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You can determine your zoning district by using our online mapping tool, MapGeo. You can look up relevant zoning information by providing the address or Tax ID number of the property in question. For more detailed instructions, please click the link here.
First you must determine what zoning district the property is located in (see #1 above). Once you find the zoning district you will refer to the Permitted Use Table found here. The Permitted Use Table will list each zoning district and specify if a use is permitted, not permitted, conditionally permitted, or permitted as an accessory use. If you don’t see your proposed use listed or aren’t sure how to classify it under the terms provided, please inquire with the Planning Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cannabis dispensaries are a permitted use in certain commercial zoning districts but are prohibited from operating in any residentially zoned areas. To learn more about where cannabis dispensaries may be located and to use our interactive map please click the link here. Cannabis related licenses are only issued by the NYS Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and not by the City of Albany. For additional details on what's required to open a cannabis dispensary in the City please click the link here.
The first step is identifying what type of business you would like to open, how it’s classified in the city code, and if it’s allowed in the area or building you selected. A list of allowable uses, which includes categories of businesses and commercial establishments can be found in the Permitted Use Table, here. Certain types of uses or businesses may require a more extensive review by the Department of Planning and Development. For most general retail, a Change of Use application filed with a Building Permit from the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance, may suffice.
You must apply for a Zoning Compliance Certificate through the Department of Planning and Development. The application can be found here. The application fee for a Zoning Compliance Certificate is - $50 for a Basic Certificate, and $100 for a Detailed Certificate. The fee may be submitted via check or money order, made out to the City of Albany Treasurer. The completed application set and fee, must be submitted to the Department of Planning and Development.
You can see if you’re located within a historic district by using our online mapping tool, MapGeo. You can look up relevant zoning information by providing the address or block and lot number of the property in question. If the property card shows HR-O (Historic Resources-Overlay) under ‘Overlays’ then the property is located within a local historic district. For more detailed information, please click the link here.
Yes, any exterior alterations or repairs to a property that are visible from a public right-of-way requires a Certificate of Appropriateness. Exterior work may include, but is not limited to the following: window and door replacement, masonry repair or repointing, siding replacement, and stoop repair or replacement. A certificate of Appropriateness application is reviewed under the Historic Resources-Overlay Review Guidelines. Certificate of Appropriateness application materials can be found here.
All applications submitted to the Historic Resources Commission (HRC) require a Master Application form and Certificate of Appropriateness application form. Applications that are heard by the Historic Resources Commission include Certificates of Appropriateness, Historic Property Hardship Waivers, and Demolition Reviews in certain circumstances. The Procedure Summary Chart is located here. All application forms can be found here. Each application provides a submittal checklist, identifying the required documents. The submittal and meeting schedule for the Historic Resources Commission is located here. Incomplete applications will not be accepted or referred to the Historic Resources Commission for their consideration.
Yes, the USDO has regulations related to dimensional standards. Most standards are based on the zoning district of the property, while some apply more generally. You can find the dimensional standards for residential districts here, mixed-use districts here, and special purpose districts here.
Yes, there are regulations for signs. Most signs require a building permit, however, there are some exemptions noted in the code and found here. Regulations for signage is generally based on the zoning district of the property. Table 375.409.1, found here, outlines what types of signs are permitted at a property, as well as the number, height and size allowed by zoning district.
Yes. City regulations cover the type of building materials allowed, orientation, height and opacity. Fences in front yards cannot exceed 4 feet in height and a maximum opaqueness of 60%. Fences located in any side or rear yard, including corner side yards, cannot exceed 6 feet in height, except in the I-1 and I-2 Districts, where they cannot exceed 8 feet in height. Additional regulations and or standards may apply and can be found here. A building permit is required before constructing a new fence or replacing an existing fence.
Yes, these types of structures are permitted but they must be accessory (secondary) to a principal use. Accessory structures must comply with the required front setbacks for the principal structure to which they are secondary. They must also be setback a minimum of 2 feet from the side and rear lot lines with some minor exceptions. Sheds in residential zoning districts can be no larger than 200 square feet. All accessory structures must comply with the impervious lot coverage found here.
Driveways may be permitted if they meet the access and circulation requirements, found here, and obtain a Right-of-way access permit from the Department of General Services. Parking areas or lots may be allowed as accessory, but most zoning districts do not allow for standalone parking areas or lots. You can see where parking lots are allowed by viewing the Permitted Use Table here. Parking lots must comply with the standards found in the USDO here, and may require a more extensive review by the Department of Planning and Development based on the number of spaces proposed.
First, determine the zoning district using the online mapping tool, MapGeo. Then, refer to the Permitted Use Table, located here. A more extensive review may be required for the additional units, to determine if an additional review is required refer to the Residential Conversion standards per the USDO, found here. To determine the number of permitted units in a Residential or Mixed-Use district, refer to the USDO’s Dimensional Standards Summary Tables, found here.
Certain types of businesses are allowed to operate out of a home, if they meet the requirements of the Home Occupation – Use-specific standards, found here. Certain types of activities or businesses are not permitted to operate as home occupations and are listed in the Use-specific standards found in the link above.
Swimming pools are permitted as accessory structures only. This means they must be placed on a lot with a principal structure. Pools must be located in the rear yard, behind the main structure or house and placed a minimum of 6 feet from any side lot line and a minimum of 10 feet from any rear lot line. A 6 foot fence that encloses the pool is required. An above ground pool must comply with the impervious lot coverage found here.
A Café Permit, also known as a Revocable Sidewalk Privilege Application, may be obtained by submitting a sidewalk café application, found here. Applications to operate a sidewalk café must include detailed drawings that comply with the standards outlined within the application, the required fee and proof of insurance.
An applicant must obtain a letter of denial which states why the proposal does not comply with the provisions of the USDO. The applicant must then submit the appropriate application forms based on the type of relief or variance from the code which they are seeking. This can be an area variance, use variance, interpretation, or a substitution of nonconforming uses. The application forms are available on the city website, here, and contain filing instructions and a list of required documents. The fee schedule can be found here. The application fee may be submitted via check or money order, made out to the City of Albany Treasurer. It is recommended that you contact the Department of Planning and Development prior to submitting an application.
All applications submitted to the Planning Board require a Master Application form. Applications that are heard by the Planning Board include Conditional Use Permits, Major Development Plan Review Applications, Major Subdivisions of Land, Demolition Review, District Plan Approval, Design Review of Tall Buildings, USDO Text Amendments, and Zoning Map Amendments. The Procedure Summary Chart is located here. All applications are located here. Each application provides a submittal checklist, identifying the required documents. The fees are located within the associated application. Additionally, the fee schedule per the USDO is located here. The fees may be submitted via check or money order, and made out to the City of Albany Treasurer. The submittal and meeting schedule for the Planning Board may be located here. Incomplete applications will not be accepted or referred to the Planning Board for their consideration.
Any major structural changes to an existing building, new construction, demolition and some site modifications require a building permit. Minor changes to a structure may require a permit. To find out if you need a Building Permit, please reach out to the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance to discuss your project.