General Information - The Zoning Office position is currently vacant. If you have questions or would like to submit a zoning application, please get an application from the Town Clerk or download the forms listed below. The Town Clerk will accept complete applicationa and any required fee and submit to our contracted Deputy Zoning Officer for processing. The Town anticipates having a Zoning Officer in place by mid July.
The main function of this office is to issue zoning permits for the Town of Bennington and hamlet of Cowlesville. We enforce the Zoning Laws of the Town of Bennington and the New York State Property Maintenance Code and assist Wyoming County with identifying and remedying violations of International Building Codes and Fire Codes. We also receive and respond to resident complaints with regard to building and zoning issues. Building projects, including ponds, pools, decks, roofs and sheds require that a zoning permit be submitted to the Town to ensure that your project complies with Town Zoning Law. Once a zoning permit is approved, you will be referred to the County Building and Fire Codes Office in Warsaw to obtain any needed building permit. They will review your project and schedule any building or construction inspections as required by NYS Building and Fire Codes.
Any construction project within the Town may require a permit and it is the responsibility of the property owner to thoroughly research zoning laws and building code requirements. Please contact the Zoning Office for information and specifications regarding set back, permitted size and height of structures, prior to starting any site preparations or construction.
The Zoning Office is currently only open by appointment.
Please contact the Town Clerk at 585-591-2157 or with zoning questions.
Zoning Board of Appeals
The Zoning Board of Appeals meets as needed on the first Wednesday of the month. Any requests for variances must be received at least three weeks prior to the meeting to ensure that sufficient time is provided for notice of public hearing and notification of any impacted parties.
A variance is a form of relief granted from the strict application the town's zoning law. There are two types of variances we issue: use and area. A zoning variance may only be granted if it meets all the requirements found in the state law plus any other variance standards contained in the local zoning ordinance. Variances can never be issued indiscriminately because property owners choose to construct buildings outside the requirements of the law by choice. The state law prohibits the granting of a variance unless the property owner can convince the board that not granting the variance would cause an "undue hardship." Undue hardship, in this context, means a problem created by some feature of the land rather than a personal problem of the applicant, such as not having as much living, storage or commercial space as he or she would like.
The board of appeals, on appeal from the decision or determination of the Zoning Officer, shall have the power to grant use variances. Use variances are situations where you are requesting a variance from the permitted use of the property such as building a year-round residence in a seasonal district or building an accessory structure (garage, shed, pole barn) in a residential district on a lot without a house, rendering the primary use of the lot as non-residential. No such use variance shall be granted by a board of appeals without a showing by the applicant that applicable zoning regulations and restrictions have caused unnecessary hardship. The Zoning Board of Appeals is required by the State of New York to ask the following questions of every applicant requesting a use variance:
(i) the applicant cannot realize a reasonable return, provided that lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence;
(ii) the alleged hardship relating to the property in question is unique, and does not apply to a substantial portion of the district or neighborhood;
(iii) the requested use variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood; and
(iv) the alleged hardship has not been self-created.
The applicant must prove all of the above to the satisfaction of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the consideration of a use variance.
**The 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.
The zoning board of appeals shall have the power, on appeal from the decision or determination of the Zoning Officer, to grant area variances as defined herein. Area variances are requests to alter the requirements of the zoning law due to unique physical or dimensional characteristics of the lot. For example, a triangular shaped lot makes it impossible to meet both the width at setback and side yard requirements to build a home or the placement of infrastructure (well, septic, gas lines) requires the house to be built closer to a side lot line than is allowed by zoning law. In making its determination, the zoning board of appeals shall take 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 shall also consider:
(i) 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;
(ii) whether the benefit sought by the applicant can be achieved by some method feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than an area variance;
(iii) whether the requested area variance is substantial;
(iv) whether the proposed variance will have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district; and
(v) 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 board of appeals, in the granting of area variances, shall grant the minimum variance that it shall deem necessary and adequate and at the same time preserve and protect the character of the neighborhood and the health, safety and welfare of the community.
More information on Zoning Board of Appeals in New York State can be found here:
Accessory structures (generators, sheds, decks, carports, etc.) 100 square feet or less do not require a zoning permit but must still adhere to the lot line setbacks for the individual zoning districts in which they're located.
The minimum square footage for a single-family home in most zoning districts is 950 square feet.
The minimum road frontage for any district except Planned Unit Development (Highland Glen) is 50' consisting of right-of-ways for flag lots.
Zoning permits are not required for roofing projects where the roof is not being expanded to cover an additional area more than 100 square feet (Example: Applying steel roofing over asphalt shingles and adding a portico less than 100 square feet over the front door). These projects may still need permits with Wyoming County and the resident is responsible for verifying requirements with the County prior to starting work.
If you need to determine what zoning district a property is in, this information can be found on the 2017 Parcel Roster.