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A comprehensive plan:
To find out more about the Comprehensive Plan, just click on the following link:
When snow and ice on any sidewalk is frozen so hard that it cannot be removed without injury to the sidewalk, it needs to be strewn and kept strewn with ashes, sand, sawdust or other suitable material, so as to be no longer dangerous to life and limb. As soon as practical thereafter, the sidewalk shall be completely cleared of snow, ice and other materials strewn thereon.
Whenever any sidewalk is not kept free from snow and ice as defined in the City Code, the Superintendent of Public Works or his or her designee may clear the sidewalk so that it is free from snow and ice and shall notify the City Chamberlain of the expense incurred by the amount of labor equipment and materials used. The minimum charge shall be $50. The City Chamberlain shall promptly bill the owner of that property for services rendered.
To report a sidewalk that has not been cleared within the given time frame, you can call the Code Enforcement Officer in the Building Division at (607) 274-6508. More information can be found here: Exterior Property Maintenance Ordinance
Certain areas around the Ithaca Commons are allowed to place signs, planters, and merchandise in front of their storefronts. City Code dictates how many, how large, and where these items can be placed. A five foot section of unobstructed sidewalk must be maintained for pedestrian access. If you have questions or concerns about a particular location, please contact the Superintendent of Public Works Office at (607) 274-6527.
The City of Ithaca also has a Special Event Team that helps planners have safe, accessible and successful events. Questions or concerns about a special event can be forwarded to City Clerk Julie Conley Holcomb at (607) 274-6570.
In addition, climate change is increasing the demands placed on the City’s stormwater services. In the 2014 National Climate Assessment, the United States Global Change Research Program stated that the Northeast region of the United States is experiencing increased precipitation as a result of climate change, including “more than a 70% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events” over the last fifty years, “a greater recent increase in extreme precipitation than any other region in the United States.” (http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/regions/northeast#narrative-page-16957.)
Finally, the costs associated with recent issues such as the ice jams of January 2014, needed Flood Control Channel dredging, and maintenance of our channeled streams required that the City consider new sources of stormwater funding.
Before the stormwater fee was established in 2014, stormwater services were funded by property taxes. Property taxes in the City are based on the value of a property as assessed by the Tompkins County Department of Assessment, which does not accurately reflect how much stormwater is generated by a property. Further, when stormwater is funded out of taxes, the many tax-exempt property owners in the City do not contribute toward the cost required to handle the stormwater flowing off of their properties.
In 2013, Mayor Svante Myrick established a task force to examine whether a funding mechanism other than property taxes would be appropriate for the City’s stormwater expenses. In particular, the Mayor was interested in a new funding mechanism that: improved incentives for reducing stormwater runoff from each property; shared the cost burden of stormwater services and infrastructure in proportion to each property’s contribution to the need for it; included tax-exempt property owners; and was dedicated to current and future maintenance and regulatory obligations.
The stormwater user fee meets all of these goals. It allows the City to bill each property (including those owned by tax-exempt entities) based on the amount of runoff it creates. By including more properties in the funding, the amount paid for stormwater infrastructure and services by the average residential property owner is being cut roughly in half in 2015, to under $50 per year. The fee also encourages property owners to reduce the amount of impervious surface area on their properties, which reduces the amount of stormwater runoff. Finally, because the user fees are placed into a separate account, the fee provides a dedicated funding source for these costs that is not affected by the overall economy.
Click on the following link for more information about the ILPC, the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance, and the application review process, including links to the application form, accompanying documents, and some useful informational links.
Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission
Locally Designated Historic Properties
If you think you smell natural gas (much like rotten eggs) you should immediately vacate the residence and call 911 from a safe distance. The Ithaca Fire Department will respond and investigate the odor. It is important that you do not operate and lights, equipment or anything that might cause a spark, potentially igniting the fumes.
There are three different types of smoke detectors commonly found for sale: photoelectric, ionization, and combination. Ionization detectors utilize a small amount of radioactive material to create air flow between two electric plates. When smoke is drawn into the detector it changes the flow, sending the detector into alarm. Ionization detectors tend to work best for fires that flame up quickly. Photoelectric detectors utilize a beam of light within, when smoke enters the chamber; it reflects light into a sensor, sending the detector into alarm. Photoelectric detectors tend to work best on slow smoldering fires. Combination detectors utilize both ionization and photoelectric technology in one detector.
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) suggests using both technologies in your home as you cannot predict which type of fire you may have. More information can be found on the NFPA website referenced below.
There are two kinds of smoke detectors we commonly encounter: photoelectric and ionization. You can tell the difference by looking at the label on the back of your detector. Photoelectric detectors can safely be placed in the trash after removing the battery. Ionization detectors contain a small amount of a radioactive isotope, Americium 241. Due to state regulations, the Tompkins County Solid Waste facility is unable to accept ionization detectors. The best way to dispose of ionization detectors is to contact the manufacturer as many of them will accept the detectors for recycling. Contact information can usually be found on the back of the detector, in the user’s manual or via a quick search on the internet.
The Ithaca fire department recomends replacing your detectors at least every 10 year or sooner depending on the manufactures instructions. If you are unsure on how old your detector is a date should be printed on the back side of the detector. It is also good practice to write the date on the dectector when you install it and replace and check your batteries whenever possible.
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are an essential component of life safety in the home. As it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, CO alarms provide the best defense against potentially deadly CO. The CO alarms should be placed on all levels of a home, especially outside of sleeping areas and by any fuel fired appliances such as gas dryers, boiler, water heaters, etc. It is important to test CO alarms as you do your smoke detectors.
To explain this policy in simple terms: when you park your car for the evening (before midnight) on an even numbered day (November 10th) park on the side of the street where the house numbers are even (102,104, etc.), to avoid being on the odd side of the street at 2 a.m. on an odd day and visa versa. Please Note: This tip does not work if you park after midnight because the date has changed, so follow the city code language. In addition, beware of the instances when the 31st of the month changes to the 1st of the month as both are odd-numbered days. Your compliance with this policy helps keep the city's streets free from accumulated snow, and free from debris. If your street only has parking on one side of the street, you may have to find parking on a nearby street on alternate days. The City Clerk's Office has a listing of the streets that are exempt from the odd/even parking regulation. Streets marked permanently for 24-hour parking make up the bulk of these streets.
The Ithaca Police Department conducts civilian fingerprinting on Thursdays from 8:00 am. to 12:00 pm by appointment only. Appointments should be made by calling the Records Division/Public Information Officer 607-216-3221. The fee for fingerprinting is ten dollars.
Street permits are requested through the Engineering office, with meter bags and "no parking signs" picked up from the Streets and Facilities building at 245 Pier Road. Please contact Lynne Yost in the Engineering Division at 607-274-6530 to request the permits. Parking fees may be assessed.
Note: Site Plan Review and approval are required before undertaking most construction projects in the City of Ithaca. Site Plan Review Application Process & Forms
As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports pollutants to surface waters. Although the amount of pollutants from a single residential, commercial, industrial or construction site may seem unimportant, the combined concentrations of contaminants threaten our lakes, rivers, wetlands and other water bodies. Pollution conveyed by stormwater degrades the quality of drinking water, damages fisheries and habitat of plants and animals that depend on clean water for survival. Pollutants carried by stormwater can also affect recreational uses of water bodies by making them unsafe for wading, swimming, boating and fishing. According to an inventory conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of the impaired waterways are affected by urban/suburban and construction sources of stormwater runoff. (http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8468.html.)
Note: Subdivision of an existing tax parcel into 2 or more buildable lots requires Subdivision Approval by the Planning and Development Board. Subdivision Application Process & Forms
(1) You can use the Building Division's online Property Search Tool via the link below. This is probably the quickest and easiest way to search for Zoning District information for a property in the city (by building name or address). It will also identify the number of units, occupancy, and Certificate of Compliance expiration date.
Building Division Property Search Tool
(2) Tompkins County's Image Mate Online property search tool also allows you to identify the Zoning District of a specific property:
Image Mate Online
(3) Finally, you can use the City of Ithaca Interactive Web Map via the link below. Just enter the property address in the search field, making sure to only use standard street address abbreviations with no punctuation (e.g., St, Pl, Rd, E, W, N, S). Then just click on the "City Address" search result, click the "Zoom to Feature" link in the pop-up window, click on the "Point" top-menu navigation button under the "Getting Around" tab, and then click anywhere inside the parcel boundary. You will then need to click on the parcel listing in the search "Results" and a pop-up window will appear. Zoning District and other basic property information is accessible under the "Attributes" tab.
Interactive Web Map
Zoning District Regulations Chart
If you are having trouble using the web resources described above, please contact the Building Division at:
108 E. Green St.City HallFourth FloorIthaca, NY 14850Ph: 607-274-6508Fx: 607-274-6521
Office HoursMonday - Friday8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
108 E. Green St.3rd FloorIthaca, NY 14850
Ph: 607-274-6550Fx: 607-274-6558
Office HoursMonday - Friday8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Zoning Division Web Page