USDO Administration

Albany’s Unified Sustainable Development Ordinance (USDO) is a modernized zoning ordinance, designed to integrate land use regulations with sustainable best practices, such that, it incentivizes quality development that balances the interests of our community with protecting our natural environment. The USDO folds all past development-related regulations and overlays into one readable and user-friendly document—making it easier for property owners to pursue their project development, and for the City to undergo a less onerous review process.

Because this is not an imposing one-size-fits-all regulatory document, it is necessary to periodically review and revise the USDO in order to provide the best suited regulations for new or changing conditions, as they arise.  The process to review and amend USDO text or mapped zoning boundaries is outlined in Section 375-5(E)(24).  The Commissioner of Planning and Development is designated as the City's Chief Planning Official and Administrator of the USDO.

Policies & Guidelines

Affordable Housing Guidelines
In 2017, the City of Albany adopted the Unified Sustainable Development Ordinance (USDO) to regulate land use and development within the City and promote sustainable and equitable economic development. Section 375-4(A)(4)(b) established the City's policy for inclusionary housing, but it did not include detailed instructions for administration. As a result, these Guidelines have been adopted by the Department of Planning and Development to implement Section 375-4(A)(4)(b).

USDO Affordable Housing Guidelines
Income and Rent Schedule

Interpretations Issued by the Chief Planning Official
The decisions of the Chief Planning Official are subject to appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals. An applicant may request a formal written interpretation of this USDO be made by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

INT # Topic
052617.001 Building Heights; R-T Conversion Clarification
061617.002 Front Setback in R-V District
072517.003 Accessory Use Non-Conformities
100418.001 Use Classification: Para-medical Micro-Pigmentation
Application of Form-Based Standards to Vehicle Fueling Stations
Application of Development Plan Review to Accessory Parking Lots
Stand-Alone ATM Uses

Zoning Text & Map Amendments
The Planning Board shall review the application, hold a public hearing, and make a recommendation in accordance with Section 375-5(D)(7).
Text Amendments
Topic Status                            
0001 Use Regulations Applicable to Methadone Dispensaries Inactive
0002 New Use Classification: Blood Plasma Center Withdrawn
0003 CUP requirement for 3-Unit Townhouses in R-T Distrct Inactive
0004 Size of Signage in Residential District and Obsolete Signs Adopted
0005 CUP allowance for Artisan Manufacturing in MU-NE District Withdrawn
0006 Alteration of Boundaries of the FP-O District Adopted
0007 Amendments to the USDO pursuant to the initial evaluation period established in §375-5(E)(24)(d)(i) Council Review
0008 Telcom Installations
Green-Blue Roof Incentive Suspension
Blood Plasma Facilities
Parking lots as a conditional use in MU-CU Districts
Council Review
Repeal of Planning Board waivers / conditions for issuance of a permit
Planning Board Review
Map Amendments
ZMA # Topic Status                            
0001 Rezone 10-15 Krank Street, 4-12 Leonard Street & 7-15 Scott Street from R-M to MU-NE
Rezone 151 & 153 Grand Street from MU-FS to LC
Rezone 42-44 Philip Street, 140 Hamilton Street from R-T to MU-NC Adopted
Rezone 180 Sheridan Avenue from R-T to MU-CU Council Review
Rezone 23 & 22-28 Dove Street, 293 State Street from R-T to MU-NE Withdrawn
Rezone 1144 Western Avenue from R-M to MU-NC  

Contact Information

Chris Spencer
Chief Planning Official

Department of Planning & Development
200 Henry Johnson Blvd 
First Floor  |  Suite #3
Albany, NY 12210
Phone: (518) 465-6066
Fax: (518) 434-5294
General Email: