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The primary goal of zoning is to promote the development of a balanced, cohesive, and integrated community which efficiently uses the city's available land.  It provides for the orderly arrangement of various types of residential, commercial, industrial, and other uses at appropriate densities to ensure a functional and livable community. The Zoning Ordinance prescribes the uses of land in various districts throughout the city,and establishes the location of each district on the Zoning Map.It also provides the list of uses (principal, accessory, and special permit) allowed in each district and the dimensional requirements applicable in each district. The Planning Department works in conjunction with the Building Department to review all development projects and advise the various approval agencies as to the conformity of these projects with the city’s Zoning Ordinance.

Zoning Ordinance

Site Plans:
A "site plan" is a rendering, drawing, or sketch containing the elements set forth in the zoning ordinance, and showing the arrangement, layout and design of the proposed use on a single parcel of land. Site Plans must be prepared and signed by a professional architect, landscape architect, land surveyor, or engineer licensed by the State of New York.
Site plan approval is required for any proposed new development or modifications to existing developments, with the exception of one-family or two-family dwellings on a parcel of land with no environmentally sensitive features. Depending on the nature of the project, the approval agency for the site plan application may be the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, or the Common Council.  

Site Plan Regulations (check list)
Site Plan Regulation 

The subdivision process controls how a parcel of land is divided into smaller lots, how those lots are laid out, how the infrastructure serving those lots is installed, and how any parks or open spaces are situated on the tract. The goal of good subdivision design is to ensure that all development is well built, attractively designed and integrated with the greater community. Subdivision control attempts to ensure that when developments do occur, the neighborhoods created will have safe streets and sidewalks for residents, will be accompanied by adequate services and facilities including infrastructure and recreational areas, will be respectful of sensitive environmental features, and will be pleasant places to live. If you own property or have a contract to buy land in the City of White Plains and wish to create one or more new buildable lots, you will need to have the property subdivided.The approval agency for mostsubdivisions is the Planning Board.

Subdivision Application Form

Subdivision Regulations

Special Permit Uses:
Special permits are required to allow for the development of certain uses of land, buildings, or structures in certain zoning districts. The zoning ordinance establishes specific additional conditions which are intended to assure that the proposed use is compatible and in harmony with surrounding uses and will not adversely affect the neighborhood. The approval body (which can be the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Common Council, or the Planning Board, depending on the nature of the project) must find that the proposed use meets these special conditions in order to grant approval of the special permit.

Special Permit Regulations 

A variance is an authorization that permits the use of land in a manner that would otherwise not be allowed by the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.  An "Area Variance" authorizes the "use" of land in a manner which is not allowed by the dimensional or physical requirements of this Ordinance, and a "Use Variance" authorizes the "use" of land for a purpose which is otherwise not allowed or prohibited by the Ordinance.  Variance applications are subject to review and approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Variance Regulations