Frequently asked questions

How do I know if I will need planning or zoning board approval?


The city's zoning ordinance defines which projects will need to go through the planning and zoning boards. If you would like the Planning Department to make a determination on whether or not your project will need these approvals, please submit a zoning verification letter request form indicating the property address, your proposed use, and all other information requested.




How long does the planning and zoning process take?


Because meetings are held once per month for each board, please be prepared for your approval process to take between 45-60 days. For projects of a larger scale, applicants should be prepared for a multi-step process that accounts for preliminary site plan approval, zoning variances, and final site plan approval before obtaining building permits. This process can take up to a year depending on the project's scale.




How do I know if my project is minor or major?


Projects that are less than 3,000 sq. ft. or considered Type II SEQR actions are often considered "minor". Projects that are more than 3,000 sq. ft. or consisdred Type I or Unlisted SEQR actions are often considered "major". Please note that scale is determined on a project-by-project basis. Your determination of scale will be provided in your Zoning Verification Letter.




I am moving my business into a turn-key storefront, do I need planning or zoning board approval if I'm not making any changes to the building?


Applicants with proposals that do not require changes to the exterior of the building such as changes of use/change in tenants are encouraged to request Administrative action for minor site plan approval. Administrative action is permissible per the city's zoning ordinance and allows the Director of Planning to grant minor site plan approval. If you would like to request administrative action, please make an appointment with the Building and Zoning Administrator to walk through your building and determine if your project is eligible.




I have recieved planning approval for my residential project, now what?


Residential projects that have received all necessary planning approvals will become eligible to apply for building permits. Please note that all residential projects that involve rental units are required to submit for the Rental Dwelling Registry and obtain Certificates of Occupancy for each unit that will be rented. Please contact the Building Department at (518) 465-1693 for assistance.




I have recieved planning approval for my commercial/mixed use project, now what?


Commercial/mixed use projects that have received all necessary planning approvals will become eligible to apply for building permits. All mixed use projects that involve rental units are required to submit for the Rental Dwelling Registry and obtain Certificates of Occupancy for each unit that will be rented. All commercial uses will be required to obtain an Operating Permit and a Certificate of Use. These will need to be renewed on an annual bases. Please contact the Building Department at (518) 465-1693 for assistance.




Does my planning/zoning approval expire?


Yes, all approvals have expiration dates. Please see below. Use or Area Zoning Variance: If you have not obtained a building permit to construct the building or part thereof for which the variance has been granted and initiated the construction work within two years from the date of the granting of the variance, said variance shall become void OR If you have obtained a building permit and allowed it to expire before completing a substantial portion of the construction, your variance shall become void. Zoning Interpretation: Zoning interpretations do not expire. Rather, they set a precedent for all future action. Site Plan: If you have not obtained a builiding permit or made substantial progress on your project within one year of approval, your site plan approval will expire. Specail Use Permit: If you have not obtained a builiding permit or made substantial progress on your project within six months of approval, your special use permit will expire. PLEASE NOTE: Special use permits are granted at the discretion of the Planning Commission. If a project with a special use permit is determined to be put to improper use, it may be rescinded by the Planning Commission.





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