Town of Ulysses, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 212-49 Purpose.

A. 
The purposes of the Lakeshore District are:
(1) 
To protect the fragile environment of the lakeshore, that area east of State Route 89 to the center line of Cayuga Lake, in accordance with the Town of Ulysses Comprehensive Plan (2009);
(2) 
To provide a regulatory framework through which development can occur with minimal environmental impact; and
(3) 
To develop design standards for houses and accessory structures that create a harmonious effect for the natural environment and the residents.
B. 
In particular, the following are important aspects or considerations for the Lakeshore District:
(1) 
Among the important natural and ecological features of the Lakeshore District are steep slopes, mature forests, fragile cliffs, tributaries, and seasonal streams feeding into Cayuga Lake.
(2) 
In recognition of their natural and ecological significance, several areas of the Lakeshore District have been designated as unique natural areas by the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council.
(3) 
The Town has designated a slope overlay area, which recognizes six soil types that when disturbed are significantly erodible and unstable based on their characteristics and slope steepness (see Article IV, Terminology).
C. 
Nothing in these regulations is intended to require or permit activities which contravene any laws, rules, or regulations or permits of the United States or New York State, or any agency thereof, nor are any of the provisions intended to supersede any requirements for obtaining any permits or approvals required by the United States or New York State, or any agency thereof.

§ 212-50 Permitted uses.

A. 
Only the following buildings or uses are permitted in this district, and site plan approval, pursuant to the provisions of Article III, § 212-19, is required in unique natural areas and slope overlay areas:
(1) 
Single-family residences and their accessory buildings.
(2) 
Two-family residences and their accessory buildings.
(3) 
Any municipal or public utility purpose necessary to the maintenance of utility services except that substations and similar structures shall be subject to the same setback requirements that apply to residences.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original § 9.2B, regarding land disturbance activities, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 212-51 Permitted accessory uses.

A. 
The following are permitted accessory uses, which are customarily incidental to the permitted uses listed above in § 212-50:
(1) 
Accessory buildings, as defined in Article IV and subject to provisions of Article XXIV, § 212-167.
(2) 
Elder cottage, subject to the provisions of Article XX, § 212-128.
(3) 
Open-sided elevators/lifts.
(4) 
Temporary buildings, as defined in Article IV.
B. 
Site plan approval, pursuant to the provisions of Article III, § 212-19, is required in unique natural areas and slope overlay areas for the permitted accessory uses listed in this section.
C. 
Permitted accessory uses without site plan approval. Such uses as are customarily incidental to the permitted uses listed above in this article, § 212-50.
(1) 
Business directional signs, subject to the limitations set forth in Article XX, § 212-122D.
(2) 
Home occupations, where no more than one person residing off the premises is employed.

§ 212-52 Uses permitted by site plan approval.

The following uses are allowed upon approval of a site plan by the Planning Board and subject to the design standards set forth in relevant sections of Article XX:
A. 
Adult care, family.
B. 
Agriculture.
C. 
Bed-and-breakfast operations where such is part of the residence.
D. 
Child care, family.
E. 
Professional offices where:
(1) 
Such office is part of the residence property; and
(2) 
No more than three persons residing off the premises are employed on site.

§ 212-53 Uses allowed by special permit.

The following uses are allowed upon approval of a special permit pursuant to Article III, § 212-18, subject to the design standards set forth in relevant sections of Article XX and site plan review by the Planning Board:
A. 
Fire stations or other public buildings necessary to the protection of or servicing of a neighborhood.
B. 
Restaurants.
C. 
Public or nonprofit owned boat launching site, swimming beach, picnic area.
D. 
Public or nonprofit owned park or playground, including accessory buildings and improvements.

§ 212-54 Lot area and yard requirements.

A. 
Number of principal buildings per lot: two single-family residences or one two-family residence.
B. 
Minimum lot area shall be two acres for lakeshore lots and five acres for non-lakeshore lots.
C. 
Minimum lot width at the mean high-water elevation (MHWE) shall be 250 feet and minimum lot width at the road frontage shall be 250 feet for all non-flag lots.
D. 
Minimum lot depth shall be 250 feet for lakeshore lots and 450 feet for non-lakeshore lots.
E. 
Minimum setback, front and rear, shall be 50 feet from the highway right-of-way, and 50 feet where the lot abuts the lake; the MHWE shall be used for setback measurement. Docks, boat hoists, and boat ramps are permitted within the setback area.
F. 
Minimum side yard setbacks shall be 15 feet, except for a corner lot fronting on two public streets, where the minimum yard setback for the side yard to the street or road shall be 25 feet.
G. 
Maximum building height for the principal dwelling shall be 32 feet above average grade measured at the building perimeter.
H. 
Maximum lot coverage for all building footprints shall be 5% of the lot area. For lots with single-family and two-family residences, lot coverage calculations do not include driveways, walkways, or parking areas.
I. 
Minimum setback from a permanent or impermanent stream or wetland edge for any structure or parking area shall be 25 feet for impermanent streams and 50 feet for permanent streams, except in unique natural areas where the setback to any stream shall be 75 feet.
J. 
No parking areas shall be constructed within 50 feet of the MHWE.
K. 
Flag lots shall meet minimum lake frontage (250 feet) and lot area (two acre) requirements. Lot area excludes the pole. The pole shall connect to the road, not the lake. Non-lakeshore flag lots shall meet minimum lot area (five acres) excluding the pole. See Article XX, Design Standards, § 212-130.
L. 
The above notwithstanding, in the case of a lot with frontage on the lake, accessory uses such as pump houses, docks, boat ramps and boat hoists typically associated with water-oriented recreational pursuits are permitted within the front yard setback area fronting on the lake; provided, however, that they are located outside of the required side yard setback areas and conform to the regulations or permits of the United States or New York State.
M. 
For the purposes of cluster development on a lakeshore lot, one dwelling unit will be allowed per 150 feet of lake frontage.
Lot Area and Yard Requirements Summary
Requirement
Lakeshore
Non-lakeshore
Lot coverage, maximum (percent)
5
5
Building height, maximum (feet)
32
32
Lot area, minimum (acres)
2
5
Lakeshore frontage, minimum (feet)
250
Not applicable
Lot width at road frontage, minimum (feet)
250
250
Lot depth, minimum (feet)
250
450
Setback from lakeshore, minimum, measured from MHWE (feet)
50
Not applicable
Setback from road or rear property line (feet)
50
50
Side yard setback, minimum (feet)
15
15
Structure or parking area setback from impermanent/permanent stream or wetland edge (not in unique natural area), minimum (feet)
25/50
25/50
Structure or parking area setback from any stream or wetland edge in unique natural area and slope overlay areas, minimum (feet)
75
75

§ 212-55 Design standards.

In the event of any conflict between the provisions of this § 212-55 and other provisions of this chapter, the provisions of this section shall prevail.
A. 
Streams.
(1) 
Permanent and impermanent streams are, and wetlands may become, prominent features of the Lakeshore District and the condition of these water bodies directly affects the health of Cayuga Lake and the various creatures that depend on the water for sustenance. As such, it is the intent of these Lakeshore District regulations to ensure the continued preservation and health of these many Cayuga Lake tributaries for current and future generations.
(2) 
For the purposes of this section, the area of a wetland is defined by both state and federal governing regulations. Buffer areas apply to federally protected wetlands greater than 0.1 acre.
(3) 
Requirements.
(a) 
To the extent possible, permanent and impermanent streams shall be protected from sediment, effluent, sewage, and driveway runoff.
(b) 
Diverting or altering the course of permanent or impermanent streams shall be prohibited, except where a NYSDEC permit is obtained in advance of starting work.
(c) 
Unless otherwise authorized by the Planning Board or state or federal agency, no disturbance as listed previously in this section shall be located within 100 feet of any wetland.
(d) 
During the site plan approval process where there is evidence of a wetland, the Planning Board may require a wetland delineation study to determine potential impacts of development on said wetland.
(4) 
Recommendations.
(a) 
Plowing of salt laden snow from driveways into streams should be avoided.
(b) 
The proximity of docks to mouths of tributaries should consider natural variation in stream boundary location so as to not interfere with stream flow over time.
(c) 
Stream bank vegetation should be encouraged to minimize erosion. Where necessary, stream banks should be replanted with native species.
(d) 
Flow of water in Cayuga Lake tributaries should not be impeded by human-made structures in or spanning streams.
B. 
Vegetation and landscape.
(1) 
The intent of the Town of Ulysses is to preserve and encourage vegetation, especially noninvasive trees and shrubs, in the Lakeshore District in order to prevent erosion, sedimentation of the lake and streams, and maintain the rural, scenic nature of the Town. The intent of this section is to encourage landowners in this district to preserve and encourage vegetation for the benefit of current and future residents of the Town.
(2) 
The intent of the Town of Ulysses is to preserve the natural features of the Lakeshore District and, as such, to allow development that uses mechanisms that minimize disruption of the current ecological balance. The Zoning Officer and Planning Board shall review all development with the following guidelines when reviewing a site plan for approval.
(3) 
Requirements. Tree removal, except clear-cutting, is allowed in the Lakeshore District outside of unique natural areas or slope overlay areas. Tree removal is allowed in the Lakeshore District in the unique natural areas or slope overlay areas according to the following terms and conditions:[1]
(a) 
Without Town approval: a tree or trees whose location and conditions combine to make it a threat to human life or property.
(b) 
With the approval of the Zoning Officer and the possession of a valid building permit: those trees that are in the footprint of a construction site, septic system, parking areas, and the driveway access.
(c) 
Clear-cutting of forest stands for any use other than necessary minimal clearing for the requirements of a building project is prohibited.
(d) 
In unique natural areas or slope overlay areas, a woodland management plan shall be filed with and approved by the Zoning Officer and/or the Town's consulting forester for multiple trees removed for the landowner's firewood or lumber use, and for forest management and forest improvement. A woodland management plan shall be prepared by a professional forester with Society of American Foresters certification or by a cooperating consulting forester with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(4) 
Recommendations.
(a) 
In areas outside of unique natural areas and slope overlay areas, a woodland management plan is recommended when removing multiple trees for the landowner's firewood or lumber use and for forest management and forest improvement.
(b) 
Existing noninvasive vegetation should be maintained to the extent practicable to minimize runoff.
(c) 
Buffer areas proximal to water bodies are to be promoted using noninvasive plants to protect water resources.
(d) 
Removal of trees for the purpose of expanding a view is discouraged.
(e) 
Removal of trees for the purpose of expanding sunlight exposure is discouraged.
(f) 
Native plants should be encouraged, especially shrubs and trees that produce edible fruit and nuts for wildlife.
(g) 
Removal of invasive plants (garlic mustard, swallowwort, barberry, honeysuckle, buckthorn, multiflora rose, Russian olive and Norway maple, etc.) is encouraged so long as this effort does not contribute to significant soil disturbance or erosion.
(h) 
Wildlife habitats, biological corridors, contiguous forests, and open space linkages should be encouraged and preserved.
(i) 
Dead trees that do not pose a threat to life, property or a healthy forest should be left to provide wildlife habitat for both birds and animals.
(j) 
New development should not compromise scenic views, in particular viewing points from adjacent roads and trails.
(k) 
Regrading should blend in with the natural contours and undulations of the land.
(l) 
Buildings proposed to be located within significant viewing areas should be screened and landscaped to minimize their intrusion on the character of the area.
(m) 
Building design should harmonize with the natural setting.
(n) 
Building materials should harmonize with their natural setting and be compatible with neighboring land uses.
C. 
Soil and sediment control.
(1) 
A structure or parking area shall have a minimum setback to permanent and impermanent streams of 50 feet and 25 feet, respectively, as measured from the top edge of the slope rising from the bank of the stream. See § 212-124B of this chapter.
(2) 
On sites within the slope overlay area or unique natural area, there shall be no excavation, grading or filling without the submission to the Zoning Officer of an excavation, fill, and grading permit. Excavation, grading or filling of more than 10 cubic yards is subject to site plan approval. The Planning Board may seek recommendations from the Town Engineer, and the associated cost shall be paid for by the applicant. This provision is not applicable to projects with a valid permit from a county, state, or federal agency; nor is it applicable to any projects with current site plan approval.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(3) 
In addition to the requirements of this article, any construction, grading, or other activities shall be conducted in accordance with any federal, state, or other local law or requirement pertaining to such activity, including, but not limited to, any requirements of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
(4) 
Roads and driveways should follow existing contours to the extent practicable to minimize erosion from cuts and fills.
D. 
Driveways and parking.
(1) 
Requirements.
(a) 
For new impervious surfaces proposed for driveways, parking areas, or walkways in unique natural areas or slope overlay areas, site plan review procedures shall be followed, and the Planning Board may seek recommendations from a licensed engineer selected by the Town and paid for by the applicant.
(b) 
For safety purposes, parking areas shall be designed and built to avoid the necessity for drivers to back their vehicles onto Route 89.
(2) 
Recommendations.
(a) 
Semipervious and pervious surfaces for driveways and parking areas are encouraged to minimize runoff and erosion.
(b) 
Driveways and parking areas should be designed to include a combination of pervious and impervious surface materials as needed to provide for safe passage of traffic and to minimize the total area of impervious surface, which would contribute to runoff.
(c) 
Driveways and parking areas should follow contour lines of the land as much as possible.
(d) 
Excavation and regrading of slopes for parking areas should be minimized.

§ 212-56 Limitations on subdivision of parent tracts. [1]

Any tract or parcel of land in common contiguous ownership at the time of the creation of the this district (December 2013), subject to other normally applicable subdivision laws and regulations, hereafter may be subdivided to create up to and not more than three lots.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).