New York Consolidated Laws, General City Law - GCT § 37. Subdivision review;  approval of cluster development

1. Definitions.  As used in this section:

(a) “cluster development” shall mean a subdivision plat or plats, approved pursuant to this article, in which the applicable zoning ordinance or local law is modified to provide an alternative permitted method for the layout, configuration and design of lots, buildings and structures, roads, utility lines and other infrastructure, parks, and landscaping in order to preserve the natural and scenic qualities of open lands.

(b) “zoning districts” shall mean districts provided for in subdivisions twenty-four and twenty-five of section twenty of this chapter.

2. Authorization;  purpose.

(a) The legislative body of the city may, by local law or ordinance, authorize the planning board to approve a cluster development simultaneously with the approval of a plat or plats pursuant to the provisions of this article.  Approval of a cluster development shall be subject to the conditions set forth in this section and in such local law or ordinance.  Such local law or ordinance shall also specify the zoning districts in which cluster development may be applicable.

(b) The purpose of a cluster development shall be to enable and encourage flexibility of design and development of land in such a manner as to preserve the natural and scenic qualities of open lands.

3. Conditions.

(a) This procedure may be followed at the discretion of the planning board if, in said board's judgment, its application would benefit the city.  Provided, however, that in granting such authorization to the planning board, the legislative body of the city may also authorize the planning board to require the owner to submit an application for cluster development subject to criteria contained in the local law or ordinance authorizing cluster development.

(b) A cluster development shall result in a permitted number of building lots or dwelling units which shall in no case exceed the number which could be permitted, in the planning board's judgment, if the land were subdivided into lots conforming to the minimum lot size and density requirements of the zoning ordinance or local law applicable to the district or districts in which such land is situated and conforming to all other applicable requirements.  Provided, however, that where the plat falls within two or more contiguous districts, the planning board may approve a cluster development representing the cumulative density as derived from the summing of all units allowed in all such districts, and may authorize any actual construction to take place in all or any portion of one or more of such districts.

(c) The planning board as a condition of plat approval may establish such conditions on the ownership, use, and maintenance of such open lands shown on the plat as it deems necessary to assure the preservation of the natural and scenic qualities of such open lands.  The legislative body of the city may require that such conditions shall be approved by the legislative body of the city before the plat may be approved for filing.

(d) The plat showing such cluster development may include areas within which structures may be located, the height and spacing of buildings, open spaces and their landscaping, off-street open and enclosed parking spaces, streets, driveways, and any other features required by the planning board.  In the case of a residential plat or plats, the dwelling units permitted may be, at the discretion of the planning board, in detached, semi-detached, attached, or multi-story structures.

4. Notice and public hearing.  The proposed cluster development shall be subject to review at a public hearing or hearings held pursuant to section thirty-two of this article for the approval of plats.

5. Filing of plat.  On the filing of the plat in the office of the county clerk or register, a copy shall be filed with the city clerk, who shall make appropriate notations and references thereto on the city zoning map.

6. Effect.  The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to authorize a change in the permissible use of such lands as provided in the zoning ordinance or local law applicable to such lands.

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