Handy Charts on City Website Lay Out Proposed UDO Changes in City’s Neighborhoods

In response to the public’s request for information to help better understand the myriad of proposals in the UDO, Deputy Mayor Lisa Shields has put together some very helpful charts comparing proposed changes in the various zones with current regulations.

Although the focus of many comments at various meetings has often been on changes proposed for the UR3 zone, it is important to understand that lot size reductions, setbacks, uses and other changes in building requirements are being proposed in almost all areas of the city.

Go to the zoning map on the city website to identify the area where you live, then go to the charts now available on the UDO page of the city website to see the changes proposed for your neighborhood. Thanks again to Deputy Mayor Shields for making this information more accessible and easier to understand.

Comments submitted about the UDO have now also been posted so it is possible to see the issues others in the community are focusing on. The comment period has been extended until February 21 on this first draft and comments may also be submitted on this UDO part of the city website.

The final public forum for this phase of review of the UDO will be held on Tuesday, February 18 at 5:30 at the city Recreation Center, 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Remarks may also be made at the pubic comment period preceding the City Council meeting that will begin at 7PM.

3 thoughts on “Handy Charts on City Website Lay Out Proposed UDO Changes in City’s Neighborhoods”

  1. Seriously, JK……..how many voters/citizens of Saratoga Springs will be able to understand this? I follow local politics and feel like I can grasp most of the zoning board, planning board, council meetings, etc. but how many other people out there really and truly pay attention to proposals like this one? This looks like a well planned, after election strategy.

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  2. I must commend the Deputy Mayor (and of course, this discussion site) for providing more clarity to a subject that few understand or can comprehend with the exception of those who might find themselves routinely referring to current city legislation and those city officials and staff who are charged with administering these documents.

    I am glad that the height of structures in most residential zones has been reduced to 40 feet, given the legally pre-existing-non-conforming residential building stock that we have in this city. I am puzzled by some decisions, most notably, side yard reductions. I often wonder how many people know what the purpose of a side yard is for. Imagine an approved 40-foot-tall structure (or previously 60 foot) with an acceptable 5-foot setback. Ideally, the overhang of these structures should be measured from its face to the boundary line (for good reason), less that distance may be reduced even more by as much as one foot. Five feet is just enough to locate detritus and approved whole house air conditioning equipment, etc., but how is the rear of the property accessed in emergencies or for that matter, locating something as benign as a 30-foot ladder to maintain and service this building? One answer is that the base of a 40-foot ladder (extended safely to 37 feet) is 10 feet. Nine feet for a 36-foot ladder. Something to consider. There is a new house on Ludlow Street that has a residence (second principal building) on its UR-3 parcel that I find puzzling, given its loss of clear access to that second structure by emergency first responders.

    The very few legally pre-existing-non-conforming UR-4 parcels in the city that permit two principal buildings generally exist on large lots sometimes providing their owners with two classifications on either ends of their property. Simply declaring one’s choice of classification will determine if that parcel is granted the ability to maintain its two existing structures as principal building or be forced to somehow connect the structures to accommodate the definition of one principal structure. Union Avenue has several examples of this anomaly.
    As I have stated, I am most concerned about the reduction of areas associated with UR-3 properties, currently implied as a measure to bring conformity to these districts, which in itself is an oxymoron. I have found few properties within these districts that conform to one another. Size being one of them. As Bona fide legally pre-existing-non-conforming, they pose little threat to the residents and have never posed a problem for securing either mortgages or improvement loans, except maybe now for those who may be inclined to compulsively create an order from disorder. The fact is, the order of disorder best defines these districts, and I believe that the UR-3 district being targeted for this exercise, must have some other purposes.

    It has been long held by our community that the inner city is the place to increase density, yet the almost sanctimonious outer district is to be treasured for its green belt comparison where nothing is to be added, not even a Waterfront Park that was highly discouraged back in the day by those residents who feared bus loads of swarthy sooty residents from the inner core migrating out to the fresh air and waters for day trips. Perhaps a bit dramatic, yet from someone who remembers well those discussions, we’re never too far away from some promoting growth, except not near them.

    What is the purpose of the UR-3 development plan? The Westside is sandwiched between two transect zones, so is it natural to assume that the density of the Greater West Side will become denser? That 10,000 SF threshold (that can be attained by bundling two UR-3 parcels after reducing their required area to 5,000 SF opens the door to less restrictive zoning. I believe that the discussion of this reduction (to 5,000) did not consider that the current requirement for a two-family single structure in a UR-3 parcel is 8,000 SF. Is this discussion about conformity or simply a new development frontier that will create new dense residential ‘hamlets’ on a street near you?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Jim!

      You said:
      “It has been long held by our community that the inner city is the place to increase density, yet the almost sanctimonious outer district is to be treasured for its green belt comparison where nothing is to be added, not even a Waterfront Park that was highly discouraged back in the day by those residents who feared bus loads of swarthy sooty residents from the inner core migrating out to the fresh air and waters for day trips. Perhaps a bit dramatic, yet from someone who remembers well those discussions, we’re never too far away from some promoting growth, except not near them. ”

      One of my favorite run-on-forever sentences!
      Loved the swarthy snooty residents bit.

      You are truly gifted.

      -JC 😉

      Like

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