel so that the transfer does not create an additional lot or parcel of land.

(iv) The transfer and merger would not cause a deficiency in required lot-size or other dimensional deficiency in the Granting Parcel that would cause it to become non-conforming in any way under the Town's Land Use Code.

(v) The transfer and merger would not violate or negate any condition(s) imposed in any previous approval granted by the Planning Board, Variance Board or Town Board with respect to the Granting Parcel and/or the Receiving Parcel unless the Board which imposed such condition(s) first rescinds or modifies such condition(s) to be consistent with the requested Boundary Line Adjustment. Such recission or modification shall be effective only if the requested Boundary Line Adjustment is subsequently approved by the Planning Board.

Rationale: Pieces of land to be adjusted are not necessarily square or rectangular. Boundary line adjustments are not necessarily to correct a boundary, but to adjust a boundary without requiring a subdivision when the property to be transferred is less than the required building lot size.


Proposed Amendment #10: Pre-existing Non-conforming Lots

Current code:

8.30 NON-CONFORMITY, OTHER THAN USE

No permit shall be issued that will result in the nonconformity or the increase of any nonconformity in height, yard space or setback. No structure with nonconformity of any dimensions shall be expanded in any direction, vertically or horizontally unless all dimensions of the expansion conform to the requirements of this local law.

Any nonconforming lot on record as of May 22, 1973 (the enactment date of the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan) which does not meet the minimum lot area and/or minimum lot width and depth requirements of this local law (for the land use district in which such lot situated) shall be considered as complying with such minimum lot requirements for the purposes of constructing one single family dwelling or mobile home, and no variance shall be required, provided that:

A. Such lot has an area of at least two-thirds of the minimum lot area, and a width of at least two-thirds the minimum lot width, and

B. Such lot does not adjoin other lots in the same ownership; provided, however, that all such lots in the same ownership may be treated as one lot. .

Proposed Amendment:

No permit shall be issued that will result in the nonconformity or the increase of any nonconformity in height, yard space or setback. No structure with nonconformity of any dimensions shall be expanded in any direction, vertically or horizontally unless all dimensions of the expansion conform to the requirements of this Land Use Code.

Any nonconforming lot which: 1) was lawfully on record as of May 22, 1973 (the enactment date of the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan), or 2) was created by an authorized APA Permit issued between May 22, 1973 and November 6, 2000 (the original effective date of this Land Use Code) or 3) the existence of which was deemed "non-jurisdictional" in a formal letter-determination of the APA issued between May 22, 1973 and November 6, 2000, and which does not meet the minimum lot area and/or minimum lot width and/or depth requirements of this Land Use Code (for the land use district in which such lot situated) shall be considered as complying with such minimum lot requirements for the purposes of constructing one single-family dwelling or mobile/manufactured home, and no variance shall be required therefore, provided that:

A. Such lot has an area of at least two-thirds of the required minimum lot area, and a width of at least two-thirds the required minimum lot width, and

B. Such lot does not adjoin other lots in the same ownership; provided, however, that all such lots in the same ownership may be treated as one lot.

Rationale: An unusual situation relating to non-conforming lots and part of Section 8.30 of the Land Use Code was recently called to Ed LaGree's attention by the attorney for the purchaser of a lot.

The second paragraph of Section 8.30 allows some relief so a non-conforming residential lot that was created prior to APA can be developed with a single-family home or a mobile home without the need for variance(s) if the lot has at least two-thirds of the Town's required minimum lot area and lot width. However, as currently written, Section 8.30 does not provide such relief for lawful non-conforming lots created between the date that APA came into existence in 1973 and the date that the Town's zoning and subdivision regulations went into effect in 2000. Non-conforming lots that were lawfully created during this interim 27-year period are more likely to be closer to conforming than lots created prior to APA because they would have passed review by APA, receiving either an APA Permit or an "NJ Letter" (Letter of Non-jurisdiction) from APA. But even if lots created in this 27-year period meet the "two-thirds and "two-thirds" standards of Section 8.30, they are not currently entitled to the same relief from variance requirements provided to pre-APA lots by Section 8.30.

The lot purchaser whose attorney recently contacted Ed was buying a lot created as part of an 8-lot subdivision deemed "non-jurisdictional" in an APA "NJ Letter" issued in 1987, so the lot was lawfully created. The lot's 4.5 acre size exceeds the required 3.2-acre minimum for the zone and the lot width of 195.1 feet easily meets the "two-thirds" standard under Section 8.30 for the 200 feet required in the zone. However, the way Section 8.30 is currently written, the owner would be required to apply for a lot-width variance of less than 5 feet. This seems inconsistent and somewhat illogical.

It seems as though the general intent of Section 8.30 was to provide some relief to owners of lawfully-created non-conforming lots that are reasonably close to complying with the Town's lot area and lot width requirements. The choice of May 22, 1973 as the reference date may have seemed appropriate, since APA requirements apply to subdivisions created after that date. However, from 1973 to 2000 APA allowed the creation of some lots that do not quite meet the requirements of the Town's Land Use Code adopted in late 2000, though they come close and meet the "two-thirds" and "two-thirds" standards of Section 8.30. It seems as though it may therefore be fair and consistent to extend the same relief currently provided under Section 8.30 for lawful non-conforming pre-APA lots to non-conforming lots lawfully created between 1973 and November 6, 2000 when the Town's zoning and subdivision regulations became effective. The proposed amendments to Section 8.30 would accomplish this.


 
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