[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Walworth 9-1-2016 by L.L. No. 4-2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 79.
Subdivision of land; site plan review — See Ch. 151.
Zoning — See Ch. 180.
Editor's Note: This local law adopted this chapter as Ch. 135, but said chapter was renumbered to maintain the organization of the Code.
In connection with any application to the Town, including but not limited to, an application for a permit, including a special use permit, site plan approval, subdivision approval, zoning amendment, variance request, rezoning application, or any other application to the Town of Walworth, the Town may employ professional consultants, legal counsel, professional engineers, professional planners, and/or other qualified professionals to provide assistance and advice in the review of any application, including, but not limited to, for example, acquiring legal advice, traffic analysis, landscaping analysis, historical analysis, architectural analysis, on-site investigation, evaluation and inspection; verification of the accuracy of information submitted; evaluation of the adequacy of plans and the sufficiency of submitted reports; study of the impact of proposals upon the resources and environment of the Town (including SEQR), preparation and/or review of environmental impact statements; review of the design and layout of improvements; inspection of installed improvements; and other services or technical assistance as the Town deems necessary for its review of such applications, and the Town may incur costs and fees in connection therewith.
Any such reasonable costs and fees incurred as a result of the review and consideration of an application by a professional, consultant or agent to the Town (referred to herein as "consultant fees" or "costs") shall be borne by the applicant as set forth herein, except that up to one hour of such consulting fees and costs per filed application will be borne by the Town.
All consultant fees incurred for the consulting, professional or other related services described herein shall be borne by the applicant, except that up to one hour of such fees and costs per filed application will be borne by the Town. A deposit may be required in advance to cover the estimated costs. Should no escrow be required, the costs will be billed to the applicant on a monthly basis.
Escrow requirement and amount. The Department of the Building Inspector and Code Enforcement will determine whether an escrow deposit will be required in advance and the amount required to be initially deposited. The amount shall be based on the estimated cost to the Town of reviewing the particular type of application. The Department may consider the consultant and professional review expenses incurred by neighboring municipalities in reviewing similar applications and may also consider the Town's past cost in reviewing similar applications. In establishing whether a deposit shall be required, and the amount thereof, the Town may take into consideration the size, type and number of buildings to be constructed; the number of lots proposed; the topography, soil conditions, and other environmental conditions at such site; the infrastructure proposed in the application; any special conditions the reviewing board may deem relevant; and any other factors the Town may find relevant.
Funding of escrow. Where an escrow is required, if at any time during the review and processing of an application there shall be insufficient monies on hand to the credit of an applicant to pay incurred costs, or if it shall reasonably appear to the reviewing board that such monies will be insufficient to meet anticipated costs, the Town shall cause the applicant to deposit additional sums as the board deems necessary or advisable in order to meet such costs or anticipated costs.
Limitation on use of funds. Monies deposited by the applicant pursuant to this section shall not be used to offset the Town's general expenses for the several boards or its general administrative expenses. Employee costs are not reimbursable. In no event shall the applicant's required responsibility be greater than the actual cost to the Town of such engineering, planning, legal or other consulting or professional services, which cost shall be reasonable such that it generally is comparable to costs of such services in the open market for similar services and projects.
Administration of escrow. Where an escrow account is required, the applicant shall deposit the required amount with the Town Comptroller or agent thereof in the form of a certified check made payable to the Town of Walworth. Upon receipt, the Town Comptroller or agent thereof shall cause such monies to be placed in a separate non-interest-bearing account in the name of the Town and shall keep a separate record of all such monies deposited and the name of the applicant and project for which such sums were deposited.
Vouchers and billings. Upon receipt and approval by the Town Board of itemized invoices for services rendered on behalf of the Town regarding a particular application, where an escrow is established, the Supervisor shall cause vouchers to be paid out of the monies so deposited. The record of such account shall be debited accordingly. Where there is no escrow requirement, the costs shall thereafter be billed on a monthly basis and paid by the applicant within 30 days. The provider shall make copies of all vouchers available to the applicant at the same time the vouchers are submitted to the Town; copies of the vouchers may be redacted to protect proprietary information and/or legally privileged communications between the Town officials and the consultants.
Incurring of consultant fees. The Town Board shall review and audit all such vouchers and shall approve payment of only such consultant fees as are reasonable in amount and necessarily incurred by the Town in connection with the review and consideration of the applications. A consultant fee or part thereof is reasonable in amount if it bears a reasonable relationship to the average charge by consultants to the Town for services performed in connection with the review of a similar application. A charge or part thereof is necessarily incurred if it was charged by the consultant for a service which was rendered in order to protect or promote the health, safety, general welfare or other interests of the Town, and/or to protect public or private property.
Payment to Town only. In no event shall an applicant make direct payment to any Town consultant.
Return of unused escrow funds. After the reviewing board has rendered its decision on an application, or upon the withdrawal of an application by the applicant, the remaining balance of the deposit in excess of actual incurred costs, if any, shall be returned to the applicant without payment of interest within 60 days of the date of the decision or date of the withdrawal. The Town will also provide a statement of the costs paid from the escrow account.
Additional fees. The review costs and fees required to be reimbursed by this chapter are in addition to application and other fees required pursuant to other applicable provisions of the Town of Walworth's laws, rules and regulations, including those fees set forth on the Town of Walworth Fee Schedule.
De minimis review costs. Each distinct application which has been duly filed and for which an application fee has been paid shall include up to one hour of consultant review costs and fees which will be borne by the Town and will not be required to be reimbursed by the applicant.
Suspension of review. In the event the applicant fails to deposit or timely pay the requested costs with the Town, any application review, approval, permit or certificates of occupancy shall be withheld or suspended by the reviewing board, officer or employee of the Town until such monies are deposited or paid in full.
Liability of applicant. The owner(s) of the subject real property, if different from the applicant, shall be jointly and severally responsible to reimburse the Town of Walworth for costs associated with professional and consultant review pursuant to this chapter. In order for an application to be complete, the applicant shall provide the written consent of all owners of the subject real property, authorizing the applicant to file and pursue land development proposals and acknowledging potential landowner responsibility under this article for engineering, legal and other consulting costs incurred by the Town for the review of the application.
Failure to reimburse. In the event of failure to reimburse the Town for such costs, the following shall apply:
The Town may seek recovery of unreimbursed engineering, legal and other consulting costs by action venued in a court of appropriate jurisdiction, and the defendants shall be responsible for the reasonable and necessary attorney's fees expended by the Town in prosecuting such action.
Alternatively, and at the sole discretion of the Town Board, a default in reimbursement of such engineering, legal, professional and consulting costs expended by the Town shall be remedied by charging such sums against the real property which is the subject of the land development application, by adding that charge to, and making it a part of, the next annual real property tax assessment roll of the Town. Such charges shall be levied and collected at the same time and in the same manner as Town-assessed taxes and shall be applied in reimbursing the fund from which the costs for the engineering, legal, professional and consulting fees were defrayed. Prior to charging such assessments, the owners of the real property shall be provided written notice to their last known address of record, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of an opportunity to be heard and object before the Town Board to the proposed real property assessment, at a date to be designated in the notice, which shall be no less than 15 days after its mailing.