Village of Laurel Hollow, NY
Nassau County
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[Added 12-9-2004 by L.L. No. 7-2004]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Art. VI, Buildings and Structures, as amended, was repealed 3-11-1996 by L.L. No. 2-1996. See now Ch. 23, Building Construction and Fire Prevention.
[Amended 9-14-2006 by L.L. No. 3-2006]
The Village Board of Trustees of the Village of Laurel Hollow hereby finds and declares it to be the public policy of the Village of Laurel Hollow to preserve wetlands (including water bodies and watercourses), bluffs and sloped land so as to protect both the Village's environment and its aesthetic character. The following specific purposes and findings are related to each of these areas of environmental concern:
A. 
Wetlands.
(1) 
Population growth has produced increasing demands upon the Village's land and natural resources. The resulting development is encroaching upon, despoiling, polluting and/or eliminating some of the Village's wetlands, water bodies, watercourses and other natural resources, including the natural processes associated therewith. The Village Board finds that it is necessary to preserve, protect and conserve Laurel Hollow's wetlands, including water bodies and watercourses, so as to prevent their despoliation and destruction, and to regulate the use and development thereof. The preservation and maintenance of such natural features in an undisturbed condition is important for physical, ecological, social, aesthetic, recreational and economic reasons related to promoting the health, safety and general welfare of present and future residents of the Village, and of downstream drainage areas. In particular, wetlands serve multiple functions, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) 
Protecting water resources by providing sources of surface water, recharging groundwater and aquifers, serving as chemical and biological oxidation basins and functioning as settling basins for naturally occurring sedimentation.
(b) 
Controlling flooding and stormwater runoff by storing or regulating natural flows.
(c) 
Providing nesting, migratory and wintering habitats for diverse wildlife species, including many on the New York State and Federal Endangered Species Lists.
(d) 
Supporting vegetative associations specifically adapted for survival in low-oxygen environments.
(e) 
Providing areas of unusually high plant productivity which support significant wildlife diversity and abundance.
(f) 
Providing breeding and spawning grounds, nursery habitat and food for various species of fish.
(g) 
Serving as nutrient traps for nitrogen and phosphorus and filters for surface water pollutants.
(h) 
Helping to maintain biospheric stability by supporting particularly efficient photosynthesizers capable of producing significant amounts of oxygen and supporting bacteria that process excess nitrates and nitrogenous pollutants and return them to the atmosphere as inert nitrogen gas.
(i) 
Providing open space and visual relief from development.
(j) 
Serving as outdoor laboratories and living classrooms for the study and appreciation of natural history, ecology and biology.
(2) 
Some of these important natural resources have been lost or their function impaired by having been drained, dredged, filled, excavated, built upon, polluted or by other actions which are inconsistent with their proper protection. Remaining wetlands, water bodies and watercourses are in similar jeopardy. It is the intent of this article to promote the public purposes identified in this section by providing for the protection, preservation, proper maintenance and use of the Village's wetlands, water bodies and watercourses; by preventing or minimizing erosion caused by stormwater runoff and flooding; by maintaining natural groundwater supplies; by preserving and protecting the purity, utility, water retention capability, ecological functions, recreational usefulness and natural beauty of all wetlands, water bodies, watercourses and other related features of the terrain; and by providing and protecting appropriate habitats for natural wildlife. The avoidance or minimization of development on wetlands or wetland buffers will also require appropriate adjustment of development density to achieve the stated purpose.
B. 
Steep slopes, very steep slopes and severely steep slopes.
(1) 
Population growth and increased land values have sometimes resulted in the development of steep, very steep and severely steep slope areas which were once considered to be unbuildable or prohibitively expensive to develop. New development threatens the long-term viability of the Village's sloped land which provides important natural protections. Therefore, the Village Board hereby finds that it is necessary to preserve, protect and conserve Laurel Hollow's severely steep slopes, as well as its steep and very steep slope areas, so as to prevent their unnecessary and improper disturbance with the resultant impact which that disturbance may have upon the public health, safety and general welfare. The preservation of such areas in an undisturbed or minimally disturbed condition is important for physical, ecological, social, aesthetic, recreational and economic reasons related to promoting and protecting the health, safety and general welfare of present and future residents of the Village and surrounding areas. The Village Board finds that it is particularly important to preserve severely steep slopes and steep and very steep slope areas for the following reasons, among others:
(a) 
The disturbance of severely steep slopes or the improper management of steep and very steep slope areas can cause erosion and sedimentation to occur at rates in excess of those experienced under more level topographic conditions. Erosion and sedimentation often include the loss of topsoil (a valuable natural resource), and can result in the disturbance of natural habitats, the degradation of the quality of surface water, the alteration of drainage patterns, the gullying of land, the obstruction of drainage structures and the intensification of flooding, both on and off the subject site.
(b) 
The inadequately or uncontrolled disturbance of severely steep slopes and steep and very steep slope areas can lead to the failure of slopes and the mass movement of earth which creates safety concerns for persons, wildlife and man-made structures.
(c) 
Steep, very steep and severely steep slope areas, including vegetation and rock outcroppings which may be located thereon, contribute to the attractive visual character of the Village and surrounding areas since such sloped land, which includes bluffs, are more highly visible from roadways, water bodies and neighboring properties than are more level lands.
(2) 
Regulation of development which affects steep, very steep or severely steep slope lands can eliminate, or at least minimize, the degradation of these important environmental features while still allowing the reasonable use of private property. This can be done by requiring development design which prohibits, except for special cases, the disturbance of severely steep slopes and avoids the disturbance of steep or very steep slope areas wherever practical. Where avoiding the disturbance of all steep or very steep slope areas may be impractical, any such disturbance shall be conducted in accordance with proper and acceptable engineering practices which minimize the extent of such disturbance. The prohibition of development on severely steep slopes, except in special cases, and the avoidance of development on steep or very steep slope areas may affect development density in order to achieve the Village's legislative intent.
[Amended 9-14-2006 by L.L. No. 3-2006]
The regulations established in this section shall apply to any proposed regulated activity affecting wetlands, watercourses, water bodies, sloped land (which includes steep slopes, very steep slopes and severely steep slopes), including required buffer areas, all as defined in § 145-2, for which a permit or other development plan approval has not been issued by the Village of Laurel Hollow prior to the effective date of these regulations. If a permit for such activity is also required by any other governmental agency, the approving authority shall coordinate its review process with such other agency and cooperate with such other agency's permit process and determination, as appropriate:
A. 
Regulated activities. The following are regulated activities with regard to the various environmental features which are sought to be protected by these regulations:
(1) 
Wetlands, water bodies and watercourses. Within any wetland, water body or watercourse, and within a one-hundred-foot horizontal buffer area therefrom, none of the following activities shall be permitted by the Village Building Inspector without a permit from the Board of Trustees of the Village of Laurel Hollow, pursuant to the standards, procedures and requirements as set forth in § 145-12C hereof:
(a) 
The rebuilding of existing buildings, driveways, walkways, walls, utilities or similar structures that would require a building permit elsewhere in the Code of the Village of Laurel Hollow.
(b) 
The construction of new structures or buildings, or the expansion of the footprint of existing structures or buildings, where other alternatives are not available.
(c) 
Any form of draining, dredging, excavation or removal of material, either directly or indirectly, including regrading.
(d) 
Any form of dumping, filling or depositing of material, either directly or indirectly, including regrading.
(e) 
The installation of any service lines or cable conduits.
(f) 
The alteration or modification of natural drainage patterns.
(g) 
The construction of dams, docks or other water control devices, pilings or bridges, whether or not they change the site's natural drainage characteristics. (NOTE: Docks are subject to the approval of the Village of Laurel Hollow Dock Committee.)
(h) 
The installation of any pipes or wells.
(i) 
The removal or cutting of any vegetation, except as permitted by right below.
(j) 
The deposition or introduction of chemicals, including herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations and accepted horticultural practices.
(k) 
Decorative landscaping or planting, except in a wetland buffer.
(l) 
Any other activity which may impair the natural functions of a wetland, water body or watercourse, as described herein.
(2) 
Steep and very steep slope areas. Within any steep or very steep slope area, no disturbance of the land or any vegetation thereon, other than an activity permitted by right as set forth below, shall be permitted without a permit from the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Zoning Appeals pursuant to the standards, procedures and requirements of § 145-12C hereof and, where applicable, a permit from the Village of Laurel Hollow Planning Board pursuant to the Tree Ordinance.[1]
[Amended 10-11-2007 by L.L. No. 7-2007]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 125, Trees.
(3) 
Severely steep slopes. Except for special cases at the discretion of the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Zoning Appeals and only pursuant to a permit from the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Zoning Appeals pursuant to the standards, procedures and requirements of § 145-12C hereof and, where applicable, a permit from the Village Laurel Hollow Planning Board pursuant to the Tree Ordinance,[2] no disturbance of any land defined as a "severely steep slope" herein shall be permitted other than the construction of a simple wooden staircase or similar structure, not to exceed four feet in width, which is approved by the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Zoning Appeals and receives a permit from the Village of Laurel Hollow Building Inspector.
[Amended 10-11-2007 by L.L. No. 7-2007]
[2]
See Ch. 125, Trees.
B. 
Activities permitted by right. The following activities are permitted by right with regard to the respective environmental features, as set forth below:
(1) 
Wetlands, water bodies and watercourses. Within any wetland, water body or watercourse, and within a one-hundred-foot buffer area measured therefrom, the following activities shall be permitted by right:
(a) 
The removal of the natural products of wetlands by recreational or commercial fishing, shellfishing or aquiculture, where otherwise legally permitted.
(b) 
Outdoor recreational activity that does not materially alter the natural state of the land or require construction, including nature study, hiking, swimming, and boating, where otherwise legally permitted.
(c) 
Normal ground maintenance, including mowing, trimming of vegetation and removal of dead or diseased vegetation, except for the use of fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides in wetlands, water bodies or watercourses.
(d) 
The customary, ongoing maintenance and repair of existing buildings, driveways, walkways, walls, utilities or other similar structures.
(e) 
The operation and maintenance of such dams, retaining walls, terraces, sluices, culverts or other water control structures or devices as legally in existence on the effective date of these regulations.
(f) 
Selective trimming and pruning, planting and replanting in previously landscaped areas as necessary to improve the health or appearance of vegetation within 50 feet of a residence in existence on the effective date of these regulations, subject to the issuance of a tree permit, if required.
(g) 
Public health activities pursuant to any order of the Nassau County Department of Health or the New York State Department of Health.
(h) 
Any emergency activity that is immediately necessary for the protection and/or preservation of life or property.
(2) 
Steep and very steep slope areas. Within any steep or very steep slope area, the following activities shall be permitted by right:
(a) 
Normal ground maintenance, including mowing, trimming and pruning of vegetation, planting and replanting, and removal of dead or diseased vegetation, provided that such activity does not involve any regrading or other disturbance of the land, and further provided that any such activity conforms with all other applicable ordinances, laws and regulations, including obtaining a tree permit, if required.
(b) 
Disturbance required under temporary emergency conditions, as determined by the Village Building Inspector, where such disturbance is necessary to protect persons or property from present or imminent danger.
(c) 
The customary, ongoing maintenance and repair of existing buildings, driveways, walkways, walls, utilities or other similar structures.
(3) 
Severely steep slopes. Within any severely steep slope area, disturbance of any type (other than the construction of a simple wooden staircase or similar structure not to exceed four feet in width which is approved by the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Zoning Appeals and receives a permit from the Village of Laurel Hollow Building Inspector) will not be permitted except under emergency conditions, as determined by the Village of Laurel Hollow Building Inspector, where such disturbance is necessary to protect persons or property from present or imminent danger.
[Amended 10-11-2007 by L.L. No. 7-2007]
C. 
Standards, procedures and requirements.
(1) 
Approving authority.
(a) 
The approving authority for all applications for disturbance of wetlands, water bodies and/or watercourses, including their respective buffer areas, shall be the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Trustees.
(b) 
The approving authority for all applications for disturbance of steep, very steep and severely steep slope areas shall be the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Zoning Appeals. However, in the event an application for subdivision or partitioning of land is made under Chapter 114 of the Village Code and/or an application for a permit pursuant to Chapter 125 of the Village Code, Trees, the Village of Laurel Hollow Planning Board shall have coordinate approval authority for any applications for disturbance of steep, very steep and severely steep slope areas as well as the authority to grant permission to construct a simple wooden staircase or similar structure not to exceed four feet in width within a severely steep slope area pursuant to § 145-12B(3) hereof. This amendment shall apply to all applications filed on or after December 1, 2014.
[Amended 10-11-2007 by L.L. No. 7-2007; 2-11-2015 by L.L. No. 4-2015]
(c) 
Where a dock, pier or other such waterfront structure is proposed, the applicable standards, procedures and requirements shall be as set forth in § 145-20.1 of this chapter.
(d) 
The approving authority for all wetlands and slope applications in the R/I Zone shall be the Village of Laurel Hollow Board of Trustees.
(2) 
Initial determination of need for permit. The initial determination of whether a permit is needed, and from which Board, shall be made by the office of the Village of Laurel Hollow Building Inspector. The Building Inspector, upon inspection of the site or plans for any proposed development activity, may determine that a permit for disturbance of a protected environmental feature is required, that a permit is not required or that further information must be supplied by the applicant or property owner in order to make such a determination.
(3) 
Application. All applications for permitted disturbance of regulated environmental features shall include at least the following information, unless waived by the approving authority:
(a) 
The name, address and signature of the property owner and applicant, if different.
(b) 
The street address and tax map designation of the subject property.
(c) 
A statement that both the property owner and the applicant, if different, will indemnify and hold harmless the Village of Laurel Hollow and its representatives against any damage or injury to any person or property in connection with the processing and issuance of the requested permit.
(d) 
A written statement describing the proposed work, the purpose thereof, and why such work cannot be done on a portion of the property which would not impact, or would impact to a lesser extent, any of the environmental features sought to be protected by these regulations.
(e) 
A site plan, drawn at an appropriate scale and prepared and sealed by a professional engineer, landscape architect, architect, surveyor or other properly qualified person, showing the following, as appropriate:
[1] 
Wetlands permit. A site plan submitted as part of an application for disturbance of any wetland, water body or watercourse, or any area within 100 feet therefrom, shall contain at least the following information, unless waived by the Board of Trustees:
[a] 
The location of all wetlands, watercourses, water bodies and floodplains, including wetland buffer areas, in the vicinity of the proposed activity, as delineated by a properly qualified wetland scientist no earlier than one year prior to the date of filing the application. The boundaries of any such area shall be flagged in the field and surveyed by a properly qualified land surveyor in a manner acceptable to the Board of Trustees.
[b] 
The delineation of all soil types in the vicinity of the proposed activity.
[c] 
The specific location of the proposed area of disturbance and the specifications and quantities of all material proposed to be added or removed from the site, as well as the procedures to be used to undertake such work.
[d] 
Existing and proposed contours at a maximum vertical interval of two feet within the proposed disturbed area and extending to a distance of at least 100 feet beyond such area, including proposed surface materials and/or other treatment.
[e] 
The details of any proposed surface or subsurface drainage system to be installed, including any special measures designed to provide for proper surface and/or subsurface drainage, both during the performance of the work and after its completion.
[f] 
Where creation of a water body is proposed, details of the construction of any dams, embankments, outlets or other water control devices and analysis of the wetlands hydrologic system, including seasonal water fluctuation, inflow/outflow calculations and subsurface soil, geology and groundwater conditions.
[g] 
Where creation of a stormwater detention basin (sump) or drainage reserve area is proposed, details of the construction of any dam, berm, embankment, outlet or other water control devices and an analysis of the wetlands hydrologic system, including seasonal water fluctuation, inflow/outflow calculations and subsurface soil, geology and groundwater conditions.
[h] 
An erosion and sedimentation control plan.
[i] 
copy of any permit issued by any other governmental agency.
[2] 
Slope disturbance permit. A site plan submitted as part of an application for the disturbance of any steep, very steep or severely steep slope area shall contain at least the following information, unless waived by the Board of Zoning Appeals:
[Amended 10-11-2007 by L.L. No. 7-2007]
[a] 
The location of all areas of existing steep slope, very steep slope and severely steep slope areas on the property.
[b] 
The delineation of all soil types in the vicinity of the proposed activity.
[c] 
The specific location of the proposed area of disturbance and the specifications and quantities of all material proposed to be added or removed from the site, as well as the procedures to be used to undertake such work.
[d] 
Existing and proposed contours at a maximum vertical interval of two feet within the proposed disturbed area and extending to a distance of at least one hundred (100) feet beyond such area.
[e] 
All proposed surface materials and/or other surface treatments.
[f] 
The details of any proposed surface or subsurface drainage system to be installed, including any special measures designed to provide for proper surface and/or subsurface drainage, both during the performance of the work and after its completion.
[g] 
An erosion and sedimentation control plan.
[h] 
If the Board of Zoning Appeals determines that the extent or nature of the proposed slope area disturbance will be extensive or that blasting may be involved, it may require such other additional information, including reports prepared by qualified professionals retained by said Board. This required additional information may include, among other things, cross sections of all proposed disturbed areas, depth to bedrock information, a cut-and-fill analysis, a blasting plan, and other such technical studies or information.
(4) 
Public hearing. After the approving authority has determined that an application for wetland, watercourse or water body, or slope area disturbance permit is complete, and if it determines that the proposed scope of the application warrants a public hearing, it may schedule such a hearing with not less than seven (7) days' notice published in the official Village newspaper and a copy of the notice mailed to the record owner of all abutting lots, including lots located directly across any street from the subject property. Such notice shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested. The mailing shall be the responsibility of the applicant. At the public hearing, the applicant shall provide appropriate proof of the mailing of such notices, including an affidavit of their mailing and all returned receipts, prior to the opening of the public hearing.
(5) 
Professional review fees. The approving authority, in reviewing any application pursuant to this section, may refer such application to any independent professional as said Board may deem reasonably necessary to properly advise it on technical matters relating to such application. The applicant shall be responsible for reimbursing the Village for the cost of such professional review upon submission of a copy of the voucher or, at the discretion of the approving authority, by establishing an escrow account in advance of the consideration of the application and/or in advance of the retention of the outside professional by the approving authority. The payment of such fees shall be in addition to any and all other fees required by this chapter or any other Village law, ordinance or regulation.
D. 
Decision. Within a maximum of 60 days from the date of the close of the public hearing and the completion of the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process, unless such time period is extended with the consent of the applicant, the approving authority shall render a decision either to approve, approve with required modifications or disapprove the permit application. Whatever decision is made shall constitute a final determination of the approving authority. Aggrieved parties may seek relief pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules of the State of New York. In arriving at its decision, the approving authority shall consider at least the following:
(1) 
The extent to which the proposed action, including any mitigation which is offered, is consistent with the legislative intent of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Laurel Hollow as set forth in this Chapter and is necessary in order to make at least a minimally reasonable use of the property, not the maximum use.
(2) 
All evidence offered at the public hearing.
(3) 
All permits and reports issued or submitted by any Village, county, state or federal agency or by any expert retained by the approving authority.
(4) 
All relevant facts and circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) 
The environmental impact of the proposed action.
(b) 
The suitability of the proposed action for the area where it is proposed.
(c) 
Alternatives to the proposed action which would eliminate the need for the requested permit or would reduce the potential impact of the requested action.
(d) 
The nature and extent of any mitigation proposed by the applicant.
(e) 
Other mitigation which would serve to further reduce any potential adverse environmental impacts, including a reduction in the nature or scale of the proposed action.
E. 
Term. Any permit issued pursuant to this section shall be valid for a period not to exceed 18 months from the date of approval, unless otherwise specified by the approving authority. All permits shall expire upon completion of the work specified therein.
F. 
Inspection. The property upon which the activity has been approved shall be open to inspection by the Village Building Inspector or other designated representative of the approving authority at any reasonable time, including weekends and holidays. The applicant, by having made application for such a permit, shall be deemed to have given its consent to such inspection. A notice of violation or stop work order shall be issued if it is found that the applicant has not complied with any of the conditions or limitations as set forth in the permit or has exceeded the scope of the approved activity.
G. 
Certification. Within 30 days of the date of completion of all work for which a permit pursuant to this section has been issued, a certification shall be submitted by a properly qualified professional attesting that all work has been completed in accordance with said permit and with any requirements approved pursuant thereto.
H. 
Continued conformance required. Continued conformance with all requirements as shown on an approved plan for the disturbance of any wetland, watercourse, water body or slope area, shall be deemed to be a condition for the continued maintenance of the certificate of occupancy for the affected property. Any violation of a condition of approval shall be subject to the imposition of penalties as set forth in Subsection below.
I. 
Penalties.
(1) 
Any person who violates any provision of these regulations shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $2,500 or imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment for each violation. Each week's continued violation and each violation of a different provision of these regulations, shall be considered a separate and distinct offense.
(2) 
In addition to the above penalties, the Village shall not issue any building permit, certificate of occupancy or temporary certificate of occupancy for any property for which a notice of violation of these regulations has been served until said violation shall have been resolved to the satisfaction of the approving authority, or the court, as appropriate.