Town of Babylon, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Babylon 12-15-1987 by L.L. No. 10-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 213.

§ 137-1 Legislative intent

A. 
Historically, the Town of Babylon is one of the oldest communities in the nation. Babylon Town is rich with a vast amount of events, people and sites of great historic significance, not only since our inception in 1872 but dating back to the times of our colonial founding settlers and original Indian inhabitants. In our community, there exist irreplaceable historic resources which give character and distinction to our communities that are threatened by rapid development and the forces of change.
B. 
It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of landmarks and planned historic districts of a zone is necessary to promote the economic, cultural, educational and general welfare of the general public. Inasmuch as the identity of a people is founded on its past and inasmuch as the Town of Babylon has many significant historic, architectural and cultural resources which constitute its heritage, this code is intended to:
(1) 
Enact a local Historical Preservation Code designed to designate, protect and enhance historical buildings, planned historical districts, landmarks, scenic views, structures, works of art and other objects having special character or significant historical, architectural or aesthetic interest or value.
(2) 
Provide an adequate and qualified Historic Preservation Commission that will establish a system for the survey and inventory of historic buildings, landmarks, scenic views, structures, works of art and other objects having special character or significant historical, architectural or aesthetic interest or value.
(3) 
Create a rejuvenated sense of community pride and local involvement in the legacy of significant historical events, local historic development, architectural design, landmarks and the beauty of the past.
(4) 
Protect and enhance Babylon's attractiveness to visitors and the support and stimulus to the economy thereby provided.
(5) 
Ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the Town.

§ 137-2 Historic Preservation Commission.

A. 
It is the intent of the Town Board to establish an Historical Preservation Commission whose duties it will be to work in conjunction with the Town Historian to develop, encourage and coordinate historic preservation programs and activities in the Town of Babylon and to advise and report to the Town Board on all matters pertaining to historic preservation.
B. 
There is hereby established a Town of Babylon Historical Preservation Commission whose duties and responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) 
Researching, cataloging and preserving all artifacts and documents relating to what the Commission deems to be significant historical events, people and sites within the boundaries of the Town of Babylon.
(2) 
Promulgating rules and regulations as necessary for the conduct of its business.
(3) 
Advising the Planning Board and the Town Board on policy matters regarding historical preservation and historic sites system through the implementation of official zoning designations of historical districts of a zone.
(4) 
Developing criteria for the identification of significant historic, architectural and cultural landmarks and for the delineation of historic districts.
(5) 
Reviewing significant historic, architectural and cultural landmarks and making recommendations to the Planning Board and Town Board on the designation of properties, dwellings, buildings, landmarks and scenic views for inclusion into historic districts of a zone.
(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 the Town Board concerning the utilization of federal, state, county and private sector funds to promote the preservation of landmarks and historic districts within the Town of Babylon.
(8) 
Recommending acquisition of landmark structures by the Town Board where their preservation is essential to the purposes of this chapter and where private preservation is not feasible.
(9) 
Recommending to the Planning Board and Town Board approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriations pursuant to this chapter.
(10) 
Developing and administering the operations of a Babylon Town Museum to be established in the mansion situated in the Phelps Land Recreation Complex, North Babylon, New York.
(11) 
Performing such other functions relating to historic preservation and historic sites as may be requested by the Town Board or is deemed necessary by the Commission to carry out its responsibilities.

§ 137-3 Commission membership.

A. 
The Town of Babylon Historical Preservation Commission shall consist of 15 members, all of whom shall be Babylon Town residents, whose appointments shall be made by the Town Board for terms of two years, who shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled to their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. All members shall be qualified by education and experience in the fields of history, architecture and/or other related professional disciplines. Appointments shall be made to the extent available in the community, including the following:
(1) 
One representative of each of the three incorporated villages located in the Town of Babylon.
(2) 
One representative from each of the eight hamlets (unincorporated areas) of the Town, including Copiague, Deer Park, East Farmingdale, North Amityville, North Babylon, North Lindenhurst, West Babylon and Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights.
(3) 
One member shall be the Town of Babylon Historian, who shall serve as the Commission's Chairperson.
(4) 
The Commission may appoint from its membership its officers as it deems appropriate.
(5) 
The Town Board shall also appoint the following support staff as associate members (nonvoting):
(a) 
Staff employee of the Department of Planning and Development.
(b) 
Staff employee of the Town Attorney's office.
(c) 
Additional individuals as deemed appropriate by the Town Board who have demonstrated significant interest in and commitment to the field of historic preservation evidenced either by involvement in a local historic preservation group, employment or volunteer activity in the field of historic preservation or other serious interest in the field.
B. 
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 Chairman or Town Supervisor.
C. 
A quorum for the transaction business shall consist of eight members of the Commission's members, but not less than a majority of the full authorized membership may grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness.

§ 137-4 Designation of landmarks or historic districts.

The Commission may recommend an historically significant property as a landmark or historic district if it:
A. 
Possesses special character or historic or aesthetic interest or value as part of the cultural, political, economic or social history of the locality, region, state or nation;
B. 
Is identified with historic personages;
C. 
Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style;
D. 
Is the work of a designer whose work has significantly influenced an age; or
E. 
Because of a unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.

§ 137-5 Procedure for establishment of landmarks or historic districts.

A. 
The Planning Board, upon the recommendation of the Historical Preservation Commission, shall serve as an advisory commission to the Town Board and shall investigate and hold public hearings on any proposed establishment of a landmark or historical district and recommend to the Town Board the formal amendment of the Town of Babylon, Suffolk County, New York, Amended Zoning Map. Such investigation, public hearing and recommendation shall incorporate as part of the recommendation a statement containing the following.
(1) 
A descriptive finding of the significance of the area, building or scenic view to be designated as a landmark or historic district of a zone.
(2) 
A delineation of the boundaries of the proposed landmark or historic district of a zone either by metes and bounds or on a drawing of appropriate scale and detail.
(3) 
A description of the historic and/or unique aesthetic quality of structures, memorials or sites, landscape features, the existing land uses and such other factors and conditions as either strengthen or tend to blight the quality of the landmark or historic district of a zone.
(4) 
Such other findings as the Planning Board may consider significant guides in the implementation of the intent of this code as they pertain to the proposed landmark or historic districts of a zone.
B. 
The Town Board shall consider the recommendation of the Planning Board to establish such historical districts of a zone by amending the Amended Zoning Map. The amendment shall follow the procedure set out in Babylon Town Code, Chapter 213, Zoning, Article IV, Amendment of Regulations.
C. 
On adoption of any landmark or historic district of a zone, such amendment shall be filed within seven days with the Town Clerk, the Commissioner of Planning and Development, the Planning Board and the Historic Preservation Commission.

§ 137-6 Certificate of appropriateness required.

No person shall undertake any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction or moving of a landmark or property within an historic district, nor shall any person make any material change in trees or other vegetation, its light fixtures, signs, sidewalks, fences, steps, paving or other exterior elements visible from a public roadway or highway which affect the appearance and cohesiveness of the landmark or historic district, without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness recommended by the Planning Board and approved by the Town Board.

§ 137-7 Criteria for approval of certificate of appropriateness.

A. 
In passing upon an application to the Town Board for a certificate of appropriateness, the Planning Board, in conjunction with the Historic Preservation Commission, shall not consider changes to the interior spaces, unless they are open to the public, or to architectural features that are not visible from a public highway or roadway.
B. 
The Planning Board/Historic Preservation Commission's recommendation shall be based upon the following principles:
(1) 
Properties which contribute to the character of the historic district shall be retained, with their historic features altered as little as possible.
(2) 
Any alteration of existing properties shall be compatible with its historic character, as well as with the surrounding district.
(3) 
New construction shall be compatible with the district in which it is located.
C. 
In applying the principle of compatibility, the Planning Board/Historic Preservation Commission shall consider the following factors:
(1) 
The general design, character and appropriateness to the property of the proposed alteration or new construction.
(2) 
The scale of proposed alteration or new construction in relation to the property itself, surrounding properties and the neighborhood.
(3) 
The texture, material and color and their relation to similar features of other properties in the neighborhood.
(4) 
The visual compatibility with surrounding properties, including proportion of the property's front facade, proportion and arrangement of windows and other openings within the facade, roof shape and spacing of properties on streets, including setback.

§ 137-8 Application for certificate of appropriateness.

A. 
Prior to the commencement of any work requiring a certificate of appropriateness, the owner should file an application for such a certificate with the Department of Planning and Development, Building Division. The application shall contain:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of owner/applicant.
(2) 
A color glossy photograph of eight by ten (8 x 10) inches of the property.
(3) 
A written narrative regarding proposed work and a statement of reasons why proposed work is necessary.
(4) 
Elevational drawings of proposed changes, if appropriate.
(5) 
Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties.
(6) 
Survey maps prepared by a licensed land surveyor detailing the existing topography and the location and dimensions of all existing significant trees and other vegetation and site plans of all existing and proposed development and modification of natural features, proposed easements and such other information as the Planning Board, Historic Preservation Commission and Town Board shall consider necessary to justify approval of the authorization requested.
(7) 
Samples of color or materials to be used.
(8) 
Where the proposal includes signs or lettering, a scale drawing showing the type of lettering to be used, all dimensions and colors, a description of materials to be used, method of illumination and a plan showing the sign's location on the property.
(9) 
Any other information which the Planning Board, Historic Preservation Commission or Town Board may deem necessary in order to visualize the proposed work.
B. 
No building permit shall be issued for such proposed work until a certificate of appropriateness has first been approved by the Town Board. 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 Town code of the Town of Babylon.
C. 
All decisions of the Town Board shall be by Town Board resolution. A copy of the Town Board resolution shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail, and a copy shall be filed within the Town Clerk's office for public inspection. The Town Board's resolution shall state the reasons for denying or modifying any application.

§ 137-9 Hardship criteria.

An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness has been denied may apply for relief from landmark designation on the ground(s) that designation is working a hardship upon him/her. In order to prove the existence of hardship, the applicant shall establish that:
A. 
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible;
B. 
The property cannot be adapted for any other use, whether by the current owner or by a purchaser, which would result in a reasonable return; and
C. 
Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.

§ 137-10 Hardship application procedure.

A. 
After receiving written notification from the Town Board of the denial of a certificate of appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process. No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the Town Board makes a finding that a hardship exists.
B. 
The Town Board may hold a public hearing on the hardship application at which an opportunity will be provided for proponents and opponents of the application to present their views.
C. 
The applicant shall consult in good faith with the Historic Preservation Commission, local preservation groups and interested parties in a diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property.
D. 
All decisions of the Town Board shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail, and a copy shall be filed with the Town Clerk's office for public inspection. The Town Board's decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application.

§ 137-11 Administration and enforcement.

A. 
Administration. The Chief Building Inspector shall administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter. In connection with overseeing this responsibility, the Chief Building Inspector shall provide a permit procedure coordinated with the established building permit procedure and certificate of occupancy procedure.
B. 
Enforcement. All work performed pursuant to this chapter shall conform to any requirements included therein. It shall be the duty of the Chief Building Inspector to inspect periodically any such work to assure compliance. In the event that work is found that is not being performed in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness, the Chief Building Inspector shall issue a stop-work order, and all work shall immediately cease. No further work shall be undertaken on the project as long as a stop-work order is in effect.

§ 137-12 Maintenance and repair required.

Every person in charge of an improvement located in a landmark or historic district of a zone shall keep in good repair all exterior portions of such improvements and all interior portions thereof which, if not so maintained, may cause or tend to cause the exterior portions of such improvements to deteriorate, decay or become damaged or otherwise to fall into a state of disrepair. This provision shall be in addition to all other provisions of the codes, ordinances and regulations of the Town of Babylon requiring any such improvement to be left in good repair.

§ 137-13 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Any person, association, corporation, organization or member, officer, agent or employee of any such entity who shall be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 or a period of incarceration not to exceed one year, or both.
B. 
Any person, association, corporation, organization or member, officer, agent or employee of any such entity who shall demolish, alter, construct or permit a designated property to fall into a state of disrepair in violation of this chapter shall be required to restore said property and its site to its original appearance prior to the demolition, alteration, construction or other act which permitted the designated property to fall into a state of disrepair in violation of this chapter. The Town Attorney shall initiate an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to correct a violation of this chapter. Any civil remedy shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any criminal prosecution and penalty.