Town of Aurora
REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN NOTES
Plan Prepared by Wendel Duchscherer Architects & Engineers
- preserve community character
- properly manage future growth and development
- preserve and promote recreational opportunities
- provide for economic development
- protect environmental resources
- maintain and enhance the existing transportation system
Expanded Town of Aurora Goals & Objectives
- preserve and enhance existing cultural resources, including the library facilities
- reduce the fiscal burden upon existing development when providing infrastructure for new development
- plan for and foster a balance and diversity of uses in the Town to control the cost of and need for public services
- focus commercial growth in the vicinity of the Village but at a size and scale that is compatible with the surrounding community and that doesn't induce sprawl
- focus new commercial and industrial growth on lands already set aside for these uses before designating new areas
- encourage the use of and provide incentives for alternative energy sources to conserve natural resources
- properly plan development to reduce automobile dependency for trips between the Town and Village
Most recent efforts for region (in terms of any type of comprehensive plan or study)
- Aurora, Wales and EA had Comprehensive Plans prepared under the Urban Planning Assistance Program of the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (Aurora - prepared in 1980-Basic Studies, and 1981-Comp Plan and Implementation Plan).
Existing Conditions in Communities
- Majors parcel (160 acres located south of Village): plans to develop a park on that site
- Town of Aurora: cognizant of negative impacts on its residents relating to the poor quality and quantity of water. Improvements and upgrades are ongoing, and since 1986 more than 120,000 linear feet of waterline (22 miles) has been installed in the Town of Aurora, with 80,000 feet (15 miles) installed since 1996. Target areas for future services include Rte 20A corridor as well as along the path of the railroad and Rte 240 in West Falls.
Findings and Recommendations
- Elma, EA and Aurora would be considered second ring suburban communities (transition between first ring of suburbs and rural), and Wales and Holland rural communities.
- Elma and Aurora are now beginning to come under direct growth pressures from the expanding growth ring around the City of Buffalo (demonstrated by higher growth rates of these two communities)
- Aurora under development pressures (less than Elma) from Town of OP and from growth coming out of Village of EA.
Summarized Needs/Desires of Aurora
- strongly favors preserving rural character and controlling growth, although there are differing opinions on what this means
- economic opportunities are needed, but not at the sake of community character or the synergy with the Village
- development should be concentrated near the Village and in areas of proper infrastructure.
- Village should be maintained as focal point of Town
- services should be provided in an efficient and economic manner, without impacting intrinsic resources such as character.
Zoning Issues in Communities
- Aurora: zoning ordinance needs more up-to-date (neo-traditional type) standards to address protection of rural character, such as cluster development regulations; proper locations must be found for appropriate commercial and light industrial development. The key words in locating commercial/industrial areas are "proper" and "appropriate." Much discussion has taken place over where this type of development should take place and what it should be.
Preserving Community Character: Town of Aurora Recommendations
- create a new zoning district for rural residential development that allows single-family residential development only, on lots with a minimum of two acres, and residences with barns and other facilities for keeping animals, such as horses.
- for agrarian areas, such as those found in the eastern portion of the Town, a new agricultural district could be created (or the existing one revised) to allow farms, associated agricultural uses and small family-operated businesses (in association with farming practices).
- areas presently around the Village of EA noted as growth areas should be zoned rural residential until appropriate plans and utilities are available. At that time, rezoning for higher density residential use could be considered.
- architectural standards or guidelines should be adopted to control aesthetics
- (a zoning overlay restricts certain kinds of development in designated areas) zoning overlays should be created for the West Falls hamlet and the areas around the village, stressing major entranceways into the village. Overlays will focus on architectural standards or guidelines for these areas.
- sewer extensions should be primarily focused on commercial or high density residential development around the Village. In all other areas, sewers should not be extended (unless significant public health and safety problems exist that warrant such action).
- preserve and protect natural barriers to growth like creek corridors, steep slopes, wetlands, large stands of mature vegetation
- identify significant areas for open space preservation.
- intensity, size and scale of development should be controlled through appropriate growth management standards and measures. Following the development strategies in this plan should help to avoid the need for roadway widening (that would result in loss of street trees and roadway foliage) and other such improvements to increase roadway capacity.
Management of Future Growth and Development: Town of Aurora
- coordinate revisions to zoning ordinances revisions and other regulation updates with the extension of public water. This extension of water will also affect growth patterns in the Town. Therefore, the zoning revisions are recommended in this plan should be prioritized in those areas receiving public water.
- education programs concerning care and maintenance of septic systems should be started. Town should contact the US Natural Resource Conservation Service, County or other agencies to provide this education program. Research availability of grants or low interest loans for property owners to help fix older, potentially failing septic systems
- continue participation in Southtowns Water Consortium.
- sewer extensions should only be targeted in growth areas around the village, priority given to potential commercial/industrial/business areas surrounding the village in the town.
- zoning code and zoning district revisions to consider:
* remove existing agricultural "A" zone and make a new agricultural (residential) district
* create a rural residential zoning category
* no rezoning to allow for standard-higher density existing road frontage development (i.e. strip frontage zoning/development)
* don't treat the growth transition area in West Falls like the area around the Village. Stay as it is presently zoned
- subdivision code changes to consider:
* subdivisions should provide mandatory buffers along designated stream corridors identified in the plan.
* create rural development guidelines that could apply to all proposed subdivisions in the agricultural zone and the rural residential zone.
* creative cluster development regulations should be adopted to address rural subdivisions in non-sewer areas, with important environmental features.
* subdivision of land taking place within or near the hamlet areas (West Falls, South Wales) should consider provisions for accessibility.
* consider requiring all subdivisions have Planning Board approval, including minor subdivisions and major lot divisions.
- take actions to maintain and improve West Falls as a rural service center hamlet.
* hamlet zoning category surrounding commercial frontage areas should be created. Would be flexible enough to allow mixed-use support areas in a rural character; would allow rural commercial uses and allow accessory residential uses (apartments above)
* West Falls hamlet zoning overlay over entire hamlet area
* walkability should be important focus
* West Falls Library should remain in operation and services should be expanded, if warranted
* pursue possible streetscape improvements along Rte 240 corridor.
Economic Development: Aurora Recommendations
- (it is the goal of town officials to establish new areas for commercial and light industrial businesses within its borders outside the incorporated village)
(cons of economic expansion in Aurora: hurt rural character and lead to sprawl; compete with village businesses and may lead to failure of established businesses; doesn't have necessary infrastructure; environmental impacts)
(pros of economic expansion in Aurora: need balanced development to improve tax base; provide employment opportunities so younger residents remain in the area; need diversity of shopping opportunities; can help support village businesses)
- (additional areas that may be considered for expansion: Rte 20A west of Village-near Commerce Green; Rte 400 exit in Aurora north of Rte 20A east of the exit; western part of the Town at the northeast corner of Rte 20A and Stoney Brook Road-for light industrial)
- acknowledge the importance of the village as focus of economic activity in the town
- continue small business development in West Falls, consider allowing additional areas to be rezoned to commercial use
- implement an overlay district in West Falls that would provide criteria and standards for commercial projects and also provide some direction on residential development.
- any development that occurs along Rte 16 south of Village must be compatible with surrounding uses, and does not directly compete with Main St. corridor in the Village.
- Plan recommends that the Rte 16 corridor (from village line out to Rte 400) be targeted for commercial uses, such as office parks and limited retail development, start-up business incubator, office facility with support services, or possibly light industrial uses. Commercial recreational facilities, such as the existing driving range or a skating rink, are also compatible uses. Retail uses should be limited in scale and type, and preferably be part of a mixed-use development. Large-scale retail uses (big boxes) should not be allowed along the Rte 16 corridor, between the Village boundary and Blakeley road.
- new zoning category that allows low density single family homes and small commercial businesses by special permit on Rte 16 as it continues south from Rte 400 to Blakeley Rd. Consider special permits for commercial operations, code would require consideration of size and character of use, how it fits into rural character of area, its buffering from residential uses and avoidance of agricultural uses
- throughout Rte 16 corridor, consider a road frontage overlay district to address architecture, building and parking setbacks, location and layout of parking, landscaping/greenspace, etc. also, overlay district for entire area.
- could establish a unique "Planned Business Area Development" ordinance, which would include the types of commercial and/or industrial uses that would be allowed , set forth design requirements (setbacks, sizes, appearance, greenspace, protection of environmental features, etc.) . "PBAD" would be a "floating" zone, not attached to any physical space in the town. If an appropriate plan is submitted to the town, town could rezone the land to the "PBA."
- explore feasibility of industrial park-style development on Rte 20A near western Village border in vicinity of existing Commerce Green Industrial park. Good because existing water lines, and Rte 20A is a major transportation route. Adjacent uses would be compatible (Commerce Green and Highway Garage), some vacant lands available.
- explore a light industrial development off Rte 20A near the Rte 400 interchange east of Village. Not as well suited as location West of village, but there is land available for development and adequate transport access. Con: lack of infrastructure. Any industrial development would have to be carefully screened and landscaped to protect character of area and buffer adjacent residential uses. Should not allow retail development. Town must carefully study potential site layouts, design standards and type of use considerations before it is approved.
- in northeast corner of Route 20A and Stoney Brook Road as site for potential business development. Located in agricultural district. Non-residential use should be low intensity and considerate of environmental features in area.
- potential for tourism along stretch of Rte 78/16 opposite Knox State Park. Presently zoned for business.
- farming should be supported.
Recreational Opportunities: Aurora and East Aurora Recommendations
- (problems with capacity, especially Hamlin Park and Town Pool; demand for more sports facilities) (maintain Majors property for passive recreation)
- prepare an Open Space/Recreation plan to identify appropriate lands for future recreational use and/or environmental conservation; address demographic trends to accommodate needs of residents (youth and elderly)
- demand for a more extensive trail system; connect population centers of Village with outlying facilities (High School); improve utility easements and roadway shoulders in Village to enhance opportunities for hiking and biking.
- examine recreational needs and facilities for youth particularly in West Falls
- cooperate with School District; encourage School District to evaluate potential for developing recreational facilities on vacant property adjacent to Parkdale Elementary
- increased points of access along Cazenovia Creek corridor
- revitalize Emery Park. Suffers from lack of maintenance. Support for the reestablishment of the Emery Inn for some type of small commercial activities (catering, conferences, restaurant, lodge, etc)
- use of old railroad line in Town for a rails-to-trails project (coordinate with surrounding communities, County and State)
- accurately assess impact of Knox State Park on village and town. Work to make sure the park master plan is responsive to demand for local recreational activities (ball fields, trails, picnic space, etc)
- new residential development should include some provision for increased recreational demand. Where feasible, land should be provided within the development for rec. use.
Community Vision: Aurora Vision Components
- (major features affecting the vision: Village of EA, rural agrarian character of adjoining Town of Wales, Rte 400 Expressway, Rte 20A corridor, West Falls and South Wales hamlets, and Cazenovia creek corridors)
- growth areas around village, extending south to schools and southwest to west branch of Cazenovia creek, northward into Town of Elma (towards Rte 400 Maple St Exit), west to Seneca St. (and Knox Estate Park), east to Rte 20A/400 interchange. Concentrates future development around Village to support local businesses and afford logical infrastructure extensions (sewer). Remain rural residential in nature until infrastructure made available and proper plans maintaining character of area are presented to Town (look also for neo-urbanist designs)
- park features concentrated in growth area and around two hamlets
- "agricultural/conservation protection area:" should include new agricultural zoning district and environmental protection standards (area bounded by Emery County Park and South Wales community, Lapham Rd in north and Underhill Rd to west) (includes agricultural properties and east branch of Cazenovia Creek corridor)
- two distinct areas in West Falls:
* linear hamlet along Rte 240 (mixed use of residential, rural commercial businesses and hamlet support features (community facilities))
* hamlet growth area surrounding that corridor (residential development area supporting the hamlet) (should be tied into hamlet area, kept "walkable")
- Northwest portion: contains farms, traversed by west branch of Cazenovia Creek; provides growth buffer to west in Orchard Park, provides rural character that leads to westerly entrance into EA; intended to be mainly rural residential and agrarian in nature, could include zoning overlay to protect features of area
- balance of proper commercial and industrial usage; should be targeted and strategically located to best service community, protect rural character, compliment village and surrounding region (suggestions):
* two hamlet areas (West Falls and South Wales) provide opportunities for rural commercial uses, mixed with residential, to help keep hamlets vital and viable; would provide commercial convenience services to surrounding areas
* proposed targeted commercial area outside of village on Rte 16. From village to Rte 400 crossing would provide area of restricted commercial growth in environmentally limited area. New zoning category would restrict size, scale and type of business operation. Not intended to compete with Main St or be developed as major retail center
* commercial corridor extend further south on Rte 16, from Rte 400 Expressway to Blakeley Rd; another new commercial zoning category would allow residential homes and very targeted rural type commercial businesses on larger lots; could be controlled through special use permits
* light industrial/office park area on vision map targeted for possible expansion of light industrial uses; be a logical extension to Commerce Green as existing park begins to fill in; help meet future demand; strict design standards
* two other light industrial/office park areas are long-term planning areas; consider in the future as the need may arise;
-- area east of Rte 400 is isolated from Village, matches some of development pattern in Town of Wales, is close to transportation features and infrastructure in Village.
-- area to west, at northeast corner of Rte 20A and Stoney Brook Rd is also long-term planning area; potential for future infrastructure connections into Orchard Park, includes positive attributes: soils are good, area is fairly isolated, some existing commercial-type usage (greenhouse and garage) exist in area, good transportation corridor, good buffers to surrounding land uses, offers least amount of conflicts with agricultural properties. Drawback: isolation and location within rural/resource protection area. Any development would be low density in nature, protect local environmental features, maintain area's rural character. Rezoning would be ok only if plans are presented that meet these requirements
- remainder of town denoted as rural residential, includes low-density residential areas that are anticipated to see more limited growth of single-family homes
- zoning overlay around stream corridors. On-street trails represent roadways that tie together major features of the community, consider for bike lanes, widened shoulders, or in some cases sidewalks.
Implementation: General Section
- first step is to designate an Advisory Committee as entity(s) responsible for implementation of document; establish biannual review to determine progress and continue to review and update plan
- Priority 1 Actions: should be completed first and are anticipated to take place in first two years after adoption
- Priority 2 Actions: can take place after a particular priority 1 action takes place or as the community desires in the years 1-5 after plan adoption.
- Priority 3 Actions: either long-term actions (those that may or may not be necessary depending on future scenarios) or are alternative ideas for certain priority 1 or 2 actions (that may not achieve desired results). Considered "Tool Box" actions
Town of Aurora Implementation
- Priority 1: adopt plan and advisory committee; establish annual budget for implementation of Regional Comprehensive Plan
* zoning issues: rewrite agricultural zoning district and make it standard agricultural
zoning district (no hierarchical uses);
- create new rural residential zoning category;
- rezone land as indicated in plan to recommended new categories;
- for Rte 16 corridor area south of Village, decide whether new commercial zoning district, tailored to issues discussed in RCP, should be created, or a planned business development area zone ordinance (floating zone). Create selected ordinance, adopt and enforce it.
* other codes and regulations: amend Site Plan Review regulations to lend more
focus to issues of community character, traffic impacts, aesthetics and historic
- research what neo-traditional techniques would be best suited for town (budget for year 2); prioritize areas for use of new techniques, but include waterline extension areas as high priority, consider adoption of these tools for these areas as water is extended;
- cluster development regulations created that can be utilized in rural areas and for small road frontage subdivisions;
- establish procedure for review and approval of minor subdivision actions (4 lots or less) and for large lot divisions (lots 5 acres or more in size);
- research and develop rural development guidelines for town and add references in subdivision regulations
* cooperative efforts: RCP Committee should meet 2X a year for first 2 years, then
annually thereafter, with reps from other participating committees to discuss
implementation, issues & problems, potential revisions to Plan, possible joint
projects or agreements between communities;
- request input from EA and other communities about things that may have impact;
- continue part in Southtowns water consort; talk with village concerning economic development issues;
- cooperative planning with NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on Knox State Park facility (including EA and Elma);
- work with Erie County on Master Park Plan in identifying needs of Emery Park; - work with EA to site, design and construct a joint municipal building in central portion of Village;
- work with School District in assessing recreational opportunities in Town; cooperate on possible large scale developments; develop neo-traditional techniques consistent with other towns; complementing not competing with Village for retail commercial areas;
- begin dialogue with other communities about regional open space/ stream corridor preservation committee;
- begin planning regional transport study with EA and GBNRTC;
- consider amending site plan review and subdivision regulations to allow for better review of transportation impacts in region;
- ALL FIVE communities develop similar site clearing standards;
- work with other communities (and US Nat Resources Conservation Service) to develop erosion and sediment control guidelines to protect creek corridors from impacts of development and excessive stormwater runoff;
- work together to adopt best management practices (BMPs) for use of fertilizers and pesticides, road salt use and application, disposal of hazardous materials (seek assistance of US National Resource Conservation Service);
- establish committee to jointly focus on open space and stream corridor conservation, public access along creeks, water quality issues;
- investigate cooperative agreements for recreation (like EMW sports);
work with town of Wales and County in formulating Hamlet Plan for South Wales based on Regional Comprehensive Plan
* other actions: research and implement educational programs on septic systems in
areas of waterline extensions
- Priority 2 (years 3-5): complete comprehensive plan annual report and note Priority 1 options that have not been completed. Target and reprioritize those actions. Assess any subdivision and site plan activity that occurred in previous years to make sure it is compliant with Regional Comprehensive Plan. Evaluate impact of Priority 1 implementation items that were completed. Recommend Prior 2 items to be completed in upcoming year; establish annual budget for Regional Comprehensive Plan
* zoning issues: create overlay districts for West Falls business corridor, for specific
areas around village;
- create new Hamlet zoning category for West Falls hamlet and/or consider creating West Falls zoning overlay for entire hamlet (coordinate with above);
- consider rezoning additional areas in West Falls hamlet for commercial/mix use development (may necessitate new zoning category);
- complete rezoning of appropriate lands to new rural-residential zoning category
+ draft new regulations and prioritize land to be zoned to these categories, follow procedure to make these changes
+ costs: 5K-10K
* other codes and regulations: create general architectural standards for
- amend subdivision regulations to reference regulations/requirements for developing near watersheds, require creative road frontage developments when proposed (can have penalties of larger lots if creativity is not utilized), require buffers along designated stream corridors;
- investigate amending subdivision regulations to include making provisions for recreation in designs;
- evaluate effectiveness of rural development guidelines established in year 1, consider other non-traditional tools such as open development areas. Consider making use of certain techniques (rural development, clusters, open development areas) in certain areas and for certain conditions
* cooperative efforts: research possible sewer extensions around village, Begin
- begin discussion with village about companion industrial park development adjoining Commerce Green (concurrent with sewer extension work);
- work with Erie County in prioritizing and beginning improvements at Emery Park (Emery Inn);
- regional farmland protection plan should be considered, communities should evaluate business support issues including tax incentives, financing packages and economic development grants, plan will ensure farms are treated as businesses and that they get support like businesses in the community;
- consider regional open space/corridor protection plan;
- form regional tourism committee (help better coordinate actions of legislative boards);
- complete regional coordination/access management traffic study;
- work with County, State, GBNRTC (MPO) in accommodating pedestrian and bicycle access;
- explore increased public transportation or creative alternative modes of transport connections to downtown Buffalo;
- pursue regional wetlands regulations with other communities to regulate non jurisdictional wetlands no longer regulated by Army Corps of Engineers;
- together with Elma and Holland, work cooperatively with NY State Department of Environmental Conservation and US Natural Resource Conservation Service to design watershed management strategies and best management practices for Cazenovia Creek;
- investigate through joint committee ability to connect regional features through trail system;
- work with Holland to assist Wales in development plan of hamlet plan for South Wales hamlet;
* other actions: identify and map important viewsheds and open space features in
Town (utilize comprehensive plan as basis with Geographic Info System -- GIS),
consider completing up-to-date open space/green space plan;
- research, plan and look for financing to improve West Falls school as community center, also identify need to expand library services;
- prioritize connective features that can be accomplished in Town;
- investigate possible development of tourism related to Rte 78/16 area opposite Knox State Park;
- Priority 3: historic preservation standards or guidelines should be adopted to preserve and protect important structures (especially West Falls hamlet areas);
- provide sewer extensions in areas around village to accommodate denser
- necessary roadway improvements, to address drainage and safety concerns, should
not include sidewalks, curbing and possibly street lighting, in outer rural of Town;
- areas around village with infrastructure improvements (water and sewer) should be
considered for rezoning to R1, R2 and R3. Improve overlay zoning requirements in
areas to protect character;
- add poor soil condition requirements similar to town of Elma to require increased lot
sizes in areas of poor "percolation" (lots up to 5 acres);
- implement accessibility improvements in and around West Falls and South Wales
- pursue streetscape improvements along Rte 240 corridor in West Falls;
- greater coordination between businesses and school system to ensure availability of
local labor pool;
- zoning changes in area of Rte 20A near 400 interchange to accommodate light
- zoning changes in Stoney Brook area to accommodate business development
(dependent on need and availability of sewers);
- consider expanding State Agricultural District in eastern part of Town (near Wales
- consider reconstructing Rte 400 interchange at Rte 20A (full service access);
- protect railroad corridor from unacceptable uses and lobby to maintain service
corridor commuter usage and possibilities of inter-modal transport;
- work with other communities to develop regional recreational facility such as pool,
skating rink, etc;
- consider acting with surrounding communities in designating important stream
corridors as Critical Environmental areas (CEAs);
- improve designated road shoulders to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles;
- create and improve points of access along Cazenovia Creek for scenic viewing and
- consider abandoned railroad line in southwest area of Town for Rails-to-Trails
- pursue joint efforts to address issues that affect regions by pooling resources, filing
joint grant applications for funding, undertaking mutual studies, establish joint
- Aurora population growth numbers:
+ population in Aurora outside Village grew by about 8% between 1990 and 2000. Projections suggest continued growth at similar pace
+ rate of residential construction since 1990 has about 34 single-family units per year on average. 38 units in doubles and apartments were permitted in past decade
+ town's goals & objectives indicate support for growth towards areas of town in or adjacent to village and controlling growth in areas without services or along rural road frontages to protect community character.
+ present growth rates do not show significant increase in population numbers in Town.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
Aquifier - an underground source of water that lies within or between water bearing layers of permeable rock, sand or gravel.
Agricultural Preservation - a variety of techniques employed to help support farming as an economic activity and farmland as a land use.
Central Business District - the area of the Village or a hamlet, consisting of retail, commercial, institutional and public service establishments, that functions as the primary location for commerce
Clustered Development - Clustered Development is a design technique for development projects that concentrates residential buildings in specific areas on a site to allow the remaining land to be set aside for recreation, common open space or environmental preservation. This is done by allowing housing to be constructed on smaller lots as long as the original density (the number of houses that can be built as-of-right on the property under the existing zone) does not change.
Conservation Easements - Conservation Easements are a legal means of controlling development on a particular parcel in order to preserve open space. Lands subject to Conservation Easements have controls or regulations limiting development.
Corridor (stream, scenic, open space, habitat) - a connection linking open space, wildlife habitats or other environmental features.
Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC) - The Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council is the interagency planning group that establishes transportation policies and programs for Erie and Niagara Counties. In 1975, the GBNRTC (which was known as the NFTC - Niagara Frontier Transportation Committee) was designated the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) responsible for transportation planning in these counties. The organization provides a regional decision-making forum for the development of a multi-modal integrated transportation system that best serves the Niagara Frontier.
Housing Stock - the overall supply of housing in an area, including all sizes and styles of residential development.
Hydric Soils - soils are considered to be hydric if they are saturated, flooded or impounded long enough during the growing season to develop low oxygen levels and changeable chemical conditions in the upper layer. These soils are very poorly drained and have a high probability of containing wetlands.
Infrastructure - the underlying framework of public works systems that includes sewers, water lines, roadways, drainage piping and other utility service systems.
Level of Service - this term refers to a measurement of the amount of automobile traffic on roadways. Level of Service or LOS, as defined in NFTC 2010 Transportation System Plan, is a qualitiative measure describing the operational conditions within a stream of traffic. It is a means of quantifying or "grading" the operational quality of service provided by a roadways facility (NFTC, December 1994). LOS employs a rating system of "A" through "F", with "A" representing the best conditions with minimal delays and "F" representing failing conditions with extensive congestion.
Neo-Urbanist Concepts - Neo-urbanist, or neo-traditional, planning concepts emphasize mixed-use development reminiscent of traditional "small-town" type development. Traditional grid street patterns are preferred. Additional design standards typically found in neo-urbanist plans include smaller building setbacks so that buildings create a street-line, use of public buildings or parks as focal points in design, and pedestrian-friendly features, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, benches and street trees.
Overlay District - an overlay district is created by identifying an area on a municipality's Zoning Map and specifying additional regulations to supplement the underlying zoning regulations. The underlying zoning of the area does not change. Rather, additional restrictions are overlain onto the district. When development is proposed within the boundaries of an overlay district, the developer must comply with the requirements of the existing zoning district and the overlay district.
Passive Recreation - passive recreation involves non-strenuous activities such as picnicking, bird watching, casual walking and scenic viewing.
Planned Unit Development (PUD) - Planned Unit Developments (PUD) allow the mixing of commercial, industrial and residential uses on a single property. Typically zoning does not allow mixing uses, but this technique allows for a more creative site plan, subject to municipal approval. The usual use of PUDs is the creation of a planned community, with a proper mix of uses and layout. If they are allowed within a municipality, the Code specifies the minimum size of a PUD (acreage), and the requirements that must be followed. It must be understood that this zoning category is not an "open approval" to all uses. A plan must be submitted and approved by municipal authorities. A subcategory of PUDs is the Planned Residential District, or PRD. In this zoning category only residential uses are allowed, but there is greater leeway in the mixing of housing types (single-family, duplexes, apartments, condos, etc.).
Subdivision - The division of any parcel of land into two or more lots for immediate sale or development with or without streets or highways.
Transfer of Development Rights - This is a legal mechanism for preserving land and open space, by allowing denser development elsewhere within the municipality. In the areas identified for protection, the "development rights" can be sold or transferred to a receiving area, where denser development is appropriate. The area that purchased the development rights is allowed increased density (more units per acre, for example). In exchange, development is prohibited in the area selling the development rights.
Wetlands - those areas which are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency of duration sufficient to support, or that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands include bogs, swamps, marshes, cattail ponds, wet forests and meadows. These areas may not be wet or covered by water throughout the year.
Zoning Districts - In a municipality there exists zoning which tells you what can be built on the property (the use), and how it shall be built on the land (bulk requirements including size, height, etc.). Each zoning district has specific regulations regarding uses and bulk that must be followed. The zoning districts are identified through a zoning map that depicts where the boundaries of the zoning district exist.