Cairo’s Zoning History

For Current Information on the Cairo Zoning Department Click Here

For Information on the Cairo Zoning Board of Appeals Click Here

Below you will find: Zoning Law Drafts, the Zoning Map, & General Zoning Info. If you would like a printed copy of the information, contact the Town Clerk or the Supervisor’s Clerk to request what copies you would like printed. The link for Planning Better Places provides information that the Zoning Commission used during their deliberations and draft of the proposed Zoning Law presented on July 7, 2011.


  1. The Town of Cairo embarked on a Zoning Law on June 4, 2007 with an appointed Zoning Commission
  2. The Zoning Commission was comprised of business owners, Cairo Planning Board members, local professionals, and hired consultants-including Certified Planners, a Hydrogeologist, and a Land Use Expert/Attorney.
  3. The Zoning Commission held 60 public meetings. Print publications were developed and distributed, a website was developed and maintained regularly posting the applicable information, a Facebook page was formed and maintained, public hearings were held, a presentation of the Water Study was offered, public comments and feedback were sought, compiled, evaluated, and were responded to.
  4. The Zoning Commission submitted a Zoning Draft on July 7, 2011 after 4 years of deliberations & development.
  5. The Town Board in 2012-2014 reviewed & modified the Zoning draft.
  6. The County Planning Board approved the Zoning Law with recommendations in 2013.
  7. The Town Board held a Public Hearing for a proposed Zoning Law on September 25, 2013.
  8. The Town Board held approximately 45 to 50 meetings to review the Zoning Law.
  9. The Town Board conducted an unprecedented public feedback process with the last date for submissions on March 7, 2014. The feedback forms that were received were evaluated, reviewed, & addressed.
  10. In total, there have been more than 109 public meetings for the Zoning process.
  11. The Hydrogeologist confirmed his position regarding his original Water Study and due diligence in 2015.
  12. A Public Hearing was held on July 30, 2015.
  13. The County Planning Board approved the updated Zoning Law with recommendations in 2015. In total, the County Planning Board has approved 2 drafts of the Zoning Law.
  14. The County Economic advisors state that it is time that Cairo adopts Zoning as it has been more than 8 years that the Town has been developing it. They state that it is time for “business certainty”.
  15. A Public Hearing was held on August 20, 2015 continuing the Public Hearing from July 30, 2015 for any new comment. The Town Board will conclude the SEQRA Review and issue a determination of significance. The Town Board will vote on the adoption of the proposed law.

Legislative notes:
The formulation of policies for implementation through laws are solely within the authority of the Town Board as the Town’s elected legislative body.

The Town Board is charged with implementing Zoning Laws.

The Planning Board has no legal entitlement to participate at all in the process of the drafting and adoption of a new zoning law. A municipality’s planning board does not play any legal role in the process of development or adoption of a new zoning law. Any participation is optional for the Town Board and not required.

Notes about the general contents & pages of the Zoning Law:

  • Purpose/Establish law/Table of Contents 11 pages
  • Grandfathering 5 pages
  • Tables of Uses and Lot sizes 12 pages
  • Density Incentives (designed to give more freedom for development) 7 pages
  • General Regulations 4 pages
  • Specific Zone Regulations 7 pages
  • Parking 5 pages
  • Mobile home parks and individual homes 5 pages
  • Signs and utilities 5 pages
  • Conservation Subdivisions (voluntary and discretional) 9 pages
  • Resorts 9 pages
  • Special Use Permit standards (including Mass Gatherings) 31 pages
  • Admin/Enforcement 7 pages
  • Zoning Board of Appeals process and procedure 5 pages
  • Definitions and procedure for amendments 27 pages
  • Supplemental/Recommended design standards and Animals 14 pages

88 pages relate to table of contents, density incentives (to give more freedom), Special use standards, table of uses and dimensions and definitions.
10 pages relate to mobile home parks and signs—which we already have local laws for (which will be repealed)
17 pages relate to Grandfathering, parking and process/procedure
11 pages relate to required general or specific regulations
14 pages relate to recommended design stds or animals
14 pages relate resorts and discretionary/voluntary subdivisions.

Did you know facts.

Did you know...

Thomas Cole (founder of the Hudson River School) was commissioned to paint five landscapes of the northern Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River during the summer of 1827.  ‘View of the Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains’ subtitled ‘Sunny Morning on the Hudson’ is the only one of the five that faces the river from the west.  His vantage point overlooks the southern hamlets of Purling, Round Top, and South Cairo from a point higher up Blackhead Mountain.

(Photo from: