Town of Amenia, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Purpose and applicability; requirement of conservation analysis.
(1) 
The purpose of open space development is to preserve large tracts of open space land in order to maintain the rural appearance and environmental resources of the Town of Amenia. Open space development is intended to offer development alternatives to landowners that avoid the uniform pattern of conventional subdivision (see the definition in § 121-74), sometimes referred to as "suburban sprawl." To avoid this pattern, which conflicts with the goals of the Amenia Comprehensive Plan, the Town of Amenia encourages four open space development options: conservation subdivision, transfer of development rights, limited development subdivision, and flag lots. The Town wishes to discourage conventional subdivisions where they would detract from the Town's rural landscape and natural resources. To mitigate any hardship that these options may impose on landowners wishing to create no more than three new lots, the Town has provided for a streamlined "small-scale development" option as well.
(2) 
Any applicant for a conventional major subdivision (as defined in the Subdivision Law[1]) in the RA, RR, or SR Districts shall submit to the Planning Board a conservation analysis as described in § 121-20A below. If the Planning Board determines, based upon the conservation analysis, that a proposed conventional subdivision may adversely affect the Town's rural landscape or natural resources, the Planning Board may require the applicant to submit a plan for a conservation subdivision (see Subsection B below) and may require that such a plan be approved as an alternative to a conventional subdivision. The Planning Board may also, in its discretion, require a conservation analysis for a minor subdivision.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 105, Subdivision of Land.
B. 
Conservation subdivision. The Town encourages conservation subdivisions as an alternative to conventional subdivisions. In conservation subdivisions, units are clustered or sited on those portions of a property most suitable for development, while leaving substantial portions as undeveloped open space. Conservation subdivisions may include a variety of lot sizes, ranging from large farm or estate lots to small hamlet-size lots. Conservation subdivision results in the preservation of significant blocks of open space, interconnected wildlife habitats and corridors, and other important environmental resources, while allowing compact development, more walkable neighborhoods, and more flexibility than conventional subdivisions. Conservation subdivisions must satisfy the standards in § 121-20.
C. 
Transfer of development rights. Transfer of development rights is similar to conservation subdivision in preserving contiguous open space and allowing clustering of units on land most suitable for development. It differs from conservation subdivision in allowing the open space land and the developed land to be on different parcels, a "sending parcel" and a "receiving parcel." See § 121-21.
D. 
Limited development subdivision. A limited development subdivision is a very-low-density subdivision in which the average lot size is at least four times the minimum lot size for a conventional subdivision in the zoning district or 20 acres, whichever is greater. This option helps to preserve open space by keeping large amounts of land undeveloped. As an incentive to creating such subdivisions, Town road construction requirements and frontage requirements may be waived, as provided in § 121-22.
E. 
Flag (rear) lots. Flag lots are lots where most of the land is set back from the road and access is gained through a narrow access strip. Where carefully planned, flag lots can enable landowners to develop interior portions of parcels at low density and low cost, preserving roadside open space, and avoiding the construction of expensive new Town roads. For regulations on flag lots, see Chapter 105, Subdivision of Land, § 105-21F.
F. 
Small-scale development. Small-scale development is any development of land in the RA District or RR District that results in the creation of no more than three new residential lots (excluding the parent parcel from which they are subdivided, which constitutes a fourth lot), subject to the requirements in § 121-23. Small-scale development also includes the development of residential lots that existed prior to the enactment of this chapter and do not meet the dimensional standards for a conventional subdivision in this chapter. This option is designed to minimize the burden and cost of development for landowners building on existing lots or creating only a small number of new lots. Small amounts of such development on a portion of a larger parcel, when combined with a Town program to preserve open space, enable the Town to preserve its rural character and natural environment while allowing some small lot development. See § 121-23.
In order to approve a conservation subdivision, the Planning Board must find that the proposed subdivision meets the standards in this section. Conservation subdivisions are permitted in the RA, RR, and SR Districts and are intended to allow design flexibility while preserving important natural attributes of the land.
A. 
Conservation analysis.
(1) 
As part of any sketch plan submission for a conservation subdivision (or as required for a conventional subdivision in § 121-19A above), an applicant shall submit a conservation analysis, consisting of inventory maps, description of the land, and an analysis of the conservation value of various site features. Applicants shall consult the report "Significant Habitats in the Town of Amenia, Dutchess County, New York" by Hudsonia Ltd. (2006) (hereinafter cited as the "Hudsonia Report") in preparing the conservation analysis. Applicants are encouraged to consult with the Dutchess Land Conservancy and Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District when preparing a conservation analysis. The Planning Board may waive some of the requirements below for portions of a property where the applicant makes a binding representation that no development will occur and which have been identified as priority conservation areas by the Hudsonia Report or where the collection of field information listed below would be an unreasonable burden to the property owner. The Board may also waive any requirements that, in its sole discretion, it deems unnecessary for a complete conservation analysis. The conservation analysis shall show lands with conservation value on the parcel and within 200 feet of the boundaries of the parcel, including but not limited to the following:
(a) 
Wetlands, watercourses, slopes 15% to 30% and slopes over 30%.
(b) 
Prime and statewide important farmland soils, land in active agricultural use, trail corridors, scenic viewsheds, public water supply wellheads, park and recreation land, unfragmented forestland, wildlife corridors and habitats, vernal pools, and historic and archaeological sites, if such areas are specifically identified in the Comprehensive Plan, in the Hudsonia Report, in the New York Natural Heritage Program, in biodiversity maps prepared for the Town by an environmental consulting organization, or in any adopted open space or farmland protection plan.
(c) 
Designated overlay zones for stream corridors, aquifers, scenic protection, and floodplains.
(d) 
Buffer areas necessary for screening new development from adjoining parcels.
(e) 
Stone walls and individual trees or forested areas containing trees that are 18 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) or larger.
(f) 
Land that has been disturbed or altered in the past and therefore may be more suitable for development. (This does not include land disturbed by an applicant prior to applying for a development approval.)
(g) 
If identified by the Planning Board or the Town's planning consultant in the course of preapplication discussions, other land exhibiting present or potential future recreational, historic, ecological, agricultural, water resource, scenic or other natural resource value.
(2) 
The conservation analysis shall describe the importance and the current and potential conservation value of all land on the site identified in Subsection A(1) above as well as potential ecological connections to adjacent parcels. In the course of preapplication conferences and initial sketch plan review, the Planning Board shall indicate to the applicant which of the lands identified as being of conservation value are most important to preserve. In making this determination, the Planning Board shall take into account the purposes of this chapter and of the various overlay districts, the recommendations in the Amenia Comprehensive Plan, and the Town's goal of protecting biodiversity. The Planning Board may, at the applicant's expense, seek the guidance of a conservation organization or retain a consultant to assist in making this determination. Such expenses shall be paid from deposits made into an escrow account pursuant to § 121-58.
(3) 
The outcome of the conservation analysis and the Planning Board's determination shall be incorporated into the sketch plan showing land recommended to be permanently preserved by a conservation easement, as well as recommended conservation uses, ownership, and management guidelines for such land. The sketch plan shall also show preferred locations for intensive development as well as acceptable locations for less-dense development.
(4) 
The determination as to which land has the most conservation value and should be protected from development by conservation easement shall be made by the Planning Board, which shall make written findings supporting its decision (the "conservation findings"). The Planning Board shall not endorse any application that does not include a complete conservation analysis sufficient for the Board to make its conservation findings. The Planning Board's conservation findings shall be subject to revision based upon field analysis of the site and information developed in the course of the SEQRA process.
B. 
Density calculation. Conservation subdivisions are intended to allow flexibility while preserving important natural attributes of the land. Density is calculated following a formula based upon the net acreage of the property. In order to determine the net acreage of a given area of land, it is necessary to subtract land that is unbuildable or that presents other development constraints.
(1) 
To determine net acreage, subtract from the total (gross) acreage of the site the total acreage of all wetlands, watercourses, floodplains, and slopes over 30%, as well as 50% of the acreage of fifteen-percent to thirty-percent slopes (slopes measured as 5,000 square feet or more of contiguous sloped area at least 10 feet in width). Fractional units of 0.5 or less shall be rounded down, and fractional units greater than 0.5 shall be rounded up.
(2) 
To determine the base number of allowable residential units on the site, multiply this net acreage by 0.85 (to account for roads and lot shape irregularities) and divide by the maximum density in the district for a conservation subdivision (see the Dimensional Table in § 121-11B).[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Dimensional Table is included at the end of this chapter.
C. 
Density bonuses. The maximum density permitted in Subsection B(2) above may be increased through density bonuses designed to advance important goals of the Comprehensive Plan. These density bonuses may be combined to result in a total density bonus not exceeding 100%, except that the use of a density transfer may increase this percentage up to 150%. The density permitted by this section shall not be reduced as a result of the conservation analysis required in Subsection A above or as a result of the reservation of parkland during the subdivision process. Density bonuses are given at the discretion of the Planning Board based upon written findings by the Planning Board documenting the expected public benefit. Density bonuses shall not be granted without written findings that the proposed density bonus will not adversely affect the environment or the availability of affordable housing in the Town of Amenia. Density bonuses are calculated by first determining the allowable base density under Subsection B(2) and then multiplying that number by 100% plus the percentages that follow:
(1) 
If the applicant allows public access to the protected open space on the property and the Planning Board finds that such public access provides a significant recreational benefit to the Town (such as a trail connector or access to an important natural area): a maximum of 25%.
(2) 
If the applicant preserves at least 60% of the parcel as working farmland (including the creation and preservation of new working farmland): a maximum of 25%.
(3) 
If the applicant preserves as permanent open space more than the required amount of land: a maximum density bonus of 10% per additional 5% of the parcel preserved as open space.
(4) 
If the applicant receives approval for a density transfer under § 121-21: the number of units transferred from the sending parcel, up to a maximum of 50% of the base density of the receiving parcel.
D. 
Minimum lot size. The limiting factor on lot size in conservation subdivisions is the availability of water and sewer infrastructure. Therefore, minimum lot sizes are based upon the availability of such infrastructure and are the same as indicated for the hamlet districts in § 121-11D.
E. 
Arrangement of lots. Lots shall be arranged in a manner that protects land of conservation value, minimizes habitat fragmentation, and facilitates pedestrian and bicycle circulation. The lot layout shall be designed with consideration of applicable portions of the Rural Development Guidelines and Hamlet Design Guidelines published by the New York Planning Federation (1994). Such guidelines shall be adapted to conform to the requirements of this chapter.
F. 
Front, side and rear yards and road frontage. Appropriate minimum yard setbacks in a conservation subdivision will depend upon the lot sizes, the type of road frontage (state, county, Town or private) and the character of the subdivision (hamlet, suburban or rural). Accordingly, yard requirements shall be established at the time of plat approval and shall be shown in a chart on the plat. Minimum yard and road frontage requirements shall be same as in the HM District for lots on Town roads.
G. 
Impervious surface coverage. The amount of pavement and building area is a major factor in determining the impact of a development. Therefore, limiting impervious surface coverage, as defined in § 121-74, is critical in maintaining environmental integrity. The limitation on impervious surface coverage for each district shown on the Dimensional Table in § 121-11B applies to the entire area to be subdivided, including all open space areas.[2] Thus, individual lots may be allowed higher impervious surface coverage allotments, as long as the total coverage is within the limits prescribed. Conservation subdivision plats shall show on a table the impervious surface coverage limit for each building lot in order to establish compliance with this subsection. Driveways, roads and parking areas that are unpaved or surfaced with porous pavement shall be considered impervious surfaces, unless the Planning Board determines, upon the recommendation of the Town's Engineer, that such surfaces are only partially impervious. In such cases the permitted coverage by such materials may be adjusted upward based upon the Engineer's recommendation, provided that a note is placed on any approved plat indicating requirements for maintaining the permeability of such surfaces.
[2]
Editor's Note: The Dimensional Table is included at the end of this chapter.
H. 
Accessory uses. Residential and nonresidential accessory uses may be combined in an open space development, provided that the applicant complies with all residential density, impervious surface, and open space requirements. Permitted nonresidential uses that may be included in a conservation subdivision include:
(1) 
Common buildings for meetings, dining, recreation, and for entertaining and lodging guests of the residents.
(2) 
Child-care facilities for residents of the development as well as those outside the development.
(3) 
Office space for use by administrators of the development as well as for use by residents of the development in the conduct of their own businesses, provided that such offices do not occupy more than 10% of the total floor area of the development.
(4) 
Storage facilities, which may be used for the needs of the development and its residents.
(5) 
Recreational facilities for use by residents and their guests.
(6) 
Convenience store not exceeding 5,000 square feet in floor space, providing goods for use primarily by residents of the development and the immediate neighborhood.
I. 
Conservation subdivision with reserved land. In order to encourage small subdivisions to follow conservation subdivision principles, there is no minimum tract size or number of lots required for a conservation subdivision. An applicant may create a conservation subdivision on a portion of a large parcel and reserve the remainder of the parcel for future development. In approving a subdivision of fewer than 15 lots on a parcel of land which may be further subdivided in the future, the Planning Board may require the applicant to execute a conservation easement that sets aside open space land on a pro rata basis in connection with the land being subdivided, rather than for the entire parcel. The land that is neither subdivided nor protected by a conservation easement shall be considered to be "reserved land" that is available for future subdivision and future open space protection. For example, if a parcel is large enough to have 30 lots but the applicant is only proposing 10, the applicant may do a conservation subdivision on 1/3 of the property, preserving the amount of open space required only for the portion to be developed rather than the amount required if the entire property were developed. The open space land must be in a configuration that will preserve buildable land of conservation value based upon a conservation analysis and must allow for subsequent extension of the conservation subdivision, unless the applicant elects to preserve the remainder of the parcel as open space land. The preserved open space therefore does not need to be contiguous with the building lots. Priority in open space protection shall be given to land identified as a priority conservation area in the Hudsonia Report. The Planning Board may require a conservation easement to limit future development of the parcel to the lot count permitted by § 121-20B. The Planning Board may waive submission of documentation of the full lot count where, in the Planning Board's judgment, the number of lots proposed is substantially less than the total allowable lot count. This provision may not be used to circumvent the restrictions on segmentation of development under SEQRA.
J. 
Minimum area and configuration of open space.
(1) 
Since one of the major purposes of conservation subdivision is to preserve open space, conservation subdivisions shall preserve at least 50% of the land as open space. The requirements for preserving such open space are described in Subsection K below.
(2) 
Preserved open space may be included as a portion of one or more large lots or may be contained in a separate open space lot. Such open space may be owned by a homeowners' association, private landowner(s), a nonprofit organization or the Town or another governmental entity, as long as it is protected from development by a conservation easement and does not result in fragmentation of the open space land in a manner that compromises its conservation value. The required open space land may not include private yards located within 100 feet of a principal structure. The required open space land may contain up to twenty-five-percent land that is not buildable, except in the case of a partial conservation subdivision [see Subsection J(1) above] where all of the open space land must be buildable land, as defined in § 121-74.
K. 
Preservation of open space by conservation easement. Open space set aside in a conservation subdivision, or as a condition of any special permit or site plan approval, shall be permanently preserved by a conservation easement. Such land may, but need not be, a separate tax parcel. Such land may be included as a portion of one or more large parcels on which dwellings and other structures are permitted, provided that a conservation easement is placed on such land pursuant to Subsection K(3) below and provided that the Planning Board approves such configuration of the open space as part of its approval. Any development permitted in connection with the setting aside of open space land shall not compromise the conservation value of such open space land as established in the conservation analysis required by Subsection A above.
(1) 
Conservation value of open space. The open space protected must have conservation value as established by the conservation analysis and conservation findings. Examples of lands with conservation value include view corridors along scenic roads, agricultural land, ridgelines, steep slopes, designated critical environmental areas, large areas of mature forest, wetlands, water bodies and stream corridors. Prime and statewide important agricultural land, even if suitable for development, shall be considered land of conservation value.
(2) 
Notations on plat or site plan. Preserved open space land shall be clearly delineated and labeled on the final subdivision plat or site plan as to its use, ownership, management, method of preservation and the rights, if any, of the owners of other lots in the subdivision to such land. The plat or site plan shall clearly show that the open space land is permanently reserved for open space purposes and shall contain a notation indicating the deed reference of any conservation easements or deed restrictions required to be filed to implement such restrictions.
(3) 
Requirements for conservation easements.
(a) 
A perpetual conservation easement restricting development of the open space land and allowing use only for agriculture, forestry, recreation, protection of natural resources or similar conservation purposes, pursuant to § 247 of the General Municipal Law and/or §§ 49-0301 through 49-0311 of the Environmental Conservation Law, shall be granted to the Town, with the approval of the Town Board, or to a qualified not-for-profit conservation organization acceptable to the Planning Board. Such conservation easement shall be approved by the Planning Board and shall be required as a condition of approval. The Planning Board may require that the conservation easement be enforceable by the Town if the Town is not the holder of the conservation easement. The conservation easement shall be recorded in the County Clerk's office prior to or simultaneously with the filing of the final subdivision plat in the County Clerk's office. In the case of subdivisions of less than five lots and minor projects, a deed covenant enforceable by the Town may be substituted for a conservation easement. Applicants are encouraged to consult with a qualified conservation organization, such as the Dutchess Land Conservancy, in preparing a conservation easement.
(b) 
The conservation easement shall protect the conservation values identified in the conservation analysis. It shall prohibit residential, industrial or commercial use of open space land (except in connection with agriculture, forestry and recreation) and shall not be amendable to permit such use. Access roads, driveways, local utility distribution lines, subsurface wastewater disposal systems, trails, temporary structures for outdoor recreation and agricultural structures shall be permitted on preserved open space land, provided that they do not impair the conservation value of the land. Dwellings may be constructed on portions of parcels that include protected open space land, provided that the dwellings are not constructed on the portion of the parcel that is protected by the conservation easement. The configuration of the open space land and dwellings shall not result in fragmentation of the open space land in a manner that interferes with its proper management and protection of its conservation values. (See the Rural Development Guidelines referred to in § 121-5 for a fuller explanation of this.)
(4) 
Ownership of open space land.
(a) 
Open space land that is protected by a conservation easement may be dedicated to Town, county or state governments, transferred to a nonprofit organization acceptable to the Planning Board, held in private ownership, owned in common by a homeowners' association (HOA), or held in such other form of ownership as the Planning Board finds adequate to properly manage the open space land and to protect its conservation value, based upon the conservation analysis.
(b) 
If the land is owned in common by an HOA, such HOA shall be established in accordance with the following:
[1] 
The HOA must be set up before the final subdivision plat is approved and must comply with all applicable provisions of the General Business Law.
[2] 
Membership must be mandatory for each lot owner, who must be required by recorded covenants and restrictions to pay fees to the HOA for taxes, insurance and maintenance of common open space, private roads and other common facilities.
[3] 
The open space restrictions must be in perpetuity.
[4] 
The HOA must be responsible for liability insurance, property taxes and the maintenance of recreational and other facilities and private roads.
[5] 
Property owners must pay their pro rata share of the costs in Subsection K(4) above, and the assessment levied by the HOA must be able to become a lien on the property.
[6] 
The HOA must be able to adjust the assessment to meet changed needs.
[7] 
The applicant shall make a conditional offer of dedication to the Town, binding upon the HOA, for all open space to be conveyed to the HOA. Such offer may be accepted by the Town, at the discretion of the Town Board, upon the failure of the HOA to take title to the open space from the applicant or other current owner, upon dissolution of the association at any future time, or upon failure of the HOA to fulfill its maintenance obligations hereunder or to pay its real property taxes.
[8] 
Ownership shall be structured in such a manner that real property taxing authorities may satisfy property tax claims against the open space lands by proceeding against individual owners in the HOA and the dwelling units they each own.
[9] 
The attorney for the Planning Board shall find that the HOA documents presented satisfy the conditions in Subsection K(4)(b)[1] through [8] above and such other conditions as the Planning Board shall deem necessary.
(5) 
Maintenance standards.
(a) 
Ongoing maintenance standards shall be established, enforceable by the Town against an owner of open space land as a condition of subdivision approval, to ensure that the open space land is not used for storage or dumping of refuse, junk or other offensive or hazardous materials.
(b) 
If the Town Board finds that the provisions of § 121-20K(5)(a) above are being violated such that the condition of the land constitutes a public nuisance, it may, upon 30 days' written notice to the owner, enter the premises for necessary maintenance, and the cost of such maintenance by the Town shall be assessed ratably against the landowner or, in the case of an HOA, the owners of properties within the development and shall, if unpaid, become a tax lien on such property or properties.
The Town of Amenia encourages flexibility in the location and layout of development, within the overall density standards of this chapter. The Town therefore will permit residential density to be transferred from one parcel (the "sending parcel") to another (the "receiving parcel"). A density transfer may be permitted from any land with conservation value located in the RA District or RR District to any land in the HM District or HR District or to any land within the RR District which the Planning Board determines to be suitable for receiving additional density. Sending parcels may be located in either the RA District or the RR District. The process of density transfer is as follows:
A. 
Procedure.
(1) 
All density transfers require a special permit from the Planning Board.
(2) 
The special permit application for a density transfer shall be signed by the owners (or their authorized representatives) of both the sending and receiving parcels.
(3) 
The special permit application shall show a proposed development plan for the receiving parcel (subdivision and/or site plan) as well as density calculations for both the sending and receiving parcels, prepared according to the provisions of § 121-20B. The density calculation for the sending parcel shall be based upon only the base maximum density allowed for conservation subdivisions and shall not include any of the density bonuses available under § 121-20C.
(4) 
In reviewing an application for density transfer, the Planning Board shall first determine the number of allowable residential units permitted on the receiving parcel using all of the relevant standards in § 121-20B (or the lot size and dimensional standards for the HM District or HR District if the receiving parcel is located in one of those districts). The Planning Board shall then determine the number of residential units available to transfer from the sending parcel(s) pursuant to § 121-20B.
(5) 
The Planning Board may then grant a special permit allowing the transfer to the receiving parcel of some or all of the allowable residential units from the sending parcel(s). In order to accommodate the additional density on the receiving parcel, the Planning Board may waive one or more of the dimensional requirements applicable in the zoning district of the receiving parcel.
(6) 
As a condition of approval of the density transfer, a conservation easement on the sending parcel(s) satisfying the requirements of § 121-20K shall be executed and recorded in the County Clerk's office, reducing the number of dwelling units allowed to be constructed on the sending parcel(s) by the number of dwelling units transferred. In addition, the conservation easement shall require that an area of land of conservation value be permanently restricted which is equal to the number of units transferred times the maximum density for conservation subdivisions in the zoning district. (For example, if five units are transferred and the maximum density for a conservation subdivision in the sending district is one unit per five acres, at least 25 acres of the sending parcel would have to be permanently restricted.) The owner of a sending parcel may retain the right to construct one or more dwelling units on the sending parcel, provided that the owner has not transferred all development rights on the sending parcel and that the dwelling units are not built on the portion of the parcel protected by the conservation easement.
B. 
Findings required. The Planning Board shall not approve any residential density transfer unless it finds that:
(1) 
All requirements for the granting of a special permit have been satisfied.
(2) 
If the receiving parcel is in the RR District, the addition of the transfer units to the receiving parcel will not increase the maximum allowable density under § 121-20B by more than 50% and will not adversely affect the area surrounding the receiving parcel.
(3) 
The density transfer will benefit the Town by protecting developable land with conservation value on the sending parcel(s).
(4) 
The density transfer will be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
C. 
Financial contribution in lieu of transferring development rights. An applicant may increase density on a receiving parcel in accordance with the above provisions by making a financial contribution to the Town's Land and Development Rights Acquisition Fund, provided that the Town Board has established a mechanism and a fee schedule for administering such a financial contribution in lieu of transferring development rights.
Within the RA, RR, and SR Districts, the Town of Amenia encourages the preservation of large tracts of open space by affording flexibility to landowners in road frontage requirements, layout, and design (including the use of unpaved private roads), provided that such landowners permanently preserve significant open space resources. The following standards shall be applied by the Planning Board in reviewing applications for a limited development subdivision. Conventional subdivisions and conservation subdivisions that contain roads that are not dedicated to the Town and remain private shall not be eligible for the benefits of this § 121-22 unless they qualify as a limited development subdivision.
A. 
Modification of road frontage and construction requirements. Minimum road frontage requirements and otherwise applicable road construction requirements may be modified for a limited development subdivision by the Planning Board pursuant to this § 121-22, provided that all of the following requirements are met:
(1) 
The average lot size in the proposed subdivision is the greater of 20 acres or four times the minimum lot size required for a conventional subdivision by the Dimensional Table.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Dimensional Table is included at the end of this chapter.
(2) 
A perpetual conservation easement is placed on the land to be subdivided, to maintain its natural and scenic qualities, to restrict building in locations deemed by the Planning Board to be environmentally or visually sensitive, and to ensure that the land will not be subdivided to a density higher than that permitted in Subsection A(1) above.
(3) 
Adequate access to all parcels by emergency vehicles can be ensured by private roads and/or common driveways. No common driveway shall provide access to more than four lots, except as provided in Subsection B(9) below. Private roads serving more than four lots shall comply with applicable private road standards in the Town's Highway Specifications.
B. 
Private road requirements. The Planning Board may approve unpaved private roads to provide access to lots in limited development subdivisions, provided that the Planning Board finds that the proposed subdivision will protect the rural, scenic, and natural character of the Town.
(1) 
The maximum number of lots gaining access through any portion of a private road shall be 10.
(2) 
Written approval from the Town Superintendent of Highways and the Town's engineer shall be secured before approval of any private roads.
(3) 
A homeowners' association (HOA) must be created to own and provide for the perpetual care and maintenance of the private road. Such HOA shall meet all requirements for an open space HOA set forth in § 121-20K(4) above. The HOA must have the power to assess the subdivision lot owners for their share of the maintenance costs of the private road. The HOA shall contract with a qualified road contractor to ensure that the road will always be maintained and kept open to permit emergency vehicle access. In the event that a private road contractor does not properly maintain the road, the Town of Amenia may assume maintenance responsibilities and charge the HOA for all reasonable costs thereof. Such costs, if unpaid for more than 60 days, shall, along with attorneys' fees for their collection, become a lien on the property and enforceable in the same manner as a property tax lien. The Planning Board shall have discretion to determine whether the applicant should be required to establish a maintenance fund at the time of approval and, if so, how much of a deposit should be required. The Planning Board shall also have discretion to determine whether a performance bond must be posted by the applicant to ensure the proper completion of the private road and, if so, how much the performance bond shall be and what form it shall take.
(4) 
The HOA shall provide at regular intervals (not to exceed five years) a written certification from a licensed professional engineer that the physical integrity of the private road is adequate to meet its present needs and the needs which can reasonably be anticipated in the future.
(5) 
The private road may never be offered for dedication to the Town of Amenia unless it conforms to Town highway specifications for rural streets in effect on the date of the offer of dedication. However, the Town Board shall be under no obligation to accept such an offer of dedication, even if the road conforms to Town highway specifications. In the event such dedication becomes necessary to ensure public safety, the cost of bringing the road up to Town highway specifications shall be borne by the HOA.
(6) 
The lots in the limited development subdivision shall be restricted by conservation easement so that they may never be subdivided beyond the number of lots permitted in § 121-22A(1), regardless of whether the private road remains a private road.
(7) 
The subdivision plat shall show the road clearly labeled "PRIVATE ROAD."
(8) 
Road design shall comply with the standards for private roads in the Subdivision Law.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 105, Subdivision of Land.
(9) 
The Planning Board may waive the requirement of a private road maintained by an HOA if it finds, after consulting with the attorney for the Planning Board or the Town Attorney, that a common drive maintained pursuant to a recorded maintenance agreement, executed by the applicant as a condition of subdivision approval, will provide the same protections to lot owners and the Town as would a private road owned by an HOA and that all of the requirements and HOA functions described in Subsection B(3) through (5) above and § 121-20K(4) of this chapter will be properly fulfilled by such a common drive and maintenance agreement.
C. 
Allowable density. No limited development subdivision shall contain more lots than would be allowed in a conventional subdivision of the same parcel or parcels. The Planning Board may require an applicant for a limited development subdivision to submit a conventional subdivision plan if the Planning Board has reason to believe that the proposed limited development subdivision plan may contain more lots than would be permitted in the case of a conventional subdivision of the same property.
A. 
Landowner's election: maximum of three new lots. A landowner may elect to do small-scale development as an alternative to a conventional subdivision or a conservation subdivision in the RA District or the RR District, provided that the subdivision results in the creation of no more than three new residential lots (excluding the parent parcel from which they are subdivided), subject to the following standards:
(1) 
For parcels that are greater than 20 acres, the three new lots shall consume no more than 25% of the land area of a parcel.
(2) 
For parcels of 20 acres or less, the three new lots may consume more than 25% of the land area of a parcel. However, the parcel may not be further subdivided beyond the total of four lots created through this process. This restriction on future subdivision shall be noted on the approved subdivision plat.
(3) 
Any approved small-scale subdivision plat on a parcel greater than 20 acres shall contain a note stating that it is a small-scale subdivision permitted under this § 121-23 and that any future subdivision beyond these three lots will be subject to the requirements in Subsection D below.
(4) 
All new lots created under this § 121-23 shall comply with Subsection C below.
(5) 
For purposes of this § 121-23, the determination of parcel size shall be based on the parcel as it existed on the Official Tax Maps of the year 2007.
B. 
Preexisting lots. Any lot in the RR District or the RA District which was legally created and existed as of July 19, 2007, may be built upon as provided in Subsection C below. If such lot does not meet the standards in Subsection C, it shall be subject to the provisions of § 121-28, Existing nonconforming lots.
C. 
Dimensional requirements. The dimensional regulations for small-scale development lots are as follows where a subsurface septic system is permitted, unless the Dutchess County Department of Health requires a larger lot size:
Small-Scale Development Dimensional Table
District
RR
RA
Minimum lot size (acres)
1
1.5
Minimum road frontage (feet)
Town road
100
150
County/state road
150
200
Minimum front yard setback (feet)
Town road
30
30
County/state road
50
50
Minimum side yard setback (feet)
20
30
Minimum rear yard setback (feet)
30
50
Maximum impervious surface coverage (%)
15%
10%
Maximum height (feet)
35
35
D. 
Future resubdivision. If more than three residential lots are proposed for subdivision from the parent parcel at any time on a parcel greater than 20 acres, the application for a fourth subdivided lot (the fifth lot including the parent parcel) shall require a conservation analysis, and the application shall be treated as an application for conservation subdivision under the provisions of § 121-20. Such application shall take account of the three lots previously subdivided as if they were part of the new application, and such lots shall count toward the total permitted number of dwelling units on the parcel, and their area shall be counted in determining the required amount of open space to be preserved.
E. 
Other options available. Development of three or fewer new lots may also take the form of conservation subdivision, conventional subdivision, flag lot development, or limited development subdivision at the landowner's option, in which case this § 121-23 shall not apply.