City of Rochester, NY
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 120-179 Responsibility for administration.

A. 
Direct responsibility for the administration of the provisions of this chapter shall be vested in the City Council, Director of Planning and Zoning, Project Review Committee, Planning Commission, Preservation Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, all in accordance with the provisions of this article. The Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, the Corporation Counsel and other officials, departments and agencies of the City shall cooperate in such administration and enforcement, as specified below.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
B. 
In addition to the jurisdiction, authority and duties conferred on him or her by other provisions of the Charter, codes and ordinances of the City of Rochester, the Corporation Counsel, or his or her designee, shall have the following jurisdiction, authority and duties with relation to the administration and enforcement of this chapter:
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(1) 
The Corporation Counsel, or his or her designee, shall attend all hearings of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Commission and the Preservation Board and shall attend any meeting of any such body at which his or her presence has been requested and shall act as the legal advisor to the body holding such hearing or meeting.
(2) 
The Corporation Counsel, or his or her designee, shall provide all appropriate advice and aid to the Director of Planning and Zoning in the enforcement of this chapter and shall, where appropriate, initiate such legal actions as may be necessary to the proper enforcement of this chapter.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(3) 
The Corporation Counsel, or his or her designee, shall review and give his or her opinion concerning the legal sufficiency of any Charter provision, code, ordinance, rule or regulation, or amendments thereto, relating to land use development and regulation presently in force or proposed for adoption by any official, department, bureau, board, commission or agency of the City.
(4) 
The Corporation Counsel, or his or her designee, shall be available, on reasonable request, for consultation with the Director of Planning and Zoning, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Commission and the Preservation Board concerning matters properly subject to their jurisdiction and authority.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]

§ 120-180 City Council.

A. 
Jurisdiction, authority and duties. In addition to the jurisdiction conferred on it by other provisions of the Charter, codes and ordinances of the City, the City Council shall have the following jurisdiction and authority:
(1) 
Text amendments. The City Council shall be responsible for reviewing Zoning Ordinance text amendment applications and for taking final action to approve, approve with conditions, modify or deny such applications.
(2) 
Map amendments. The City Council shall be responsible for reviewing map amendment (rezoning) applications and for taking final action to approve, approve with conditions, modify or deny such applications.
(3) 
Planned development district designation. The City Council shall be responsible for reviewing planned development district designation applications and for taking final action to approve, approve with conditions, modify or deny such applications.
(4) 
Preservation district designation. The City Council shall be responsible for reviewing preservation district designation applications and for taking final action to approve, approve with conditions, modify or deny such applications.

§ 120-181 Project Review Committee.

A. 
Membership.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
There shall be a Project Review Committee made up of the following individuals or a designee:
[Amended 9-21-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-323]
(a) 
The Director of Planning and Zoning;
[Amended 7-22-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-209]
(b) 
The Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development;
[Amended 7-22-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-209]
(c) 
The Permit Office Manager;
[Amended 7-22-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-209]
(d) 
The City Engineer; and
(e) 
Three urban design specialists, appointed by the Mayor, that could include, but not be limited to, an architect, an urban planner and a landscape architect.
(2) 
The Director of Planning and Zoning may request that other City staff attend the discussions of the Project Review Committee as necessary.
B. 
Chairperson. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall serve as Chair of all Project Review Committee meetings.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
C. 
Staff Secretary and public record. The Director of Planning and Zoning, or a designee, shall be the Staff Secretary of the Project Review Committee. The Staff Secretary shall provide for keeping a file of all records of the Committee, and such records shall be public records open to inspection at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
D. 
Recommendation procedures.
(1) 
Recommendation to the Director of Planning and Zoning. Subject to the procedures, standards and limitations set forth in § 120-191, Procedures approved by the Director of Planning and Zoning, the Project Review Committee shall review all major site plans referred to it by the Director of Planning and Zoning and make a recommendation to approve, approve subject to conditions or deny the application.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179; 7-22-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-209]
(2) 
Quorum and necessary vote. The Project Review Committee may meet and deliberate at any meeting regardless of the presence of a quorum consisting of five members or may continue consideration of such matter to any later meeting. However, no final recommendation shall be made on any such matter without a quorum being present. The concurring recommendation of a majority of the quorum of the Committee shall be necessary.
E. 
Meetings and procedures.
(1) 
Meetings.
(a) 
Meetings shall be held on a regular basis, at least monthly, to review and make recommendations on all development within the authority of the Committee. All meetings of the Project Review Committee shall be held at the call of the Chair or as provided by rule of the Committee.
(b) 
The applicant or an authorized designee may be in attendance at the meetings to respond to clarifying questions the Project Review Committee may have.
(c) 
Meetings shall be open to the public; however, no public participation shall be permitted.
F. 
Record. The recommendation, with appropriate exhibits and papers filed in any meeting before the Project Review Committee, and the report shall constitute the record.
G. 
Jurisdiction and authority. In addition to the jurisdiction conferred on it by other provisions of the Charter, codes and ordinances of the City, the Project Review Committee shall have the following jurisdiction and authority:
(1) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-191, to review and make its recommendations on major site plan applications that have been referred to it by the Director of Planning and Zoning.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
To review and make recommendations on neighborhood design guidelines.
(3) 
Upon reasonable written request, to make its special knowledge and expertise available to any official, department, bureau, board, commission or agency of the City, county, state or federal governments to aid them in the performance of their respective duties relating to the design of development.

§ 120-182 Director of Planning and Zoning.

[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
A. 
Staff Secretary. The Director of Planning and Zoning, or a designee, shall serve as Staff Secretary to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Commission, the Environmental Commission, the Preservation Board and the Project Review Committee. The Director of Planning and Zoning, or a designee, shall, in that capacity:
(1) 
Attend the meetings of each such body.
(2) 
Inform each such body of all facts and information at his or her disposal with respect to any matter brought before such body.
(3) 
Give notice, 30 days prior to the expiration of the term of any member of any such bodies, of the date on which the term of such member shall expire to such member and to the Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development.
(4) 
Perform such other duties as may be assigned to the Director of Planning and Zoning by the Charter, this chapter and by the rules of such bodies.
B. 
Records. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall maintain a copy of all official records pertaining to the official duties as outlined in this chapter and the various bodies for which the Director serves as staff secretary. Such records shall be filed with the City Clerk, as required by law.
C. 
Applications; receipt, processing and notification.
(1) 
Receipt. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall receive all applications, other than applications for certificates of occupancy, required to be filed pursuant to this chapter and such other applications that the codes and ordinances of the City may from time to time require to be filed with the Director of Planning and Zoning.
(2) 
Processing. Upon receipt of any such application, the Director of Zoning shall see to its processing, including its referral to and retrieval from each official, department, bureau, board, commission or agency of the City, or other government, with any interest in or duty with respect to such application.
(3) 
Notification.
(a) 
Within five business days following the final disposition of any application submitted to the Director of Planning and Zoning pursuant to this subsection, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall notify:
[1] 
The applicant;
[2] 
Any other department, bureau, board, commission or officer of the City whose duties may be affected by such action.
(b) 
In any case where an application has been denied, such notice shall inform the applicant of any right to appeal such denial that may exist pursuant to this chapter.
D. 
Failure to act. In any case where this chapter provides that the failure of the Director of Planning and Zoning to act within a fixed period shall be deemed a denial of an application, such failure shall, notwithstanding the absence of required findings and conclusions, be considered to be a decision of the Director of Planning and Zoning rendered on the day following the expiration of such fixed period. Such a decision may be appealed in the same manner as any other decision but, on such appeal, shall be entitled to no presumption of correctness.
E. 
Jurisdiction, authority and duties.
(1) 
Whenever the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Commission, the Environmental Commission, the Preservation Board or the Project Review Committee by general rule or specific direction so requests, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall conduct or request such surveys, investigations and field studies and shall prepare or cause to be prepared such reports, maps, photographs, charts and exhibits as shall be necessary and appropriate to the processing of any application filed with the Director of Planning and Zoning.
(2) 
In addition to the jurisdiction, authority and duties conferred on the Director of Planning and Zoning by other provisions of the Charter, codes and ordinances of the City of Rochester, the Director of Planning and Zoning, or a designee, shall be charged with the administration of this chapter and shall have all powers necessary to such administration and, in particular, shall have the following jurisdiction, authority and duties:
[Amended 12-15-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-411]
(a) 
Certificate of zoning compliance. Pursuant to the provisions of § 120-189, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall review all applications for certificates of zoning compliance and approve or disapprove the applications based on compliance or noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter.
(b) 
Site plan review.
[1] 
Subject to the procedures, standards and limitations set forth in § 120-191, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall review or cause to be reviewed all site plans and approve, approve with conditions or deny such applications.
[2] 
All major site plans shall be referred to the Project Review Committee for review and recommendation. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall comply with the recommendation unless there are documented reasons for rejecting the findings and issuing a decision that is contrary to the recommendation of the Project Review Committee.
(c) 
Administrative adjustments. Subject to the procedures, standards and limitations set forth in § 120-191, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall review or cause to be reviewed applications for administrative adjustments and shall approve, approve with conditions or deny such applications.
(d) 
Interpretations. Pursuant to the provisions of § 120-191, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall issue written interpretations of the meaning and applicability of specific provisions of this chapter. Any interpretation of this chapter shall be kept on file with the Director of Planning and Zoning and shall be a public record of the City open to inspection by all persons at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice.
(e) 
Planned development district and cluster modifications. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall have the authority to approve detailed development plans as part of the planned development district and cluster modifications process pursuant to §§ 120-190 and 120-192. In addition, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall have authority to permit minor adjustments to final plans for planned development districts.
(f) 
Certificates of appropriateness. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall issue all certificates of appropriateness for applications that conform to the preservation guidelines adopted by the Preservation Board.
(g) 
Certificate of nonconformity. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall issue all certificates of nonconformity subject to the requirements of Article XXIV.
(h) 
Other permits. The Director of Planning and Zoning shall issue all other certificates, permits and approvals required by this chapter or after being authorized to do so by the person or body responsible for authorizing such issuance. All such certificates, permits and approvals shall contain any information required to be included therein by this chapter or the authorizing person or body and, in particular, shall expressly set forth any limitations or conditions imposed on the issuance of such permit.
(i) 
Extensions of time. The Director of Planning and Zoning may, upon written request by an applicant or a permittee prior to the expiration date of the approval, for good cause shown and without notice of hearing, extend the original time limit imposed on an applicant or permittee by this chapter or, unless a resolution shall expressly provide otherwise, by any resolution of any body acting pursuant to this chapter, for a period not to exceed the length of the original period. For any additional time limit extensions, The Director of Planning and Zoning shall notify the appropriate approval body that shall make a recommendation for or against the extension. A nonrefundable fee, as may be established from time to time by the City Council to defray administrative costs, shall accompany each request.
[Amended 9-21-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-323]
(j) 
Reports. Twenty-four months after the effective date of this chapter, the Director of Planning and Zoning shall submit a comprehensive report evaluating the performance and effectiveness of the Zoning Code to the Mayor and City Council. Thereafter, such reports shall be prepared at the request of the Mayor or the City Council.
F. 
Input from other departments. The Director of Planning and Zoning may request technical and legal aid, assistance and expertise from appropriate City departments for the various boards and commissions as he or she may reasonably require in the performance of his or her duties.

§ 120-183 Environmental Commission.

The Rochester Environmental Commission shall have the jurisdiction and authority set forth in Chapter 48.

§ 120-184 Planning Commission.

A. 
Membership.
(1) 
Appointment and terms. Pursuant to the Charter of the City of Rochester, there is hereby established a Planning Commission, which shall consist of seven regular members appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by City Council. All new members shall be appointed for a two-year term; members may be appointed to subsequent terms of two years. There shall be no limitation on the number of terms served by a member of the Planning Commission.
(2) 
Commission composition. Members of the Planning Commission shall be residents of the City of Rochester and shall not be officers or employees of the City or any of its agencies or departments. At all times there shall be at least one member residing in each City Council district, except that the failure of the Commission to meet this requirement shall not affect the validity of the Commission's actions.
(3) 
Compensation. Members of the Planning Commission shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled, to the extent of available funds appropriated, to reimbursement for reasonable expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.
(4) 
Vacancies. Permanent vacancies on the Planning Commission shall be filled by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by City Council as set forth above.
(5) 
Mandatory training. The members of the Planning Commission shall be required to attend at least eight hours of training regarding land use issues by the end of their initial full term on the Commission. For each subsequent term, the Planning Commission members shall be required to attend four hours of training.
(6) 
Removal. Any member of the Planning Commission may be removed for cause by the Mayor at any time; provided, however, that before any such removal, such member shall be given an opportunity to respond to allegations of such cause in writing to the Mayor.
(a) 
Cause for removal of a member shall include:
[1] 
Any undisclosed or unlawful conflict of interest;
[2] 
Any violation of the codes, ordinances or rules applicable to the member's performance of his or her duties;
[3] 
Any unwillingness or inability to carry out his or her duties in a prompt, conscientious and competent manner;
[4] 
Any conduct tending to cast doubt upon the integrity or objectivity of the member in performing his or her duties or any other specific conduct of the member found by the Mayor to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the Commission.
(b) 
Members shall be removed from the Planning Commission if they miss 50% or more of the meetings during the course of one calendar year or do not meet their mandatory training requirements.
(c) 
No member who has been removed for cause shall be reappointed, except when the cause for removal is Subsection A(6)(b), in which case a member may be reappointed if the reason for the absences no longer exists.
B. 
Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.
(1) 
The members of the Planning Commission shall annually elect one of their members as Chairperson, to preside at all meetings and hearings of the full Commission and to fulfill the customary functions of that office, and another of their number as Vice Chairperson. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson may administer oaths.
(2) 
In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall act as Chairperson and shall have all the powers of the Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson shall have such other powers and duties as may from time to time be provided by the rules of the Planning Commission.
(3) 
In the absence of both the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson, the members present shall vote to establish a temporary Chairperson.
C. 
Staff Secretary and public record.
(1) 
The Director of Planning and Zoning, or a designee, shall be the Staff Secretary of the Planning Commission and shall attend all its proceedings and, upon request, the proceedings of any of its committees.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
The Staff Secretary shall provide for the keeping of minutes of the proceedings of the Board, showing the vote of each member upon every question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact and shall maintain all state-mandated permanent records of Commission meetings, hearings and proceedings and all correspondence of the Commission. The Staff Secretary shall provide for keeping a file of all records of the Commission, and such records shall be public records open to inspection at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice.
D. 
Voting procedures.
(1) 
Quorum.
(a) 
As to any matter requiring a hearing before the Planning Commission, no business shall be transacted by the Commission without a quorum. The concurring vote of four members shall be necessary for any action by the Commission. If less than a quorum is present, the hearing may be adjourned as outlined in Subsection D(1)(b) below.
(b) 
A member absent from any portion of a hearing or meeting shall be qualified to vote at a subsequent hearing or meeting upon the matter heard provided he or she shall first certify on the record that he or she has reviewed the entire record of any such portion of the hearing or meeting during which he or she was absent and has been fully informed of the essential facts and issues of the matter being heard so as to be able to cast an informed and independent vote.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(2) 
Adjournment.
(a) 
If during the course of a public hearing there is a determination that a continuation of the hearing is needed and the date and time are announced, no further notification of the adjournment will be required.
(b) 
If notification of the date and time of the adjourned hearing date cannot be determined at the hearing, notification requirements set forth in this chapter shall be followed.
(3) 
Deliberation. As to any matter not requiring a hearing, the Planning Commission may meet and deliberate at any properly called meeting regardless of the presence of a quorum or may continue consideration of such matter to any later meeting. However, no final action shall be taken on any such matter without a quorum.
E. 
Meetings, hearings and procedures.
(1) 
Meetings. Regular meetings of the Planning Commission shall be held at the call of the Chairperson, the Director of Planning and Zoning, or as provided by rule of the Commission. Special meetings shall be called by the Chairperson at the request of any three members of the Commission or at the request of the City Council.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
Hearings. All meetings and hearings of the Planning Commission shall be open to the public. All testimony at any hearing of the Planning Commission shall be given under oath.
(3) 
Procedures. The Planning Commission shall adopt its own rules of procedure for the conduct of its business consistent with this chapter and the statutes of the State of New York. Such rules shall be filed with the Staff Secretary of the Commission and the City Clerk.
[Amended 6-17-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-183]
F. 
Planning Commission bylaws. The Planning Commission shall prepare and adopt bylaws from time to time outlining meeting times and related procedures. The bylaws shall be submitted to the Director of Planning and Zoning for review and acceptance.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
G. 
Record and decisions.
(1) 
Record. The following shall constitute the record:
(a) 
The transcript of testimony, if any;
(b) 
The minutes of the Staff Secretary, if any;
(c) 
All applications, staff reports, requests, exhibits and papers filed in any proceeding before the Planning Commission; and
(d) 
The decision of the Commission.
(2) 
Decisions.
(a) 
The Planning Commission may rely on the personal knowledge of its members, on testimony during public hearings, on its inspections of the property and on any reports available to it; provided, however, that reliance on such matter shall not be allowed unless the Commission shall have made the particular knowledge, inspection or report a matter of record at the public hearing and afforded every party reasonable time to respond to it at the hearing.
(b) 
Every decision of the Planning Commission upon an application for amending this chapter, for cluster development approval, for special permit approval, for site plan approval or for designation of a landmark shall be by written resolution which shall include findings of fact, shall refer to all the evidence in the record and to the exhibits, plans or specifications upon which such decision is based and shall contain the findings of fact which shall set forth the recommendation of the Commission or shall approve, approve with conditions or deny approval. Every resolution shall expressly set forth any limitations or conditions imposed on any approval or any development, work or use authorized.
(3) 
Final decision. The Planning Commission shall take no final or binding vote on any decision pertaining to the aforesaid applications unless it shall first state its findings and conclusions as above required at a meeting open to the public.
(4) 
Failure to act.
(a) 
In any case where this chapter provides that the failure of the Planning Commission to act within a fixed period shall be deemed a denial of an application, such failure shall, notwithstanding the absence of required findings and conclusions, be considered to be a decision of the Commission rendered on the day following the expiration of such fixed period. Such a decision may be appealed in the same manner as any other decision but, on such appeal, shall be entitled to no presumption of correctness.
(b) 
Where no decision is made by the Planning Commission and the time period for rendering a decision has not expired, the action will be placed on the agenda of the next scheduled regular or special meeting.
(5) 
Notification of decision. Within 10 business days following any decision on such applications, the Staff Secretary shall mail notice thereof to each person entitled to such notice and file such decision in the office of the City Clerk. As to other matters brought before the Commission, the Commission shall prepare such report as it shall deem appropriate to the subject matter.
H. 
Conflicts. No member of the Planning Commission shall participate in the hearing or disposition of any matter in which he or she has an interest. Any conflict of interest prohibited by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law or by the Rochester Code of Ethics and as interpreted by the Ethics Board shall disqualify a member.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
I. 
Appeals. An appeal from any final decision of the Planning Commission as to any matter over which it has final authority may be taken within 30 days of the filing of such decision by any person aggrieved or by any authorized officer, department, bureau, board or commission of the City in accordance with Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules and § 38 of the New York General City Law.
J. 
Jurisdiction and authority. The Planning Commission shall have the following jurisdiction and authority:
(1) 
To review and recommend on matters relevant to the Comprehensive Plan and the Official Map to the City Council.
[Amended 9-21-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-323]
(2) 
To review the capital improvement program.
(3) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-190, to initiate, hear, review and offer its recommendations to the City Council on applications for amendment of this chapter.
(4) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-190, to hear, review and offer its recommendations to the City Council on applications for planned development district approval.
(5) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-192, to hear, review and finally decide applications for cluster development approval.
(6) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-192, to hear, review and finally decide applications for special permit approval.
(7) 
To initiate, review and offer its recommendations on proposals for the establishment of preservation districts.
(8) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-193, to initiate, review and approve or disapprove proposals for the designation of landmarks.
(9) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-191, to hear, review and finally decide on applications for site plan approval referred to the Commission.
(10) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-192, to adopt neighborhood design guidelines.
(11) 
To hear, review and approve subdivisions.
(12) 
When requested, to aid and assist the City Council and the departments and agencies of the City in planning specific projects.
(13) 
To review and report on any matter referred to it by the City Council or Mayor. All aspects and effects of such review and report shall be governed by the directions of the City Council or Mayor in making such referral.
(14) 
Upon reasonable, written request, to make its special knowledge and expertise available to any official, department, bureau, board, commission or agency of the City, county, state or federal governments to aid them in the performance of their respective duties relating to the planning and development of the City and its region.
(15) 
In furtherance of the above jurisdiction and authority, to make such investigations, maps and reports, and recommendations in connection therewith, relating to the planning and development of the City of Rochester as seem desirable to it; provided, however, that the expenditures of the Commission shall not exceed the amount appropriated.
(16) 
In furtherance of the above jurisdiction and authority, and with the prior authorization of the Mayor, to employ such experts and other assistants as may be necessary or convenient to carry out its duties hereunder and to pay for their services and for other necessary and proper expenses; provided, however, that such expenditures shall not exceed such funds as may be appropriated for such purposes from time to time by the City Council.
K. 
Alternate members. The Mayor is hereby authorized to appoint, subject to confirmation by City Council, up to three alternate members to the Commission for purposes of substituting for a regular member in the event such regular member is unable to participate in the Commission's consideration of any application or other matter.
[Added 9-16-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-275]
(1) 
Substitution. The Chairperson of the Commission may designate an alternate member to substitute for a regular member when such regular member is unable to participate in the consideration of any application or other matter before the Commission due to a conflict of interest, illness, or any other reason that causes the regular member to be absent or otherwise unable to participate. When so designated, the alternate member shall possess all the powers and responsibilities of such regular member of the Commission for the application or matter so designated by the Chairperson. Such designation shall be entered into the minutes of the Commission meeting at which the substitution is made. Each alternate member shall be a resident of Rochester and shall be appointed for a two-year term.
(2) 
Other requirements. All other provisions of this § 120-184 and the rest of the Municipal Code relating to the eligibility, compensation, ethics, conflicts of interest, vacancies, mandatory training, reappointment and removal of regular Commission members shall also apply to alternate members; provided, however, that there shall be no requirement that there be at least one alternate member residing in each City Council district.

§ 120-185 Preservation Board.

A. 
Membership.
(1) 
Appointment and terms. Pursuant to the Charter of the City of Rochester, there is hereby established a City Preservation Board, which shall consist of seven regular members appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by City Council. All new members shall be appointed for a two-year term; members may be appointed to subsequent terms of two years. There shall be no limitation on the number of terms served by a member of the Preservation Board.
(2) 
Board composition.
(a) 
Among the members of the Preservation Board there shall be:
[1] 
One licensed or certified real estate professional.
[Amended 11-15-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-351]
[2] 
One member of a recognized historical association;
[3] 
Two registered architects;
[4] 
Two residents from two different preservation districts established pursuant to this chapter; and
[5] 
One resident at large.
(b) 
Members of the Preservation Board shall be residents of the City of Rochester, and no member of the Preservation Board shall be an officer or employee of the City of Rochester or any of its agencies or departments. The failure of the Board to meet the composition requirement shall not affect the validity of the Board's actions.
(3) 
Compensation. Members of the Preservation Board shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled, to the extent of available funds appropriated, to reimbursement for reasonable expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.
(4) 
Vacancies. Permanent vacancies on the Preservation Board shall be filled by the Mayor in the same manner as other appointments as set forth above.
(5) 
Mandatory training. The members of the Preservation Board shall be required to attend at least eight hours of training regarding historic preservation issues by the end of their initial term on the Board. For each subsequent term, the Preservation Board members shall be required to attend four hours of training.
(6) 
Removal. Any member of the Preservation Board may be removed for cause by the Mayor at any time; provided, however, that before any such removal, such member shall be given an opportunity to respond to allegations of such cause in writing to the Mayor.
(a) 
Cause for removal of a member shall include:
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
[1] 
Any undisclosed or unlawful conflict of interest;
[2] 
Any violation of the codes, ordinances or rules applicable to the member's performance of his or her duties;
[3] 
Any unwillingness or inability to carry out his or her duties in a prompt, conscientious and competent manner;
[4] 
Any conduct tending to cast doubt upon the integrity or objectivity of the member in performing his or her duties or any other specific conduct of the member found by the Mayor to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the Board.
(b) 
Members shall be removed from the Board if they miss 50% of the meetings during the course of one calendar year or do not meet their mandatory training requirements.
(c) 
No member who has been removed for cause shall be reappointed, except when the cause for removal is Subsection A(6)(b), in which case a member may be reappointed if the reason for the absences no longer exists.
B. 
Chairpersons.
(1) 
Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.
(a) 
The members of the Preservation Board shall annually elect one of their number as Chairperson, to preside at all meetings and hearings of the full Board and to fulfill the customary functions of that office, and another of their number as Vice Chairperson. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson may administer oaths.
(b) 
In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall act as Chairperson and shall have all the powers of the Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson shall have such other powers and duties as may from time to time be provided by the rules of the Preservation Board.
(c) 
In the absence of both the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson, the members present shall vote to establish a temporary Chairperson.
(2) 
Committee chairperson. In any case where a committee of the Board is authorized to act, the Chairperson may designate or, absent such designation, the committee members may select a committee chairperson. While acting as such, the committee chairperson shall have all of the powers of the chairperson with respect to the conduct of meetings and hearings of the committee.
C. 
Committees. For the purpose of reviewing and acting upon applications for certificates of appropriateness pursuant to § 120-194, the Preservation Board may, by rule, establish procedures for the appointment or selection of permanent or ad hoc committees, consisting of three members of the Board, and for the assignment to such committees of such applications for action. Except as specifically provided otherwise in this section, the provisions of this section pertaining to the Preservation Board shall be applicable to its committees.
D. 
Staff Secretary and public record.
(1) 
The Director of Planning and Zoning, or a designee, shall be the Staff Secretary of the Preservation Board and shall attend all its proceedings and, upon request, the proceedings of any of its committees.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
The Staff Secretary shall provide for the keeping of minutes of the proceedings of the Board, showing the vote of each member upon every question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact and shall maintain all state-mandated permanent records of Board meetings, hearings and proceedings and all correspondence of the Board at the direction of the City Clerk. The Staff Secretary shall provide for keeping a file of all records of the Board, and such records shall be public records open to inspection at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice.
E. 
Voting procedures.
(1) 
Quorum.
(a) 
As to any matter requiring a hearing before the Preservation Board, no business shall be transacted by the Board without a quorum of four members. The concurring vote of four members shall be necessary for any action by the Board. If less than a quorum is present, the hearing may be adjourned to the next scheduled meeting or to a special meeting as determined by the Board. The Staff Secretary shall notify in writing all members of the date of the adjourned hearing and shall also notify such other interested parties as may be designated in the vote of adjournment.
(b) 
A member absent from any portion of a hearing or meeting shall be qualified to vote at a subsequent hearing or meeting upon the matter heard provided he or she shall first certify on the record that he or she has reviewed the entire record of any such portion of the hearing or meeting during which he or she was absent and has been fully informed of the essential facts and issues of the matter being heard so as to be able to cast an informed and independent vote.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(2) 
Adjournment.
(a) 
If during the course of a public hearing there is a determination that a continuation of the hearing is needed and the date and time are announced, no further notification of the adjournment will be required.
(b) 
If notification of the date and time of the adjourned hearing date cannot be determined at the hearing, notification requirements set forth in this chapter shall be followed.
(3) 
Deliberation. As to any matter not requiring a hearing, the Preservation Board or any of its committees may meet and deliberate at any properly called meeting regardless of the presence of a quorum or may continue consideration of such matter to any later meeting. However, no final action shall be taken on any such matter without a quorum.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection E(4), Meetings, and Subsection E(5), Hearings, were renumbered as Subsection F(1) and (2) 6-17-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-183. This ordinance also renumbered former Subsections F through J as G through K, respectively.
F. 
Meetings, hearings and procedures.
(1) 
Meetings. Regular meetings of the Preservation Board shall be held monthly at the call of the Chairperson, the Director of Planning and Zoning or as provided by rule of the Board. Special meetings shall be called by the Chairperson or at the request of the City Council. Meetings of any committee of the Preservation Board shall be held by agreement of all three members. Notice for this meeting shall be the formation of the committee at the Board's meeting and a contact person will be established.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
Hearings. All meetings and hearings of the Preservation Board and its committees shall be open to the public. All testimony at any hearing of the Preservation Board shall be given under oath.
(3) 
Procedures. The Preservation Board shall adopt its own rules of procedure for the conduct of its business consistent with this chapter and the statutes of the State of New York. Such rules shall be filed with the Staff Secretary of the Commission and the City Clerk.
G. 
Preservation Board bylaws. The Preservation Board shall prepare and adopt bylaws from time to time outlining meeting times and related procedures. The bylaws shall be submitted to the Director of Planning and Zoning for review and acceptance.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
H. 
Record and decisions.
(1) 
Record. The following shall constitute the record:
(a) 
The transcript of testimony, if any;
(b) 
The minutes of the Staff Secretary, if any;
(c) 
All applications, staff report, consultant reports, requests, exhibits and papers filed in any proceeding before the Preservation Board;
(d) 
All recommendations, comments and decisions from committees; and
(e) 
The decision of the Board.
(2) 
Decisions.
(a) 
The Preservation Board may rely on the personal knowledge of its members, on testimony from the public hearing, on its inspections of the property and on any reports available to it; provided, however, that reliance on such matter shall not be allowed unless the Board shall have made the particular knowledge, inspection or report a matter of record at the public hearing and afforded every party reasonable time to respond to it at the hearing.
(b) 
Every decision of the Preservation Board upon an application for the designation of a preservation district or a landmark and every decision of the Preservation Board or a committee of the Preservation Board approving, conditionally approving or denying a certificate of appropriateness shall be by written resolution, including findings of fact, shall refer to all the evidence in the record and to the exhibits, plans or specifications upon which such decision is based and shall contain the findings of fact, which shall set forth the recommendation of the Board or shall approve, approve with conditions or deny approval. Every resolution shall expressly set forth any limitations or conditions imposed on any approval or any development, work or use authorized.
(3) 
Final action. The Preservation Board or any of its committees shall take no final or binding vote on any of the aforesaid decisions unless it shall first state its findings and conclusions as above required at a meeting open to the public.
(4) 
Failure to act.
(a) 
In any case where this chapter provides that the failure of the Preservation Board to act within a fixed period shall be deemed a denial of an application, such failure shall, notwithstanding the absence of required findings and conclusions, be considered to be a decision of the Board rendered on the day following the expiration of such fixed period. Such a decision may be appealed in the same manner as any other decision but, on such appeal, shall be entitled to no presumption of correctness.
(b) 
Where no decision is made by the Preservation Board and the time period for rendering decisions has not expired, the action will be placed on the agenda of the next scheduled regular or special meeting.
(5) 
Notification of decision. Within 10 business days following any decision of the Preservation Board or one of its committees, the Staff Secretary shall mail notice thereof to each person entitled to such notice and shall file the decision with the City Clerk. As to other matters brought before the Board, the Board shall prepare such report as it shall deem appropriate to the subject matter.
I. 
Conflicts. No member of the Preservation Board shall participate in the hearing or disposition of any matter in which he or she is interested. Any conflict of interest prohibited by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law or by the Rochester Code of Ethics of the Rochester Municipal Code and as interpreted by the Ethics Board shall disqualify a member.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
J. 
Appeals. An appeal from any final decision of the Preservation Board as to any matter over which it has final authority may be taken within 30 days of the filing of such decision by any person aggrieved or by any authorized officer, department, bureau, board or commission of the City in accordance with Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules.
K. 
Jurisdiction and authority. The Preservation Board shall have the following jurisdiction and authority:
(1) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-192, to review and offer recommendations on applications for special permits that have been referred to it by the Director of Planning and Zoning.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-193, to initiate, hear, review and, subject to the similar authority of the Planning Commission, approve or disapprove proposals for the designation of landmarks.
(3) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-190, to initiate, hear, review and offer its recommendations on proposals for the designation of preservation districts.
(4) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-195, to review and offer recommendations on applications for variances that have been referred to it by the Director of Planning and Zoning.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(5) 
To develop and adopt preservation guidelines.
(6) 
To review and finally decide applications for certificates of appropriateness.
(7) 
Upon reasonable written request, to make its special knowledge and expertise available to any official, department, bureau, board, commission or agency of the City, county, state or federal governments to aid them in the performance of their respective duties relating to preservation and landmark matters.
(8) 
In furtherance of the above jurisdiction and authority, and with the prior authorization of the Mayor, to employ such experts and other assistants as may be necessary or convenient to carry out its duties hereunder and to pay for their services and other necessary and proper expenses; provided, however, that such expenditures shall not exceed such funds as may be appropriated for such purposes from time to time by the City Council.
L. 
Alternate members. The Mayor is hereby authorized to appoint, subject to confirmation by City Council, up to three alternate members to the Preservation Board for purposes of substituting for a regular member in the event such regular member is unable to participate in the Board's consideration of any application or other matter.
[Added 9-16-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-275]
(1) 
Substitution. The Chairperson of the Preservation Board may designate an alternate member to substitute for a regular member when such regular member is unable to participate in the consideration of any application or other matter before the Board due to a conflict of interest, illness, or any other reason that causes the regular member to be absent or otherwise unable to participate. When so designated, the alternate member shall possess all the powers and responsibilities of such regular member of the Board for the application or matter so designated by the Chairperson. Such designation shall be entered into the minutes of the Board meeting at which the substitution is made. Each alternate member shall be a resident of Rochester and shall be appointed for a two-year term.
(2) 
Other requirements. All other provisions of this § 120-185 and the rest of the Municipal Code relating to the eligibility, compensation, ethics, conflicts of interest, vacancies, mandatory training, reappointment and removal of regular Board members shall also apply to alternate members; provided, however, that there shall be no requirement that the alternate members as a group satisfy each of the professional certification, preservation district residency, and residency at large requirements that apply to the regular Board members.

§ 120-186 Zoning Board of Appeals.

A. 
Membership.
(1) 
Appointment and terms. Pursuant to the Charter of the City of Rochester, there is hereby established a Zoning Board of Appeals, which shall consist of seven regular members appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by City Council. All new members shall be appointed for a two-year term; members may be appointed to subsequent terms of two years. There shall be no limitation on the number of terms served by a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
(2) 
Board composition. Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be residents of the City of Rochester and shall not be officers or employees of the City or any of its agencies or departments. At all times, there shall be at least one member residing in each City Council district, except that the failure of the Board to meet this requirement shall not affect the validity of the Board's actions.
(3) 
Compensation. Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled, to the extent of available funds appropriated, to reimbursement for reasonable expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.
(4) 
Vacancies. Permanent vacancies on the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be filled by the Mayor, in the same manner as other appointments as set forth above.
(5) 
Mandatory training. The members of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be required to attend at least eight hours of training regarding land use issues by the end of their initial full term on the Board. For each subsequent term, the Zoning Board of Appeals members shall be required to attend four hours of training.
(6) 
Removal. Any member of the Zoning Board of Appeals may be removed for cause by the Mayor at any time; provided, however, that before any such removal such member shall be given an opportunity to respond to allegations of such cause in writing to the Mayor.
(a) 
Cause for removal of a member shall include:
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
[1] 
Any undisclosed or unlawful conflict of interest;
[2] 
Any violation of the codes, ordinances or rules applicable to the member's performance of his or her duties
[3] 
Any unwillingness or inability to carry out his or her duties in a prompt, conscientious and competent manner;
[4] 
Any conduct tending to cast doubt upon the integrity or objectivity of the member in performing his or her duties or any other specific conduct of the member found by the Mayor to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the Board.
(b) 
Members shall be removed from the Zoning Board of Appeals if they miss 50% or more of the meetings during the course of one calendar year or do not meet their mandatory training requirements.
(c) 
No member who has been removed for cause shall be reappointed, except when the cause for removal is Subsection A(6)(b), in which case a member may be reappointed if the reason for the absences no longer exists.
B. 
Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.
(1) 
The members of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall annually elect one of their members as Chairperson, to preside at all meetings and hearings of the full Board and to fulfill the customary functions of that office, and another of their number as Vice Chairperson. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson may administer oaths.
(2) 
In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall act as Chairperson and shall have all the powers of the Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson shall have such other powers and duties as may from time to time be provided by the rules of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
(3) 
In the absence of both the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson, the members present shall vote to establish a temporary Chairperson.
C. 
Staff Secretary and public record.
(1) 
The Director of Planning and Zoning, or a designee, shall be the Staff Secretary of the Zoning Board of Appeals and shall attend all its proceedings and, upon request, the proceedings of any of its committees.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
The Staff Secretary shall provide for the keeping of minutes of the proceedings of the Board showing the vote of each member upon every question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact and shall maintain all state-mandated permanent records of Board meetings, hearings and proceedings and all correspondence of the Board. The Staff Secretary shall provide for keeping a file of all records of the Board, and such records shall be public records open to inspection at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice.
D. 
Voting procedures and quorum.
(1) 
As to any matter requiring a hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals, no business shall be transacted by the Board without a quorum. The concurring vote of four members shall be necessary to approve an application or appeal. Failure to obtain the concurring vote of four members shall be deemed a denial. If less than a quorum is present, the hearing may be adjourned to the next scheduled meeting or to a special meeting as determined by the Board. The Staff Secretary shall notify in writing all members of the date of the adjourned hearing and shall also notify such other interested parties as may be designated in the vote of adjournment.
(2) 
A member absent from any portion of a hearing or meeting shall be qualified to vote at a subsequent hearing or meeting upon the matter heard provided he or she shall first certify on the record that he or she has reviewed the entire record of any such portion of the hearing or meeting during which he or she was absent and has been fully informed of the essential facts and issues of the matter being heard so as to be able to cast an informed and independent vote.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
E. 
Adjournment.
(1) 
If during the course of a public hearing there is a determination that a continuation of the hearing is needed and the date and time are announced, no further notification of the adjournment will be required.
(2) 
If notification of the date and time of the adjourned hearing date cannot be determined at the hearing, notification requirements set forth in this chapter shall be followed.
F. 
Meetings, hearings and procedures.
(1) 
Meetings. Regular meetings of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be held at the call of the Chairperson or as provided by rule of the Board. Special meetings shall be called by the Chairperson.
(2) 
Hearings. All meetings and hearings of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be open to the public. All testimony at any hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be given under oath.
(3) 
Procedures. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall adopt its own rules of procedure for the conduct of its business consistent with this chapter and the statutes of the State of New York. Such rules shall be filed with the Staff Secretary of the Board and the City Clerk.
[Amended 6-17-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-183]
G. 
Zoning Board of Appeals bylaws. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall prepare and adopt bylaws from time to time outlining meeting times and related procedures. The bylaws shall be submitted to the Director of Planning and Zoning for review and acceptance.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
H. 
Record and decisions.
(1) 
Record. The following shall constitute the record:
(a) 
The transcript of testimony, if any;
(b) 
The minutes of the Staff Secretary, if any;
(c) 
All applications, staff reports, requests, exhibits and papers filed in any proceeding before the Zoning Board of Appeals; and
(d) 
The decision of the Board.
(2) 
Decisions.
(a) 
The Board may rely on the personal knowledge of its members, on testimony at the public hearing, on its inspections of the property and on any reports available to it; provided, however, that reliance on such matter shall not be allowed unless the Board shall have made the particular knowledge, inspection or report a matter of record at the public hearing and afforded every party reasonable time to respond to it at the hearing.
(b) 
Every decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be by resolution which shall include findings of fact, shall refer to all the evidence in the record and to the exhibits, plans or specifications upon which such decision is based, shall specify the reason or reasons for such decision, shall contain a conclusion or statement separate from the findings of fact setting forth the specific relief approved or denied, and shall expressly set forth any limitations or conditions imposed on any relief approved or work or use authorized.
(3) 
Final action. In taking final action, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall first state its findings and conclusions at a meeting open to the public and shall, in addition, state the special circumstances warranting such action.
(4) 
Failure to act.
(a) 
In any case where this chapter provides that the failure of the Zoning Board of Appeals to act within a fixed period shall be deemed a denial of an application, such failure shall, notwithstanding the absence of required findings and conclusions, be considered to be a decision of the Board rendered on the day following the expiration of such fixed period. Such a decision may be appealed in the same manner as any other decision but, on such appeal, shall be entitled to no presumption of correctness.
(b) 
Where no decision is made by the Zoning Board of Appeals and the time period for rendering a decision has not expired, the action will be placed on the agenda of the next scheduled regular or special meeting.
(5) 
Notification of decision. Within 10 business days following any decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Staff Secretary shall mail notice thereof to each person entitled to such notice and file such decision in the office of the City Clerk. As to other matters brought before the Board, the Board shall prepare such report as it shall deem appropriate to the subject matter.
I. 
Conflicts. No member of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall participate in the hearing or disposition of any matter in which he or she is interested. Any conflict of interest prohibited by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law or by the Rochester Code of Ethics of the Rochester Municipal Code shall disqualify a member.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
J. 
Appeals. An appeal from any final decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals may be taken within 30 days of the filing of such decision by any person aggrieved or by any authorized officer, department, bureau, board or commission of the City in accordance with Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules and § 81-c of the New York General City Law.
K. 
Jurisdiction and authority. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the following jurisdiction and authority:
(1) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-189 hereof, to hear and decide appeals from, and review orders, decisions or determinations made by, the Director of Planning and Zoning and to that end shall have the power of the Director of Planning and Zoning with respect to such order, decision or determination.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(2) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-195 hereof, to approve or deny variances from the requirements of this chapter.
(3) 
Subject to the provisions of § 120-190 hereof, to initiate changes and amendments to this chapter.
(4) 
Upon reasonable written request, to make its special knowledge and expertise available to any official, department, bureau, board, commission or agency of the City, county, state or federal governments to aid them in the performance of their respective duties relating to zoning and its administration in the City.
(5) 
In furtherance of the above jurisdiction and authority, to make such investigations, maps and reports, and recommendations in connection therewith, relating to zoning and its administration in the City of Rochester as seem desirable to it; provided, however, that the expenditures of the Board shall not exceed the amount appropriated therefor.
(6) 
Subject to the provisions of Chapter 76 of the City Code hereof, to approve or deny Official Map variances.
[Added 6-17-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-183]
L. 
Alternate members. The Mayor is hereby authorized to appoint, subject to confirmation by City Council, up to three alternate members to the Zoning Board of Appeals for purposes of substituting for a regular member in the event such regular member is unable to participate in such Board's consideration of any application or other matter.
[Added 9-16-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-275]
(1) 
Substitution. The Chairperson of the Zoning Board of Appeals may designate an alternate member to substitute for a regular member when such regular member is unable to participate in the consideration of any application or other matter before the Board due to a conflict of interest, illness, or any other reason that causes the regular member to be absent or otherwise unable to participate. When so designated, the alternate member shall possess all the powers and responsibilities of such regular member of the Board for the application or matter so designated by the Chairperson. Such designation shall be entered into the minutes of the Board meeting at which the substitution is made. Each alternate member shall be a resident of Rochester and shall be appointed for a two-year term.
(2) 
Other requirements. All other provisions of this § 120-186 and the rest of the Municipal Code relating to the eligibility, compensation, ethics, conflicts of interest, vacancies, mandatory training, reappointment and removal of regular Board members shall also apply to alternate members; provided, however, that there shall be no requirement that there be at least one alternate member residing in each City Council district.

§ 120-187 Summary of authorities.

The following table summarizes the review authority for various application processes outlined in this chapter in the City of Rochester.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The summary table is included at the end of this chapter.