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Saratoga Springs Greenbelt

Planning for a Citys success

Maps, plus excerpts from

Saratogas planning documents,
that illustrate the foundation
of Saratogas
City in the Country
planning vision

Saratoga Springs Watershed: Wetlands, Wetland Checkzones, Streams, Lakes

( NYS DEC data: Regulatory Freshwater Wetlands - )

Areas with marsh-like vegetation are DEC wetlands. Curving light blue areas are DEC checkzones.
See and

There are approximately 3,200 acres of freshwater

wetlands identified and regulated by the NYS Department
of Environmental Conservation within the City. Wetlands
are indicated on [Saratoga Springs] Open Space and
Recreational Resources map.
A large portion of the Citys wetlands are part of a massive
ecosystem located to the east of the Adirondack Northway
that includes the Spring Run and Bog Meadow brooks, Owl
Pond, Lake Lonely, and the Kayaderosseras Creek. Among
other benefits, wetlands provide valuable habitats for fish
and wildlife, control storm water runoff and floods, and
water purification.
From the Saratoga Springs Open Space Resources 2002:
An Update to the 1994 Open Space Plan, p. 17

These maps are for informational purposes only and are intended to be used as a guide for landowners and project
sponsors. If you are in, or near a wetland as shown on these maps, you should contact your regional DEC office for
more information about how to proceed with your project.
These maps show only those wetlands that are currently mapped or officially proposed for addition to the
wetland maps and currently regulated under the New York State Freshwater Wetlands Act. They do not show ALL
wetlands that may be present in an area. There may be additional wetlands on a site that may be protected under
local or federal law. This map information is also available as paper maps or as digital data.
DEC occasionally amends the regulatory maps to correct errors, such as inaccurate boundaries or wetlands that
are missing from the maps. These amendments are conducted through a formal process that includes public notice
and an opportunity to comment on the accuracy of the amendment. When official notice of the amendment has
been placed, the area proposed for addition becomes regulated and the proposed amendment changes will be
included on the website. When new maps are completed, they are filed in the offices of local government clerks. At
that time, the boundaries on this website are also updated.
Around every state-protected wetland is an adjacent area that is also subject to regulation in order to help
better protect the wetland against surrounding disturbance. This adjacent area is a minimum of 100 feet, but has
been extended for a limited number of particularly sensitive wetlands.
Wetland classifications: Wetlands are classified from Class I (which provide the most benefits) to Class IV (which
provide fewer benefits). The classification is based on the work that wetlands do, such as storing flood water and
providing wildlife habitat. The system for classifying wetlands is contained in the Freshwater Wetlands Mapping and
Classification Regulations. Information about how any individual wetland was classified is contained in program files
at the regional DEC office in which the wetland is located.
New York's freshwater wetlands maps only show the approximate location of the actual wetland boundary. They
are not precise, regardless of how closely you zoom in on the map. The "check zone" is an area around the mapped
wetland in which the actual wetland may occur. If you are proposing a project that may encroach into this area, you
should check with your regional DEC office to make sure where the actual wetland boundary is. If necessary, they
may have a biologist come out and perform a field delineation for you to help you avoid impacts in the wetland or
the regulated 100-foot buffer zone.

The Greenbelt of Saratoga Springs

a nearly contiguous greenbelt around the urban core which defines and shapes
the Country in the City in the Country vision
of this comprehensive plan.
from Saratoga Springs 2001 Comprehensive Plan, p. 44

The 2001 Comp Plan laid out two mechanisms

for defining the Greenbelt surrounding Saratoga Springs
1. the COUNTRY OVERLAY AREA: this is the more inclusive area and formed the basis
for various parts of the Zoning Ordinance, including the Gateway Design District 1
(Zoning Ordinance, Section 3.2), that establishes guidelines for "preserving and
maintaining a rural "Country" character ... [along Routes 50 and 9] ... to
complement the natural conditions of the neighboring Spa State Park."
2. the CONSERVATION DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT: when the Zoning Ordinance was
revised to conform to the 2001 Comp Plan, the CDD land use category was largely
translated into Rural Residential 1 (RR-1)

The Greenbelt of Saratoga Springs: the Country Overlay Area

a nearly contiguous greenbelt around the urban core which defines and shapes the Country
in the City in the Country vision of this comprehensive plan. [2001 Comp Plan, p. 44]

Hash mark areas indicate Country Overlay Area from map

prepared in 2000 by Open Space Project
Solid light green areas indicate additional areas of Country Overlay
Area listed in 2001 Comprehensive Plan, p. 44.

The map of the Country Overlay Area illustrates the open spaces that
remain and that are important to be considered in the preservation of
city character. In a general way, the Country Overlay Area depicts a nearly
contiguous greenbelt around the urban core which defines and shapes
the Country in the City in the Country vision of this comprehensive
plan. The map illustrates the diverse open space resources that
collectively convey a sense of the traditional settlement pattern a dense
urban core with a distinct edge surrounded by open lands that
characterizes the historic settlement pattern of Saratoga Springs.
From the Saratoga Springs 2001 Comprehensive Plan, p. 44
[Section 4.3: Establishment of Country Overlay Area]
The Open Space Project prepared a map of the Country Overlay Area in April 2000.
This became Figure 1 of the 2001 Comprehensive Plan.
The text of the 2001 Comp Plan added two additional areas: the tracks and the Route 50 arterial heading out to Exit 15.
These additional areas have been included in the 2014 digital representations of the Country Overlay Area.

The Greenbelt of Saratoga Springs: the Country Overlay Area (with wetlands, checkzones, & watershed)

Establishing this innovative approach to the Country Overlay Area

Improve the City's open space resources by encouraging
development in the other Special Development Areas and
limiting suburban sprawl.
Clarify the City's wants and expectations for the preservation of
open space character, make the approval process more efficient
and clear, and encourage general community interest and
participation in the planning process early rather than confront
later reaction to development proposals inconsistent with the
"City in the Country" vision.
Improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of infrastructure
and service provision in the outer district by limiting suburban
From the Saratoga Springs 2001 Comprehensive Plan, p. 44
[Section 4.3: Establishment of Country Overlay Area]

Saratoga Springs: Future Land Use Map (Comp Plan draft, May 27, 2014)

The Greenbelt of Saratoga Springs: the Country Overlay Area (with Future Land Use map)

Because the balance between the city and the country is

fundamental to the general health, welfare and economic
viability of the community, this plan sets out to define and
enhance the country within the City's jurisdiction.
Since the development of the towns surrounding Saratoga
Springs is indeed beyond the citys control, the city must take
proactive measures to preserve the greenbelt surrounding the
urban core.

From the Saratoga Springs 2001 Comprehensive Plan, p. 44

[Section 4.3: Establishment of Country Overlay Area]

The Greenbelt of Saratoga Springs: the Conservation Development District

from the Future Land Use Map (Comp Plan draft, May 27, 2014)

The Greenbelt of Saratoga Springs: the Conservation Development District

(with wetlands, checkzones, and watersheds)

Saratoga Springs: Zoning Map (December 2013 revision)

Saratoga Springs: Zoning Map (December 2013 revision)

(with Conservation Development District)

The Comprehensive Plan lays out future land uses in broad terms.
The Zoning Ordinance translates those into more detailed, parcel-specific terms.
The 2001 Comp Plan designated much of the 'country' as Conservation
Development District. For the most part, the Zoning Ordinance classified those
areas as Rural Residential 1 (RR-1).
The table below summarizes uses in RR-1 from the current Zoning Ordinance.
Comp Plan
Land Use

ZONING ORDINANCE (current as of June 2014)


Uses And

Uses Permitted
Site Plan

Uses Permitted
Special Use
Permit And Site
Plan Approval

Accessory Uses
And Structures


Single Family


Animal Kennel,
Farms, Riding
Stable, Nurseries,
Golf Course &
Private/Civic Clubs,
Heliport, Marinas &
Neighborhood Bed
& Breakfast,
Rooming House

Farm Stand, Barns &

Outdoor Athletic
Field and Court
Facilities, Private
Home Occupation,
Accessory Dwelling,
Family Day Care,
Group Family Day

Comp Plan Land

Use Map (draft

Conservation Conservation
Development Development
District (CDD) District (CDD)

Saratoga Springs: Zoning Map (December 2013 revision)

(with wetlands and watersheds)

In fiscally challenging times, it is particularly important to understand and

consider fully the economic benefits of open space.

While the environmental and recreational benefits of open space

preservation are readily apparent, the many economic benefits are often less
evident. For example, benefits provided by open space, such as water
preservation and storm water control, are often significant.

In many instances it is less expensive for a community to maintain open space

that naturally maintains water quality, reduces runoff, or controls flooding
than to use tax dollars for costly engineered infrastructure projects such as
water filtration plants and storm sewers.
When these benefits, also known as ecosystem services, are overlooked,
open space protection may be considered an expense rather than an
investment that can mitigate property tax increases, leading to land use
decisions that do not accurately weigh costs and benefits.
from Economic Benefits of Open Space Preservation (2010)
Office of the NYS Comptrollers Office
Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller

Saratoga Springs: Open Space Resources map (2002)

The Country Overlay Area includes:

Private recreational lands and institutional open space
resources such as the Saratoga National Golf Course, Yaddo,
and the racetracks.
Public recreational lands including the Saratoga Spa State Park.
Designated wetlands and stream corridors
Rural and scenic viewsheds including Exit 14, Union Avenue,
Route 9P to Saratoga Lake, Adams Road, Locust Grove Road,
Geyser Road near Route 50,
Route 9 south, Lake Avenue, Ballston Avenue, Route 50 north
to Exit 15.
Linkages to provide natural corridors for wildlife, to
accommodate the citys growing trail and recreational system,
and to promote greater accessibility to existing areas.
Farm land, including lower West Avenue, outer Lake Avenue,
and the northwest agricultural area of the city.
From the Saratoga Springs 2001 Comprehensive Plan, p. 44
[Section 4.3: Establishment of Country Overlay Area]

2002 Wetland Photography Contest

The theme of the 2002 wetland photo contest
was the functions and values of wetlands.
[Newtons photograph was] featured on an EPA
poster illustrating how protecting and restoring
the natural resources and functions of wetlands
have both economic and environmental benefits.

Bear Swamp is a traditional, historic

name for the wetland area east of
the Northway, south of Union Ave.
Bear Swamp was labeled on the
land use maps included in the 1976
Comp Plan, the first plan prepared
after passage of federal and state
legislation regarding floodplains and