Town of Somers, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Somers 11-8-1984; amended in its entirety 7-10-2008 by L.L. No. 6-2008. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Site plan review — See Ch. 144.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 150.
Zoning — See Ch. 170.
006a Appendix A
It is the intention of the Town of Somers to pursue the highest of architectural criteria in order to insure compatibility and integrity as well as to preserve the rural and distinctive character of the Town of Somers. The Architectural Review Board is created as a means to bring this exercise of judgment into the public review process for development proposals in the Town of Somers.
The purposes of the Architectural Review Board shall be to:
A. 
Promote those qualities in the environment which enhance or maintain value in the community.
B. 
Foster the attractiveness and functional utility of the community as a place in which to live and work.
C. 
Seek to preserve the character and quality of Somers' heritage by maintaining the integrity of those areas and structures which have a distinctive character or are of special historic significance.
D. 
Protect certain public investments in the area.
E. 
Emphasize aesthetic concerns in the interest of the community.
F. 
Raise the level of community expectations for the architectural quality of its environment.
The Architectural Review Board shall examine applications for site plan approvals, building permits and other plans referred to it and shall render decisions in accordance with this chapter. The focus of the examination shall be on architecture and design, with special emphasis on the following objectives:
A. 
Relationship of structures and open space: to ascertain that the proposed treatment and appearance of buildings, developed areas and open spaces have been designed to relate harmoniously with the terrain and with existing buildings that have a visual relationship to them.
B. 
Historically significant areas and structures: to maintain the integrity, appearance, character and soundness of historically significant areas and structures by identifying many aspects of proposed alterations, additions or rehabilitation which would diminish the distinguishing qualities or character of any such area and/or structure.
C. 
Landscape and environment: to identify any unnecessary destruction or blighting of the natural landscape or of the existing man-made environment which may result from proposed developments, particularly when alternative development approaches may be available.
A. 
The Architectural Review Board shall examine:
(1) 
Applications for a building permit for the construction, reconstruction or alteration of any structure or building.
(2) 
Applications for site plan approval made to the Somers Planning Board.
(3) 
Any other land use or development plan within the Town of Somers filed with the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals or Building Inspector.
(4) 
Signs intended to advertise businesses, services or other uses within the Town's residence districts, Designed Residential Development Overlay District, the Business-Historic Preservation District, the Office Business District, the Corporate Research/Office District, the Neighborhood Shopping District, the Community Shopping District, the Office and Light Industry District and the Planned Hamlet District. Specific sign standards and requirements may have been approved as part of original site plan approval for certain developments within some of the stated zoning districts. As such, the Architectural Review Board is charged with verifying site specific standards and requirements with the Planning Department before rendering a decision on an application.
B. 
Applications which involve only one-family detached dwelling units or residential accessory structures on individual lots shall be exempt from examination by the Architectural Review Board unless such structures are in one of the following situations, in which situations the exemption does not apply:
(1) 
The subject of a special permit;
(2) 
Designated an historic structure;
(3) 
Located in the Business Historic Preservation District;
(4) 
The subject of a variance application and referral to the Architectural Review Board is required by the Zoning Board of Appeals; or
(5) 
Located within a conservation development for which referral to the Architectural Review Board has been established as a requirement by the Town Board or Planning Board.
C. 
Submission requirements.
(1) 
Submission requirements shall be as set forth in Appendix A attached hereto and made a part hereof.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included at the end of this chapter.
(2) 
Fees. All applications must submit an Architectural Review Board fee in accordance with the fee schedule determined by the Town Board.
A. 
Applications which fall under the jurisdiction of the Architectural Review Board shall be referred by the Town of Somers lead board (typically the lead agency pursuant to SEQRA) or department to the Board at a juncture appropriate to the progress of the application.
B. 
The lead board or department shall provide a full set of elevations, plans and accompanying data, as provided by the applicant, to the Board for its use and permanent file.
C. 
The applicant may be requested by the Board to appear at a Board meeting for the purpose of reviewing with the Board any submission to it.
D. 
After having referred an application to the Board, the lead board or department shall not take final action prior to receiving an approval resolution from the Board or decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals taken on appeal of an action by the Architectural Review Board reversing or modifying the action of the Board.
The Architectural Review Board conducts two types of review:
A. 
Preliminary/conceptual review. In an effort to assist applicants with development of their project towards a solution that will meet with the approval of the Architectural Review Board, the Architectural Review Board will review a project while it is in the formative or planning stage(s). The Architectural Review Board shall provide commentary on its impression of the project, special areas of concern that should be addressed, and may provide advice as to any other areas of the project that may require special attention or documentation. While applicants who submitted a project to the Architectural Review Board for preliminary/conceptual review may submit any documents they feel are appropriate, applicants are encouraged to include, at a minimum, schematic floor plan(s), preliminary building elevation(s), photographs of the site, and a site plan.
B. 
Standard review. Standard review shall be a review before at least three attending members of the Architectural Review Board where it will act on the project application. After its standard review, the Architectural Review Board shall conduct a vote of the attending members, the result of which will be to either: approve the project, with or without conditions; disapprove the project, stating the reason(s) for disapproval; reserve a final decision on the project, subject to requiring the applicant to submit additional documentation, or to make revisions to the project for resubmission and reconsideration at a future meeting of the Architectural Review Board.
(1) 
Decisions by the Architectural Review Board are to be made within 45 days of submission to it of all required materials.
(2) 
Decisions and the record of such action that are not associated with a referral from a lead board or department are to be referred to the Town Building Inspector for the issuance of a permit within five business days of such decision.
(3) 
Decisions and the record of such action that are associated with a referral from a lead board or department shall be referred to the lead board or department within five business days of making a decision.
(4) 
If the Architectural Review Board recommends disapproval or modification of an application referred to them by a lead board, the lead board shall not act contrary to such decision except by a vote of a majority plus one of the whole number of the lead board. If no recommendation is received by the lead board, the Architectural Review Board shall be deemed to have made no recommendation and the super majority shall not apply.
A. 
The Town Board hereby establishes the Architectural Review Board.
B. 
Appointment of Board members. The Board shall have five members appointed by the Town Board. Of the members first appointed, one shall hold office for the term of one year, two for terms of two years, and two for terms of three years from and after their respective appointments. Their successors shall be appointed for terms of three years from and after the expiration of the terms of their predecessors in office. If a vacancy shall occur otherwise than by expiration of term, it shall be filled by the Town Board for the unexpired term.
C. 
Composition of the Board. Insofar as practicable, all members of the Board shall be competent in matters of architecture and design by reason of training or experience in the fields of architecture, engineering or land development. At least one member shall be a registered architect in the State of New York.
D. 
Appointment of Chairman. The Town Board shall appoint one of the members of the Board to serve as Chairman for terms of one year each. In the event the Chairman is to be absent from a meeting, he shall appoint one of the members of the Board to serve as acting Chairman for that particular meeting.
E. 
Removal. The Town Board shall have power to remove any member of the Board for cause and after public hearing.
F. 
Advisory. The Building Inspector, the Town Planner and Town Engineer of the Town of Somers shall act in advisory capacities to the Architectural Review Board when requested by the Board to do so.
A. 
The Board shall meet monthly and at such other times as the Chairman may designate. The Chairman shall conduct the meetings of the Board. In the Chairman's absence, the Vice Chairman shall assume the duties of the Chairman.
B. 
A secretary, who is not a member of the Board, shall be provided by the Town Board. The secretary shall keep the minutes and a permanent record of all meetings, including resolutions, motions, transactions and determinations. These records, including all documents referred to the Board and submitted to it by any applicant, shall be available on a request for public inspection at reasonable times.
C. 
The Board may establish its own rules to supplement those specified in this section. The Board shall file with the Town Clerk a copy of such additional rules and procedures and a statement of when and where it plans to meet.
D. 
Quorum. A quorum shall be three members of the Board.
E. 
Voting. When voting on any referrals, each member's vote shall be recorded, and no proxy shall be allowed at any time. Three concurring votes are required to approve the submission.
F. 
Conflicts of interest. All members shall be entitled to vote; provided, however, that no member shall participate in reviewing or vote on any referral of which he or any partner or professional associate is the author or in which he or they have any direct or indirect financial interest, other than that as a taxpayer. If the chairman is disqualified, the Vice Chairman shall preside. If he is also disqualified, a majority of the remaining Board members shall designate a new Chairman to preside for that matter.
Any person aggrieved by an action of the Architectural Review Board may take an appeal therefrom to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Somers in the same manner as is provided for in the case of appeals regarding zoning requirements. The Zoning Board of Appeals, after proceeding in the same manner as is provided for other appeals before it and with the same power and authority now vested in it under the provisions of law, may affirm, modify or reverse an appealed action of the Architectural Review Board. The Zoning Board of Appeals, in its review of such appeal, may retain such architectural or landscape consultants as it deems appropriate.