Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Planning Board?
The Planning Board is a seven member board of local residents that is appointed by the Mayor, confirmed by the City Council and empowered to act on a variety of planning and land use matters. The largest part of the board’s current work load is the review of site plans and special use permits. The board is also responsible for review of amendments to the city’s official map, amendments to the zoning ordinance, recommendations about the adoption of master plans and the processing of subdivisions.

What kind of projects have to go for Planning Board site plan review?
Generally, only multi-family residential projects (three units or above) and commercial or institutional projects that alter the site that they are built upon must seek site plan review. Single- and two-family homes are excluded from the site plan review process.

What determines if a project requires site plan review?
Changes such as the addition of parking spaces, new free standing signs and other newly constructed or expanded buildings or structures added to a site may require site plan review. Changes in the type of use at a site may changes the amount of parking required and thus require site plan review for newly provided parking spaces.

Why does Yonkers have site plan review?
Residents called upon the city to find a way to increase the quality of development that was taking place in Yonkers and site plan review was instituted with the rewriting of the Yonkers Zoning Ordinance in 2000. Site plan review is a process where the city’s planning staff is able to assist the Yonkers Planning Board in the review of development proposals with the goal of ameliorating problems and increasing quality of development.

Site plan review was brought to bear in addition to the building permit process because it allows local citizens serving on the Planning Board to bring their desire for a higher quality community to bear on the development process. Before site plan review under the prior system known as “as of right development” builders were only held to the minimum requirements required under the building code. Under site plan review the Planning Board and its staff can require reasonable changes to projects in order to improve the project or limit its impacts. Simply by having site plan review as a part of Yonkers development codes has increased the quality of development submissions and has caused a better quality of development in Yonkers.