Zoning Board of Appeals

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Authority to vary the provisions of Chapter 220, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Niskayuna is granted to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) by NYS Town Law. Municipalities are required to have a ZBA to ensure there is a “safety valve” to keep Zoning restrictions from being overly rigid when there are unique hardships. ZBAs are granted two appellate functions: the review of applications for use and area variances, and the power to render interpretations of the zoning regulations. The Town of Niskayuna ZBA typically meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month to hear appeals from residents. 

AREA VARIANCES
An Area Variance is authorization by the Zoning Board of Appeals for the use of land in a manner which is not allowed by the area, dimensional, or topographical requirements of the applicable regulations of Chapter 220.

In making its determination, the Zoning Board of Appeals takes into consideration 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. In making such determination the Board considers:
  • 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.
  • Whether the benefit sought by the applicant can be achieved by some method, feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than an area variance.
  • Whether the requested area variance is substantial.
  • Whether the proposed variance will have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district.
  • Whether the alleged difficulty was self-created, which consideration shall be relevant to the decision of the Board of Appeals, but shall not necessarily preclude the granting of the area variance.
The Zoning Board of Appeals only grants the minimum variance necessary, if any, to balance the benefit sought by the applicant with preserving and protecting the character of the neighborhood and the health, safety and welfare of the community.


USE VARIANCES
A Use Variance is authorization by the Zoning Board of Appeals for the use of land for a manner, purpose or use which is otherwise not allowed or is prohibited by the applicable zoning regulations of Chapter 220.

No such variance shall be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals without a showing by the applicant that applicable zoning regulations and restrictions have caused unnecessary hardship. In order to prove such unnecessary hardship the applicant shall demonstrate to the Board of Appeals that:
  • Under applicable zoning regulations, the applicant cannot realize a reasonable return, provided that lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence.
    The alleged hardship relating to the property in question is unique and does not apply to a substantial portion of the district or neighborhood.
  • The requested use variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood.
  • The alleged hardship has not been self-created.
The Zoning Board of Appeals, in the granting of use variances, shall grant the minimum variance that it shall deem necessary and adequate to address the unnecessary hardship proven by the applicant, and at the same time preserve and protect the character of the neighborhood and the health, safety and welfare of the community.

Board Members
Name Title Term
John J. Hoke Chairperson 2029
Katrina Pacheco   2025
Nicolas G. Ltaif   2028
Vincent J. Daly   2026
Patrick Antonikowski   2030
Richard Greene   2024
Erik Dollman   2027
William Stein Alternate 2024
Peter C. Trimarchi Alternate 2023
Joseph Gentile Alternate 2024
VACANT Alternate  
VACANT Alternate  
Alaina Finan Town Attorney  
Laura Robertson, AICP Town Planner