Town of Southeast, NY
Putnam County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southeast 3-18-1993 by L.L. No. 4-1993.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Conservation Commission — See Ch. 10.
Historic sites — See Ch. 83.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 121.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 131.

§ 110-1 Statutory authority.

Pursuant to § 96-a of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York and the Town Law of the State of New York, the Town Board of the Town of Southeast hereby enacts a Scenic Roads Protection Code.

§ 110-2 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Scenic Roads Protection Code of the Town of Southeast, New York."

§ 110-3 Public policy, purpose.

A. 
The Town Board of the Town of Southeast finds that many rural roads within the Town exhibit outstanding visual qualities, including vistas, landscapes, floral growth and other geological features not found on or near other traveled ways; that these roads serve as a link to our rural past and provide a unique recreational opportunity for our residents; that commercial and residential development may threaten to deprive future generations of the cultural and aesthetic opportunities afforded by these resources; and that we, as stewards of our heritage, should not permit the destruction of such scenic beauty and should further their preservation.
B. 
It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement, perpetuation and scenic use of scenic roads is a public necessity and is required in the interest of health, safety and general welfare of our people. The purpose of this chapter is to:
(1) 
Effect and accomplish the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of such scenic roads and the landscape and geological features and improvements which represent or reflect the elements of the Town's background.
(2) 
Stabilize and improve property values in such scenic road areas.
(3) 
Foster civic pride in the beauty of the Town.
(4) 
Promote the use of scenic and aesthetic resources for the education, pleasure and welfare of the people of the Town.
(5) 
Preserve some of the remaining rural qualities of the Town.
(6) 
Promote traffic and pedestrian safety.
(7) 
Implement the objectives and policies of the Town Master Plan.

§ 110-4 Intent.

A. 
It is declared to be the intent of the Town of Southeast to protect and conserve the scenic roads identified herein, to ensure that the benefits found to be provided by such scenic roads will not be lost for present and future generations and to protect the broader public interest.
B. 
These regulations are enacted with the intent of providing an equitable balance between the rights of the individual property owners who adjoin scenic roads to the free use of his or her property and the rights of present and future generations. This chapter recognizes the rights of such adjoining property owners to use their property for reasonable purposes, consistent with these and other regulations and controls, provided that such use, in the judgment of the appropriate agency or official of the Town, does not result in a significant loss or impairment to the scenic resource of the function it fulfills.

§ 110-5 Identification; designation.

From time to time the Town Board of the Town of Southeast shall, on its own motion, identify and designate certain roads within the Town as scenic roads. The procedure for designation shall be as follows:
A. 
Identification by Town Board. The Town Board shall identify a scenic road within the Town. The Town Board, where appropriate, shall seek the advice and counsel of other boards and officials in the furtherance of the designation process.
B. 
Public hearing required. After the Town Board identifies a specific road for possible designation, it shall hold a public hearing, at which time the public, parties in interest and owners of land abutting or adjoining the subject road shall have the opportunity to be heard regarding the proposed scenic road designation.
C. 
Notice required. Notice for a public hearing on the designation of a scenic road shall be provided as follows:
(1) 
After the Town Board identifies a road as being worthy of scenic roadway designation, it shall notify all owners of property adjacent to the road section proposed for designation of the intent to designate the road as a scenic road. Such notice to the adjacent property owner shall be sent by first class mail and shall be sent no less than 15 nor more than 40 days prior to the scheduled date of the public hearing. The notice shall contain the time, date and place of the public hearing, identify the specific road and state the intent to designate the road as a scenic road.
(2) 
Such notice shall also be filed with the Town Clerk, posted on the official bulletin board of the Town and made available for public inspection no less than 15 days prior to the scheduled date of the public hearing.
(3) 
Notice of the public hearing shall be published in the Town's official newspaper no less than seven days in advance of the scheduled date of the public hearing. The notice shall be published at the expense and direction of the Town.
D. 
Town Board action. After conducting the public hearing on the intent to designate a scenic road, the Town Board shall approve or disapprove the designation according to its regular voting procedures.

§ 110-6 Designation criteria.

A scenic road shall be found to possess one or more of the following characteristics:
A. 
The natural landscape on the edge of the roadway consists of dense forest edge with extensive, healthy or unusual variety of major rock outcropping.
B. 
The roadway provides a scenic vista or a panoramic view over forests, meadows, hills, lakes, streams, reservoirs or other similar resources.
C. 
The road has a narrow, winding quality linking it with the Town's rural past.
D. 
The road is unpaved, dirt or gravel base and is characterized by low traffic volume.
E. 
The road is bordered by an ancient stone wall on at least one side.

§ 110-7 Regulations for designated scenic roads.

A. 
Each property adjacent to a designated scenic road shall maintain an area 30 feet in width extending from the right-of-way line into the property in a state recognized by the Town Board in its designation of the scenic roadway. Within such area there shall be no significant disturbance such as building, grading or clearing, with the exception of access corridors to and from the property when approved by the Planning Board (in connection with subdivision or site plan approval).
[Amended 11-16-2006 by L.L. No. 10-2006]
B. 
The buffer shall closely resemble the natural appearance of the undeveloped land.
C. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply to presently developed property in such designated areas, provided that the character of what would be the thirty-foot vegetative buffer is maintained in its current state or is returned to a state similar to that required in Subsection A above.
D. 
Where the requirement of the thirty-foot-wide scenic roadway corridor presents an undue hardship or a practical difficulty because of topography or other natural features of the property, the owner of the property may apply for relief to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
E. 
To the extent practicable, the Town shall undertake no improvements upon or make any modifications to a designated scenic road which would change the essential character of such road. The Highway Superintendent shall take any and all actions deemed necessary and appropriate to maintain a designated scenic road in its natural state, consistent with sound highway maintenance and safety standards on rural roads, and shall limit speeds thereon to the extent allowed by law.

§ 110-8 Jurisdiction of Planning Board to review plans.

[Amended 11-16-2006 by L.L. No. 10-2006]
Prior to the initiation of any activity within the designated buffer area on land adjoining a scenic road, the owner of such property shall apply for and obtain approval from the Town Board. No building permit shall be issued by the Building Inspector and no driveway permit shall be issued by the Highway Superintendent until the Town Board has reviewed and approved the nature and extent of the activity planned. Whenever the landowner is seeking subdivision approval for such property in accordance with Chapter 123, Subdivision of Land, of the Code of the Town of Southeast, the Planning Board shall refer all applications involving activities planned within the buffer area to the Town Board for its review and approval of activities within the buffer area only. To the maximum extent possible, all plan review, hearings and decisions required under this chapter shall be coincident with other procedures and applications that may be before the Planning Board or Town Board relating to the same activity.

§ 110-9 Construal of provisions.

If in any case the provisions of this chapter conflict with any other provisions of the Code of the Town of Southeast, the provisions which impose the more-stringent requirement or standard shall apply.

§ 110-10 Compliance with other provisions.

All development and improvement allowed by right or allowed by permit shall also conform with all rules and regulations contained in the Code of the Town of Southeast and all other applicable laws and specifications.

§ 110-11 Rehearing and appeals.

[Amended 11-16-2006 by L.L. No. 10-2006]
A. 
Any person making application under the review procedures of this chapter and aggrieved by the decision of the Planning Board and/or the Town Board may seek a rehearing by the involved agency within 20 days of the filing of said decision. Upon receipt of the request for rehearing, the Planning Board or Town Board shall set a time within 30 days thereafter when a rehearing will be conducted. Public notice shall be given in the Town’s official newspaper no less than seven days prior to such date. The applicant shall be required to pay all fees associated with the hearing as set forth in the Town’s fee schedule.
B. 
Appeal. Any decision or order of the Planning Board or Town Board pursuant to this chapter may be reviewed at the instance of any person affected. Such appeal shall be made to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Southeast upon an application duly filed with the Town Clerk within 30 days of the filing of the adverse determination.

§ 110-12 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Civil sanctions.
(1) 
Any person found violating any provision of this chapter or conditions duly imposed pursuant thereto shall be served by the Building Inspector with a written notice stating the nature of the violation and providing a specified time within which the violation shall cease and satisfactory corrective action be taken by the violator.
(2) 
Any person who is found to have violated, disobeyed or disregarded any provision of this chapter shall be liable to the people of the Town of Southeast for a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for every violation, to be assessed by the Town Court after hearing or opportunity to be heard before the Town Court.
(3) 
The Town Court shall have the power, following a hearing, to direct the violator to cease violation of this chapter and satisfactorily restore the affected area to its condition prior to the violation or otherwise complete the terms and conditions of any permit issued pursuant to this chapter. The Town Court may order the use of all or part of any performance bonds to complete, restore or otherwise improve the affected area.
B. 
Criminal sanctions.
(1) 
Any person found violating any provision of this chapter or conditions duly imposed pursuant thereto shall, for the first offense, be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500.
(2) 
For a second and each subsequent offense, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 or a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both such fine and imprisonment.
(3) 
Each offense shall be a separate and distinct offense; and in the case of a continuing offense, each week's continuance thereof shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense.
(4) 
The Town Attorney shall prosecute any person alleged to have violated the provisions of this chapter and shall seek equitable relief to restrain any violation or threatened violation of its provisions.

§ 110-13 Existing or prior development or improvements.

A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any development, alteration or improvement of property adjacent to a designated scenic road for which final approval shall have been obtained and not expired and the approved work not completed prior to the designation by the Town Board of said scenic road.
B. 
As used in this section, the term "final approval" shall mean:
(1) 
In the case of the subdivision of land, conditional approval of a final plat as the term is defined in § 276 of the Town Law.
(2) 
In the case of a site plan not involving the subdivision of land, adoption by the Planning Board of a resolution granting approval.
(3) 
In those cases not covered by Subsection B(1) or (2) above, the issuance of a building permit or other authorization for the commencement of the development, alteration or improvement of the property affected or for those developments or improvements for which the Town of Southeast does not require such permits, the actual commencement of the development, alteration or improvement of property.

§ 110-14 Highway Superintendent's discretion.

[Added 7-20-2000 by L.L. No. 3-2000]
Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing herein contained shall be construed to limit or restrict the Town Highway Superintendent's authority or ability to take any measure or measures in connection with the repair, maintenance or improvement of any designated scenic road, if said Superintendent of Highways determines, in his or her sole discretion, that such repair, maintenance or improvement of such scenic road is necessary to protect the health, safety or welfare of the general public. Such repair, maintenance or improvements may include, but are not necessarily limited to, installation of paving, installation of curbing, acquisition and improvement of right-of-way, reconfiguration of such roadway for the purpose of improving sight distances or telemetry and installation of guardrails or drainage facilities.