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Town of Massena, NY
St. Lawrence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The design standards and requirements set forth in this article shall be observed as minimums by the subdivider in the design of each subdivision within the Town of Massena. The Planning Board shall require more-restrictive standards where necessary to protect health, safety and welfare of the public and where circumstances unique to the property so dictate.
A. 
Those areas which are subject to such hazards of life, health, or property as may arise from fire, flood or noise, or are considered to be uninhabitable for other reasons, may not be subdivided for building purposes unless the hazards have been eliminated or the plans show adequate safeguards correcting the hazards.
B. 
In addition, the Town may rely upon information contained in its Comprehensive Plan and, in determining and evaluating potential hazards, use historical records, soil evaluations, engineering studies, expert opinions, established standards used by licensed insurance companies or in professional practice, and federal, state, or local policies.
C. 
All portions of a tract being subdivided shall be taken up in lots, streets, public lands, dedicated open space or other proposed uses, so that remnants and landlocked areas shall not be created. The layout of a subdivision shall also be planned with consideration to existing nearby developments or neighborhoods, so that the development is coordinated in terms of traffic movement, drainage, and other reasonable considerations.
D. 
In all subdivisions, care shall be taken to preserve natural features such as trees, watercourses, views, and historical features which will add attractiveness and value to the remainder of the land. Where a subdivision of land is on a site that has a slope of more than 15%, the Planning Board may require larger lot sizes than the minimum standards set forth herein.
E. 
Damming, filling, relocating or other interference with the natural flow of surface water along any surface water drainage channel or natural watercourse shall not be permitted except with the approval of the Planning Board and, where appropriate, DEC.
A. 
Blocks shall ordinarily not exceed 1,600 feet in length or be less than 400 feet.
B. 
Pedestrian interior walks or trails may be required where necessary to assist circulation or provide access to community facilities and open space. Such walks or trails shall have a right-of-way width of not less than six feet and be all-weather surfaced for not less than three feet in width.
C. 
Blocks shall be of sufficient width to permit two tiers of lots of appropriate depth, except where an interior street parallels a major street, or where it backs up to a railroad, creek, or other natural barrier unsubdivided area.
D. 
Where a subdivision adjoins a major highway (one which is designated and marked for two lanes or more and carries at least 1,000 vehicles per day), the greater dimension of the block shall front along said highway, and marginal access streets may be required to minimize the number of points of access. Such streets may be required whenever topographic conditions, traffic density or lack of proper sight distance dictate for reasons of health and safety. Any subdivision of five lots or more with frontages averaging less than 300 feet along the highway shall be subject to this requirement, if the Planning Board determines, after inspection, that safety demands restricting access.
E. 
Cul-de-sac streets, permanently designed as such, shall not exceed 1/2 the length of a proposed block and shall furnish lot frontage at a minimum ratio of one residential lot for every 60 feet. The Planning Board shall have authority to require the use of loop streets and other alternatives to culs-de-sac where such alternatives are available and preferable as a means of providing safe access to lots, making street connections or limiting environmental impacts.
F. 
All side lines of lots shall be at approximate right angles to straight street lines and radial to curved street lines, except where a variation to this rule will provide a safer layout.
G. 
Double frontage lots shall ordinarily not be platted, except as specifically provided herein. In that event, a planting strip of at least 20 feet in width may be required along the back of the lot.
H. 
If remnants of land exist after subdividing, they shall be incorporated in existing or proposed lots, unless designated as common area or dedicated to open space.
I. 
Either of the two sides of a corner lot may be designated as the front, provided that the rear yard shall always be opposite the frontage so designated.
J. 
All lots shall front on a public street or private street designed to public street standards (existing or proposed), and the right-of-way of the principal access to any subdivision shall be a minimum of 60 feet in width. However, upon written request by the subdivider, the Planning Board may grant a waiver from this and other street requirements of this chapter to permit access to no more than two single-family residential lots from a single private drive, provided that a release has been given the Town and approved by the Town Board making clear that the Town is exempted from all responsibility for the maintenance of the same and that the lot in question is not capable of being subdivided further or is so restricted. Such private drive shall be owned and maintained by one of the lot owners. The requirement for a single private drive may be waived in instances where the front lot is already developed. See § 191-28R hereof.
K. 
Minimum lot frontage. All residential lots shall have a front lot line with a minimum length of 60 feet.
L. 
Flag lots. The development of interior lots with limited lot frontage consisting of only an access right-of-way shall be permitted, provided that:
(1) 
The right-of-way is a minimum of 50 feet in width, is improved according to the requirements of this chapter and meets the requirements of the Town Driveway Law.
(2) 
The lot area shall be exclusive of that portion used as a right-of-way for purposes of meeting minimum lot area and all other development standards for the district.
(3) 
No right-of-way shall be established over an existing parcel of land to reach a new lot to the rear which would reduce the length of the front lot line of the existing parcel to less than 60 feet.
(4) 
All flag lot access rights-of-way shall be titled in fee simple ownership to the flag lot property owner and shall not be used to access any property not part of the original tract. Such owner shall bear responsibility for maintenance of the improvements.
(5) 
No more than two additional such lots shall be created from an existing parcel, a cumulative total of three lots, including the original. This restriction shall be incorporated in deed covenants and placed on the recorded plat map at the time any flag lot is created.
M. 
Monuments shall be placed at perimeter corners and the corner of each street, and markers set at the corner of each lot, consistent with surveyors' professional practice, to permanently and accurately define the metes and bounds of the block and lots created.
Except where such area would be less than one acre or the Planning Board shall waive the requirement, not less than 10% of the gross area of the entire tract, exclusive of lakes or ponds, shall be reserved for common open space directly accessible from the lots to be created. Such open space shall be suitable for recreational use of the residents of the subdivision or the general community. The following and similar facilities shall meet this requirement: swimming pools, tennis courts, riding and cycling paths, playgrounds, community centers, and other open areas. Such areas as are designated for play lots, parks and other outdoor recreational facilities shall be of a size, shape and other physical characteristics so as to be free of health and safety hazards and suitable for the designated use. No portion of the ten-percent requirement shall be met with wetlands, slopes exceeding 15% in grade or other otherwise undevelopable areas. Sites so dedicated shall not be deemed to be accepted by the Town unless and until the Town Board has taken formal action to accept the same. The subdivider and the Town may also agree to otherwise provide recreational land for the use of residents pursuant to the authority of § 277 of the Town Law, including fees in lieu of dedication.
A. 
Where a central water supply is available within 1,000 feet of the proposed residential development, the subdivider shall, if legally and practically feasible, construct a system of water mains tied to such system and provide a connection for each lot.
B. 
Plans and specifications for central water systems (i.e., extension of an existing system or a proposed new facility) shall be prepared by a professional engineer and shall conform to requirements of the New York State Department of Health and the local fire district(s). Suitable agreements shall also be established for the ownership and maintenance of such distribution system.
C. 
The applicant proposing a central water supply must demonstrate ability to provide a minimum of 100 gallons of water per capita per day (GPCD) and/or 400 gallons per day (GPD) for each residential dwelling unit to be serviced. Service to industrial or commercial establishments shall meet standards established by the American Water Works Association or insurance industry underwriting standards.
D. 
New central water supply wells shall be sited, drilled, and tested under the direct supervision of a professional engineer or a professional groundwater geologist. Wells shall be so located that no potential pollution sources can exist within a one-hundred-foot radius (200 feet if located downslope from the pollution source). Wells shall also be located on reserved parcels.
A. 
All residential lots shall contain suitable areas for on-site sewage disposal systems [also see §§ 191-12E and 191-15B(21)] or be served by an approved central sewage disposal system. Plans and specifications for central systems, as required by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), shall be submitted with all preliminary subdivision plats, and design standards shall meet DEC requirements. Formal approval of DEC shall be required prior to final plat approval.
B. 
When a central sewage disposal system is located within 1,000 feet of the proposed residential development, the subdivider shall, if legally and practically feasible, provide a system of collection lines to connect to said system. Regardless of this requirement, all subdivision and land developments shall be provided with an adequate sewage disposal system(s). Central sewage disposal systems shall also be required for all residential lots and nonresidential developments where on-site soil conditions are unsuitable for on-lot subsurface sewage disposal systems.
C. 
Where connection to a central sewage disposal system is not required, on-site systems shall be provided in accordance with criteria set forth by the New York Department of Health. The applicant's professional engineer, subject to the approval of the Planning Board, shall determine the number and location of test pits and soil percolation tests necessary to determine the general suitability of soils throughout the subdivision for on-site subsurface sewage disposal.
D. 
Sanitary sewer and stormwater infrastructure shall be used exclusively for its intended purpose. Sanitary sewers and stormwater systems shall not be used to carry effluent from other sources.
In the event that any subdivider shall intend to make land changes by grading, filling, excavating or the removal or destruction of the natural topsoil or vegetative covering thereon in accordance with a subdivision plan submitted to the Town, the same shall only be approved and accomplished after the developer has submitted to the Town an erosion and sedimentation control plan. Erosion control measures shall be employed as necessary to prevent loss of soil from erosion and also to prevent resulting property damage, siltation and contamination of watercourses or impoundments. Erosion control measures may include hay bales, silt fences or other provisions or combinations thereof.
A. 
A stormwater drainage plan shall be required for major subdivisions. Such a plan shall be prepared using DEC guidelines and standards (see "Reducing the Impacts of Stormwater Runoff from New Development"), complying with the following standards.
B. 
Stormwater drainage facilities shall be designed to accommodate storms of a twenty-five-year frequency unless a more stringent standard shall be required by the Planning Board. The general performance standard shall be that the amount of uncontrolled stormwater leaving the site along any property line after development shall not exceed that estimated for the site prior to development. In instances where stormwater facilities are impractical for engineering reasons, the Town may modify this standard as it applies to a particular project but shall provide for the maximum practical reduction in flow which can be achieved under the circumstances. The subdivider shall provide full information, prepared by a professional engineer, regarding the pre-development stormwater flows and estimates at the time of application.
C. 
The following additional requirements shall apply:
(1) 
Lots shall be laid out and graded to prevent cross-lot drainage away from proposed building areas. Natural drainagecourses shall be maintained.
(2) 
The existing points of natural drainage discharge onto adjacent property shall not be altered, nor shall the rate of water runoff be increased because of development, without the written approval of all affected landowners.
(3) 
No stormwater runoff or natural drainage water shall be so diverted as to overload existing drainage systems, or create flooding or the need for additional drainage structures on other private properties or public lands, without complete approval of provisions being made by the developer for properly handling such conditions.
(4) 
Stormwater calculations and design shall be prepared by a professional engineer, land surveyor, landscape architect or others certified to perform such work.
(5) 
Storm drainage facilities should be designed to handle the anticipated peak discharge from the property being subdivided.
(6) 
Drainage structures that are located on state highway rights-of-way shall be approved by the New York State Department of Transportation, and evidence of the same shall be provided to the Town prior to final plan approval.
(7) 
All streets shall be so designed as to provide for the discharge of surface water from their rights-of-way. The slope of the crown on proposed streets shall be 1/4 inch per foot away from the center line.
(8) 
All proposed surface drainage structures shall be indicated on the preliminary plan.
(9) 
Drainage plans shall include all appropriate designs, details and dimensions necessary to clearly explain proposed construction materials and elevations.
(10) 
Whenever storm drains are required by the Town, such storm sewer systems shall be separate from the sanitary sewer system. Storm drains or storm sewer facilities may be required in any development situation where the Town Board determines that surface drainage facilities are inadequate to prevent excessive erosion and lot or road maintenance problems.
(11) 
Drainage systems shall be designed in accordance with engineering practice, using hydraulic computations to show effects of the flow of water. The general standard shall be that the amount of stormwater leaving the site along any property line after development shall not exceed pre-development stormwater flows for that area. In no case shall any pipe system of less than 15 inches in diameter be used underneath a street or driveway.
(12) 
Where a subdivision is traversed by a watercourse, drainageway, channel, or stream, there shall be provided an undisturbed, vegetated drainage easement conforming substantially with the line of such watercourse, drainageway, channel or stream, and of such width (minimum 25 feet).
(13) 
All drainage systems and structures shall be subject to the approval of the Town Engineer or any such other qualified person as may be appointed for this purpose by the Planning Board.
A. 
The arrangement, character, extent, width, grade and location of all streets shall conform to the provisions found herein. Every subdivision shall have access to a public right-of-way.
(1) 
In general, all streets shall be continuous and in alignment with existing streets and shall compose a convenient system to insure circulation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
(2) 
Streets shall be logically related to the topography so as to produce usable lots and reasonable grades as required by this chapter.
(3) 
Dead-end streets shall be prohibited, except as stubs to permit future street extension into adjoining tracts or when designed as culs-de-sac. Easements to the adjoining property lines may be required to ensure the future ability to connect such streets.
(4) 
Where adjoining areas are not subdivided, the arrangement of streets in new subdivisions shall make provision for the extension of streets.
(5) 
Streets shall be laid out to intersect as nearly as possible at right angles; in any event, no street shall intersect another at less than 60°. Intersections of more than two streets shall be avoided. Where this proves impossible, such intersections shall be designed with care for safety and suitable curbs, barriers, signs and other devices as may be required. Streets entering opposite sides of another street shall be laid out directly opposite one another or offset a minimum of 125 feet.
(6) 
Street and driveway intersections with arterial streets shall not be so numerous, nor so close to each other, as to impede the flow of traffic.
(7) 
Clear sight triangles shall be provided at all street intersections. Within such triangles, no structure or vision-obstructing object other than utility poles, streetlights, street signs, or traffic signs shall be permitted which obscures vision above the height of 36 inches and below 10 feet measured from the center-line grade of intersecting streets. Such triangles shall be established from a distance of 75 feet from the point of intersection of the center lines.
(8) 
Whenever, in connection with a major subdivision, the principal access (whether public or private) to such subdivision, by virtue of bridge weight limits of less than 10 tons or other comparable limitations, would restrict access to the property by emergency vehicles or school buses, the subdivider shall so indicate in writing on the final plats to be recorded and shall provide for notification to prospective lot buyers through deed covenant provisions, which shall be approved by the Planning Board as to form.
(9) 
Sidewalks shall be located on one side of all minor streets and on both sides for major and collector streets that adhere to NYSDOT and federal ADA design standards (minimum accessible sidewalk width of three feet, and a minimum distance of 2 1/2 feet between the curb and sidewalk to allow for snow storage). Bike lanes may also be provided on shared roadways with a minimum width of 4.92 feet (1.5 meters), as measured between the motor vehicle lane and curb, and should also include appropriate signing and pavement markings at intersections to reduce conflicts between users.
B. 
Alleys may be permitted in residential areas under special circumstances, but in no case shall an alley provide the only means of access to a lot. Alleys are required on the rear of all commercial and industrial lots, if no other provisions are made for adequate service access or for parking.
C. 
Profiles.
(1) 
No street grade shall be less than 1% or exceed the following, with due allowances for reasonable vertical curves:
Type of Street or Way
Maximum Grade
Major streets
4%
Collector streets
6%
Minor and marginal access streets
8%
(2) 
Streets shall have a grade not to exceed 2% for a distance within 50 feet of the street right-of-way line of any intersecting street.
D. 
Cross section: The cross-section gradients of streets shall be not less than 2%.
E. 
Minimum vertical and horizontal visibility (measured 3.5 feet eye level to taillights 1.5 feet above ground level), for curves.
Type of Street or Way
Minimum Visibility Distance
(feet)
Major streets
500
Collector streets
300
Minor streets
300
Streets shorter than 500 feet
150
F. 
The minimum right-of-way widths for streets are as follows:
Type of Street or Way
Minimum Right-of-Way Width
(feet)
Major streets
66
Collector streets
66
Minor streets
60
Alleys
25
Private drives
See § 191-28R.
G. 
On all dead-end roads, as allowed in § 191-28A(3), a turnabout area with an eighty-foot-diameter right-of-way and sixty-foot-diameter traveled portion shall be provided.
H. 
The entire width of the travelway of each street in a proposed subdivision shall be graded and suitably prepared for installation of paving and drainage structures, in accordance with the appropriate standards for the class of street. The subgrade shall be free of sod, vegetative matter, or other similar material. Where poor subsurface drainage conditions exist, adequate drainage shall be installed. The subgrade construction shall conform to minimum standards of the Town Highway Specifications.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A215 in this Code.
I. 
The width of pavement required shall vary, depending upon the character of the development served and the amount of traffic expected to utilize the street.
(1) 
The following are minimum street pavement widths:
Type of Street
Minimum Shoulder Width
(feet)
Minimum Clearance Beyond Shoulder
(feet)
Minimum Pavement Width
(feet)
Major streets
6
2
24
Collector streets
6
2
24
Minor streets
6
2
24
Private drives
See § 191-28R.
None
See § 191-28R.
(2) 
Pavement, in the case of minor streets permanently reserved as private by deed covenants, may consist of an all-weather surface as defined herein.
J. 
Unless otherwise specified herein, pavement construction shall be in accordance with specifications and standards contained in the Town Highway Specifications.[2]
(1) 
Street shoulders shall be constructed with materials as specified by the Town Highway Specifications. The entire shoulder area shall be uniformly and thoroughly compacted by rolling and must be level with the top of the road paving, or as directed by the Town Engineer.
(2) 
Embankments at the sides of streets and cross sections of drainage ditches shall not exceed a maximum slope of three feet horizontally to one foot vertically in a cut or fill section. In special cases, the Town Engineer may require more-rigid standards.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A215 in this Code.
K. 
In commercial or multifamily subdivisions or any other case where other similar intensive uses exist or are anticipated, curbs may be required, if such construction is deemed necessary for public safety by the Planning Board, based on consultation with the Town Engineer, and shall be constructed according to good engineering practice. Curbs shall not be constructed, however, where pavements are less than 22 feet in width.
L. 
Where the grade of the street is above or below the grade of the adjacent land, walls or slopes shall be constructed in a manner satisfactory to the Planning Board and shall be sufficient to support the street or the adjacent land, as the case may be. Where the grade of the street is three feet or more above the grade of the adjacent land, guards shall be built to protect travel, if required by the Town Engineer.
M. 
All streets, including culs-de-sac and alleys, shall be constructed as shown on the preliminary and final plat approved by the Planning Board and in conformity with the Town Highway Specifications.[3] Where such law does not provide a clear standard, the Town may rely upon the standards promulgated by the New York State Department of Transportation for local streets.
[3]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A215 in this Code.
N. 
Four-way street name signs of a design approved by the Planning Board will be installed at each street intersection by the subdivider at his own expense. Streets that are extensions of, or obviously in alignment with, existing streets shall bear the name of existing streets. Street names shall not be repeated within the Town and shall be subject to Planning Board approval.
O. 
Streetlighting is the responsibility of the applicant to provide and the lot owners to maintain and operate. The Town Engineer will determine when and if streetlighting is necessary, evaluating need on the basis of safety considerations and commonly accepted standards of lighting. Whether or not streetlights are initially installed, the developer shall be responsible for providing utility easements for future streetlighting installation, upon consultation with the public service utility company involved.
P. 
Shade trees and other natural buffers along any proposed street right-of-way shall be retained to the maximum extent possible, and cuts and fills which would necessitate removing such cover shall be minimized. Wide swath cuts or removal of natural vegetation shall not be permitted without compelling safety reasons.
Q. 
No driveway, street or drainage facility or structure shall be constructed or altered within a state right-of-way and no drainage facility of the New York State Department of Transportation shall be altered or connected onto without first obtaining a permit from the New York State Department of Transportation. No driveway, local road or drainage facility or structure shall be constructed or altered within a Town right-of-way and no drainage facility of the Town of Massena shall be altered or connected onto without first obtaining a permit from the Town of Massena Highway Superintendent.
R. 
Driveways and private drives.
(1) 
Individual driveways serving only one single family each shall not be subject to street improvement requirements of this chapter or on the Town Highway Specifications. Also, private drives to service no more than two single-family dwellings shall be permitted (see § 191-22J hereof), provided that the Town is given satisfactory evidence, in the form of declaration of restrictive covenants, that the private status of said road is permanent and the following standards are met:
Standard
Minimum Width
(feet)
Minimum right-of-way
50
Minimum pavement width
16
Minimum shoulder width
3
Streets shorter than 500 feet
50
(2) 
Pavement may consist of any all-weather surface satisfactory to the Town Engineer (if one shall be appointed) and the Town Highway Superintendent. All drainage plans shall also be subject to approval of the Town Engineer (if one shall be appointed) and the Town Highway Superintendent.
S. 
Nothing contained herein shall be construed in any way to require the Town of Massena to accept dedication of any street. These regulations are intended, rather, to set standards of construction for private streets, and a proposed dedication of any such streets shall be subject to the specific dedication requirements of the Town Highway Specifications.[4]
[4]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A215 in this Code.
Conservation subdivisions shall be processed pursuant to § 207-36 of the Town of Massena Code.
Manufactured home subdivisions shall be processed pursuant to § 207-59 of the Town of Massena Code.
Planned unit developments shall be processed pursuant to § 207-37 of the Town of Massena Code.
The following special standards apply to all subdivisions within the Waterfront Overlay District (see the Waterfront Revitalization Overlay Map):
A. 
Vegetative buffer strips are required along shorelines that meet the following criteria:
(1) 
Are maintained along the shore from the high-water mark and extending landward a minimum horizontal distance of 25 feet.
(2) 
Preferably consist of native vegetation, but can consist of cultivated species that are adapted to wet conditions or unmowed grass.
B. 
Shoreline erosion shall be preferentially managed by the use of vegetative buffers, unless site characteristics are such that armoring, riprapping, gabions, walls or similar heavy reinforcement is needed to achieve erosion control.
C. 
The construction or reconstruction of erosion protection structures shall be undertaken only if they have a reasonable probability of controlling erosion for at least 30 years as demonstrated in design and construction standards and/or assured maintenance or replacement programs.
D. 
The construction or reconstruction of docks, boathouses, boat hoists, public access facilities, and other shoreline structures shall be undertaken in a manner which will, to the maximum extent practicable, protect against or withstand the destructive forces of wave or current action, changing water levels and/or ice movement.
E. 
Activities and development, including the construction or reconstruction of erosion protection structures, shall be undertaken so that there will be no measurable increase in erosion or flooding at the site of such activities or development or at other locations.