Sep 02, 2009 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
New town zoning laws could encourage “development that maintains open space” as the default approach, while following guidelines set by the joint comprehensive plan completed in 2008 and adopted by both the village and the town of Cazenovia.
Town Supervisor Elizabeth Moran presented proposed changes to zoning and subdivision regulations at a public hearing Aug. 26 at the Cazenovia Public Library.
As part of the proposed changes, the town will adopt “conservation subdivision” as its default approach. The approach, championed by “nationally-renowned planner” Randall Arendt, aims to protect natural, scenic, historic and cultural resources. The goal of the conservation subdivision method is 50-percent open space.
The new zoning will also revise the zoning map, providing more protection and consideration for the lake watershed. The proposed zoning changes will create opportunity for low-impact business and commercial use while allowing no new residential use in certain Town Rural B areas, Moran said. Districts designated Town Rural A will largely consist of residential uses with additional uses by permit.
The proposed changes can be found in full at the town Web site, townofcazenovia.org.
The town is accepting written comments until Sept. 9 via email at email@example.com or by mail at Town of Cazenovia, 7 Albany St., Cazenovia N.Y.
Letter from Town of Cazenovia Supervisor Elizabeth Moran on new zoning and subdivision changes
At the end of July, the Town of Cazenovia released its proposed changes to zoning and subdivision regulations for review and comment. Copies of the proposed changes are available at the New Woodstock and Village of Cazenovia Libraries, the Town Office (Gothic Cottage), 7 Albany St. and on line at townofcazenovia.org.
All residents are encouraged to review the proposed changes and offer their comments. Comments are welcome in writing, and may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by mail to 7 Albany St, or in person at the public hearing. The public hearing on the proposed changes will be held Wednesday evening, Aug. 26 at the Library Community Room, beginning at 7 pm. The comment period will remain open until September 9, 2009.
Municipalities in New York have the authority to adopt zoning and local laws related to land use under the state’s “Home Rule” provision. The Town of Cazenovia adopted zoning in 1964, and has subsequently amended the code from time to time. Currently, Cazenovia has three residential zones, Residential A, Residential B, and Residential B New Woodstock, with little distinction in allowable uses. Two parcels are classified as Industrial, Stearns & Wheler on Route 20 and the town highway garage on Constine Bridge Rd. Certain commercial uses have been permitted by variance or special use. The minimum lot size in the vast majority of the Town is 40,000 square feet (just under one acre), with the exception of the lake watershed, where the minimum lot size was increased in 1991 to 80,000 square feet. Lots that were non-conforming at the time zoning was adopted or modified remain legal.
Over the years, several community-based planning initiatives have been completed, resulting in the 1991 Land Use Guide and the 2002 CAPP report. An important element of these planning initiatives was the opportunity for the Cazenovia community to articulate its vision, that is, to define what contributes to the “sense of place”. While the vision statements vary in their language, unifying themes include preservation of the rural, agrarian landscape, support to the agricultural community, protection of natural resources, including the lake, and maintenance of the close-knit community character. The challenge is to translate these abstract elements into specific action steps to achieve the vision. Planning documents are not legally binding; they set directions and goals. Implementation requires adopting local laws, such as those under consideration related to zoning and subdivision of lands, allocating funds through the municipal budget, and other actions with the force of law.
Beginning with the Wal-Mart debate of the late 1990s, it became evident that the 1964 zoning code, as amended, was not effective in guiding development in a way that would help the community achieve its goals. Proposals for annexation and commercial development along the Route 20 East corridor revealed many weaknesses and inconsistencies in the existing zoning code, including the lack of site plan review authority for the Town Planning Board outside of the lake watershed. Prime farmlands in the southern portion of the town were sprouting homes along the roadways, and some retail enterprises in the Village were struggling. The quality of Cazenovia Lake was in decline. Clearly, it was time for the community to undertake the task of updating the local codes.
The Cazenovia Town Board and the Cazenovia Village Trustees retained EDR of Syracuse to guide the community through a comprehensive planning process designed to culminate in major revisions to the zoning and subdivision laws. This was an inclusive effort, with many task forces and subcommittees providing their expertise and input. The resulting Joint Comprehensive Plan was completed in 2008 and was officially adopted by both municipal boards.
An officially-adopted comprehensive plan provides a legal framework for revising local land use laws. Once the plan was adopted, the focus turned to modifying the extensive codes related to zoning and subdivision. The proposed local laws under review represent the culmination of another year of intense effort. Some changes are minor, others are potentially significant. Properties that would be non-conforming with the revised zoning will remain legal.
There are three major changes under consideration. Again, all are encouraged to review the proposed laws and its associated maps to understand the nature and scope of the changes to zoning and subdivision laws for the Town.
(1)Revise zoning map: define three base districts and increase the minimum lot size to 3 acres
–Town Rural A: largest district, primarily residential with additional uses by permit
–Town Rural B: creates opportunity for low-impact business and commercial use, primarily along Rt. 20 East and Stone Quarry Rd/Constine Bridge Rd south of Ballina. No new residential use is allowed.
–Lake watershed: Provides additional measures of protection, modifies the district boundaries to reflect hydrology instead of road boundaries.
(2)Create overlay districts
–Village edge and commercial: Allows for light manufacturing, retail (in certain areas) and non-retail commercial uses
–Aquifer protection: limits uses that may be detrimental to ground water quality
–Industrial: allows land uses compatible with an industrial district
–New Woodstock commercial: continues Hamlet mixed uses and expands commercial opportunities into some areas
–Agricultural protection: encourages continuation of agriculture and compatible uses
(3)Establish conservation subdivision as the default approach
–Championed by nationally- renowned planner Randall Arendt, recommended for Cazenovia by EDR
–Examines individual parcels for suitable development, protects valued resources (natural, scenic, historic and cultural)
–Subtracts non-buildable lands such as wetlands and steep slopes from the “as of right” density calculation.
–Goal is 50% open space
These proposed changes reflect the collective voice of many within our community. There have been revisions and modifications along the way, and more are anticipated in response to public comment. The comment period extends through September 9, 2009.