[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lawrence as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 1-14-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998
Editor's Note: This local law also superseded former Ch. 12, Board of Building Design, adopted 4-13-1988 by L.L. No. 2-1988.
The Board of Trustees finds that excessive similarity or general inappropriateness of design in the exterior appearance of residential and/or commercial buildings erected in a respective district adversely affects the desirability of the immediate area and neighboring areas for residential and/or commercial purposes and by so doing impairs the benefits for residential and/or commercial purposes and by so doing impairs the benefits of occupancy of existing residential and/or commercial property in such areas, impairs the stability and value of both improved and unimproved real property in such areas, prevents the most appropriate development of such areas, produces degeneration of residential and/or commercial property in such areas with attendant deterioration of conditions affecting the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants thereof and destroys a proper relationship between the table value of real property in such areas and the cost of municipal services provided therefor.
It is the purpose of Chapter 6, Appeals, Board of, this article and Chapter 212, Zoning, to prevent these and other harmful effects of such exterior appearances of buildings erected in residential and/or commercial neighborhoods and thus to promote and protect the health, safety and general welfare of the community.
It is the further purpose of this article to preserve and promote the character and appearances and conserve the property values of the Village, the attractiveness of whose residential and business areas is the economic mainstay of the community, by providing procedures for a review of structures henceforth erected, reconstructed or altered in the Village and thereby:
To encourage good quality of exterior building design and appearances and to relate such design and appearances to the sites and surroundings of the structure.
To permit originality and resourcefulness in building design and appearance which are appropriate to the sites and surroundings.
To prevent such designs and appearances as are unnecessarily offensive to visual sensibilities.
The Board of Building Design heretofore established is hereby continued.
It shall consist of five members who will serve without compensation.
All members of said Board shall be residents of the Village of Lawrence throughout their terms of office.
The members of said Board and the Chairman thereof shall be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Board of Trustees.
The members of the Board of Building Design shall serve for terms of one year.
A vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term of any member whose place has become vacant.
Such Board of Building Design shall appoint from its members an Acting Chairman, who shall act during the absence or incapacity of the Chairman. The Board shall also appoint a Secretary, who need not be a member of the Board and may be compensated.
A majority of said Board shall constitute a quorum.
Notice of meetings shall be given by the Secretary in the same manner as provided by the Village Law for meetings of the Board of Trustees.
Minutes of all meetings and proceedings of the Board shall be taken and recorded by the Secretary. Such minutes need not be verbatim but shall state the substance of the proceedings.
In case of the absence of the Secretary at any meeting, the Board may appoint a Secretary pro tem, who shall take and record the minutes of the meeting for which he was appointed.
The Minute Book shall be kept on file in the Village office of the Village of Lawrence and shall be open to public inspection during regular business hours.
The Board may adopt rules of procedure which shall include, but are not limited to, the frequency and time of meetings and rules of attendance.
The Chairman (or Acting Chairman) may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses.
The Board of Building Design shall review and advise on all applications for building permits referred to it by the Building Inspector, including but not limited to:
New construction of any kind.
Any exterior addition or alteration to preexisting buildings/structures or accessory buildings.
Swimming pools, decks, recreational structures.
New fences (including replacements).
Other matters referred by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals.
Any plans or proposals which, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, violate the spirit and intent of this article.
Applications must be accompanied by plans showing all elevations of new structures and all affected elevations in the case of additions or alterations. When required by the Building Inspector or by the Board of Building Design, a site plan shall be submitted showing both existing and proposed contours at one-foot intervals, all existing trees with a trunk diameter of three inches or more and whether such trees shall remain or be removed and/or other topographical features.
Upon receipt of such application, the Chairman or Secretary shall, pursuant to rules to be established as per § 12-4G, arrange for a meeting of said Board, as soon thereafter as convenient, to consider such application, and the Secretary shall give notice of such meeting in the manner hereinbefore provided.
Approval of any building permit referred to the Board shall be by a vote of a majority of at least a quorum of members of the Board of Building Design.
In considering an application for a permit, the Board shall take into account natural features of the site and surroundings, exterior design and appearances of existing structures and the character of the Village and its peculiar suitability for particular purposes, with a view to conserving the values of property and encouraging the most appropriate use of land.
The Board may approve any application referred to it upon finding that the building or structure for which the permit was requested, if erected or altered in accordance with the submitted plan, would be in harmony with the purpose of this article, would not be visually offensive or inappropriate by reason of poor quality of exterior design, excessive similarity or striking visual discord in relation to the sites or surroundings, would not mar the appearance of the area, would not impair the use, enjoyment and desirability or reduce the values of properties in the area, would not be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood, would not prevent the most appropriate development and utilization of the site or of adjacent lands and would not adversely affect the functioning, economic stability, prosperity, health, safety and general welfare of the entire community.
In approving any application, the Board may impose appropriate conditions and safeguards designed to prevent the harmful effects set forth in § 12-1.
The Board may disapprove any application for a permit, provided that the Board has afforded the applicant an opportunity to confer upon suggestions for change of the plan, and provided that the Board finds and states that the structure for which the permit was requested would, if erected as indicated, provoke one or more of the harmful effects set forth in § 12-1 and thus be detrimental to the character, property values or development of the surrounding property or of the Village as a whole by reason of:
Excessive similarity to any other structure or structures located or proposed to be located on the same street or corner thereof and within 500 feet of the site of the structure for which a building permit is requested, in respect to one or more of the following features of exterior design and appearance:
Substantially identical facade.
Substantially identical size and arrangement of either doors, windows, porticoes, porches or garages or other openings or breaks or extensions in the facade, including reverse arrangements.
Other substantially identical features, such as but not limited to setbacks from street lines, heights, widths and lengths of elements of the building design and exterior materials and treatments.
Striking dissimilarity, visual discord or inappropriateness with respect to other structures located or proposed to be located on the same street or a corner thereof and within 150 feet of the site of the structures for which a building permit is requested, in respect to one or more of the following features of exterior design and appearance:
Size and arrangement of doors, windows, porticoes, porches or garages or other openings, breaks or extensions in the facade.
Other significant design features, such as but not limited to heights, widths and lengths of elements of design, exterior materials and treatments, roof structures, exposed mechanical equipment, service and storage areas, retaining walls, landscaping, signs, light posts, parking areas and fences and service and loading areas.
Visual offensiveness or other poor qualities of exterior design, including, with respect to signs and awnings, considerations of the harmony or discord of colors, or incompatibility of the proposed structure with the terrain on which it is to be located, including but not limited to excessive divergences of the height or levels of any part of the structure from the grade of the terrain.
There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the following matters would produce one or more of the harmful effects set forth in § 12-1 and thus be detrimental to the character, property values or development of the surrounding property or of the Village as a whole:
[Added 12-21-2017 by L.L. No. 6-2017]
Side yard fences in excess of five feet in height, based on the median grade along the path of the fence (except where the applicant’s side yard abuts the rear yard of another property and the height of the applicant’s fence would be necessary to match the height of an existing rear yard fence on the adjoining property); and
Side yard fences extending further than the area between the rear property line and the front facade of the primary structure on the property; and
Rear yard fences in excess of six feet in height, based on the median grade along the path of the fence; and
Horseshoe-shaped driveways, or other driveways requiring two curb cuts, unless the property has street frontage of at least 66 feet and a minimum distance of 50 feet between the curb (or if none, the paved surface of the street) and the front façade of the primary building on the property.
The Board may disapprove any application where the provisions of § 12-5B have not been complied with.
In disapproving any application for a building permit, the Board of Building Design may specify modifications in the design of the building which the Board finds will, in the opinion of the Board, be adequate to render the same acceptable.
Such disapproval shall be given within 30 days after the date when such application was submitted by the Building Inspector to the Board of Building Design, and, if such disapproval is not given within said period of time, the application shall be deemed approved unless the applicant shall have agreed to an extension of time or shall have agreed to provide additional data, information or plans.
The Building Inspector shall not issue or approve the issuance of a building permit upon such application until after the expiration of said period of 30 days, unless such application has been approved by the Board of Building Design, and shall not approve the issuance of any building permit for which the application has been disapproved by said Board, unless the plans for such building have been amended to include the modifications in design that the Board may have specified as adequate to render such design acceptable.
[Amended 12-21-2017 by L.L. No. 6-2017]
Any applicant aggrieved by the action of the Board of Building Design in disapproving a building permit application, and by the Building Inspector in denying such permit because of such disapproval, may request the Board to make formal findings of fact. In the event of such a request, the Board shall make such findings of fact within 15 days after the request is filed in the office of the Village Clerk, shall thereafter provide the applicant with an opportunity to answer the findings by the submission of formal proof and shall reconsider the application on the basis of such answer. If the application is disapproved after such reconsideration, the applicant may appeal the decision through a proceeding filed pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
The powers intended to be exercised under this article are those conferred upon the Board of Trustees by § 4-412 and Article 7 of the Village Law and by any other statute which may be applicable.
[Adopted 9-10-2003 by L.L. No. 7-2003]
The Lawrence Village Board of Trustees hereby enacts this article to provide a process for appointing alternate members of the Board of Building Design. These individuals would serve when members are absent or unable to participate on an application or matter before the Board.
Alternate members of the Board of Building Design shall be appointed by the Village Board of Trustees for a term of one year.
The Chairperson of the Board of Building Design may designate an alternate to substitute for a member when such member is unable to participate on an application or matter before the Board. When so designated, the alternate member shall possess all the powers and responsibilities of such member of the Board. Such designation shall be entered into the minutes of the initial Board of Building Design meeting at which the substitution is made.
All provisions of state law relating to Board of Building Design member eligibility, vacancy in office, removal, compatibility of office and service on other boards, as well as any provision of a local ordinance, shall also apply to alternate members.