Issue 2-9-14 Website - page 5

by Stephen R. Barbeau
Town of LeRoy Supervisor
My final segment of the series
outlining Town/Village Code
deals with the largest and most
complicated section - zoning.
Both the Village and Town have
extensive zoning language but,
un like with many of the previous
codes I cited, due to the nature
of the respective municipalities,
there are many differences.
Therefore, I will confine my
commentary to Town Zoning
Code and will use current town
examples to demonstrate the
code. I will also state that most
of this information comes from
the New York State Department
of State and from legal workshops
presented by various municipal
First, what is zoning and
how does it work? Zoning is a
set of standards that regulate
land use; divides a community
into districts (zones); regulates
building placement, spacing,
and size; and has the overall
goal of avoiding incompatible
land uses. The specifics of a
zoning code should implement the
municipality’s Comprehensive
Plan goals of maintaining the
community’s character (e.g.,
preservation of historic sites,
protection of farmland, protection
of sensitive environments such
as wetlands, preservation of open
spaces, appropriate economic
development). A municipality
runs afoul of thiswhen it ignores its
Comprehensive Plan, consistently
grants variances (exceptions)
to its zoning code, or engages
in “spot-zoning”, defined as the
process of singling out a small
parcel of land for use different
from that of the surrounding area
for the benefit of the owner of
such property and to the detriment
of other owners. Indeed, residents
often determine where they wish
to live based on the zoning of a
particular area.
Currently, the Town of
LeRoy has seven districts in
its code that I will list along
with the predominant permitted
uses (space limitations don’t
allow for an exhaustive listing).
R+A (Residential Agriculture)
generally allows for single or
two-family homes (each subject
to certain size, setback, etc.
requirements), certain home
occupations (further defined),
and farm activities. R-1 (General
Residential) is predominantly
single and two-family homes. R-2
(Medium Density Residential)
is very similar to R-1 with some
differences in what could be
permitted with a special use
permit (explained later on). C-1
(Limited Commercial) allows for
uses in R-1 plus stores, shops,
offices, and banks. C-2 (General
Commercial) allows for uses in
C-1 plus restaurants, motor vehicle
sales, motels, and self-storage
facilities. I-2 (Light Industrial) is
designed to provide an attractive
industrial park type environment
for light industrial activities. I-1
(Industrial) is the least restrictive
and allows for industrial activity
found in LeRoy (e.g., feed mills,
concrete mixing, machine shop,
food manufacturing, mining, etc.).
In each of the districts listed
above, there are a large number
of uses permissible by obtaining a
special use permit. Themost recent
example was where a funeral
home, permitted as a special use
in a R-2 zone, was allowed after
recommended by the Planning
Board and after I contacted area
residents to determine there
was no opposition. Special Use
Permits allow the Town Board to
attach specific requirements in
order for the permit to be issued
(none were in this example) and
are subject to review on an annual
basis. The Special Use Permit
travels with the property and its
use upon sale as long as the use
remains the same (same purpose
and scope).
Se c ond , z on i ng i s a l s o
considered “prescriptive.” That
is, a use is permitted in a zone
if it is specifically listed. It is
not permitted if it is not. The
Town is currently dealing with
the issue of concerts being held
at a campground. While there
is much misinformation being
circulated, as it stands, the issue
is a matter of law/code. In no
place in the current Town Code,
in any district, are concerts (i.e.,
open to the public, advertising,
tickets, parking, security, etc.)
listed as a permitted or special
use. Therefore, the CEO may not
allow anyone anywhere to hold
such (not to be confused with a
DJ playing one day at a backyard
graduation party) until or unless
a change to code is made.
Speaking of changing zoning,
NYS also guards against doing
so in a haphazard manner. In
fact, the focus must be on making
sure there are no adverse effects
to existing property interests.
Therefore, a supermajority of any
vote to allow such is required in
instances where there is majority
opposition by area residents. That
is why Town Engineer Rick Henry
and I have met with area residents
regarding the proposed Genesee
County EDC Project on Rt. 19.
We will continue to involve the
neighbors in the design of the site
to allay any concerns they might
have in the potential rezoning of
the parcel. Usually, with this level
of involvement and cooperation,
significant buffer areas are all
that are necessary to achieve a
harmonious relationship.
Public stewardship of land
use is one of the most important
functions of local government.
It effects the quality of life,
economic development, and
environment of the community.
Please know that I, and the
entire Town Board, are totally
committed to the responsibility of
that stewardship. Thank you and
see you Around Town!
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