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

§ 212-57 Purpose.

A. 
The purposes of the Conservation District are:
(1) 
To preserve the outstanding natural features in the Town of Ulysses 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;
(3) 
To preserve existing areas of contiguous open space, prevent destruction of natural areas, preserve existing and potential agricultural land, and promote mechanisms that protect these areas, such as enlarged stream buffer areas, conservation easements, and deed restrictions when considering any future land development; and
(4) 
To preserve the scenic beauty of the area to promote tourism as an important benefit to the Town of Ulysses.
B. 
In particular, the following are important aspects or considerations for the Conservation District:
(1) 
Among the natural values and ecological importance of this area are the mature forest, plant and wildlife habitat, numerous streams, and natural character. The Conservation District contains large areas of steep slopes, wetlands, and highly erodible soil, where any future development may have an adverse environmental impact on both the land and Cayuga Lake.
(2) 
In recognition of its natural and ecological significance, several large areas of the Conservation 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.

§ 212-58 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) 
Agriculture.
(2) 
Single-family residences and their accessory structures.
(3) 
Two-family residences and their accessory structures.
(4) 
Two unattached single-family residences and their accessory buildings where there is a minimum lot size of 10 acres.
(5) 
Any municipal or public utility 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 § 10.2B, regarding land disturbance activities, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 212-59 Permitted accessory uses.

A. 
Only the following are permitted accessory uses, which are customarily incidental to the permitted uses listed above in § 212-58:
(1) 
Accessory buildings, as defined in Article IV and subject to the provisions of Article XXIV, § 212-167.
(2) 
Adult care, family.
(3) 
Bed-and-breakfast establishments.
(4) 
Child care, family.
(5) 
Elder cottage, subject to the provision of Article XX, § 212-128.
(6) 
Professional offices where such office is part of the residence property and no more than three persons residing off the premises are employed on site.
(7) 
Roadside stands, subject to the provisions of Article XX, § 212-135.
(8) 
Temporary building, 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 X, § 212-58.
(1) 
Business directional signs, subject to the limitations set forth in Article XX, § 212-122D.
(2) 
Home occupation where no more than one person residing off the premises is employed.

§ 212-60 Uses allowed by special permit.

The following uses are allowed upon approval pursuant to Article III, § 212-18, subject to the design standards in the Conservation District and site plan review by the Planning Board:
A. 
Museums and nature centers.
B. 
Public and private community parks, regional parks and preserves.
C. 
Residential care/assisted living.
D. 
Restaurants.
E. 
Bicycle/ski rental business.

§ 212-61 Lot area and yard requirements.

A. 
There shall be no more than two principal buildings on any lot in the Conservation District where the lot size is less than 10 acres. Principal buildings shall be no less than 30 feet apart. No elder cottage may be placed on a lot with two existing principal buildings.
B. 
Minimum lot area for one principal building shall be five acres.
C. 
Minimum lot width at front lot line shall be 400 feet.
D. 
Minimum lot depth shall be 450 feet.
E. 
Minimum front yard setback shall be 75 feet.
F. 
Minimum side yard setback shall be 50 feet.
G. 
Minimum rear yard setback 50 feet.
H. 
Maximum building height shall be 32 feet above average grade measured at the building perimeter or as determined by the Planning Board when slope exceeds 15%. It is within the discretion of the Planning Board whether or not to allow any building on slopes greater than 25%.
I. 
The maximum footprint of all buildings shall be 4,000 square feet except buildings used for agricultural purposes as defined by NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets.
J. 
Driveways and parking areas may be considered a building as part of the lot coverage requirements at the discretion of the Planning Board.
K. 
Flag lots are permitted, subject to the standards set forth in Article XX, § 212-130.
L. 
Accessory buildings shall not occupy the front yard, except for roadside stands (subject to provisions of Article XX, § 212-135), and a garage may be attached to the front of a house.

§ 212-62 Design standards.

In the event of any conflict between the provisions of this § 212-62 and other provisions of this chapter, the provisions of this section shall prevail.
A. 
Stream and wetland setbacks.
(1) 
Permanent and impermanent streams and wetlands are prominent features of the Conservation District, and the condition of these water bodies directly affects the health of Cayuga Lake and the fauna that depend on the water for sustenance. As such, it is the intent of these Conservation District regulations to ensure the continued preservation and health of these many Cayuga Lake water resources for current and future generations.
(2) 
For the purposes of this section, wetlands are defined by both state and federal governing regulations. Buffer areas apply to federally protected wetlands greater than 0.1 acre.
(3) 
No buildings, structures, paved areas, or storage of construction equipment or machinery shall be located within the following buffer areas: 50 linear feet of the bank of any permanent or impermanent stream and 100 feet of any wetland. These buffer areas may be increased by up to 50% should the Planning Board determine that such an increase is necessary to protect water quality or to minimize the impacts of erosion and sedimentation.
(4) 
During the site plan approval process where there is evidence of a wetland, the Planning Board may require a wetland delineation study to determine the exact boundaries and to evaluate potential impacts of development on said wetland.
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 Conservation District in order to prevent erosion, sedimentation of the lake and streams, and maintain the rural, scenic nature of the Town.
(2) 
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.
(3) 
The intent of the Town of Ulysses is to preserve the natural features of the Conservation 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.
(4) 
Requirements. Tree removal, except clear-cutting, is allowed in the Conservation District outside of unique natural areas or slope overlay areas. Tree removal is allowed in the Conservation 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).
(5) 
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 native plants to protect water resources.
(d) 
Retain existing stone walls.
(e) 
Removal of trees for the purpose of expanding a view is discouraged.
(f) 
Removal of trees for the purpose of expanding sunlight exposure is discouraged.
(g) 
Native plants should be encouraged, especially shrubs and trees that produce edible fruit and nuts for wildlife.
(h) 
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.
(i) 
Wildlife habitats, biological corridors, contiguous forests, and open space linkages should be encouraged and preserved.
(j) 
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.
(k) 
New development should not compromise scenic views, in particular viewing points from adjacent roads and trails.
(l) 
Regrading should blend in with the natural contours and undulations of the land.
(m) 
Siting of buildings should be below ridgelines or hilltops.
(n) 
Where possible, buildings and structures should be located on the edges of open fields to minimize visual impacts.
(o) 
Buildings proposed to be located within significant viewing areas should be screened and landscaped to minimize their intrusion on the character of the area.
(p) 
Building design should harmonize with the natural setting.
(q) 
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 roads.
(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.
E. 
Limitations on subdivision of parent tracts.[3]
(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.
[3]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).