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Proposed zoning changes go to Arietta Town Board

Saturday, May 24, 2014 - Updated: 8:25 AM



PISECO -- The Arietta Town Board has scheduled a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Town of Arietta Land Use Ordinance for Saturday, July 19.

Arietta has had an Adirondack Park Agency-approved local land use code since 1982. The APA regulates land use within the Adirondack Park.

Changes include several new and/or refined definitions.

-- "Accessory Structure" would be any structure or portion of the principal building customarily incidental and subordinate to a principal land use or development, including a guest cottage not for rent or hire that is incidental to and associated with a single-family dwelling, or any moveable structure in excess of 100 square feet located within a required setback. Accessory structures would not include a kitchen.

-- "Bed and Breakfast" would be an owner-occupied single-family dwelling with one or more rooms for overnight accommodation to transient paying guests. They could offer meals to lodgers, and would have at least one off-street parking space per guest room. Such an establishment that was not owner-occupied would be deemed a "Tourist Accommodation."

-- "Boathouse" would be a covered accessory structure with direct access to a navigable body of water which (1) is used only for the storage of boats and associated equipment; (2) does not contain bathroom facilities, sanitary plumbing or sanitary drains of any kind; (3) does not contain kitchen facilities of any kind; (4) does not contain a heating system of any kind; (5) does not contain beds or sleeping quarters of any kind; (6) does not exceed a single story; and (7) has a footprint of 1,200 square feet or less and a height of 15 feet or less. The height would be measured from the surface of the floor serving the boat berths to the highest point of the structure.

-- "Campground" would be any area for transient occupancy by camping in tents, camp trailers, travel trailers, campers, motor homes or similar without structural additions to or removal of wheels. The amendments include excluding roadways from the square foot calculations used to determine the number of allowed campsites (one per 5,000 square feet of the campground).

Camp trailers, travel trailers, campers, motor homes or a similar facility for temporary shelter would not include any single vehicle exceeding 8 feet in width or 35 feet in length or vehicles, including a trailer or semi-trailer or any combination exceeding 8 feet in width or a total of 55 feet in length.

An all-weather water supply or sewage disposal connections at individual sites would not be allowed.

-- "Camping Sites" would be defined as places within a campground for tents, recreational vehicles or other temporary shelters, and could be equipped with electricity.

-- "Clustered Residential Development" would be a single parcel of land with three or more dwelling units in two or more residential structures, where structures would be clustered closer together than otherwise allowed. It could consist of single-family residence, multi-family residence, condominium, townhouse, or senior citizen housing development. A mobile home park would not be considered a residential cluster development.

-- "Commercial Use" would principally involve the sale, rental or distribution of goods, the provision of recreation facilities or activities for a fee or the rental of personal property or real property. The rental of a residence principally for commercial purposes would be a commercial use. The term would not include a junkyard or dismantling facility.

-- "Dock" would include a permanent supporting structure within the shoreline setback used to suspend a dock above water level for storage by means of a hoist or other mechanical device. It would be limited to no more than 100 square feet, measured in the aggregate if more than one such structure is used. Mechanisms necessary to hoist or suspend the dock would be temporary and removed during the boating season.

-- "Family" would become a lengthy definition with many requirements.

-- "Floor Area" would be measured from the exterior walls of a structure, the sum total of all floor areas including all attached covered porches and covered decks and all other attached components with a roof or cover. It would include any finished attic or basement.

-- "Guest Cottage" would be no more than one residential structure associated with a single-family dwelling and used only intermittently; used only by guests of the resident(s) of the single-family dwelling; not for rent or hire separately from the single-family dwelling; containing one-half or less of the enclosed floor space of the associated single-family dwelling or 1,250 square feet, whichever is less; and otherwise meeting the definition of accessory structure.

-- "Home Occupation" would be changed to an accessory use by the resident owner(s), clearly secondary to the use of the dwelling for living purposes. The home occupation would not be allowed to use more than 35 percent of the total floor area of the buildings, and only one employee would be allowed, among other rules.

-- "Hunting And Fishing Camp" would include additional stipulations: one-story structure that could include a sleeping loft; built on posts or piers; served by a sanitary pit privy or chemical toilet; no pressurized or indoor plumbing (but a kitchen sink with a grey water leach pit would be allowed); and not connected to any public utilities.

-- "Junk Vehicle" would be limited to those that are unregistered and/or uninspected and exposed to public view. A "Junkyard" would be created by two such junk vehicles and would be prohibited.

Other new or changed definitions include commercial kennel, livestock raising, lot lines, setbacks, lumberyard, modular home, sign, temporary structure and many more.


Twenty use designations are listed in chart form with the uses allowed in each. There are 127 regulations on use and density.

Nonconforming structures and uses would be grandfathered; however, any increase in the square footage of a non-conforming use would trigger a requirement to comply.

Existing mobile home parks would be required to file an application for a certificate of occupancy within six months of the ordinance becoming effective.

Sewage disposal systems would have to be designed by a licensed professional.

Site plans would be required to meet a lengthy list of requirements, including preparation by a professional architect, landscape architect, engineer or surveyor.

Fines and penalties would be raised from up to $250 and/or seven days in jail to up to $350 and/or six months in jail for a first offense; to up to $700 and/or six months in jail for a second offense within five years; and up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail for a third offense within five years. Each week of a violation would constitute an additional offense.


A problem for property sellers and local real estate firms would be the requirement that only one temporary sign would be allowed per property, and then only for 60 consecutive days.

Signs that do not comply with the new regulations would generally have to be brought into compliance or removed within one year of the ordinance becoming effective.

If any substantial changes are made as a result of the July 19 public hearing on the proposed changes an additional hearing would have to be held.

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