Town of Southold, NY
Suffolk County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southold 11-16-2004 by L.L. No. 22-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 130.
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 144.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 240.
Zoning — See Ch. 280.

§ 170-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Historic Landmarks Preservation Law of Southold Town."

§ 170-2 Purpose.

A. 
Within the Town of Southold there exist landmarks of special historic significance, which by reason of their history, antiquity, uniqueness, architecture and/or character contribute to a strong sense of identity within their communities and provide tangible linkages to the Town's historic, architectural and cultural heritage.
B. 
The Town of Southold believes it important to afford proper recognition to these historic landmarks and to protect them from incompatible alterations or demolition and maintain them for the continuing recognition, use and enjoyment of current and future residents and visitors of the Town. In doing so, it is also expressly the intent of the Town of Southold not to affect, abridge, limit or change in any way the uses permitted by the zoning regulations as applicable to such properties.
C. 
By the enactment of this chapter, it is the Town's intention to meet these objectives and those set forth by the Town in its comprehensive planning documents and Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, by:
(1) 
Emphasizing as a statement of local policy that the conservation, protection, enhancement and preservation of such historic landmarks is necessary to promote the cultural, economic, educational and general welfare of the Town's residents;
(2) 
Encouraging the identification and recognition of historic resources which represent distinctive elements of historic, architectural and cultural heritage; and
(3) 
Providing for the careful, thoughtful and informed evaluation of any proposed demolition or removal or alteration of the facade of any historic landmark affected by this chapter;
(4) 
Promoting heritage tourism; and
(5) 
Maintaining visual compatibility with the historic character of neighboring properties in public view.

§ 170-3 Definitions.

A. 
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases in this chapter shall be interpreted as to give them the same meanings they have in common usage and as to apply this chapter consistent with its statement of purpose.
B. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADAPTIVE REUSE
A process that adapts buildings for new uses while retaining their historic features.
ALTERATION
Any act, process or work that significantly changes the exterior appearance or exterior architectural features of a landmark, including the renovation, restoration, reconstruction, obstruction, addition to or removal of any part of such a landmark.
DEMOLITION
The destruction, razing, disassembly or collapse of a landmark, or the engagement in acts that will necessarily cause such effect.
FACADE
The elevations/faces of a landmark visible from a public street.
HISTORIC
Those landmarks designated as such pursuant to § 170-10 of this chapter.
REMOVAL
Any relocation of a landmark on its site or to another site.

§ 170-4 Historic Preservation Commission; membership; terms; powers and duties.

A. 
There is hereby created a commission to be known as the "Town of Southold Historic Preservation Commission." The Historic Preservation Commission shall consist of no fewer than five members and no greater than seven members, to be appointed by the Town Board, to the extent available in the community, as follows:
[Amended 8-16-2005 by L.L. No. 13-2005]
(1) 
At least one member shall be an architect experienced in working with historic buildings;
(2) 
At least one member shall have demonstrated significant interest in and commitment to the field of historic preservation; and
(3) 
All members shall have a known interest in historic preservation and architectural development within the Town of Southold.
B. 
Members of the Historic Preservation Commission shall serve for terms of four years with the exception of the initial term of one of the members which shall be for one year, two which shall be for two years, and two which shall be for three years.
C. 
There shall be a Secretary to the Commission who shall be responsible for the keeping of meeting minutes, publication of meeting minutes, posting of public notices and any other relevant duties.
D. 
The Chair, the Vice Chair and the Secretary of the Commission shall be elected by and from the members of the Commission annually at the first regular meeting of the calendar year, except for the first organizational meeting convened after this chapter is enacted.
E. 
The powers of the Commission shall include:
(1) 
Employment of staff and professional consultants as necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission, within the limits of appropriations of the Town Board;
(2) 
Promulgation of rules and regulations as necessary for the conduct of its business;
(3) 
Conduct of surveys of significant historic, architectural, and cultural landmarks and historic districts within the Town;
(4) 
Designation and recommendation of identified landmarks or resources as historic landmarks;
(5) 
Recommend acceptance to the Town Board of the donation of facade easements and development rights, and the making of recommendations to the Town Board concerning the acquisition of facade easements or other interests of real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter;
(6) 
Increasing public awareness of the value of historic, cultural, and architectural preservation by developing and participating in public education programs;
(7) 
Making recommendations to Town government concerning the utilization of state, federal or private funds to promote the preservation of landmarks and historic districts within the Town;
(8) 
Recommending acquisition of a landmark by the Town Board where its preservation is essential to the purposes of this chapter and where private preservation is not feasible; and
(9) 
Approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriateness of demolition, alteration or economic hardship pursuant to this chapter.
F. 
The Commission shall meet at least monthly, but meetings may be held at any time on the written request of any two of the Commission members or on the call of the Chair.
G. 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of three of the Commission's members, but not less than a majority of the full authorized membership may grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness.
H. 
All members shall attend and complete relevant training programs as the Town Board may require.
I. 
The Commission shall publish and update as needed A Guide to Historic Preservation in Southold Town.

§ 170-5 Designation of historic landmarks.

A. 
Recommendation of landmarks; notice; hearing.
(1) 
Upon application of the property owner, the Historic Preservation Commission shall have the authority to recommend that the Town Board designate individual landmarks as "historic" and thereby subject to the provisions of this chapter, if such landmarks:
(a) 
Qualify for inclusion on the State or National Registers of Historic Places; or
(b) 
Possess significant character or historic, aesthetic or archaeological interest or value as part of the cultural, architectural, economic or social heritage of the community or Town, i.e., those included on the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities List (SPLIA); or
(c) 
Are the site of an historic event or are identified with historic personages; or
(d) 
Possess a unique location or physical characteristic, thereby representing an established and familiar visual feature of the community or Town.
(e) 
Owners of landmarks that meet the qualifications for designation under any of the above Subsection A(1)(a) through (d) may apply to have their properties granted landmark status and to be covered by this chapter. Those properties currently on the SPLIA list are automatically considered eligible, and may formally request designation.
(2) 
The Town Clerk shall send notice pursuant to Chapter 55, Notice of Public Hearings, of the Town Code of any such proposed designation to the owner of record of the property proposed for designation, describing the property proposed and announcing a public hearing by the Town Board to consider the designation. Once the Town Board has issued notice of a proposed designation, no demolition or building permits shall be issued with regard to the property until the Town Board has made its decision on the proposed designation.
(3) 
The Town Board shall hold a public hearing prior to taking action on any proposed designation. The Historic Preservation Commission, owners and any interested parties may present any relevant testimony or documentary evidence at the hearing, all of which will become part of the record. The record may also contain staff reports, public comments, and other evidence offered outside of the hearing.
B. 
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the landmarks located within the Town of Southold listed, as of the effective date of this chapter, on the Southold Town Designated Landmarks Roster, the state or national registers of historic places, or listed as "contributing buildings or sites" in a state or national register historic district or national landmark district, are hereby designated as "historic" for the purposes of this chapter. A listing of such landmarks is annexed hereto and made a part of this chapter.
C. 
Recognition. All owners of designated and approved landmarks in the Town will be awarded a special certificate of recognition and/or a plaque to acknowledge their property as an official Southold Town landmark.

§ 170-6 Certificate of appropriateness for alteration, demolition or new construction.

A. 
No person shall carry out any of the following activities without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness specifically permitting such activity from the Town of Southold Historic Preservation Commission:
(1) 
The demolition or removal of landmarks designated as "historic" pursuant to § 170-5 of this chapter; or
(2) 
The alteration of the facade of landmarks designated as "historic" pursuant to § 170-5 of this chapter.
B. 
No demolition or building permit shall be issued for such activities without such certificate of appropriateness. The certificate of appropriateness required by this chapter shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any building permit that may be required by any other chapter of the Town Code of the Town of Southold.

§ 170-7 Application for certificate of appropriateness.

A. 
In all cases where a certificate of appropriateness is required by the Historic Preservation Commission, an applicant shall provide the Historic Preservation Commission with the following information on the prescribed form:
(1) 
Name, address and telephone number of the applicant; location, Tax Map number, and photographs of each side of the landmark; and a brief description of the landmark indicating (approximate) date of construction, name of architect (if known), historic and/or architectural and archaeological significance and a description of its setting, including related grounds, accessory buildings and structures and property boundaries, the nature of the work proposed, and elevation drawings, if available;
(2) 
History of the recent (i.e., past 10 years) use, occupancy and ownership of the property;
(3) 
Name, address and telephone number of the individual, contractor, or corporation performing the work;
(4) 
Application fee receipt; and
(5) 
Any information required by the Historic Preservation Commission to make a determination on an application.
B. 
The Historic Preservation Commission shall hold a public hearing within 60 days after receipt of an application completed in accordance with this section. At the hearing, all interested persons shall be provided the opportunity to present their views. Notice of the public hearing shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town, i.e., the Town's official newspaper, at least 10 days prior to the date of the public hearing. At the hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission may take testimony and entertain the submission of written evidence from any person.
C. 
Action on application.
(1) 
The Historic Preservation Commission shall act to approve, deny or approve with conditions the application for a certificate of appropriateness within 60 calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing except where such time shall be extended by mutual agreement of the Historic Preservation Commission and the applicant. Such determination shall be in writing and accompanied by findings, which findings shall seek to balance, to the extent practicable, the objectives of the applicant with broader issues that may be associated with the value of the historic site or landmark to the community's heritage. Within seven days following the determination, the applicant shall be sent by registered mail either an certificate of appropriateness or a denial and a copy thereof shall be provided to the Building Department of the Town.
(2) 
In the case of the granting of a certificate of appropriateness, the Historic Preservation Commission shall be empowered to impose reasonable conditions upon the applicant to ensure that the activity is conducted in a manner which is consistent with the spirit and intent of this chapter.
(3) 
A denial of the application shall be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for the denial. In the case of denial, the Historic Preservation Commission shall be required to make recommendations to the applicant concerning reuse or restoration of the landmark. The Historic Preservation Commission may also notify a governmental agency with the authority to acquire the property and prevent its demolition through exercise of its power of eminent domain.

§ 170-8 Criteria for approval of alteration of facades of historic landmarks.

A. 
The Historic Preservation Commission, in reviewing an application for the alteration of the facades of landmarks designated as "historic" pursuant to § 170-5 of this chapter, shall not consider changes to interior spaces. In addition to the factors enumerated in § 170-9A, the Commission shall consider the following criteria:
(1) 
Whether the proposed alteration is consistent with principles of adaptive reuse, whereby the principal historic features of the landmark are maintained while permitting the use of the landmark for new uses other than its original use;
(2) 
The similarity in design, architecture and appearance of the proposed alteration with the historic design, architecture and appearance;
(3) 
The necessity for complying with the applicable building codes or other federal or state regulations;
(4) 
The necessity of such alteration to allow for a use of the property permitted by the Town Code in the applicable zoning district; and
(5) 
The public interest in preserving the historic features of the landmark and its relation to the historic character of the community and Town.

§ 170-9 Criteria for approval of demolition or removal of historic landmarks.

A. 
In passing upon an application for certificate of appropriateness of demolition or removal, the Historic Preservation Commission decision shall consider whether:
(1) 
The landmark is of such architectural or historic interest that its demolition or removal would be to the detriment of the public interest;
(2) 
Retention of the landmark in its current form or location is important to the Town's history or character;
(3) 
The landmark is of such old and unusual or uncommon design, texture and material that it could not be reproduced or be reproduced only with great difficulty;
(4) 
Retention of the landmark would help preserve and protect an historic place or area of historic interest in the Town; and
(5) 
Retention of the landmark will promote the general welfare by maintaining and increasing real estate values and encourage interest in American and local history and architecture.
B. 
If the Historic Preservation Commission determines that an application for certificate of appropriateness of demolition or removal should be denied, the applicant may apply for relief on the ground that the determination results in a hardship in accordance with the procedures in § 170-10.

§ 170-10 Hardship criteria for approval of demolition, removal or alteration of historic landmarks.

A. 
If the Historic Preservation Commission denies an application for the demolition, removal or alteration of a landmark designated as "historic" pursuant to § 170-10 of this chapter, the applicant may request approval from the Town Board on the grounds that the prohibition on such demolition or removal will subject the applicant to undue hardship. In evaluating whether such prohibition will subject the applicant to undue hardship, the Town Board shall consider the following criteria:
(1) 
Whether the owner is capable of earning a reasonable return on investment without such demolition, removal or alteration;
(2) 
Whether the landmark can be altered, restored, renovated or adapted for any other use pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness under this chapter, either by the owner or a subsequent purchaser, which would enable a reasonable return;
(3) 
Whether removal or alteration is necessary or appropriate to preserve the landmark;
(4) 
Whether the claimed hardship has been self-created by waste, neglect, or failure to maintain the landmark; and
(5) 
The public interest in preserving the landmark and its relation to the historic character of the community and Town.
B. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the demolition, removal or alteration of any structure which has been determined by resolution of the Town Board of the Town of Southold to be dangerous or unsafe.

§ 170-11 Appeals.

Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Historic Preservation Commission relating to an application under this chapter may, within 30 days of the decision, file a written application with the Town Board for review of the decision. Reviews shall be conducted based on the same record that was before the Commission and using the criteria set forth in this chapter.

§ 170-12 Enforcement.

All activities conducted and work performed pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness issued by the Historic Preservation Commission under this chapter shall conform to the specific requirements of the certificate of appropriateness. It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect periodically any such activities or work to ensure compliance. In the event it is determined that such activities or work is not being conducted or performed in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a stop-work order and all affected activities and work shall immediately cease. No further affected activities or work shall be undertaken while the stop-work order is in effect.

§ 170-13 Penalties for offenses.

Any violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be violation of the Town Code and shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000. Each week's continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation. The Town Attorney is authorized and directed to cooperate with the Code Enforcement Officer to institute any and all actions and proceedings necessary to enforce this chapter. Any civil remedy shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any criminal prosecution or penalty.

§ 170-14 Fees.

An applicant may be charged a fee by the Historic Preservation Commission for the cost of processing and reviewing an application for a certificate of appropriateness, including reasonable costs incurred for its private consultants, and for the actual cost of preparation and publication of each public notice of hearing with respect to any application. All such fees shall be in accordance with a fee schedule established and periodically reviewed by the Town Board.