Town of Collins, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "The Town of Collins, New York Zoning Law."
There is hereby established a comprehensive zoning plan for the unincorporated area of the Town of Collins which plan is set forth in the text and map that constitute this chapter. This plan is adopted in accordance with §§ 261, 262 and 263 of the Town Law in order to promote the public health, safety, morals, and the general welfare of the Town; to provide adequate light, air, and convenience of access; to prevent the overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to make provision for, so far as conditions may permit, the accommodation of solar energy systems and equipment and access to sunlight necessary therefor; to lessen congestion in the streets; to secure safety from fire, flood, panic and other dangers; and to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements.
For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms or words herein shall be interpreted or defined as follows:
A. 
Generally.
(1) 
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future tense, the singular number includes the plural and the plural the singular.
(2) 
The word "person" includes a corporation as well as an individual.
(3) 
The word "lot" includes the word "plot" or "parcel."
(4) 
The word "used" or "occupied," as applied to any land or building, shall be construed to include the words "intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied."
(5) 
The term "shall" is always mandatory.
B. 
Specific terms. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY BUILDING
A subordinate building located on the same lot with the main building, occupied by or devoted to an accessory use. Where an accessory building is attached to the main building in a substantial manner, as by a wall or roof, such accessory building shall be considered part of the main building.
ACCESSORY USE
A use customarily incidental and subordinate to the main use or building and located on the same lot therewith. In no case shall such accessory use dominate in area, extent or purpose, the principal lawful use or building.
ANIMAL HOSPITAL
A building or structure devoted to the medical care of animals by licensed veterinarians.
BANK
A banking establishment licensed by either the state or federal government to conduct banking activities and includes banking organizations as defined in the Banking Law of the State of New York.
BUILDING
Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls for the housing or enclosure of persons, animals or chattels. When such a structure is divided into separate parts by one or more unpierced walls extending from the ground up, each such part shall be deemed to be a separate building except as regards requirements for side yards as hereinafter provided.
BUILDING HEIGHT
All measurements of building heights shall be made and determined in the following manner:
(1) 
If a curb level has been established on the street on which the building faces and the mean natural level of the lot is lower or not more than five feet higher than the mean front curb level, the measurement shall be made from the curb level.
(2) 
If the mean natural level of the lot is more than five feet higher than the curb level or if there be no such established curb level, or if the building sets back more than 50 feet from a street, the measurement shall be made from the mean natural level of the lot immediately adjacent to the building foundation.
(3) 
All such measurements shall be made vertically upward to the mean level of the main portions of the roof.
BUILDING LINE
A line parallel to the street line, between which line and the street line no building may be built.
BUILDING, PRINCIPAL
A building or structure designed primarily to accommodate a principal use, and including but not limited to commercial or other structures without a roof, such as stadiums, factory components, commercial radio, TV or microwave transmitting towers and similar structures. The enclosed storage of vehicles within or integral to the principal building (such as an attached garage) shall be considered part of the principal building.
BUSINESS OFFICE
Includes commercial, professional, financial (excluding banks), insurance, real estate, governmental, and utility service company offices, and includes data processing, computer programming and similar activities and centers.
COMMERCIAL RECREATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS
Commercially operated sports arenas, bowling alleys, bathing beaches, golf courses, handball courts, ice or roller skating rinks, ski tows, shuffle-board, swimming pools, tennis courts, toboggan runs and other sports adjuncts.
CREDIT UNION
A cooperative association that uses money deposited by a closed group of persons and lends it out again to persons in the same group at favorable interest rates.
DWELLING
A building or portion thereof designed or used exclusively as the residence or sleeping place of a family.
DWELLING UNIT
One or more rooms designed for occupancy by one family for cooking, living and sleeping purposes.
FAMILY
One or more persons living together in a single dwelling unit as a traditional family or the functional equivalent of a traditional family. It shall be a rebuttable presumption that four or more persons living together in a single dwelling unit, who are not related by blood, adoption, or marriage, do not constitute the functional equivalent of a traditional family. In determining the functional equivalent of a traditional family, the following criteria shall be present:[1]
(1) 
The group shares the entire dwelling unit.
(2) 
The group lives and cooks together as a single housekeeping unit.
(3) 
The group shares expenses for food, rent, utilities or other household expenses.
(4) 
The group is permanent and stable, and not transient or temporary in nature.
(5) 
Any other factor reasonably related to whether the group is the functional equivalent of a family.
FARM
Any parcel of land which is used for the raising of agricultural products, livestock, poultry and dairy products by a resident owner or tenant as a primary source of income.
FARM STRUCTURE
Any structure necessary to the operation of a farm and for the storage of farm equipment, except dwellings, garages used for the storage of non-farm vehicles, and roadside stands used for the sale of products raised on the premises.
GARAGE, PRIVATE
A detached accessory building or portion of a main building, used for the storage of self-propelled vehicles used by the occupants of the premises, including space for not more than three passenger vehicles used by others.
GARAGE, PUBLIC
A structure or portion thereof, other than a private or community garage, used for the storage, hire or repair of self-propelled vehicles or trailers.
GASOLINE SERVICE STATION
Any establishment supplying and selling gasoline or other equivalent fuel direct to motor vehicles from a pump or pumps located outside a building and on private property.
HOME OCCUPATION
Any occupational use customarily conducted entirely within a dwelling and carried on by the inhabitants thereof, which use is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling for dwelling purposes and does not change the character thereof. The conducting of a clinic, hospital, barber shop, beauty parlor, tea room, tourist home or any similar use shall not be deemed to be a home occupation.
HOTEL; MOTEL
A structure containing transient and/or permanent lodging facilities for the general public and which generally contains facilities incidental to such occupancy, such as restaurants, meeting rooms, accessory retail business activities and related incidental activities designed primarily to accommodate the occupants but open to the general public. This term shall also include motels, inns and similar commercially oriented transient lodging facilities, but exclude rooming and boarding houses and tourist homes.
KENNEL
Any premises on which four or more dogs over four months of age are kept.
LOT
A parcel of land for occupancy by a building or use and the accessory buildings or uses customarily incident to it, including such open spaces as are required by this chapter and such open spaces as are arranged and designed to be used in connection with such building. A lot may be or may not be the land shown as a lot on a duly recorded plot.
(1) 
A lot of which at least two adjacent sides abut for their full lengths upon streets.
(2) 
A lot other than a corner lot.
LOT DEPTH
The mean horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.
LOT LINES
The property lines bounding the lot. In the case of a lot abutting on more than one street, the owner may elect any street lot line the front lot line. The rear line shall be the lot line most distant from the front lot line.
LOT WIDTH
The least horizontal distance across the lot between side lot lines, measured at the front of a main building erected or to be erected on such lot or at a distance from the front lot line equal to the required depth of front yard.
MOBILE HOME
A transportable, single-family dwelling unit suitable for year-round occupancy and containing the same conveniences as immobile housing with respect to water supply, light, heat, power, and waste disposal. A mobile home is a portable unit designed and built to be towed on its own chassis comprised of a frame and wheels, connected to utilities, and designed without a permanent foundation for year-round living. A unit may contain parts that may be folded, collapsed or telescoped when being towed and expanded later to provide additional cubic capacity as well as two or more separately towable components designed to be joined into one integral unit capable of being again separated into the components for repeated towing. Mobile units can be designed to be used for residential units; excluding, however, travel trailers, motorized homes, pick-up coaches and camping trailers.
MOTEL
See "hotel; motel."
MOTOR VEHICLE SALES, SERVICE OR REPAIR
An establishment that stores and sells motor vehicles and related equipment directly to customers and/or services and repairs motor vehicles and related equipment, but expressly prohibits motor vehicle dismantling except incidental to the repair of motor vehicles; automobile parts recycling; the storage of abandoned unlicensed or junked motor vehicles or parts of such motor vehicles.
NONCONFORMING USE OR BUILDING
A legally existing use of land, premises, building or structure, existing at the time of the effective date of this chapter or any subsequent amendment, which fails to comply with the regulations set forth in this chapter applicable to the district in which such use is located.[2]
PARKING SPACE
An off-street space which is available for the parking of one motor vehicle, has an area of not less than 200 square feet exclusive of passageways and driveways giving access thereto, and which has direct access to a street.
PERSONAL SERVICE SHOP
A business that primarily provides services of a personal nature, including, but not limited to, barbering, cosmetology, hairdressing and styling, photographic portrait studio, coin-operated laundries, dry cleaning shops, and fitness centers (as distinguished from indoor recreation). This term does not constitute nor include a retail store.
PROFESSIONAL OFFICE
The office of accountants, architects, engineers, attorneys, physicians, dentists and any other practitioners of the healing arts recognized and licensed by the State of New York.
RETAIL STORE
An activity designed for and primarily characterized by the direct on-premises sale of goods and services within a building to the ultimate consumer, generally involving stock-in-trade, such as, but not limited to, clothing, appliances, household goods, furniture, hardware, software, food, health aids and similar products. This terms does not include restaurants; farm or motor vehicle sales, service or repair; storage yards; outdoor retail sales, lumber yards or business offices.[3]
RIDING STABLE
The use of a lot, building, structure or lands for the pasturing, stabling, grooming, training, exercising, working, raising, shoeing, feeding, breeding, trail riding or riding of one or more horses, donkeys, ponies or mules, including any activity utilizing horses, donkeys, ponies or mules to haul wagons, sleds, buggies, carriages or similar equipment. A private stable may be operated for hire or open to the public.
SHOPPING CENTER or MALL
A building or group of buildings containing a group of compatible retail stores, restaurants, business and professional offices designed and developed under unified control and providing common parking areas and loading facilities.
SIGN
Any structure or part thereof, attached thereto, or painted or represented thereon, which shall display or include any letter, word, model, banner, flag, pennant, insignia, device or representation, but not including the flag, pennant or insignia of any nation, state, city or other political unit, or of any political, educational, charitable, philanthropic, civic, professional, religious, or like organization, on the property thereof.
STORAGE YARD
All or part of a lot used for the storage of lumber, cut or milled wood, masonry products, piping, building products, sand, gravel or similar bulky products which do not require indoor storage. Storage yard activity may involve wholesale and/or retail sale of materials.
STREET
Any road, avenue, lane, alley or other way which has become a public highway or an approved private right-of-way.
STREET GRADE
The elevation of a street as established by the Town.
STREET LINE
The lot line of a street. (Do not confuse with the curbline).
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected, which requires permanent location on the ground or attachment to something having such location.
TOURIST HOME
A single-family dwelling in which overnight sleeping accommodations are provided for overnight transient paying guests.
VOLATILE MATERIALS
Gasoline or any substance more vaporizable or more inflammable than gasoline.
WAREHOUSE
A facility for the storage of goods, wares, merchandise, fruits, vegetables and other food products.
WHOLESALE BUSINESS
A commercial activity characterized by the sale of merchandise in quantity to retail, manufacturing, institutional or other wholesale establishments, including on-premises storage and distribution facilities, but excluding bulk petroleum storage.
(1) 
An open space extending the full width of the lot between a main building and the front lot line unoccupied and unobstructed by buildings, the depth of which shall be the least distance between the front lot line and the front of a main building.
(2) 
An open space extending the full width of a lot between the rearmost main building and the rear lot line, unoccupied and unobstructed by buildings except as hereinafter specified, the depth of which shall be the least distance between the rear lot line and the rear of such main building.
(3) 
An open space extending from the front yard to the rear yard between a main building and the side lot line, unoccupied and unobstructed by buildings. The required width of side yard shall be measured horizontally from the nearest point of the side lot line to the nearest part of the main building. An interior side yard is any side yard not on the street side of a corner lot.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
[3]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
A. 
Establishment of districts. The Town of Collins is hereby divided into the following classes of zoning districts:
R
Residential
R-A
Residential-Agricultural
C
Commercial
M
Manufacturing
WPOD
Wellhead Protection Overlay District
B. 
Zoning Map. The zoning districts are bounded and defined as shown on a map entitled "Zoning Map of Town of Collins," and duly certified by the Town Clerk, which map accompanies and, with all explanatory matter thereon, is hereby made a part of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is on file in the Town offices.
C. 
Interpretation of district boundaries. Where uncertainty exists with respect to the boundaries of any of the aforesaid districts, as shown on the Zoning Map, the following rules shall apply:
(1) 
Where district boundaries are indicated as approximately following the center lines of streets, highways, streams or railroads such center lines shall be construed to be such boundaries.
(2) 
Where district boundaries are indicated so that they approximately follow lot lines such lot lines shall be construed to be such boundaries.
(3) 
Where district boundaries are so indicated that they are approximately parallel to the center lines of streets or highways, such district boundaries shall be construed as being parallel thereto. If no distance is given, such dimension shall be determined by the use of the scale shown on the Zoning Map.
(4) 
In unsubdivided land or where a district boundary divides a plot in single ownership, the location of such boundary, unless the same is indicated by dimensions on the map, shall be determined by the use of the scale shown on the Zoning Map.
A. 
General application. Except for farm buildings or structures and as hereinafter provided, no building, structure, or land shall hereafter be used or occupied, and no building or structure, or parts thereof, shall be erected, relocated, extended, enlarged, or altered except in conformity with the permitted use, height, area, and off-street parking regulations specified for the district in which it is located.
B. 
Required lot area and yards cannot be reduced. No lot area shall be reduced or diminished so that the yards or other open spaces thereon shall be smaller than prescribed by this chapter, nor shall the density of population be increased in any manner except in conformity with area regulations herein established. If, at the time of adoption of this chapter, or of any amendment thereof increasing the area or open space requirements, the lot area or required open spaces are less than the minimum required by this chapter, such area or open space shall not be further reduced.
C. 
Duplicate credit for yards not allowed. No yard provided on one lot for the purpose of complying with the provisions of this chapter shall be considered as providing a yard required on any other lot.
D. 
Equivalent uses. In the case of a use which is not listed as a permitted use in any district, the following procedure shall apply: The Code Enforcement Officer shall refer the matter to the Town Planning Board for an interpretation as to whether the proposed use is an equivalent use to a permitted use in a particular district. The Planning Board shall report its findings to the Town Board and, if these findings are positive, make a recommendation that this chapter be amended to list said equivalent use as a permitted use in the appropriate zoning district. In no case shall a building permit be issued for an equivalent use until this chapter has been amended to permit such equivalent use in the appropriate zoning district.
E. 
Interpretation, conflict with other laws. In their interpretation and application, the provisions of this chapter shall be held to be minimum requirements, adopted for the promotion of the public health, morals, safety, or the general welfare. Whenever the requirements of any other lawfully adopted laws, rules, regulations, or ordinances, the most restrictive, or that imposing the higher standards, shall govern.