The Town Board of the Town of Schodack hereby elects to adopt the provisions of and exercise the powers granted by § 281 of the Town Law and hereby grants to the Planning Board of the Town of Schodack the full authority set forth thereby.
Pursuant to the provisions of § 281 of the Town Law of the State of New York, the purpose of this Article is to enable and encourage flexibility of design and development of land in such a manner as to promote the most appropriate use of land, to facilitate the adequate and economical provision of streets and utilities, to preserve the natural and scenic qualities of open lands in order to provide larger areas of open space, both for recreational and conservational purposes, and in order to implement the objectives of this chapter.
This Article shall be applicable only to land zoned for residential purposes in the Town of Schodack and which are in the RA Residential Agricultural Zoning District under this chapter, but nothing herein shall be construed to limit the existing authority of the Planning Board to control the layout of subdivisions or the design of site plans in any other district or zone.
As provided in § 281(a) of the Town Law, if the owner makes written application to avail himself of the provisions of this Article, the Planning Board may use the authority given to it hereunder at the discretion of the Planning Board if, in said Board's judgment, its application would benefit the town.
The Planning Board's authority to vary or modify zoning requirements, as limited by § 281 of the Town Law and by this Article, may be employed to impose conditions for the approval of any plat by the Planning Board, without regard to whether the owner makes application for the same, if the condition is imposed in order to ensure that the plat complies with any of the requirements of this Article or if the condition is imposed in order to perpetuate the existence of or prevent the despoilation or degradation of environmentally sensitive areas or historic places, whether on or off the site.
This Article shall apply only to land which shall be a contiguous parcel a minimum of five acres in size. In addition, it shall be determined by the Planning Board:
That such development will not be detrimental to the health, safety or general welfare of persons residing in the vicinity or injurious to property or improvements in close proximity.
That the proposed development creates a residential environment that is in conformity with the objectives of this Article.
That the application of this procedure shall result in a permitted number of building lots and/or dwelling units which shall in no case exceed the number which could be permitted, in the Planning Board's judgment, if the land were subdivided into lots conforming to the minimum lot area and density requirements of the zoning requirements of this chapter as applicable to the district or districts in which such land is situated and conforming to all other applicable requirements.
That the development would be in harmonious agreement with adjacent residential developments, if any exist, and where providing an alternative type or architectural style of housing would benefit the town.
That the development proposal guarantees permanent retention of open space areas and ensures the care and maintenance of the same.
In approving a plat, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, the dwelling units permitted may be, at the discretion of the Planning Board and subject to the conditions set forth by the Town Board, in detached, semidetached or attached structures.
Where the applicant can demonstrate that the characteristics of his holdings meet the objectives of this Article, the Planning Board may consider parcels of lesser acreage.
In determining the density for a cluster development, the Planning Board shall first determine the area for which such density calculation shall be made.
The calculation of the area shall not include easements, existing parks, existing streets or otherwise dedicated land; water areas in excess of 5% of the minimum gross acreage; lands designated on the Official Map for public purposes; or land undesirable by reason of topography, drainage or adverse subsoil conditions.
Prior to the establishment of the overall density, the owner shall provide the Planning Board with a sketch plan of the site showing how it may be subdivided in a conventional manner conforming to the zoning requirements of this chapter for that district or districts.
As stated herein, the overall density established by the Planning Board shall be no greater than would normally be achieved under the standard subdivision development procedure.
The application of this procedure shall result in the preservation of land on the plat in its natural state for passive recreational, open space, archaeological or historical resources. The Planning Board, as a condition of plat approval, may establish such requirements on the ownership, use and maintenance of such lands as it deems necessary to assure the preservation of such lands for their intended purposes. The details as to use and ownership shall be recorded by the owner as required by the town. Such requirments shall be approved by the Town Board prior to final approval and filing of the plat.
The open space created by the use of the provisions of this Article must be clearly labeled on the subdivision plat as to its use and the rights of the owners in the subdivision as well as whether it is to be dedicated ultimately to the town or other governmental body or to an approved private or conservation corporation or to a homeowners' association or otherwise under conditions meeting with Planning Board approval. Such open space is to be preserved in perpetuity, and the Planning Board may require an open space easement running to the town as a condition of approval.
If said lands are to be offered for dedication to the town, the Town Board may require that such conditions shall be approved by the Town Board before said plan shall be approved for filing.
If the open space or an open space easement therein is not to be dedicated to the town or other governmental authority or to an approved private conservation corporation, the applicant must either, simultaneously with the filing of the map, create a property owners' association or neighborhood corporation embracing all property owners within the cluster subdivision and providing for adequate contributions for maintenance of said open space or otherwise satisfy the Planning Board with regard to the maintenance of said open space.
If a homeowners' association is selected by the Planning Board as the method of maintenance of the open spaces to be preserved, the following must be adhered to:
The property owners' association must be set up before lots are sold.
Membership must be mandatory for each lot buyer and any successive buyer, or each lot created must be legally required by duly filed covenants and restrictions to pay to the property owners' association a yearly fee to be used for maintenance of the open space.
The open restrictions must be in perpetuity, not just for a given period of years.
The association must be responsible for liability insurance, local taxes and the maintenance of recreational and other facilities.
Property owners must pay their pro rata share of the cost, and the assessment levied by the association can become a lien on the property.
The association must be able to adjust the assessment to meet changed needs.
The applicant shall make a conditional offer of dedication binding upon the property owners' association for all open space to be conveyed to the association, such offer to be accepted by the town, should it so choose, upon the failure of the property owners' association to take title to the open space from the applicant or other current owner, or upon dissolution of the association at any future time.
The Planning Board may approve uses for open space, and these uses will be clearly indicated on the final map.
The Planning Board may approve recreational uses such as wooded park areas, bridle paths, hiking trails, etc.
The Planning Board may approve conservational uses such as open woodland, wetlands, slopes, escarpments or farm fields.
The Planning board may approve cultural aspects such as historic places and buildings and archaeological sites and such open spaces which will assure that each of the above cultural aspects are adequately protected in the public interest.
Areas for active recreation which are to contain substantial improvements, impervious surfaces and other alterations from their natural state shall not constitute open space hereunder.