Town of Grand Island, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Grand Island 11-16-2015 by L.L. No. 14-2015. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 407.
This chapter shall be Chapter 180 of the Code of the Town of Grand Island and may be cited as the "Historic Preservation Law of the Town of Grand Island."
In accordance with § 96-a of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York entitled "Protection of Historical Places, Buildings, and Works of Art," and Article 5-k of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York entitled "Historic Preservation," the Town Board of the Town of Grand Island has authority to provide by local law, regulations, special conditions and restrictions for the protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and the use of places, districts, buildings, structures, works of art, and other objects having special character or special historical or other aesthetic interest or value. Pursuant to the aforesaid authority, the Town Board prepared and adopted this chapter setting forth standards to be followed in historic preservation.
It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement, and perpetuation of landmarks and historic districts is necessary to promote the economic, cultural, educational, and general welfare of the public. Inasmuch as the identity of a people is founded in its past, and inasmuch as Grand Island has many significant historic, architectural and cultural resources which constitute its heritage, this act is intended to:
A. 
Protect and enhance the landmarks and historic districts which represent distinctive elements of Grand Island's historic, architectural, and cultural heritage;
B. 
Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past;
C. 
Protect and enhance Grand Island's attractiveness to visitors and support and stimulate the Town's economy; and
D. 
Insure the harmonious, orderly, and efficient growth and development of the Town.
The following terms and phrases shall mean and include:
ADAPTIVE REUSE
Conversion of a building originally designed for a certain purpose to a different purpose, or relocation of a building from the original site of construction.
ALTER
To change one or more significant exterior architectural feature(s) of a landmark, an improvement on a landmark or a structure within an historic district.
BUILDING
Any structure or part thereof having a roof supported by columns or walls for the shelter or enclosure of persons or property.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
A certificate issued by the Town Board upon the recommendation of the Historic Preservation Advisory Board approving plans for alteration, construction, relocation, removal, or demolition of a landmark, an improvement to a landmark, or a structure within an historic district.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Grand Island.
CONSTRUCTION
Building an addition or making an alteration to an existing structure or building a new principal or accessory structure.
DEMOLITION
Destruction of a building, structure, or improvement.
EXTERIOR
Architectural style, design, general arrangement, and components of the outer surfaces of an improvement, building or structure, including but not limited to the kind and texture of building material and the type and style of windows, doors, signs, and other such exterior fixtures, and as distinguished from the interior surfaces.
FACADE
The exterior of a building or structure that can be viewed.
HISTORIC DISTRICT
A geographically definable area so designated pursuant to this Code.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION ADVISORY BOARD or ADVISORY BOARD
The Town of Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board.
IMPROVEMENT
Any building, structure, place, parking facility, fence, gate, wall, work of art, or other object constituting a physical betterment, or any part thereof.
LANDMARK
Property, object, structure, or natural feature of any part thereof so designated pursuant to this Code.
OWNER
A person, firm, or corporation which owns the fee of property or a lessor state therein, a mortgagee or vendee in possession, a receiver, an administrator, an executor, a trustee or any other person, firm, or corporation in control of property.
PRESERVATION
Retention of essential character of an improvement, object, building, natural feature, or structure as embodied in its existing form, integrity, and material. This term includes the retention of trees, landscaping, and vegetative cover of a landmark or historic district. This term may include temporary stabilization work as well as ongoing maintenance of historic building materials.
PROPERTY
Land and improvements thereon.
RECONSTRUCTION
Reproduction of the exact form and detail of a vanished building, structure, improvement, or part thereof as it appeared at a specific time.
REHABILITATION
Repair or alteration that enables buildings, structures or improvements to be efficiently utilized while preserving those features of buildings, structures or improvements that are significant to their historic, architectural or cultural values.
RESTORATION
Recovery of the form and details of a building, structure or improvement and its site during a particular time.
SITE
A plot or parcel of land.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected which requires permanent or temporary location on the ground. This term shall include but not be limited to buildings, walls, fences, signs, billboards, lighting fixtures, screen enclosures, and works of art.
TOWN
The Town of Grand Island, County of Erie, State of New York.
TOWN BOARD
The Town Board of the Town of Grand Island, County of Erie, State of New York.
TOWN CLERK
The Town of Grand Island Town Clerk.
A. 
There is hereby created a volunteer advisory board to be known as the "The Town of Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board."
B. 
The Advisory Board shall consist of seven members. The Town of Grand Island shall be the primary residence of each Advisory Board member. Advisory Board members (except for the Town Historian and Historical Society members referenced in § 180-5D below) shall serve a term of four years.
C. 
Appointment of Advisory Board members shall be made by the Town Board.
D. 
To the extent available in the Town of Grand Island, the Advisory Board should consist of the following:
(1) 
All members shall have a known interest in, and shall have demonstrated significant interest 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) 
At least one member shall be the Town Historian, appointed annually;
(3) 
At least two members shall be representatives of the Grand Island Historical Society, who shall serve two-year terms.
E. 
The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson shall be elected by and from voting members of the Advisory Board. The term of office shall be two years. If the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson cannot fulfill his or her term of office, a successor shall be elected by and from the membership of the Advisory Board to fulfill the remainder of the term until the next regular election.
F. 
If any Advisory Board Member shall resign or otherwise cannot fulfill his or her term of office, the Town Board shall appoint an interim member to serve the remainder of the term.
G. 
The powers of the Advisory Board shall include:
(1) 
To recommend designation of landmarks and historic districts to the Town Board for its consideration.
(2) 
To advise and recommend to the Town Board on matters of professional consultants as necessary to carry out the duties of the Advisory Board.
(3) 
To recommend rules and regulations as necessary for the conduct of its business.
(4) 
To recommend criteria to the Town Board for the identification of significant historic, architectural, and cultural landmarks and/or for the delineation of historic districts.
(5) 
To collect and evaluate information about significant historic, architectural, and cultural landmarks within the Town.
(6) 
To make recommendations to the Town Board on acceptance or donation of facade easements and development rights; the acquisition of facade easements and development rights or other interests in real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.
(7) 
To increase public awareness of the value of historic, cultural and architectural preservation by developing and participating in education programs.
(8) 
To make recommendations to the Town Board concerning the utilization of state, federal, or private funds to promote the preservation of landmarks and historic districts within the Town.
(9) 
To recommend acquisition of a landmark or structure by the Town where its preservation is essential to the purposes of this act and where private preservation is not feasible.
(10) 
To recommend approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriateness, subject to review by the Code Enforcement Officer, to the Town Board.
H. 
The Advisory Board shall meet at least monthly if any business is pending. Meetings may be held at any time on the written request of any two Advisory Board members. The Advisory Board must meet at least once quarterly.
I. 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of a majority of the Advisory Board members, but not less than a majority of the full membership may recommend a grant or denial of a certificate of appropriateness, to the Town Board.
A. 
The Advisory Board may, with the property owner's approval, recommend designation of an individual property as a landmark, subject to Town Board approval, if it:
(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, individual(s) or people; 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 characteristics, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.
B. 
The Advisory Board may, with the property owner's approval, recommend designation of a group of properties as an historic district, subject to Town Board approval, if it:
(1) 
Contains properties which meet one or more of the criteria for designation of a landmark; and
(2) 
By reason of possessing such qualities, it constitutes a distinct section of the Town of Grand Island.
C. 
The boundaries of each proposed historic district designated henceforth shall be specified in detail and shall be filed in writing in the Town Clerk's office for public inspection.
D. 
Notice of a proposed designation shall be sent by the Town Clerk 30 days prior to a public hearing to the owner(s) of any property(ies) proposed for historic designation. The notice shall describe the property proposed for designation, summarize the proposed action, and announce the date, time and location of the public hearing. A copy of the notice of proposed designation shall also be sent to the Town Board.
E. 
Once the Town Board has issued a notice of a proposed designation, upon the recommendation of the Historic Preservation Advisory Board, no building permits shall be issued by the Code Enforcement Officer except for emergency repairs until a final determination on the proposed designation has been reached. The Historic Preservation Advisory Board shall provide a copy of any notice of proposed designation to the Code Enforcement Officer.
F. 
Notice of proposed designation shall also be sent to the Town of Grand Island Highway Department, Town of Grand Island Engineering Department, Town of Grand Island Planning Board, Town of Grand Island Assessor's Department, and any other Town Department and/or county or state agency as appropriate. Each department/agency shall be given 30 days from the date of the transmission to provide comments on the proposed designation to the Historic Preservation Advisory Board.
G. 
The Advisory Board shall hold a public hearing prior to recommending designation of any landmark or historic district. The Advisory Board, property owner 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, or historic district. The record may also contain staff reports, public comments, or other evidence offered outside of the hearing. A public hearing notice must be published by the Town Clerk in the Town's designated official newspaper at least 15 days prior to the hearing date.
H. 
The Advisory Board will recommend to the Town Board the designation of a landmark or historic district. The Town Board will also conduct a public hearing prior to acting on the recommendation of the Advisory Board.
I. 
The Advisory Board shall file notice of each property designated as a landmark and of the boundaries of each designated historic district with the Erie County Clerk's office, the Town of Grand Island Clerk's office, the Town of Grand Island Code Enforcement Department, the Town of Grand Island Planning Board, the Town of Grand Island Highway Department, the Town of Grand Island Engineering Department, and the Town of Grand Island Assessor's Department.
No person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction, or moving of a landmark 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 affect the appearance and cohesiveness of the landmark or historic district, without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the Town Board as recommended by the Historic Preservation Advisory Board.
A. 
In passing upon an application for a certificate of appropriateness for recommendation to the Town Board, the Historic Preservation Advisory Board shall not consider changes to the interior of buildings.
B. 
The Advisory Board's decisions shall be based upon the following principles:
(1) 
Features which contribute to the character of the landmark or historic district shall be retained with as little alteration as possible;
(2) 
Any alteration of existing features shall be compatible with its historic character as well as with the surrounding property; and
(3) 
New construction shall be compatible with the property in which it is located and/or surrounding historic district.
C. 
In applying the principle of compatibility, the Advisory Board 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 itself, surrounding properties, and the neighborhood;
(3) 
Texture, materials, and color and their relation to the property itself, surrounding properties, and the neighborhood;
(4) 
Visual compatibility with surrounding properties, including proportion of the property's 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 certificate with the Historic Preservation Advisory Board. The application shall contain:
(1) 
Name, address, and telephone number of the applicant;
(2) 
Location and photographs of the property;
(3) 
Elevation drawings of proposed changes, if available;
(4) 
Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties, if available;
(5) 
Samples of color and/or material to be used;
(6) 
Where the proposal includes signs or lettering, a scale drawing showing the type(s) 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 proposed location on the property; and
(7) 
Any other information which the Advisory Board 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 been first issued by the Town Board as recommended by the Historic Preservation Advisory Board. The certificate of appropriateness required by this act shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any building permit that may be required by any other ordinance of the Town of Grand Island.
C. 
The Advisory Board shall recommend approval, denial or approval of the permit with modifications within 65 days from the receipt of the completed application. If the application is not acted upon by the Advisory Board within 65 days, as aforesaid, the application shall be deemed approved, for final determination by the Town Board. The applicant or the Advisory Board may request a reasonable extension of the decision deadline date if so desired. The Advisory Board 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.
D. 
All recommendations of the Advisory Board shall be in writing. A copy of the said recommendation shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail, and a copy filed with the Town of Grand Island Clerk's office for public inspection. The Advisory Board's writing shall state the reasons for recommending denying or modifying any application.
E. 
Certificates of appropriateness shall be valid for 12 months, after which the owner must reapply if he or she still wishes to undertake work on the property.
A. 
An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed demolition 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:
(1) 
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible;
(2) 
The property cannot be adapted for any other use permitted by the Town of Grand Island Zoning Ordinance[1] which would result in a reasonable return; and
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 407, Zoning.
(3) 
Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.
B. 
An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed alteration has been denied may apply for relief on the grounds 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.
A. 
After receiving written notification of the denial of a certificate of appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process.
B. 
The Advisory Board shall hold a public hearing on the hardship application at which time 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 Advisory Board, local preservation groups and interested parties in a diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property.
D. 
All recommendations of the Advisory Board shall be in writing. A copy of the said recommendations shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail, and a copy filed with the Town of Grand Island Clerk's office for public inspection. The Advisory Board's writing shall state the reason(s) for recommending granting or denying the hardship application.
E. 
No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued while the hardship application is pending. The Advisory Board shall make a recommendation to the Town Board for determination on whether a hardship exists. Building and demolition permits shall be issued in accordance with that determination.
A. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance and repair of any architectural feature of a landmark or property within an 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 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 architectural feature which would, in the judgment of the Historic Preservation Advisory Board, produce a detrimental effect upon the character of the historic district as a whole and the character of the property itself. Examples of such deterioration include:
(1) 
Deterioration of exterior walls or vertical supports;
(2) 
Deterioration of roof or other horizontal members;
(3) 
Deterioration of exterior chimneys;
(4) 
Deterioration or crumbling of exterior stucco or mortar;
(5) 
Ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls or foundations, including broken windows or doors; or
(6) 
Deterioration of any feature so as to create a hazardous condition which could lead to the claim that demolition is necessary for public safety.
A. 
Administration. The Code Enforcement Officer shall administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter. In connection with overseeing this responsibility, the Code Enforcement Officer shall provide a permit procedure coordinated with the established building permit procedure.
B. 
Enforcement. All work performed pursuant to a structure subject to this chapter shall conform to any requirements included herein. It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect periodically any such work to assure compliance. In the event that work is found that is not being performed in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness, the 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 the stop-work order is in effect.
C. 
The certificate of appropriateness shall be displayed on the building in a location conspicuously visible to the public while work pursuant to the certificate is being done.
Where this chapter imposes greater restrictions than are imposed by the provisions of any law, ordinance, or regulation, the provisions of this chapter shall apply. Where greater restrictions are imposed by any law, ordinance, or regulation, such greater restrictions shall apply.
No decision to carry out or approve an action subject to the provisions of this chapter shall be rendered by any department, board, commission, officer, or employee unless and until the provisions of this chapter have been complied with. This shall not prohibit environmental, engineering, economic feasibility or other studies, preliminary planning or budgetary processes, nor the granting of an application relating only to technical specifications and requirements, but not authorizing commencement of action until full compliance with this chapter has been met.
This chapter shall apply to the entire area of the Town of Grand Island.