Village of Bath, NY
Steuben County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Bath 10-20-2008 by L.L. No. 4-2008. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction and fire prevention — See Ch. 40.
Dilapidated and/or deteriorated buildings — See Ch. 42.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 86.
Zoning — See Ch. 119.
It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of landmarks and historic districts are 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 the Village of Bath 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 (see Appendix A[1]), which represent distinctive elements of Bath's historic, architectural, and cultural heritage;
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix A is on file in the Village offices.
B. 
Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past;
C. 
Protect and enhance Bath's attractiveness to visitors and the support and stimulus to the economy thereby provided; and
D. 
Ensure the harmonious, orderly, and efficient growth and development of the Village of Bath.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
A. 
Membership.
(1) 
The Village of Bath Historic Preservation Commission shall consist of seven members to be appointed, to the extent available in the community, by the Mayor as follows:
(a) 
At least one shall be experienced in building trades;
(b) 
At least one shall be a historian;
(c) 
At least one shall be a representative of the historic district;
(d) 
At least one shall have demonstrated significant interest in and commitment to the field of historic preservation, evidenced either by involvement in a local historic preservation group, employment or volunteer activity in the field of historic preservation, or other serious interest in the field.
(2) 
All members shall have a known interest in historic preservation and architectural development within the Village of Bath.
B. 
The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Commission shall be elected by and from among the members of the Commission.
C. 
The powers of the Commission shall include:
(1) 
Promulgation of rules and regulations as necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission;
(2) 
Adoption of criteria for the identification of significant historic, architectural, and cultural landmarks and for the delineation of historic districts;
(3) 
Conduct of surveys of significant historic, architectural, and cultural landmarks and historic districts within the Village of Bath;
(4) 
Designation of identified structures or resources as landmarks and historic districts;
(5) 
Acceptance on behalf of the Village of Bath government of the donation of facade easements and development rights and the making of recommendations to the Village of Bath government concerning the acquisition of facade easements or other interests in real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter;
(6) 
Increasing public awareness of the value of historic, cultural and architectural preservation by developing and participating in public education programs;
(7) 
Making recommendations to Village of Bath government concerning the utilization of state, federal or private funds to promote the preservation of landmarks and historic districts within the Village of Bath;
(8) 
Recommendations of acquisition of a landmark structure by the Village government where its preservation is essential to the purposes of this chapter and where private preservation is not feasible; and
(9) 
Approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriateness pursuant to this chapter.
D. 
The Commission shall meet as needed, but meetings may be held at any time on the written request of any two of the Commission members or on the call of the Chairman or the Mayor.
E. 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of four of the Commission's members, but not less than a majority of the full authorized membership may grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness.
A. 
The Commission may designate an individual property as a landmark or historic building if it:
[Amended 3-22-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011; 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
(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; or
(2) 
Is identified with historic personages; or
(3) 
Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style; or
(4) 
Is the work of a designer whose work has significantly influenced an age; or
(5) 
Because of unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.
B. 
Historic districts.
(1) 
The Commission may designate a group of properties as an historic district if requested by property owners:
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
(a) 
If it contains properties which meet one or more of the criteria for designation of a landmark, historic building; and
(b) 
By reason of possessing such qualities, it constitutes a distinct section of the Village of Bath.
(2) 
The boundaries of each historic district designated henceforth shall be specified in detail and shall be filed, in writing, in the Village Clerk's office for public inspection.
C. 
Notice of a proposed designation shall be sent by registered mail to the owner of the property proposed for designation, describing the property and announcing a public hearing by the Commission to consider the designation. Where the proposed designation involves so many owners that individual notice is infeasible, notice may instead be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation at least 30 days prior to the date of the public hearing. Once the Commission has issued notice of a proposed designation, no building permits shall be issued by the Building Inspector until the Commission has made its decision.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
D. 
The Commission shall hold a public hearing prior to designation of any landmark, historic building or historic district. The Commission, owners and any interested parties may present testimony or documentary evidence at the hearing which will become part of a record regarding the historic, architectural, or cultural importance of the proposed landmark, historic building or historic district. The record may also contain staff reports, public comments, or other evidence offered outside of the hearing.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
E. 
The Commission shall forward notice of each property designated as a landmark, historic building and the boundaries of each designated historic district to the office of the Steuben County Clerk for recording.[1]
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection F, regarding property approved under federal law for recognition as or designation to the National Register of Historic Places, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 1-17-2017 by L.L. No. 2-2017.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014; 8-17-2015 by L.L. No. 6-2015]
No person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction, or moving of a landmark or property within an historic district, nor shall any person make any material change in the appearance of such property, its light fixtures, signs, sidewalks, fences, steps, paving or other exterior elements which affects the appearance and cohesiveness of the landmark or historic district, without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission and a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer. The owner of any landmark or property within a historic district shall inform any tenant, renter, contractor or prospective buyer of said landmark designation or that said property is in a historic district and that a certificate of appropriateness under this chapter may be required for any alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition or new construction to such landmark or property or for the moving of a landmark or property, or any part thereof.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
A. 
In passing upon an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Historic Preservation Commission shall not consider changes to interior spaces. The Commission's decision shall be based on 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 their historic character, as well as with the surrounding district; and
(3) 
New construction shall be compatible with the historic district.
B. 
In applying the principle of compatibility, the Commission shall consider the following factors:
(1) 
The general design, character and appropriateness to the property of the proposed alteration or new construction;
(2) 
The scale of proposed alteration or new construction in relation to the property itself, surrounding properties, and the neighborhood;
(3) 
Texture and materials and their relation to similar features of other properties in the 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; and
(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 Historic Preservation Commission. The application shall contain:
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
(1) 
Name, address and telephone number of applicant;
(2) 
Location and photographs of property;
(3) 
Elevation drawings of proposed changes, if available;
(4) 
Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties, if available;
(5) 
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; and
(6) 
Any other information which the Commission may deem necessary in order to visualize the proposed work.
B. 
No building permit shall be issued for such proposed work until a certificate of appropriateness has first been issued by the Historic Preservation Commission. 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 Bath.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
C. 
The Commission shall approve, deny or approve the permit with modifications within 30 days from receipt of the completed application. The Commission 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.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
D. 
All decisions of the Commission shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail and a copy filed with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. The Commission's decision shall state the reasons for denying or modifying any application.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
E. 
Certificates of appropriateness shall be valid for 12 months, after which the owner must reapply if he still wishes to undertake work on the property.
An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed alteration has been denied 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.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
A. 
After receiving written notification from the Commission of the denial of a certificate of appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process. No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the Commission makes a finding that a hardship exists.
B. 
The Commission may 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. 
The applicant shall consult in good faith with the Commission, local preservation groups and interested parties in a diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property.
D. 
All decisions of the Commission shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail and a copy filed with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. The Commission's decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application. If the application is granted, the Commission shall approve only such work as is necessary to alleviate the hardship.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
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 Building Code Enforcement Officer to inspect periodically any such work to assure compliance. In the event work is found that is not being performed in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness, or upon notification of such fact by the Historic Preservation Commission, the Building 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. 
Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior architectural feature of a landmark, historic building or property within a historic district, which does not involve a change in design, material, or outward appearance.
B. 
No owner or person with an interest in real property designated as a landmark, historic building 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 Historic Preservation Commission, 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, but are not limited to, deterioration of exterior walls or other vertical supports, deterioration of roofs or other horizontal members, deterioration of exterior chimneys, deterioration or crumbling of exterior stucco or mortar, 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, and ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs or foundations, including broken windows or doors.
[Amended 3-22-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011; 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
[Added 8-17-2015 by L.L. No. 6-2015[1]]
A. 
Statement of purpose and intent.
(1) 
The Board of Trustees finds that the historical character of buildings in the Village of Bath has a substantial positive impact on property values, business climate, land use and the general welfare of the Village's residents, property owners and visitors. Signs have a substantial effect on the historical character, building use, appearance and property value, which may be positive or detrimental. It is, therefore, the intent of this chapter to promote and protect property values, create a more attractive business climate, enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community, provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community and encourage the most appropriate use of the real property in the Village.
(2) 
The purpose of these regulations is to promote signs which are:
(a) 
Compatible with surroundings, meaning that every sign shall be considered as an integral architectural element of the building and site to which it principally relates.
(b) 
Orderly, readable and safe.
(c) 
Harmonious with the building to which it relates in terms of materials, lighting and color (color to be chosen from any historic color pallet provided by the Historic Preservation Commission. Another color selection may be approved by the Historic Preservation Commission on request through the certificate of appropriateness application.)
(d) 
Informative to the public but unobtrusive to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
B. 
Permit required. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no sign shall be erected or altered until a permit has been issued by the Code Enforcement Officer and a certificate of appropriateness has been issued by the Historic Preservation Commission.
C. 
Removal of abandoned signs. Except for historically significant signs as approved by the Bath Historic Preservation Commission, any sign now or hereafter existing which no longer relates to the use conducted, or a product sold, shall be removed within 30 days of cessation of the use by the owner, agent, or person having the beneficial use of the lot upon which such sign may be found.
D. 
Window lettering/signs. Window lettering and window signs shall comply with the following:
(1) 
Window lettering sign area. Area of window lettering signs shall comply with one of the following:
(a) 
Multiple signs. A maximum of one window lettering sign is permitted per window pane or framed window area on the ground floor and shall not occupy more than 20% of the total transparent glass area of those windows on the ground floor of that use; or
(b) 
Single sign. A maximum of one window lettering sign is permitted to be installed in only one window pane or framed window area on the ground floor and shall not occupy more than one square foot per two linear feet of occupancy frontage on a public street. Such window lettering shall not exceed 40% of the window area.
(2) 
Visual obstruction. Window lettering shall not be situated to form a major visual obstruction to the display or into the building.
(3) 
Temporary interior signs displayed in windows should comply with above.
E. 
Awning signs. Signs printed on, painted on, or attached onto a canopy or awning shall comply with the following: Valance lettering shall not exceed 2/3 of the length of the canopy or awning and shall consist of no more than one line of lettering not exceeding six inches in height and shall be located on the valance of such canopy or awning. In addition to the valance lettering described above, an identification emblem, insignia, or other similar feature may be printed on, painted on, or attached onto the remaining portion of the canopy or awning, including the ends of such awning. Such feature shall not exceed 20% of the total awning area, and the lettering shall not exceed 18 inches in height. Canopy and awning signs are limited to the ground floor. Each separate awning as described above shall be considered a separate sign. Awning signs are not permitted on buildings where a facade sign exists unless such awning contains only valance lettering as described herein.
F. 
Gas-filled tubes. Except approved by the Bath Historic Preservation Committee as being compatible with the building's historic and architectural character, visible gas-filled tubes or other sign that utilizes bare light sources, including neon or fluorescent, shall not be permitted.
G. 
Sandwich boards. Sandwich boards are permitted for nonresidential uses located on the first floor only. Maximum sign area per face should not exceed 10 square feet, should be maximum 40 inches to the top, and letter size should be no larger than eight inches. Sandwich boards are only permitted where the sidewalk exceeds eight feet in width and shall be located within four feet of the curb.
H. 
Projecting signs.
(1) 
A projecting sign as it relates to all properties in the Historic District zones shall have a clearance of not less than seven feet above grade to the bottom of such sign and a maximum height of 15 feet to the top. Projecting signs shall not extend horizontally more than three feet from the plane of the building wall. The mounting device of such sign shall be permitted to extend an additional six inches. A projecting sign shall not project over a road.
(2) 
Projecting sign perpendicular affixed to the face of a building:
(a) 
No portion of the supporting structure of such sign shall project more than six feet from the face of the building.
(b) 
No portion of the sign shall exceed three feet in height.
(c) 
Such sign shall provide at least eight feet in clearance between grade level and the lowest portion of the sign and/or its supporting structure.
(d) 
Such sign shall not exceed 18 square feet in area.
I. 
Application for permits. The applicant shall submit a completed application form together with detailed drawings of the proposed sign, including but not limited to the following information:
(1) 
Lettering and/or pictorial matter composing the sign.
(2) 
Color of the sign.
(3) 
Elevation of the side of the building to which the sign is to be attached, with the dimensions thereof in the event that the sign is to be attached to a building.
(4) 
Description of the material of which the sign is intended to be constructed.
(5) 
Construction and mounting details, including footer size and design, stamped by a registered design professional in the event New York State Building Code compliance is required.
(6) 
Type, location and intensity of any lighting devices.
(7) 
A location plan showing the position of the sign on any building, structure or land, and its position relative to all adjacent structures, property lines and any private or public street or highway.
J. 
Notice of noncompliance; revocation of permits; costs. In the event of a violation of any of the foregoing provisions, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice to the occupant, the owner of the affected property and the permit holder, which notice shall specify the violations complained of and the remedial action required removing the same. In addition, said notice shall advise of the contents of this section and the right to appeal an administrative decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals. In the event that the violations are not corrected within 30 days of the service of a written notice as aforesaid, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the permit issued for such sign and shall order that such sign be removed.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also redesignated former §§ 68-11 and 68-12 as §§ 68-12 and 68-13, respectively.
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 less than $50 nor more than $100 for each week the violation continues.
B. 
Any person who demolishes, alters, constructs, or permits a designated property to fall into a serious state of disrepair in violation of this chapter shall be required to restore the property and its site to its 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.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by L.L. No. 7-2014]
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Historic Preservation Commission relating to hardship or a certificate of appropriateness may, within 30 days of the decision, file a written application with the Village Board of Trustees for review of the decision. Reviews shall be conducted based on the same record that was before the Commission and using the same criteria.