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Planning & Zoning FAQ


The Planning Board is appointed by the Village Board and consists of five members and one alternate. Board members are volunteers and they may also be your neighbors! The Board helps implement the Sackets Harbor Zoning and Subdivision Law which regulates land uses within the Village. It plays a role in how our community looks, “feels”, and at times, how it changes.

The Zoning Law outlines the scope of the Planning Board’s powers and duties. By far, the Board’s most common functions are:

  • Site Plan and Special Permit Reviews regulating specific uses in specific locations within the Village;
  • Subdivision Review for individuals wanting to divide a parcel into two or more lots; and
  • Acts as the “Historic Review Board” to evaluate the historic and architectural compatibility of regulated activities within the Historic Overlay District.

Basically, when a property owner wants to change the use, add on to their business or residence, build a garage, shed, or fence, all such actions require a zoning permit.

Depending on the property’s zoning district the Zoning Enforcement Officer may be empowered to approve a zoning permit with no further local reviews. However, some actions, particularly within the Historic Overlay District, may require Site Plan Review by the Planning Board to evaluate the proposed activity in terms of its impact on the community’s resources. In reviewing any application, the board considers public safety, aesthetics, and potential impacts on local resources prior to making its decisions.

Public participation and comment are always encouraged, through the public hearing process. The Planning Board meets at 7:00 on the third Wednesday of each month. Erika Maitland, the Deputy Village Clerk is the Planning Board’s “administrative assistant” and is an excellent point of contact for additional information regarding application requirements, meeting agendas, and related matters.

Current board members are: Mike Smith, Stasse Perkins, Merle Tousant, Dick Stephens, Janet Quinn, and alternate Craig Parker. These individuals serve the community throughout the year and are required to attend annual training programs. Thanks to this dedicated group of volunteers!


A Zoning map, which illustrates the Zoning districts, is available on-line from the Village website. Sackets Harbor Zoning and Subdivision Law – Sackets Harbor, NY (
General Zoning application for activities outside the Historic Preservation Overlay District along with a sketch plan.
General Zoning Application with site-plan review for activities within the Historic Preservation Overlay District.  A NYS Long-form Environmental Form is also required.
A basic permit cost $35 and generally can be reviewed and approved within a few days. If the application has to be reviewed by the Planning Board- Please submit original and 6 copies of the application.  Applications requiring site-plan review by the Planning Board cost $50.  Applications must be submitted 14 days prior to a Planning Board meeting (3rd Wednesday of the month).  A complete application and successful review/approval may be achieved within 30 days, it is rare that a review takes more than 60 days.

Application forms are available from the Village website.  They must be returned to the clerk with the fee.

Sheds and fences are structures that require a permit.  Sheds must meet setback dimensions from property lines.  Placement should be illustrated on a site-map submitted with an application.
Sheds and fences erected within the Historic Preservation Overlay District are subject to site-plan review and approval by the Planning Board.

 Our Zoning Law states:

“No building or structure shall be erected, enlarged or demolished, no use shall be instituted, changed, or enlarged, and no other action governed by this Local Law shall be initiated until a zoning permit has been issued.”

In simple terms Zoning relates to use of a property and the footprint of structures on it.  The control of uses, dimensional requirements, and basic design standards help protect the character of neighborhoods and the investments property owners make in their properties. Uses permitted in each Zoning District are identified in Table 1 of the Village’s Zoning law and dimensional standards are identified in Table 2.

Properties within the Village’s Historic Preservation Overlay District are subject to additional review standards to protect the historic resources of that district.  With the exception of ordinary maintenance and repair, most cases of exterior changes are subject to review and a Zoning Permit or site-plan review and approval from the Planning Board.

Information on the requirements of the Zoning Law can be found on the Village’s Website, Sackets Harbor Zoning and Subdivision Law – Sackets Harbor, NY (,  Additionally I can help clarify and answer any questions regarding the law and application process,  Jim Corbin, Zoning Enforcement

Fees vary depending on the level of review. Fees are established to cover the Village’s administrative costs. 

Current fees for “routine” actions/reviews are:

    • $35 basic Zoning Permit
    • $50 for a Zoning Permit requiring Planning Board or Zoning Board Review
    • $85 for applications requiring both Planning Board and Zoning Board review.

Complex reviews may have fees that exceed these amounts and will have fees determined by the estimated costs to the Village.

The Planning Board is responsible for creating a list of acceptable materials and colors within the Historic Overlay District.  Generally speaking any color within the “historic palette” of most commercial paint manufacturers would likely be acceptable.

All fences require a permit.  A fence is considered a structure and the construction of all structures within the Village require a Zoning Permit.

In 2021 the Village Board amended the Zoning Law to address and put standards on the keeping of fowl in the Village.
If your property is over 5000sq/ft in area you can have hens, roosters are not permitted.  Section 3-7, Table 2, notes how many birds you can have in relation to the size of your property (most properties within the Village can have up to 6 hens).  Hens must be in a fenced area and are not permitted to run free.  A coop and pen are required and must be located in the rear yard, no less than 10 feet from property lines and 20 feet from habitable structures on adjacent properties.  Other provisions and information can be found under Section 3-7 within the amendment: 2021 No. 2 To Amend The Village Of Sackets Harbor Zoning – Sackets Harbor, NY (

Yes, there are not setbacks for fences/walls, however, our Zoning Law requires that the finished side shall face outward, there are height and material restrictions, and fencing cannot be constructed in manner that can constitute a hazard.  Generally speaking it is advised that fencing not be placed within easements or right-of-ways or closer than 10 feet from the road edge.

Sheds require the same setbacks as the principal structure, except that accessory structures not used for human habitation, having a footprint less than 120 square feet, do not exceed 12 feet in height, or are not used for the housing of animals may encroach halfway into the required setbacks.

In addition to the standard Zoning Permit Application a NYS Long-form SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) form (Part 1) is required. Additional materials like elevations, catalog cuts of materials used are advised and may be required. Zoning Applications are available from the Village office or Click here.


Permits are required for the construction, enlargement, demolition of any structure or for a change of use of a property within the Village.  A “structure” essentially is anything constructed and attached to or on-top of the ground.  This can be a building, shed, pool, wall/fence etc. 

Structures and uses within the Historic Overlay District carry some additional requirements for a permit and review.  Essentially any exterior change will require Historic Review to make sure the work is compatible with the structure and surrounding structures within the district.

Zoning Applications are available from the Village office or click here.

View map of historical district borders. Click here

Arial Zoning Map



Outside the Historic Preservation Overlay District painting and roof replacement are considered maintenance and repair and do not require a permit.
Within the Historic Preservation Overlay District re-painting with the same colors is maintenance and repair, no permit required.  A change of color to a color from a pre-approved list only requires a Zoning Permit.  Colors not on the pre-approved list must have site-plan review and approval by the Planning Board.
Within the Historic Preservation Overlay District roof replacement with similar materials or materials from a pre-approved list only requires a Zoning Permit.  A change of materials or materials not on the pre-approved list requires site-plan review and approval by the Planning Board.
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