City of Schenectady, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The regulations and standards set forth in this article qualify or supplement, as the case may be, the district regulations appearing in Article III and elsewhere in this chapter.
A. 
Authorization. Accessory structures and uses, as defined herein, are permitted in any zoning district in connection with any principal use lawfully existing within such district unless otherwise specified in Schedule B.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedule B, Use Regulations for Nonresidential Districts, is included as an attachment to this chapter.
B. 
Permitted accessory uses and structures. Accessory uses and structures include, but are not limited to, the following list of examples:
(1) 
Private garages, storage garages, parking spaces and parking areas.
(2) 
Private customer and employee garages, parking spaces and parking lots, off-street loading spaces.
(3) 
Structures for storage incidental to a permitted use, including woodsheds, toolsheds and garden or lawn equipment storage buildings.
(4) 
Child's playhouse or tree fort.
(5) 
Tennis courts, basketball courts, etc., solely for use by residents and their guests.
(6) 
Private swimming pools, bathhouses and saunas accessory to a residential building and limited to occupants thereof and their guests.
(7) 
Patios.
(8) 
Structures housing solar energy systems, heat pumps and air-conditioning systems or elements thereof.
(9) 
Home gardening.
(10) 
Home occupations, subject to the requirements and standards set forth in § 264-104 of this chapter.
(11) 
Outdoor storage of no more than one boat and boat trailer, camping trailer or recreational vehicle, provided that no part of such storage area shall be located in a front yard, and provided that such boat, vehicle or trailer shall not be used for living, sleeping or housekeeping purposes.
[Added 11-9-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12[2]]
[2]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsection B(11) as Subsection B(12).
(12) 
Clothing donation boxes.
[Added 9-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-15[3]]
[3]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsection B(12) as Subsection B(13).
(13) 
Accessory home-care units in single-family dwellings. This subsection of Chapter 264 authorizes the establishment of a temporary accessory home-care unit on the same lot as an existing single-family dwelling upon issuance of a special use permit in accordance with Article XIV of this chapter.
(a) 
Purpose. The purpose of permitting temporary accessory home-care units is to:
[1] 
Provide housing arrangements which meet the needs of the elderly and/or disabled population in the community by affording an opportunity for them to live in close proximity to those who can help maintain their health, independence and privacy.
[2] 
Preserve the character of a single-family residential neighborhood by ensuring that temporary accessory home-care units are installed only in conjunction with owner-occupied single-family houses and under such additional conditions as may be appropriate.
(b) 
General requirements. An application to the Planning Commission for a special use permit for an accessory home-care unit shall be subject to the following standards and criteria:
[1] 
An accessory home-care unit may be:
[a] 
Located within an existing single-dwelling home;
[b] 
Constructed as an attached permanent addition to an existing single-dwelling home;
[c] 
A temporary structure either separate from or attached to an existing single-dwelling home; or
[d] 
Located within an existing accessory structure, such as a garage, on an existing single-dwelling lot.
[2] 
Only one home-care unit shall be created per lot.
[3] 
If the accessory home-care unit is a permanent addition or attached as a temporary structure to the single-family home, it shall be designed so that, to the maximum extent feasible, the exterior appearance of the building matches the principal dwelling and must have interior access between dwelling units. (When use is discontinued, access between units will facilitate the incorporation of the addition into principal unit living space.) Only one front entrance is allowed. Any additional entrances shall be located on the rear or side of the building.
[4] 
If the accessory home-care unit is a temporary attached or detachable accessory unit or a converted accessory structure such as a garage, it shall be designed, placed and screened to minimize its visual impact on adjacent properties. Both detached and attached units shall be located behind or to the side of the principal structure. Landscaping, such as shrubs or trees, or fencing shall be installed to screen the unit from adjacent properties as per a submitted landscaping plan.
[5] 
An accessory home-care unit must meet the bulk, space and yard requirements of the zoning district in which it will be located and/or the requirements stated in § 264-29.
[6] 
At least one parking space shall be provided for an accessory home-care unit. An applicant must demonstrate that the site can accommodate sufficient parking for the accessory and principal units during special use permit review.
[7] 
The accessory home-care unit must be temporary. The owner shall submit with the application a restoration plan, including cost information detailing the work necessary to remove all apartment features that include but are not limited to exterior structures, kitchen facilities (cabinets, counters, stoves or refrigerators) and plumbing. The owner shall notify the Zoning Officer, in writing, within 10 days once the additional dwelling unit is no longer needed, the property is sold or for some other reason the applicant no longer meets the conditions as outlined above; upon notification, the accessory home-care unit special use permit will be terminated. The applicant must then comply with the special use permit requirements and the terms of the restoration plan within 90 days of the date of termination.
[8] 
An applicant for an accessory home-care unit special use permit must demonstrate to the City of Schenectady that the existing sewer and water service is adequate to accommodate the additional dwelling unit. The applicant will provide a plan for construction and provide water and sewage connections approved by the City Building Inspector, City Engineer, Water Department and Plumbing Inspector.
[9] 
The owner(s) of the one-family lot upon which the accessory unit is located shall occupy at least one of the dwelling units on the premises.
[10] 
An accessory home-care unit must not contain more than one bedroom.
[11] 
The occupant(s) of at least one of the dwelling units shall be 55 years of age or older or unable to live independently due to disability. For the purpose of this subsection, "disability" is defined as a person or persons eligible to receive social security disability benefits or, more specifically, unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reasons of any medically documented physical and mental impairment.
[12] 
The relationship between the property owner-occupant and the tenant(s) of the other unit must be one which could be considered a traditional family relationship or the functional equivalent thereof. Proof of this relationship should accompany the application.
(c) 
Inspections; conditions.
[1] 
An accessory home-care unit will be subject to periodic inspections prior to the initial issuance and renewal of a permit. Permits must be renewed by the applicant on an annual basis. Failure to renew the special use permit will result in a zoning violation and possible prosecution.
[2] 
The applicant will file the special use permit as a deed restriction with the County Clerk's office.
(d) 
Applications. An application for a special use permit for an accessory home-care unit must be accompanied by the following:
[1] 
Site plan. The plan shall be drawn at a scale of one inch equals 20 feet, unless the Zoning Officer determines a different scale more appropriate, showing the following:
[a] 
The applicant's entire lot.
[b] 
The location and size of all structures on the applicant's lot, including the single-family home, all accessory buildings, driveway and parking areas, etc.
[c] 
The applicant's name and address.
[d] 
The proposed location, point of entry and size of the accessory unit. If the accessory unit is attached, provide a floor plan for the principal and accessory dwelling units, detailing access between the units.
[e] 
If an accessory unit is attached, a floor plan of the accessory unit and principal dwelling unit showing interior access between the dwellings.
[f] 
A proposed landscaping plan to screen the accessory unit.
[2] 
Statement of need. The application for an accessory home shall be accompanied by a written statement of need signed by the applicant. The statement of need shall provide evidence that the occupants of the proposed unit are seniors (at least 55 years of age) or disabled. Verification of age (birth certificates, etc.) or disability (physician's certification) shall be provided with the statement.
[3] 
Restoration plan. The applicant must submit a detailed restoration plan for removal of the accessory home-care unit covering the following points:
[a] 
Listing structures, exterior and interior walls to be maintained and those to be removed.
[b] 
A removal plan for all kitchen-related facilities, to include electrical and plumbing improvements, i.e., sink, stove, cabinets, counters, refrigerator.
[c] 
The estimated costs for each of the above activities.
(14) 
Electric vehicle charging stations.
[Added 12-14-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-20]
C. 
Prohibited accessory uses.[4]
(1) 
No bus or commercial vehicle (excluding pickup trucks) exceeding one ton in capacity and/or which has a six-wheel base shall be parked or stored between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. in any residential district.
(2) 
Storage garages in Residential Districts R-1, RH-1, R-2, RH-2 and R-3.
(3) 
Portable garages for the covering of a boat, automobile or trailer between October 15 and May 15.
(4) 
The raising of livestock, poultry or other objectionable farming activities.
[4]
Editor's Note: Former Subsections D and E were renumbered as Subsections C and D, respectively, by Ord. No. 2009-02, adopted 3-23-2009, to correct misnumbering in the original legislation.
D. 
Bulk and location regulations.
(1) 
All accessory structures attached to the principal structure or within 10 feet of a principal structure shall be considered a part thereof, and the front, side and rear yard requirements of the applicable district shall apply.
(2) 
All detached accessory structures 10 feet or more from the principal structure are subject to the following minimum yard requirements:
(a) 
Front yard: 60 feet.
(b) 
Rear and side yards: three feet.
(3) 
On all lots, the rear lot line of which is the side lot line of an abutting lot, no accessory structure or parking space shall be constructed or established closer than eight feet to such rear lot line.
(4) 
No accessory structure, parking space or access drive serving a commercial use shall be constructed or established within 15 feet of a contiguous, residentially zoned property.
(5) 
In all residential districts, accessory structures may not exceed 12 feet in height.
(6) 
In all nonresidential districts, no accessory structure shall exceed the maximum height of principal buildings and structures permitted in such district, except as may otherwise be allowed by special permit.
A. 
Single-family dwellings in the R-1 and R-2 Districts may be increased in height by 10 feet when two side yards, each of not less than 15 feet in width, are provided. Such dwelling shall not exceed three stories in height.
B. 
Exceptions to height regulations. The height limitations contained in Article III of this chapter do not apply to spires, belfries, cupolas, antennas, wireless communications towers (see Chapter 257), water tanks, ventilators, chimneys or other appurtenances accessory to a legal principal use and usually required to be placed above the roof level and not intended for human habitation, provided that no such appurtenance, other than a church spire or the tower of a public building, shall exceed the district height limitations by more than 25%.
C. 
Height measurement on through lots. On through lots 120 feet or less in depth, the height of a building may be measured from the grade on either street. On through lots more than 120 feet deep, the height regulations and basis of height measurements for the street permitting the greater height shall apply to a depth of not more than 120 feet from that street.
A. 
Rear yards abutting alleys. In computing the depth of a rear yard where the rear yard opens onto an alley, 1/2 of the width of the alley may be considered to be a portion of the rear yard.
B. 
Projections into required yards. The following maximum projections into required yards may be permitted:
(1) 
Fire escapes: five feet into a rear or side yard.
(2) 
Chimneys, flues, belt courses, leaders, sills, pilasters, lintels, ornamental features, cornices, eaves, gutters, etc.: two feet.
(3) 
Awnings and canopies: six feet.
(4) 
Bay windows and solar energy systems projecting not more than three feet from an exterior wall for a distance not more than 1/3 the length of such wall.
(5) 
Enclosure of existing front porches with glass and or screen.
(6) 
Stairs attached to the first floor of a principal building or permitted enclosure in Subsection B(5) of this section.
[Amended 3-23-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-02; 9-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-15]
A. 
Compliance with applicable laws. No fence, wall or landscaping shall be erected or constructed, nor shall any existing fence, wall or landscaping be altered, repaired, enlarged or relocated, except in compliance with this article, the Zoning Chapter and other applicable laws.
B. 
Standards.
Schedule D
Fence, Wall and Landscaping Standards
Fence Locations/Types
Maximum Height
(feet)
Maximum Percentage Opaque or Solid Fence
Fences erected or constructed in the side yard between residential buildings
6
70% if less than 5 feet from adjacent house; none if at least 5 feet
Fences in front yards
4
70% except in the C-4 District, which is exempt
Fences on the street side-yard of corner lots, behind the front building line
4
70%
If placed more than 4 feet from the side yard sidewalk
6
None
All ornamental fences as defined in § 264-2
5
70%
Fences on street line of rear yards
4
70%
If placed more than 4 feet from sidewalk or street line
6
None
All other rear yards
6
None
On any lot within 4 feet of any intersection of any driveway with a City street line or ingress/egress right-of-way
4
70%
All other fences, unless provided for elsewhere within this chapter
6
None
C. 
Corner lots. Fences, walls and landscaping located on corner lots shall meet the requirements of § 264-34, Obstruction to vision at corner lots.
D. 
Materials and construction. Barbed wire, chicken wire, pallets, plywood, sheet metal, and construction fencing shall not be used as a fencing material or as any part of a fence.
E. 
Orientation. The finished or ornamental side shall face out from the property.
The street side-yard must be a minimum of eight feet or 10% of the lot width, whichever is greater. The RH-2 District is exempt from this requirement.
A. 
On any corner lot on which a front yard is required by this chapter, no fence, wall or other obstruction exceeding four feet in height above the established grade shall be grown, maintained or erected within 20 feet of the intersection of the curblines forming such corner.
B. 
The only exceptions shall be existing structures or trees where the foliage shall be at least eight feet above grade or except as otherwise provided in § 264-32 along a four-foot fence if such fence is no more than 70% opaque.
If, at time of the adoption of this chapter, the lots comprising 50% or more of the frontage of one side of any street between two intersecting streets are improved with buildings, a majority of which have observed an average front yard having a variation in depth of not more than six feet, the front yard so established shall apply to new buildings and alterations.
Where the side or rear yard in a nonresidential district abuts a side or rear yard of a lot in a residential district, there shall be provided along such abutting lot line or lines a side or rear yard at least equal in depth to that required in the residential district. In no case, however, shall the required abutting side or rear yard be less than 15 feet. Further, no accessory uses or structures, including parking areas or access drives, may be established or constructed within 15 feet of such side and rear abutting lot line.