Shawn M. Morse
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City of Cohoes
97 Mohawk Street
Cohoes, NY 12047

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May 21, 2018
4:38 PM


Zoning Board of Appeals  
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The Zoning Board of Appeals considers variances from the Cohoes Zoning Code.  An applicant first applies to the Zoning Officer, which is the City Planner or Director of Building and Planning. The Zoning Officer considers the request against the City’s Zoning Code. If the request does not comply with the City’s Zoning Code, then the applicant should submit paperwork to the Zoning Board of Appeals. 
The Board considers two types of variances: area and use. An area variance examines the portions of the zoning code that outline items such as setbacks, height restrictions, and minimum and maximum square footage requirements for that particular parcel. The Board must consider the following for an area variance to be legally granted pursuant to Section 81 of the General City Law:
1.      The benefit to the applicant if the variance is granted, as weighed against the detriment to the health, safety, and welfare of the neighborhood or community by such grant;
2.      Whether an undesirable change will be produced in the character of the neighborhood or a detriment to nearby properties will be created by the granting of the area variance;
3.      Whether the benefit sought by the applicant can be achieved by some other method feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than an area variance;
4.      Whether the requested area variance is substantial;
5.      Whether the proposed variance will have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district; and
6.      Whether the alleged difficulty was self-created.
A use variance examines the portions of the code that determine permitted uses in the given zoning district. For example, the code does not permit commercial uses in the residential districts. For a use variance to be legally granted pursuant to Section 81 of the General City Law, the applicant must show that the zoning regulation restrictions have caused an unnecessary hardship. In order to prove such unnecessary hardship the applicant must demonstrate that for each and every permitted use under the zoning regulations for the particular district where the property is located:
  1. The applicant cannot realize a reasonable return, provided the lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence; 
  2. The alleged hardship relating to the property in question is unique and does not apply to the substantial portion the district or the neighborhood;
  3.  The requested use variance if granted will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood;
  4. The alleged hardship has not been self created.
The Board meets once per month on the fourth Wednesday at 6:30pm in the Common Council Chamber of City Hall, 97 Mohawk Street, Cohoes, NY. Applications are available on the website at under Forms Center. Submit completed application and supporting materials to the Department of Building and Planning.
Zoning Board of Appeals Members
Theresa Thibodeau, Chairwoman
Joyce Baranski, Vice Chairwoman
Mark Cotch
Gary Sawyer
Michael Briggs

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