[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Blooming Grove 11-22-2016 by L.L. No. 10-2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the Town of Blooming Grove ("Town") "Taxpayers Protection Act." This chapter involves the allocation and payment of costs and expenses incurred in the Town when reviewing land use and related matters. It is adopted pursuant to the Municipal Home Rule Law.
Responsible government is evidenced in sustainable growth within a sustainable tax base. Where there are municipal expenses that are nongeneral in nature, as well as specific to a land use matter or application, the specific applicant seeking certain permits or approvals or other related relief should be responsible for payment of those specific or other nongeneral expenses incurred by the Town that would otherwise be paid by the taxpaying public. To minimize the burden of government to the Town taxpayers from such costs, expenses or other charges that the Town incurs in specifically reviewing any such applications or petitions or otherwise enforcing the rights of the Town, all such specific and nongeneral costs and expenses should be paid by the applicant (or other person or entity responsible involved) in all such matters, except applications or petitions involving the construction of a one- or two-family residence only.
Any and all such specific and nongeneral costs or expenses incurred by the Town in reviewing any application or petition for any building permit, zone change, special permit, license, franchise agreement, site plan, subdivision, variance, interpretation or any amendments to any approved map or tax map or text of the Town Code, as well as any other land use-related submissions to the Town Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals or Planning Board or any other land use board, entity or committee, or otherwise involving threatened or pending litigation enforcing the land use-related rights of the Town regarding a specific applicant or property owner which require the use or employment of Town Counsel, Special Legal Counsel, Bond Counsel, Transactional Counsel or other legal advice or representation, planning consultants, zoning consultants, engineers, experts, accountants, appraisers or other professionals or persons that may be deemed reasonably necessary by the Town to review, act upon or otherwise provide advice on any such land use-related matter shall be charged to and paid solely by the applicant or petitioner, as well as the property owner involved or other person seeking land use-related relief or otherwise applying to the Town that makes such specific and nongeneral action or review by the Town appropriate or necessary as determined by the Town Board. Any such costs paid or incurred by the Town that are reasonable and customary in the County of Orange regarding the foregoing shall be charged to and paid by the applicant, as well as the property owner involved provided the applicant, as well as the property owner involved, is seeking a benefit or other relief or approval from the Town. All of said costs and necessary expenditures, but not expenditures for the convenience of a Board in fulfillment of its own decision-making responsibilities, shall be so paid by said applicant and landowner involved in any such land use application. Said total costs shall be reasonable in amount and shall not exceed 5% of the cost of the fair market value of the estimated cost of construction or the infrastructure and other site improvements involved in said application or land use-related matter. The payment of such costs shall be deducted from an escrow account, to be established for such application or land use matter in amount determined by the Town Board in accordance with the Town's fee schedule, or as otherwise determined by Town Board resolution. Such escrow account must be maintained in an amount sufficient to pay such fees or costs at the time they are incurred and must be replenished by the applicant or landowner as directed by the Town.
The person or entity required to pay said costs pursuant to this chapter has a right to contest any obligation to pay any or all of such costs or fees by notifying the Town in writing within 30 days of being advised of such cost or the obligation to pay. The Town shall properly supply written documentation to the person or entity from whom such costs are sought to be paid. That person or entity has 30 days from the date of transmittal of such documentation to object, in writing, to part or all of the costs or fees sought to be paid to the Town. If within that thirty-day period of time the entity or person objects to payment of some or all of the cost or fees to be imposed, the person or entity shall file, in writing, a detailed appeal to the Town Board specifying the basis for any objection to said payment. Within 90 days of the date of receipt of the appeal, the Town Board shall determine the appeal and decide what costs or fees, if any, shall be paid by the person or entity making the appeal. In the event that the Town Board still requires payment of some or all of the costs or fees to be imposed, that person or entity shall have the right to file an appeal to the Supreme Court for the County of Orange, pursuant to Article 78, to challenge any such determination by the Town Board, which Article 78 proceeding within 30 days of date of such determination by the Town Board. Where a person or entity objects to any payment by the filing of an Article 78 proceeding, such amount shall not be deducted from escrow or otherwise paid to the Town until such time as the Supreme Court for the County of Orange makes a determination regarding the same, if such an Article 78 proceeding is brought by the person or entity regarding said costs. In the event the escrow is insufficient to cover any disputed amount, the applicant must replenish the escrow account with an amount sufficient to cover the disputed expense (in addition to any other ongoing expenses) until such dispute is resolved or otherwise determined by the Supreme Court for the County of Orange. After any review by the Supreme Court for the County of Orange, the applicant or other entity shall have a right to pursue an appeal to the Appellate Division, Second Department. Notwithstanding any appeal to the Appellate Division, the amount determined to be due from the applicant by the Orange County Supreme Court shall be deducted from escrow or otherwise paid by the applicant or entity (if the escrow amount is insufficient), unless a stay from a court of competent jurisdiction is issued restraining the Town from collecting such payment.
Editor's Note: See New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Art. 78.
The invalidity of any clause, sentence, paragraph or provision of this chapter shall not invalidate any other clause, sentence, paragraph or part thereof.
Nothing herein shall diminish or eliminate the right of the Town to obtain reimbursement of costs or expenses as provided for in any other law, rule or regulation.
Nothing herein shall prohibit the Town and any applicant from entering into an agreement as to the payment of professional fees, where such application is unique or otherwise different and where the amount of an escrow for payment of reasonable costs may be difficult to ascertain. If the parties do not mutually assent to a written agreement concerning such fees in said situation, then other provisions of this chapter shall control.
This chapter shall take effect upon filing with the Secretary of State and shall apply to all applications or matters for which final approvals have not already been granted by the Town.