The Town of Ithaca enacted a Stream Setback Law on May 7, 2012.
The law establishes restrictions on certain activities within a specified distance of Town streams.
The main purpose of the law is to improve stream health and water quality by providing a buffer
between streams and human activities.Key features of the law:
- The law applies to those streams with an upstream drainage area of 35 acres or greater;
- Establishes three different setback widths (35ft, 50ft, 100ft) depending on the size of the
upstream area draining into the stream;
- Establishes two different “zones” of protection (Zone 1 and Zone 2) within a setback width,
with Zone 1 being streamside and requiring the most protection;
- A setback width adjustment when streamside wetlands exist or when slopes of 25 percent
or greater exist within Setback Zone 1;
- A Stream Setback Map referenced in the law identifying streams having a drainage area equal to
or greater than 35 acres along with their required setback widths;
- Exemption for parcels 0.5 acres or less in size (a minimum setback for new construction would still apply);
- Numerous prohibited activities applicable to one or both zones (Zone 1 and/or Zone 2);
- Added definitions to the Town Zoning Chapter relevant to the Stream Setback provisions.
Stream Setback Law documents:
Stream Setback Law guide: