Town of Amherst, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Whenever any subdivision of land of five or more lots is proposed and before any permit for the erection of a structure or facilities in or for such proposed subdivision shall be granted, the petitioner or authorized agent shall apply for and secure approval of such proposed subdivision in accordance with the procedures set forth in this Part.
The petitioner for subdivision approval shall schedule a pre-application conference with the Planning Director or his or her designee to discuss the requirements for the following, but not limited to: the general layout of streets and lots, the reservation of land, street improvements, drainage, soil conditions, special flood hazard areas, wetlands, sewerage, water, fire protection, other community services and facilities, and the availability of existing services.
The Planning Director shall classify the subdivision as requiring a major or minor-subdivision on the basis of the pre-application conference and in accordance with the criteria in this Section.
4-3-1. 
Minor Subdivision.
A. 
The Planning Director shall only classify a subdivision as a minor subdivision where the proposal meets all of the following criteria:
(1) 
The subdivision contains a minimum of five lots, but not more than nine lots fronting on an existing street;
(2) 
The subdivision does not require the construction of new streets or roads, the extension of municipal facilities or the dedication of land;
(3) 
The subdivision does not adversely affect the development of the remainder of the parcel or adjoining property;
(4) 
The subdivision is not in conflict with any provision or portion of the Comprehensive Plan or Zoning Ordinance; and
(5) 
The subdivision does not require a waiver from these Regulations.
4-3-2. 
Major Subdivision. Any subdivision that contains more than nine lots shall be considered a major subdivision.
The following requirements shall apply to all applications for development review.
4-4-1. 
Who May Submit Applications.
A. 
All applications shall be reviewed by the Planning Director for his or her signature prior to filing with the Town Clerk. The Town Clerk shall receive payment of the required fees.
B. 
Applications shall only be accepted from persons having the legal authority to submit such applications. In general, applications shall be made by the owners or lessees of property, or persons who have contracted to purchase property contingent upon their ability to acquire the necessary approval under these Regulations.
C. 
The Planning Director may require a petitioner to present additional evidence of authority to submit the application.
4-4-2. 
Forms.
A. 
Applications required under these Regulations shall be submitted on forms and in such numbers as required by the Town.
B. 
All application forms are available from the Planning Department. The content of such application forms shall be determined by the Planning Director and may be amended from time to time.
4-4-3. 
Fees.
A. 
No application shall be accepted by the Town Clerk until all applicable fees, charges and expenses have been paid in full.
B. 
Filing fees shall be established from time to time by resolution of the Town Board to defray the actual cost of processing the application.
C. 
All required fees shall be made payable to "The Town of Amherst."
D. 
A petitioner who has paid an appropriate fee pursuant to the submission of an application, but who chooses to withdraw such application within 24 hours of application shall be entitled to a full refund upon written request to the Town. After this 24-hour period, the petitioner may petition the Town Board for a partial refund. The Town Board may request a recommendation on any request for a refund considered under this Section.
4-4-4. 
Applications to be Complete.
A. 
An application and fee will be accepted for review when it contains all information necessary to initiate review as determined by the Planning Director or his or her designee. In addition, an application shall not be considered complete until a SEQR determination of significance under Town Code, Chapter 104, Environmental Quality Review, can be made.
B. 
The presumption is that all of the information required in the Town's application forms is necessary to satisfy the requirements of this Section. However, it is recognized that each application is unique, and therefore more or less information may be required according to the needs of the particular case. The petitioner may rely on the recommendations of the Planning Director as to whether more or less information should be submitted with the application.
C. 
An application not considered complete within six months after the initial date of submittal shall be considered null and void, except where such application is part of an ongoing SEQR review.
4-4-5. 
Staff Consultation After Application Submitted.
A. 
Upon determination of a complete application, the Planning Director shall review the application and confer with the petitioner to ensure that the petitioner understands the requirements of these Regulations; has submitted all of the information that the petitioner is required to submit; and that the application represents precisely and completely what the petitioner proposes to do.
B. 
Once the petitioner indicates that the application is as complete as the petitioner intends to make it, the application shall be distributed to the appropriate departments, officials and boards. However, if the Planning Director finds that the application remains incomplete, a recommendation to deny the application on that basis shall be provided to the Planning Board.
4-4-6. 
Notice and Public Hearings.
A. 
Required Hearing.
(1) 
Preliminary Plat. Within 62 days after the receipt of a preliminary plat by the Planning Board, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing. The hearing shall be advertised at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town at least five days before such hearing.
(2) 
Final Plat.
(a) 
No public hearing shall be required for review of a minor subdivision, or review of a final plat of a major subdivision provided that such plat is in substantial agreement with the approved preliminary plat.
(b) 
In the event that the Planning Director determines that the final plat of a major subdivision is not in substantial agreement with the approved preliminary plat, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing within 62 days from the time of submission of the subdivision for final plat approval. The hearing shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town at least five days before such hearing.
4-4-7. 
Summary of Review and Approval Authority. The following table summarizes review and approval authority under these Regulations.
Review Procedure
Planning Director
Planning Board
Minor Subdivision
Sketch Plan
Not Required
Not Required
Preliminary
Recommendation
Decision*
Final
Recommendation
Decision
Major Subdivision
Sketch Plan†
Recommendation
Decision*
Preliminary
Recommendation
Decision*
Final
Recommendation
Decision
* = Public hearing required
† = The Planning Director may waive the requirement for a sketch plan for a major subdivision of five to nine lots.
A minor plat shall be submitted and reviewed consistent with the requirements for a preliminary plat.
204 Flow Chart Preapp Conf.tif
4-6-1. 
Sketch Plan Review.
A. 
Intent. The sketch plan is not intended to be recorded. Its purpose is to show graphically all facts needed to enable the Planning Board and other Town departments to determine whether the proposed layout of land in question is satisfactory from the standpoint of public interest.
B. 
Staff Review.
(1) 
Copies of the sketch plan shall be referred to the Building, Highway and Engineering Departments, the Traffic and Safety Committee, the Assessor, the Recreation Commission, and any other agencies the Planning Director deems appropriate.
(2) 
Within 30 days of determination of completeness, each agency shall review the application and notify the Planning Board in writing of its comments or recommendations.
C. 
Planning Board Final Action.
(1) 
Within 62 days from the date that the sketch plan is deemed complete, or such extension as mutually agreed upon, the Planning Board shall meet and approve, approve with conditions or disapprove the sketch plan taking into account the criteria in §  4-6-1D.
(2) 
If the Planning Board disapproves, it shall advise the petitioner in writing of the reasons for disapproval and the specific changes, if any, it shall require in the layout, and the character and extent of required improvements and land reservations as a prerequisite to the approval of the sketch plan.
(3) 
In approving the subdivision sketch plan, the Planning Board may impose such conditions as it deems necessary and consistent with the Zoning Ordinance, Comprehensive Plan, and other laws.
D. 
Sketch Plan Review Criteria.
(1) 
The Planning Board shall review the sketch, considering the requirements of these Regulations, the Zoning Ordinance, Comprehensive Plan, comments of the reviewing agencies and the best design use of the land being subdivided.
(2) 
In evaluating any sketch plan, the Planning Board shall consider the following:
(a) 
The arrangement, location and width of streets and their relation to the topography of the land;
(b) 
Vegetation, wetlands, special flood hazard area/base flood elevation;
(c) 
Sewage disposal, drainage requirements, water needs;
(d) 
Lot sizes and arrangement;
(e) 
Soil conditions;
(f) 
Recreation facilities and open spaces;
(g) 
Such other concerns as may be appropriate including new streets or street extensions; and
(h) 
Policies and recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan.
4-6-2. 
Preliminary Plat Review.
A. 
Submittal of Preliminary Plat and Improvement Plans. Following approval of the sketch plan, the petitioner shall prepare a preliminary plat of a subdivision, together with improvement plans and other supplementary material as specified in these Regulations. This plat shall cover the entire tract of land concerned, or portion thereof, unless the Planning Board has authorized a lesser area.
B. 
Staff Review of Preliminary Plat.
(1) 
Upon receipt of a complete application in accordance with §  4-4-4, copies of the preliminary plat and other supplementary material shall be referred to the Building, Highway and Engineering Departments, the Traffic and Safety Committee, and any other agencies the Planning Director deems appropriate.
(2) 
Within 30 days of determination of completeness, each agency shall review the application and notify the Planning Board in writing of its comments or recommendations.
C. 
Planning Board Final Action. Within 62 days or two consecutive Planning Board meetings after determination of completeness, the Planning Board shall approve, approve with conditions or disapprove the preliminary plat, taking into account the criteria in §  4-6-2D.
D. 
Preliminary Plat Review Criteria. In reviewing the preliminary plat, the Planning Board may impose conditions consistent with the intent and purpose of these Regulations, the Zoning Ordinance, Comprehensive Plan, sketch plan and other applicable laws. If the Planning Board recommends disapproval, it shall state its reasons in writing.
E. 
Limits of Approval. Approval of a preliminary plat shall not constitute final approval of the plat, but rather shall be deemed the approval of the design submitted on the preliminary plat as a basis to the preparation of the final plat, which shall be submitted for approval by the Planning Board and for recording in the Erie County Clerk's office upon fulfillment of the requirements of these Regulations and the conditions of the approval, if any.
F. 
Failure to Take Action. Unless an extension is mutually agreed upon, in the event the Planning Board fails to take action on a preliminary plat within the time prescribed herein, such plat shall be deemed granted preliminary approval. A certificate of the Town Clerk as to the date of submission and the failure to take action within such prescribed time shall be issued on demand and shall be sufficient in lieu of written endorsement or other evidence of approval required in these Regulations.
G. 
Zoning Ordinance. All town regulations, including the Town Code, in effect at the time of preliminary plat approval shall apply to the preparation and approval of the final plat.
H. 
Public Improvement Plans. Engineering drawings or plans for all proposed improvements, including but not necessarily limited to streets, pedestrian pathways, sidewalks, sanitary sewers, storm drainage sewers and systems, water system, etc., shall be furnished to the Planning Board along with the preliminary plat.
I. 
Phasing Plan. If phasing of the subdivision is anticipated, a conceptual phasing plan shall be submitted for review with the preliminary plat application and used as a guide for submittal of the final plat.
4-6-3. 
Final Plat Review.
A. 
Submittal of Final Plat. Within six months after approval by the Planning Board of a preliminary plat, the petitioner shall submit the final plat. The plat shall conform to the layout shown on the preliminary plat and shall contain any conditions imposed by the Planning Board during preliminary plat review.
B. 
Staff Review and Final Action.
(1) 
The Planning Board shall approve, approve with conditions or disapprove the final plat taking into account the criteria in §  4-6-3C.
(2) 
If the Planning Board disapproves the final plat, it shall state in writing the reasons for disapproval.
(3) 
The petitioner shall have 180 days to satisfy the requirements upon which the approval has been conditioned and obtain the certification from the Planning Board. This period may be extended by the Planning Board, if in its opinion the circumstances warrant such extension.
(4) 
If the petitioner does not meet the conditions of approval within 180 days or within the extension period provided by the Planning Director, then the application shall be deemed disapproved.
C. 
Final Plat Review Criteria. In evaluating any final plat, the Planning Board shall consider the following:
(1) 
The application is complete and the information contained within the application is correct and sufficient enough to allow adequate review and final action.
(2) 
The final plat is determined to be consistent with an approved preliminary plat. The petitioner must certify in writing that the final plat is consistent with the preliminary plat. Any changes to the final plat that are not consistent with the preliminary plat must be identified in writing upon submittal of the final plat application. Failure to disclose changes pursuant to this section may result in the Planning Board declaring the final plat null and void after giving the petitioner notice and an opportunity to be heard on the matter.
(3) 
The final plat is consistent with any Town-approved construction plans for any required or agreed improvements.
D. 
Failure to Take Action. In the event the Planning Board fails to take action on a complete final subdivision plat application within the time prescribed in New York State Town Law, such plat shall be deemed approved, unless an extension has been mutually agreed upon. A certificate of the Town Clerk as to the date of submission and the failure to take action within such prescribed time shall be issued on demand and shall be sufficient in lieu of written endorsement or other evidence of approval required in these Regulations.
E. 
Phasing. Prior to granting approval of a final plat, the Planning Board may permit the plat to be phased into two or more sections. The Planning Board may stipulate such requirements as it deems necessary to insure the orderly development of the plat be completed. Conditional or final approval of the phases of a final plat shall be granted concurrently with conditional or final approval of the plat. Each phase shall comply with all applicable provisions of §  3-2, Streets.
F. 
Filing of Plat.
(1) 
The issuance of the following shall constitute final approval of a final plat:
(a) 
The signature of the Chairman of the Planning Board on the final plat; or
(b) 
The certificate of the Amherst Town Clerk as to the date of the submission of the final plat and the failure of the Planning Board to take action thereon within the time prescribed.
(2) 
The plat shall expire 62 days from the date of the Chair's signature constituting such approval of the final plat, or from the date such certificate is issued, unless within such 62-day period such plat or a section thereof shall have been duly filed or recorded by the owner in the office of the County Clerk.
(3) 
The filing of a final plat shall be consistent with the phasing plan approved in conjunction with the final plat.
G. 
Period of Exemption for Subdivision Plats. If a final plat or the first phase thereof has been duly filed in the office of the County Clerk, provisions of a change or amendment to the Town of Amherst Zoning Ordinance which establish or increase side, rear or front yard or setback requirements in excess of those applicable to building plots under the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance in effect at the time of the filing of the said subdivision plat or first section thereof, shall not, for a period of three years after the filing of the subdivision plat or first section thereof, be applicable to or in any way affect any of the lots shown and delineated on such subdivision plat.
H. 
Modifications to Plat.
(1) 
No changes, erasures, modifications, or revisions shall be made in any final plat after approval has been given by the Planning Board and endorsed in writing on the plat, unless the plat is resubmitted to the Planning Director and the Director deems such modifications to be minor in accordance with (2) below.
(2) 
Provided the number of lots remains the same, the moving of lot lines and the rearrangement of easements shall be considered a minor modification, subject to the approval of the Planning Director, provided that the resulting lots meet the minimum requirements of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable regulations for the subject parcel. All other modifications shall be deemed major modifications and shall require resubmission of a preliminary plat.
(3) 
In the event that any such plat is recorded without complying with this requirement, the same shall be considered null and void, and the Director shall institute proceedings to have the plat stricken from the records of the County Clerk.
I. 
Approval Not Acceptance.
(1) 
If any plat contains public streets, thoroughfares or easements which are to be dedicated as such, the approval of the plat shall not constitute an acceptance by the Town of Amherst of the improvements constructed or installed in the subdivision, irrespective of any acts by an officer, agent or employee of the Town with respect to such improvements.
(2) 
The acceptance of such improvements shall be made only by the adoption of a resolution by the Town Board after there has been filed with the Town Clerk a certificate by the Town Engineer certifying that all improvements required to be constructed or installed in or upon such street, thoroughfares and easements in connection with the approval of the plat or subdivision by the Planning Board have been fully completed and the construction or installation thereof has been approved by the Town Engineer. All accepted easements shall be filed with the plat and copies sent to the Planning, Engineering, and Highway Departments.
J. 
Status of Streets on a Subdivision Plat. Every street shown on a plat filed or recorded in the office of the County Clerk shall be deemed to be a private street until such time as it has been formally offered to the Town and formally dedicated as a public street, or alternatively until it has been accepted by the Town for use as a public street.
K. 
Protective Covenants. All protective covenants and deed restrictions required by the Planning Board as a condition of approval in form for recording shall be approved, by the Town Attorney prior to filing of the final plat with the County Clerk.
A. 
Where the Planning Board finds that extraordinary hardships may result from strict compliance with these Regulations, it may waive these Regulations so that substantial justice may be done and the public interest secured, provided that any such adjustment shall not have the effect of nullifying the intent and purpose of these Regulations.
B. 
In granting any adjustment, the Planning Board shall attach such conditions as are, in its judgment, necessary to secure substantially the objectives of the standards or requirements so adjusted.
C. 
Applications for waivers shall be made upon the filing of the preliminary plat.
D. 
Any waivers, if known, should be included during sketch plan review.
This Local Law may, from time to time, be revised, modified, or amended.
4-9-1. 
Appeal of decisions made under these Subdivision Regulations by the Town Board, Planning Board, Planning Director, Commission of Building or Town Engineer shall be heard in accordance with Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice and Law Rules.
4-10-1. 
Penalties for Violation. Any person who violates any provision of this Local Law or any regulation adopted hereunder is guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $250, or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate violation.
4-10-2. 
Administrative Procedures for Enforcement.
[Amended 3-4-2019 by L.L. No. 7-2019]
A. 
General Provisions. This local law shall be interpreted by the Zoning Enforcement Officer with the assistance of the Town Engineer, Commissioner of Building, Planning Director, the Town Clerk and other agencies as the Town Board shall direct and shall be enforced by the Town Engineer and Commissioner of Building. Those departments and agencies shall be provided with the assistance of such persons as the Town Board may direct.
B. 
Records and Reports. The Zoning Enforcement Officer shall keep, or cause to be kept, a record in his or her Department suitably indexed in regard to any decision or determination reached by him or her in connection with the interpretation or enforcement of these Regulations.