Seasonal Use Zoning

While a minimum maintenance road law controls the maintenance regime of the roadway, a zoning law adopted pursuant to Article 16 of the NYS Town Law is a tool to control the use of land adjacent to the road.  Most rural communities wish to allow uses such as seasonal camps along unplowed roads, and generally wish to issue zoning permits for them and allow them to thrive as long as they do not become a year-round plowing burden.  Zoning laws can be tailored to allow such uses by defining them as a use that does not require a plowed road for access.

Uses existing or granted permits predating any revised zoning measure are granted constitutionally protected nonconforming status, and may remain, although often with some restrictions.  Such nonconforming uses may still remain a snow plowing burden in the future if they were not approved as a seasonal use.

Example Language:

Section _____.  Seasonal Use Classification

Purpose: The purpose of this regulation is to provide for the reasonable use of recreational, agricultural and forestry properties which are accessed solely by minimum maintenance roads.  This regulation allows for the reasonable use of such lands for seasonal uses without the prohibitively expensive public cost of providing for wheeled vehicular access through the snow-plowing and the winter maintenance of minimum maintenance roads.

  1. Seasonal use classification is a use classification in addition to the use classifications of Section ___ of this law. Application for seasonal use classification may be made for any use which intends to have its principal access to a minimum maintenance road.
  2. For a use to be established with its principal access to a minimum maintenance road, it must, in addition to the allowed use requirement of Section ___ of this law, also be classified as a seasonal use.
  3. Where a use has access to both a minimum maintenance road and to a non-minimum maintenance road, such use shall have its principal access to the non-minimum maintenance road unless classified as a seasonal use.