Village of Owego, NY
Tioga County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Owego 11-20-2017 by L.L. No. 5-2017[1]. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building code administration — See Ch. 92.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 117.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 159.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 175.
Zoning — See Ch. 195.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 126, Historic Preservation, adopted 4-21-1997 by L.L. No. 1-1997.
It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of the landmarks and historic districts is necessary to promote the economic, cultural, educational and general welfare of the public. Inasmuch as the identity of a people is founded on its past and inasmuch as Owego has many significant historic, architectural and cultural resources which constitute its heritage, this chapter is intended to:
A. 
Protect and enhance the landmarks and historic districts which represent distinctive elements of Owego's historic, architectural and cultural heritage.
B. 
Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past.
C. 
Protect and enhance Owego's attractiveness to visitors and support and stimulate the economy thereby provided.
D. 
Ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the Village.
E. 
Encourage investments in the acquiring, resurrecting, refurbishing, restoration and continued upkeep and maintenance of these valued treasures in a manner that maintains and is in keeping with the intended visual aesthetic characteristics or the original design and construction through a system of reviews, consultations, approvals and permitting processes that is not so onerous that it becomes prohibitive to accomplish and discourages doing appropriate code compliant maintenance to said properties and/or landmarks. The intent of this section is not to provide a pathway for renovations or improvements to property in a manner that is not in keeping with a property's original design aesthetics and appeal, or in a manner that is injurious to the value and general appeal of the properties or landmarks or to the surrounding, adjacent or neighboring properties values and appeal.
A. 
There is hereby created a committee to be known as the "Owego Historic Preservation Advisory Committee."
B. 
The Committee shall consist of five members, from within the Village or the Town of Owego to the extent available, to be appointed by the Mayor and approved by a majority of the Board, as follows:
(1) 
At least one shall be an architect, engineer or a contractor having experience in historic preservations;
(2) 
At least one shall be a Village or Tioga County historian;
(3) 
At least one shall be a member of the Village Planning Board or the Village Zoning Board of Appeals;
(4) 
At least one shall be a resident of the historic district having knowledge of and being active in the fields of historic preservation with interest in historic preservation and architectural development within the Village of Owego.
(5) 
The fifth member shall have qualifications as determined by the Mayor and Village Board.
(6) 
If any Committee position cannot be filled to the extent required herein, the Mayor shall appoint, with the Village Board's approval, person(s) with qualifications pursuant any of the other subsections as such persons may be available.
C. 
The Committee's initial members shall serve staggered terms as follows: two shall serve one year, one shall serve two years, and two shall serve three years. Thereafter, Committee members shall serve for terms of three years from each member's last date of appointment. At no point shall a member serve more than three consecutive terms nor more than nine years of total service. Any member may be removed from the Committee at any time by a majority vote of the Village Board of Trustees.
D. 
The Chairman and Secretary of the Committee shall be appointed by the Mayor from among the members of the Committee and approved by a majority vote of the Village Board of Trustees.
E. 
The duties of the Committee shall include:
(1) 
Recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees, after consultation with the Code Enforcement Officer, regarding employment of staff and professional consultants as necessary to assist carrying out the duties of the Committee.
(2) 
Biannual recommendations to the Village Board of Trustees of proposed updates to rules and regulations as necessary for the conduct of the Committee's business.
(3) 
Recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees of criteria for the identification of significant historic, architectural and cultural landmarks and for the delineation of historic districts.
(4) 
Conducting surveys of significant historic, architectural and cultural landmarks and historic districts within the Village and recommend findings to the Village Board of Trustees.
(5) 
Recommending designation of identified structures or resources as landmarks and historic districts to the Village Board of Trustees.
(6) 
Recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees of acceptance of the donation of facade easements and development rights and recommendations concerning the acquisition of facade easements or other interests in real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(7) 
Increasing public awareness of the value of historic, cultural and architectural preservation by developing and participating in public education programs.
(8) 
Making recommendations to the Village Board of Trustees concerning the utilization of state, federal or private funds to promote the preservation of landmarks and historic districts within the Village.
(9) 
Recommending acquisition of a landmark structure by the Village of Owego where its preservation is essential to the purposes of this chapter, in the best interest of the Village of Owego, and where private preservation is not feasible.
(10) 
Recommendation to the Code Enforcement Officer and the Village Board of Trustees of approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriateness pursuant to this chapter.
F. 
The Committee shall meet at least monthly, but meetings may be held at any time on the written request of the Code Enforcement Officer, any two of the Committee members, or the Chairman or the Mayor.
G. 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of three of the Committee's members, but not less than a majority of the full-authorized membership may recommend approval or denial of a certificate of appropriateness.
A. 
The Committee may recommend designation of an individual property as a landmark if it meets any of the criteria identified in Subsection A, (1) through (5) herein. The Committee, when considering such recommendation, shall take into account the express wishes of the owner of record regarding such designation.
(1) 
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;
(2) 
Is identified with historic personages;
(3) 
Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style;
(4) 
Is the work of a designer whose work has significantly influenced an age; or
(5) 
Because of a unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.
B. 
Historic districts.
(1) 
The Committee may recommend designation of a group of properties as an historic district if it:
(a) 
Contains properties which meet one or more of the criteria for designation of a landmark; and
(b) 
By reason of possessing such qualities, constitutes a distinct section of the Village.
(2) 
The boundaries of each historic district recommended henceforth shall be specified in detail and shall be filed, in writing, in the Village Clerk's office for public inspection.
C. 
Districts and designated landmarks. The districts and landmarks over which the Committee shall exercise interpretation as regards historic preservation are as follows: The Central Historic Business District as defined on the National Register of Historic Places; all the properties on Front Street east from number 218 to and including number 442; all the properties on the south side of Front Street west of the Court Street Bridge; all the properties on the north side of Front Street west of number 145; all the properties on the north side of Main Street commencing with number 207 and east to and including number 405; all the properties on the south side of Main Street commencing with the southeast corner of Church Street and Main Street east to and including number 408; the structures on the properties on Church Street numbered 20 and 30; the structures on the properties on Temple Street numbered 138 and 142; the structures on the properties on Paige Street between Front Street and East Temple Street; all the properties on John Street between Front Street and Main Street; all the properties on Spencer Avenue between Main Street and Temple Street; and the properties on Ross Street between Front Street and Main Streets numbered 15, 16, 18, 19, 25, 27, 29, 30 and 34.
D. 
Notice of designated districts and landmarks.
(1) 
Signage shall be posted at points of entry into each designated historic district or landmark to notify the public that preservation regulations are in effect.
(2) 
Distribution of information on the district. The Village shall publish an information sheet on the historic districts and landmarks and provide copies to all realtors. All realtors are encouraged to provide a copy of this information sheet to any and all persons considering purchasing any property within the historic district or designated as a landmark.
No building permit shall be issued, and no person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction, or moving of a designated historic landmark or property, or a landmark or property within an historic district, nor shall any person make any material change in the appearance of such landmark or property, its light fixtures, signs, sidewalks, fences, steps, paving or other exterior elements visible from a public street or sidewalk which affect the appearance and cohesiveness of the historic landmark or district without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness. The certificate of appropriateness required by this chapter shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any building permit that may be required by any other law of the Village of Owego.
A. 
When reviewing an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the reviewing officer or body shall not consider changes to interior spaces or to architectural features that are not visible from a public street or sidewalk.
B. 
The reviewing officer or body's decisions shall be based upon consideration of 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 and consistent with the architectural styles of historic values with the district in which it is located. On sites of proposed new construction where structures adjoining the site are of significantly dissimilar periods or styles of architecture, the officer or body may approve such period or style of architecture as it deems proper for the site and in the best interests of the surrounding historic district.
(4) 
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 the rhythm of spacing of properties on streets, including setback.
(5) 
The importance of historic, architectural or other features to the significance of the property.
A. 
Prior to the commencement of any work requiring a certificate of appropriateness, the owner shall file an application for such a certificate with the Code Enforcement Officer. The application shall contain:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(2) 
The location and photographs of the property.
(3) 
Elevation drawings of proposed changes, if available.
(4) 
Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties, if available.
(5) 
Samples of color or materials to be used.
(6) 
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. The scale drawing shall also indicate whether the proposed sign complies with the Village's Zoning Code, and if not, in what manner or fashion it varies from the Zoning Code's requirements.
(7) 
Any other information that the Code Enforcement Officer deems necessary in order to visualize the proposed work.
B. 
Upon a complete application's submission to the Code Enforcement Officer, he or she shall within 10 days determine the application's classification in accordance with the principles established pursuant to § 126-5. If requested by the Code Enforcement Officer, the applicant shall meet with him or her within such ten-day period to discuss the proposed classification and any recommended changes.
C. 
If the Code Enforcement Officer determines that the proposal falls under Class B, then he or she may approve, deny, or approve with modifications an application and, if approved, issue a certificate of appropriateness. If the Code Enforcement Officer determines that the application falls under Class A, then he or she shall notify the Committee's Chairperson and transmit the application, together with accompanying plans and other information, to the Committee for its review and recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees. In either case, the Code Enforcement Officer shall take such action as required by him or her within 15 days of the completed application's receipt.
(1) 
Class A applications are those that have significant impact on the physical structure of the building or site and the surrounding neighborhood.
(2) 
Class B applications are those that have limited effect on the site and surrounding neighborhood.
D. 
The Committee shall make its recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees to approve, deny, or approve the application with modifications within 30 days of receipt of the application from the Code Enforcement Officer. The Committee may hold a public hearing on the application at which an opportunity will be provided for proponents and opponents of the application to present their views. The Village Board shall review and take action thereon within 30 days of receipt of the Committee's recommendation.
E. 
All decisions of the Code Enforcement Officer, Historic Preservation Committee, or Village Board shall be in writing. The Code Enforcement Officer shall send a copy to the applicant by registered mail and a copy shall be filed with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. All decisions and recommendations shall state the reasons for denying or modifying any application.
A. 
An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed demolition has been denied or approved with modifications may apply for relief on the ground of hardship. In order to prove the existence of hardship, the applicant shall establish that:
(1) 
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible;
(2) 
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
(3) 
Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.
B. 
An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for anything other than demolition has been denied or approved with modifications may apply for relief on the ground of hardship. In order to prove the existence of hardship, the applicant shall establish that the property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible.
A. 
Hardship applications must be filed with the Village Board of Trustees within 15 days of an applicant's receiving written notification of either approval with modifications or denial of a certificate of appropriateness. No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the Village Board of Trustees makes a finding that a hardship exists.
B. 
The Village Board of Trustees shall meet and consider a hardship application within 30 days of its receipt. The Board may, in its discretion, 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. 
Within 30 days of its meeting to consider a hardship application, the Village Board of Trustees shall render a decision in writing on such application and, in accordance with its decision, approve, approve with modifications, or deny the underlying application for a certificate of appropriateness. A copy of the Board's decision shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail and a copy shall be filed with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. The Board's decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application.
All work performed pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness issued under this chapter shall conform to any requirements included therein. It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect periodically any such work to assure compliance. In the event that work is not being performed in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness, the Code Enforcement Officer 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.
A. 
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a violation, and the violator shall be liable to a fine of not more than $250 for each violation.
B. 
Any person who demolishes, alters, constructs or permits a designated property or property within an historic district to fall into a state of disrepair in violation of this chapter or applicable state law, including, but not limited to, the Property Maintenance Code, shall be required to restore the property and its site to its properly maintained appearance prior to the violation. Any action to enforce this subsection shall be brought by the Village Attorney. This civil remedy shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any criminal prosecution and penalty.
A. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior architectural feature of a landmark or property within or without an historic district which does not involve a change in design, material, color or outward appearance, as determined by the Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
No owner or person with an interest in real property designated as a landmark or included within an historic district shall permit the property to fall into a serious state of disrepair so as to result in the deterioration of any exterior architectural feature which would, in the judgment of the Code Enforcement Officer, produce a detrimental effect upon the character of the historic district as a whole or the life and character of the property itself.
Examples of such deterioration include:
(1) 
Deterioration of exterior walls or other vertical supports.
(2) 
Deterioration of roofs or other horizontal members.
(3) 
Deterioration of exterior chimneys.
(4) 
Deterioration of any feature so as to create a hazardous condition which could lead to the claim that demolition is necessary for the public safety.
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Code Enforcement Officer relating to a certificate of appropriateness must, within 15 days of the decision, file a written application with the Village Board of Trustees for review of the decision. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Village Board relating to hardship or a certificate of appropriateness may appeal by commencing an Article 78 proceeding against the Village Board in accordance with law.