Lot Size and Permit Requirements
The following is not a complete representation of the Tompkins County Sanitary
Code or of any specific Code sections cited. What is listed
here is condensed and highlighted information from Article VI
of the Tompkins County Sanitary Code for unofficial reference
purposes only. Minimum lot size/dimension applies to new construction
on undeveloped lots (including the siting of a mobile home)
or conversions on lots where public wastewater treatment is not available.
- Lot Size
- Lots must have enough usable area to furnish adequate
separation distances between such features as wells and
OWTS's and to allow enough room for a replacement
- Minimum lot size for an OWTS construction permit
is one acre of usable area Minimum lot size must be met
by a single piece. See lot dimensions below.
- The building or OWTS must be located within the
- Construction permits for lots of 30,000 square feet or
more created prior to August 17, 1977 will be considered
if all other Code requirements can be met.
- Minimum lot size may be halved if the property is served
by public water supply operated by a municipality or an
approved water company.
- Usable area is land available for siting a building, its
water and OWTS; useable area excludes such areas
as Department of Environmental Conservation wet lands, swamps,
bogs, flood plains, highways, rights-of-way, and other features.
- Minimum lot size required by towns and villages within
Tompkins County can vary and will not necessarily be the
same as the requirements of the Tompkins County Sanitary
Code. Applicants for building or construction permits are
advised to investigate all code requirements that may apply
to their particular project.
- Lot Dimensions
- Lots must be shaped such that, as a minimum, a circle
of 150 feet diameter can be inscribed entirely within the
confines of the usable area. This does not apply to lots
of 30,000 square feet or more created prior to August 17,
- For lots with public water and those that can be halved,
a circle of 100 feet in diameter is required.
- The Permit Issuing Official may consider waiving minimum
lot size and lot dimension if a design professional is responsible
for the OWTS design, submits a detailed developmental
plan acceptable to the Department, and all other parts of
Article VI can be met.
- Construction Permit
- A Health Department OWTS Construction Permit
is required before: construction of a building which requires
an OWTS, siting a mobile home, constructing OWTS, or conversion of a building.
- Construction permits are valid for two years. Permits
are renewable and transferable. An application for renewal
or transfer must be submitted prior to expiration of the
OWTS construction permit.
- Conversion means any building that is altered resulting
in a change in the volume of characteristics of the liquid
wastes. Conversion can include changing from non-residential
to residential and adding bedrooms to existing homes.
- Certificate of Completion
- OWTS's may not be covered until inspected and
approved by the Health Department.
- The OWTS may not be used nor shall any building
be occupied until a Certificate of Completion is issued
by the Health Department.
- Survey Map
- A survey map should be submitted with all applications
for an OWTS construction permit for new or converted
projects, so conformance to minimum lot size requirements
can be evaluated and confirmed.