The City of Kingston's Form-Based Zoning Code

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A sketch shows an imagined new building on a parking lot in Midtown Kingston.

The City of Kingston’s zoning code, called Kingston Forward, is a form-based code that regulates the location, design, alteration, occupancy, and use of structures and the use of land. It is designed to make it easier to develop in Kingston while protecting what makes our City so unique. The code was adopted on August 2, 2023. The code won the prestigious 2024 Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Award.

Some noteworthy priorities:

  • Diversify housing types, prices, and locations
  • Introduce new mandates and incentives for affordable housing
  • Design streets for everyone, not just cars
  • End minimum parking requirements in all transects
  • Allow adaptive reuse of existing buildings
  • Legalize accessory dwelling units (ADUs) Citywide
  • Legalize neighborhood businesses and mixed-use development
  • Ensure that new development contributes to the City’s historic urban form

To access the Form-Based Code and its Regulating Maps, please access the Online Zoning Portal to the right. A PDF version may also be found here.

To see the previous version of this page that describes the process leading up to adoption, see: engagekingston.com/kingston-forward-archive





Not sure where to start?


A zoning code regulates how land is used, what you can do with it, and what can be built.

In a form-based code, each parcel in the City is designated as a transect or special district. Each type of transect defines building form, the intensity of use, and what you can use a site for. The code divides Kingston into 5 transects that range from the least developed (T1) to the most developed (T5). Special districts are designed to capture specific and/or existing parts of the city. There are also overlays for other special cases (like historic districts or extra height opportunity) that may apply in addition to a site's transect or special district.

In addition to transect standards, a form-based code also has general standards that control characteristics, form, design standards, and incentives. Additional standards outline rules for specific parts of development like street design, usable open space, and large sites.

To understand what this means for you, you can begin by searching for a parcel in the interactive zoning map and looking at the property details on the left side of the page.

For more definitions, processes, and tips, see the City's development guide! This guide offers more information on how to use the form-based code. Additional materials and resources can also be found on the right-hand side in the "resources" section of this page.

As part of the adoption of the new zoning code, the City of Kingston has a goal to approve 1,000 new units of housing between 2024 and 2029. Progress toward this goal is tracked in the housing dashboard here.


I’ve reviewed the new zoning code and I’m ready to start my project.

Where do I go next?


If you’re creating or enlarging any building (except for a one, two- or three-family residence outside a historic district) or changing the use or the intensity of an existing use, or if you require a special permit, you’re likely going to need site plan approval. The form-based code has an expedited Minor Site Plan Review Process for qualifying projects and a Major Site Plan Review Process for everything else. Major site plans require review by the Planning Board. To start this process, fill out the pre-application determination form on the Planning Department’s page.

If you're putting in a new sign or replacing an existing sign, you should file a Signage Application with the Planning Office.

If you don’t need site plan approval, you can apply for a Building Permit online via the Building Safety Department. If you’re looking for a zoning code interpretation, you can contact the City’s Zoning Enforcement Officer at (845) 331-1217.

The City of Kingston’s zoning code, called Kingston Forward, is a form-based code that regulates the location, design, alteration, occupancy, and use of structures and the use of land. It is designed to make it easier to develop in Kingston while protecting what makes our City so unique. The code was adopted on August 2, 2023. The code won the prestigious 2024 Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Award.

Some noteworthy priorities:

  • Diversify housing types, prices, and locations
  • Introduce new mandates and incentives for affordable housing
  • Design streets for everyone, not just cars
  • End minimum parking requirements in all transects
  • Allow adaptive reuse of existing buildings
  • Legalize accessory dwelling units (ADUs) Citywide
  • Legalize neighborhood businesses and mixed-use development
  • Ensure that new development contributes to the City’s historic urban form

To access the Form-Based Code and its Regulating Maps, please access the Online Zoning Portal to the right. A PDF version may also be found here.

To see the previous version of this page that describes the process leading up to adoption, see: engagekingston.com/kingston-forward-archive





Not sure where to start?


A zoning code regulates how land is used, what you can do with it, and what can be built.

In a form-based code, each parcel in the City is designated as a transect or special district. Each type of transect defines building form, the intensity of use, and what you can use a site for. The code divides Kingston into 5 transects that range from the least developed (T1) to the most developed (T5). Special districts are designed to capture specific and/or existing parts of the city. There are also overlays for other special cases (like historic districts or extra height opportunity) that may apply in addition to a site's transect or special district.

In addition to transect standards, a form-based code also has general standards that control characteristics, form, design standards, and incentives. Additional standards outline rules for specific parts of development like street design, usable open space, and large sites.

To understand what this means for you, you can begin by searching for a parcel in the interactive zoning map and looking at the property details on the left side of the page.

For more definitions, processes, and tips, see the City's development guide! This guide offers more information on how to use the form-based code. Additional materials and resources can also be found on the right-hand side in the "resources" section of this page.

As part of the adoption of the new zoning code, the City of Kingston has a goal to approve 1,000 new units of housing between 2024 and 2029. Progress toward this goal is tracked in the housing dashboard here.


I’ve reviewed the new zoning code and I’m ready to start my project.

Where do I go next?


If you’re creating or enlarging any building (except for a one, two- or three-family residence outside a historic district) or changing the use or the intensity of an existing use, or if you require a special permit, you’re likely going to need site plan approval. The form-based code has an expedited Minor Site Plan Review Process for qualifying projects and a Major Site Plan Review Process for everything else. Major site plans require review by the Planning Board. To start this process, fill out the pre-application determination form on the Planning Department’s page.

If you're putting in a new sign or replacing an existing sign, you should file a Signage Application with the Planning Office.

If you don’t need site plan approval, you can apply for a Building Permit online via the Building Safety Department. If you’re looking for a zoning code interpretation, you can contact the City’s Zoning Enforcement Officer at (845) 331-1217.

Have a question about how to use the City of Kingston's Form-Based Code? Feel free to ask it here!

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  • Share Hi, Thank you for answering my previous question. I hope you can abide with another question. Concerning signage, can exterior wall nameplates include a telephone number? Thank you, again. Roger Bennett on Facebook Share Hi, Thank you for answering my previous question. I hope you can abide with another question. Concerning signage, can exterior wall nameplates include a telephone number? Thank you, again. Roger Bennett on Twitter Share Hi, Thank you for answering my previous question. I hope you can abide with another question. Concerning signage, can exterior wall nameplates include a telephone number? Thank you, again. Roger Bennett on Linkedin Email Hi, Thank you for answering my previous question. I hope you can abide with another question. Concerning signage, can exterior wall nameplates include a telephone number? Thank you, again. Roger Bennett link

    Hi, Thank you for answering my previous question. I hope you can abide with another question. Concerning signage, can exterior wall nameplates include a telephone number? Thank you, again. Roger Bennett

    roger bennett-architect asked 20 days ago

    Yes, so long as signs meet any applicable sizing requirements, they can contain phone numbers.

    Thanks,

    Bartek

  • Share how may i find out the property dimensions of a lot? thank you on Facebook Share how may i find out the property dimensions of a lot? thank you on Twitter Share how may i find out the property dimensions of a lot? thank you on Linkedin Email how may i find out the property dimensions of a lot? thank you link

    how may i find out the property dimensions of a lot? thank you

    roger bennett-architect asked 21 days ago

    To find out the lot area, you can go to: https://map.gridics.com/us/ny/kingston-adopted

    Search the property in question and scroll to "Lot Area" under "Property Details." 

    These numbers are based on the latest Ulster County land records. To find exact information, you'll need to conduct your own survey. 

    Thanks,

    Bartek

  • Share where can I find the bulk requirements for SD-MF district? on Facebook Share where can I find the bulk requirements for SD-MF district? on Twitter Share where can I find the bulk requirements for SD-MF district? on Linkedin Email where can I find the bulk requirements for SD-MF district? link

    where can I find the bulk requirements for SD-MF district?

    AD asked 2 months ago

    To find bulk requirements for any special district, take a look at the special districts map (pg. 28 here) and find your parcel. You'll see three numbers listed (FAR, height in stories, maximum lot coverage)

    You can also have the option to use the large site standards for any special district, likely giving you the option for greater residential density and a greater mix of uses. Please reach out if you'd like to discuss further. 

    Thanks,
    Bartek

  • Share Are the competitive ADU submissions still available to view? on Facebook Share Are the competitive ADU submissions still available to view? on Twitter Share Are the competitive ADU submissions still available to view? on Linkedin Email Are the competitive ADU submissions still available to view? link

    Are the competitive ADU submissions still available to view?

    LYND asked 3 months ago

    Yes, to see the Accessory Dwelling Unit design competition and all the submissions, please see: https://engagekingston.com/adu-design-competition

    Thanks,

    Bartek

  • Share I am looking to build a ADU on my property. How can I accomplish this? on Facebook Share I am looking to build a ADU on my property. How can I accomplish this? on Twitter Share I am looking to build a ADU on my property. How can I accomplish this? on Linkedin Email I am looking to build a ADU on my property. How can I accomplish this? link

    I am looking to build a ADU on my property. How can I accomplish this?

    Benjamin asked 8 months ago

    Hi Benjamin,

    ADUs are legal citywide under the form-based code and you'd only need a building permit to proceed. A design professional (e.g., architect) can help you submit plans to the Building Department for that permit. 

    Here is the section of the form-based code that deals with ADUs: LINK The maximum size of a detached ADU is 1,000 square and you should be aware of any setbacks that might apply based on your address. 

     Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to discuss further: 845-334-3928.

    Thanks,

    Bartek

  • Share If you have a corner lot, how do you determine if the setback is a rear setback or go by two side side backs? since I have two streets surround the lot? on Facebook Share If you have a corner lot, how do you determine if the setback is a rear setback or go by two side side backs? since I have two streets surround the lot? on Twitter Share If you have a corner lot, how do you determine if the setback is a rear setback or go by two side side backs? since I have two streets surround the lot? on Linkedin Email If you have a corner lot, how do you determine if the setback is a rear setback or go by two side side backs? since I have two streets surround the lot? link

    If you have a corner lot, how do you determine if the setback is a rear setback or go by two side side backs? since I have two streets surround the lot?

    nonamesecurity asked 9 months ago

    Hi - good question. That would be determined by the street hierarchy as laid out in Sec 405.22 .C.3.  Feel free to reach out and I would be glad to review this specific situation with you. Thanks, Bartek

  • Share are there any regulations concerning use of garden sheds for home-owners? on Facebook Share are there any regulations concerning use of garden sheds for home-owners? on Twitter Share are there any regulations concerning use of garden sheds for home-owners? on Linkedin Email are there any regulations concerning use of garden sheds for home-owners? link

    are there any regulations concerning use of garden sheds for home-owners?

    SJK asked 9 months ago

    Hi SJK,

    A structure such as a garden shed would be considered an accessory structure. If you're planning on putting in a new accessory structure, I'd recommend looking at the setback requirements for accessory structure (See Article 5: Transect Standards). For example, if you're in a T3 Neighborhood transect, the side setback is 5' and the rear setback is 3'. Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions. 


    Thanks,

    Bartek

  • Share Is 26 Boulder Ave in Kingston considered a parcel that does not need site plan approval? on Facebook Share Is 26 Boulder Ave in Kingston considered a parcel that does not need site plan approval? on Twitter Share Is 26 Boulder Ave in Kingston considered a parcel that does not need site plan approval? on Linkedin Email Is 26 Boulder Ave in Kingston considered a parcel that does not need site plan approval? link

    Is 26 Boulder Ave in Kingston considered a parcel that does not need site plan approval?

    KYau asked 9 months ago

    Hi KYau,

    That depends on what your plans are and if you're changing the use of the property. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to discuss further. Thanks, Bartek

  • Share How do I find out how a particular address is zoned? In particular, 340 Broadway Kingston, NY on Facebook Share How do I find out how a particular address is zoned? In particular, 340 Broadway Kingston, NY on Twitter Share How do I find out how a particular address is zoned? In particular, 340 Broadway Kingston, NY on Linkedin Email How do I find out how a particular address is zoned? In particular, 340 Broadway Kingston, NY link

    How do I find out how a particular address is zoned? In particular, 340 Broadway Kingston, NY

    Theresa asked 10 months ago

    Hi Theresa,

    To find the zoning designation for any parcel, go to: https://map.gridics.com/us/ny/kingston-adopted and search by property address or SBL. This property is in a T5 - Main Street transect.

    Thanks,

    Bartek 

  • Share Does this code supercede previous code? for example, setbacks? on Facebook Share Does this code supercede previous code? for example, setbacks? on Twitter Share Does this code supercede previous code? for example, setbacks? on Linkedin Email Does this code supercede previous code? for example, setbacks? link

    Does this code supercede previous code? for example, setbacks?

    PatJoe asked 11 months ago

    Hi Patjoe,

    Yes, the new code completely replaces the City's previous zoning code. There are transitional provisions for site plans that were submitted under the previous zoning code, but those are the exception. If you'd like to discuss further, please feel free to reach out. Thanks, Bartek

Page last updated: 20 Jun 2024, 09:01 AM