[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Chester as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-22-2008 by L.L. No. 3-2008]
Editor's Note: The provisions of this local law were originally adopted as Ch. 46 but were renumbered in order to maintain the alphabetical sequence and organizational structure of the Code.
In performing reviews of applications or petitions for site plan, subdivision, special permits, special proceedings, variances and amendments to the Zoning Law, the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Town Board may refer such applications to such planning consultants or other professionals, as they may deem reasonably necessary, to review such applications.
The Town Board does hereby declare that a comprehensive schedule of fees to be paid to the Town of Chester upon the filing of certain applications for permits or other certificates for activities taken or approved by the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Building Inspector or Town Engineer shall be established by resolution of the Town Board.
A schedule of planning, zoning and building application and construction inspection fees shall be established by resolution of the Town Board. All such fees in effect at the time of adoption of this article shall remain in effect until such time as those application fees are modified by resolution of the Town Board.
The application fees established pursuant to Subsection A, above, shall be deemed to be the minimum fee to be charged, and any additional costs and expenses actually incurred by the Town for professional consultants, inspections and other nonministerial expenses shall be paid by the applicant in accordance with §§ 48-3 and 48-4, and other laws, resolutions, provisions, regulations and codes of the Town.
All reimbursement payments required by § 48-3 shall be in addition to any application, inspection or other fees as may be required by any other laws, resolutions, provisions, regulations or codes of the Town and shall not be used to offset the Town's general expenses of engineering, legal and planning services for the several boards of the Town, nor to offset the Town's general expenses.
Any fee established elsewhere in the Town of Chester Code that is consistent with the provisions of this article shall remain in full force and effect. If any fee is established elsewhere in the Town of Chester Code that is inconsistent with this article, the fees established by this article shall control.
This article and the schedule of application and other fees shall be filed with the Town Clerk. The failure to file any fee amount with the Town Clerk shall not affect the validity of the fee or the obligation to pay such fee.
The applicant for approval of any land use or land development proposal shall reimburse the Town for all of the Town's reasonable and necessary engineering, legal and planning fees and expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the review and/or approval of the application. Said fees and expenses are deemed application fees. Reimbursement shall be made in accordance with this article. For the purposes of this article, the term "land use or development" shall include, but not be limited to, a subdivision, lot line change, site plan, special permit, wetlands permit, variance, interpretation, appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals, or any modification or amendment of any of the foregoing, and compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR).
Initial planning and zoning review escrow deposits pursuant to the fee schedule established by this article shall be delivered to the Town Clerk as part of the original application submission.
No review shall be undertaken by the consultants, nor shall the matter be scheduled before the Planning Board, Zoning Board or Town Board until the initial escrow deposit, as set forth in this article or the incorporated fee schedule, is paid.
If the escrow account falls below 40% of the initial deposit, the applicant shall, unless waived by resolution of the applicable board, pay additional funds into the escrow account to maintain that account at the level of 80% of the initial deposit to pay for fees and expenses rendered to the Town or anticipated to be rendered for such services. Such additional funds shall be delivered to the Town before the application is placed on the agenda and any further consideration of the applicant's application takes place.
The Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals or Town Board shall neither place the application on the agenda nor give further consideration to the applicant's application until all application review fees imposed on the applicant have been paid to the Town.
In the event that an applicant shall withdraw his application at any stage of the proceedings or when the application review and approval process has been completed, the balance of funds in the applicant's account after all current outstanding fees are paid shall be either remitted to the applicant within 60 days of final action by the board or, if so directed by the applicant, shall remain on deposit as the applicant's initial payment toward post-approval inspection requirements.
The applicant shall remain responsible for reimbursing the Town its costs and expenses in reviewing the applicant's land use application, notwithstanding that the escrow account may be insufficient to cover such costs and expenses.
In the event that the applicable board, in the course of reviewing an application, determines that the proposed action requires a positive declaration under SEQRA, all costs incurred by the board for the review of any environmental impact statements, whether of a professional or clerical nature, shall be borne by the applicant pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.13(a). Such costs shall be covered by an escrow account to be established pursuant to this section within 15 days of issuance of said positive declaration in an amount to be set by the applicable board pursuant to the fee schedule set forth as part of this article.
All applicants with matters pending before the Planning Board as of the effective date of this article shall be required to comply with the new fees and escrow account maintenance provisions contained herein.
In cases where the complexity of an application (or lack thereof) or unusual circumstances surrounding the matter require that the initial fee or the percentage of that initial fee to be maintained in escrow be modified, the reviewing board is authorized to grant such modification within the following guidelines:
The amount of any initial fee modification shall be reasonably related to the costs attendant to the Town's review of the application.
The amount of any escrow maintenance percentage shall be reasonably related to the complexity of the project as well as the stage to which the project has progressed as of the time of modification.
Each of the Town's engineering, legal and/or planning consultants who render services pertaining to a land use or development application shall submit monthly itemized vouchers to the Town Board (through the Clerk to the Planning Board and/or Zoning Board), reasonably setting forth the services performed and amounts charged for such services.
Copies of said itemized vouchers shall be transmitted to the applicant simultaneously with their delivery to the Town Board, together with a notice notifying the applicant that the failure to object to payment of the amount of the charges contained in said itemized voucher out of escrow funds within 15 days of the sending of said notice shall constitute an agreement by the applicant as to the reasonableness of the charges.
The Planning Board and/or the Zoning Board (as appropriate) shall review vouchers for services rendered to each and shall communicate its approval of same to the Town Board. The Town Board shall review and audit all such vouchers and shall determine, in its discretion, the engineering, legal and planning fees that are reasonable in amount and necessarily incurred by the Town in connection with the review and/or approval of the land use or development application. A fee or expense or part thereof is reasonable in amount if it bears a reasonable relationship to the customary fee charged by engineers, attorneys or planners within the region for services performed on behalf of applicants or reviewing boards in connection with applications for land use or development. The Town Board may also take into account any special conditions for considerations as the Town Board may deem relevant. A fee and expense or part thereof is necessarily incurred if it was charged by the engineer, attorney or planner for a service which was rendered in order to:
Assist in the protection or promotion of the health, safety or welfare of the Town or its residents;
Assist in the protection of public or private property or the environment from potential damage that otherwise may be caused by the proposed land use or development;
Assure or assist in compliance with laws, regulations, standards or codes which govern land use and development;
Assure or assist in the orderly development and sound planning of a land use or development;
Assure the proper and timely construction of public improvements, parks and other facilities which affect the public welfare;
Protect the legal interests of the Town;
Avoid claims against and liability of the Town; or
Promote such other interests that the Town Board may specify as relevant.
After review and audit of such voucher by the Town Board, the Board shall authorize payment of same and shall provide to the applicant a copy of the voucher as audited.
The Planning Board and Zoning Board are hereby authorized, at the time of action on any project, to make payment of any overdue amount a condition of approval. All time frames for taking board action, holding a public hearing or rendering any other determination related to the application, including time frames which may relate to a default approval, shall be tolled until such time as all reimbursements of costs and expenses determined by the Town Board to be due have been fully paid.
If the applicant fails to pay the full amount due within the time prescribed, the reviewing board may refuse:
Amounts paid pursuant to this article shall be placed in a non-interest-bearing escrow account to fund expenses incurred by the Town in processing the application as provided for in Subsection A above. The Town shall keep a record of the name of the applicant and project and of all such monies deposited and withdrawn. Monthly vouchers submitted by the Town's engineers, attorneys and/or planners shall be reviewed and audited by the Town Board and provided to the applicant, and the applicant may appeal said audit amount as provided herein. The Town reserves the right to redact any voucher as deemed necessary.
All fee and expense reimbursement payments are due and payable within 15 days after delivery of a copy of an itemized voucher to the applicant as provided for in Subsection K above. Interest shall accrue on any unpaid itemized voucher at the rate of 12% per annum. The pursuance of an appeal under § 48-5 shall not affect the obligation to pay interest on any unpaid balance ultimately determined to be due.
The Town Board hereby finds and determines that in order to protect and safeguard the Town of Chester, its residents and their property, with respect to certain land developments in the Town, applications for zoning amendments and rezoning should conform with the Town's Comprehensive Plan, as it may be amended from time to time, and be the subject of such environmental reviews as are required by law; landscaping installations and erosion and sediment control measures should be designed and installed in a competent and workmanlike manner and in conformity with approved plans and all applicable government codes, rules and regulations; and special improvement district extensions and establishments, outside user agreements and dedications and conveyances to the Town should be made in a legally sufficient manner. In order to assure the foregoing, it is essential for the Town to have competent professionals retained by the Town to review and make recommendations regarding plans and designs to the Town Board and Planning Board; inspect landscaping and erosion and sediment control measures; inspect roadway, utility, drainage, park and/or any other post-approval construction improvements; obtain, review and approve deeds, easements, securities, insurance and other legal instruments to assure that the Town obtains good and proper title and is otherwise appropriately protected. The costs of retaining such competent professionals should ultimately be paid by those who seek to profit from such developments rather than from Town general or improvement district funds that are raised by assessments paid by the taxpayers of the Town.
Any applicant who installs landscaping or erosion and sediment control measures or constructs or proposes to construct roadway, drainage, utility, park and/or any other post-approval construction improvements, within or in conjunction with an approved subdivision or site plan in the Town, shall reimburse the Town for all reasonable and necessary professional expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the inspection of the landscaping or erosion and sediment control measures and the inspection of said roadway, drainage, utility, park and/or any other post-approval construction improvements.
No building permits or certificate of occupancy or use shall be issued unless all professional review fees charged in connection with the project have been paid and reimbursed.
The fees and expenses due and payable under this article, if not paid in the time required, shall be a lien against the real property which is or was the subject of the land use or development application review. The amount of such fees and expenses, if not paid in the time required, may be assessed and levied against such real property and collected in the same manner as real property taxes.
An applicant may appeal, in writing, to the Town Board for a reduction in the required reimbursement amount. An appeal must be filed with the Town Board no later than 15 days after the mailing or other delivery of the contested voucher to the applicant.
Failure to file an appeal within 15 days of the mailing of the voucher shall constitute waiver of any objection to the charge.
Upon such appeal, the Town Board, in its discretion, may determine that an applicant is not required to reimburse the Town for that part of an engineering, legal or planning fee incurred by the Town for services performed in connection with an application matter for which the Town Board determines that the applicant bears no responsibility and which was beyond the reasonable control of the applicant.
The Town Board's determination shall be in writing and shall be made no later than 45 days after receipt of the applicant's appeal.
All fees shall be payable to the Town of Chester by certified funds or bank check.
[Adopted 1-28-2009 by L.L. No. 1-2009]
The Town of Chester shall adopt annually a Schedule of Fees Resolution at the annual reorganization meeting. The resolution shall be revised and adopted from year to year, or more frequently if required, and shall be incorporated by reference into this article and shall have the force of law, and until so adopted the preceding standard Schedule of Fees Resolution shall remain in effect. The current Schedule of Fees shall be on file at the office of the Town Clerk.