Village of Pittsford, NY
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 1-8-1991 by L.L. No. 1-1991]

§ 210-57 Purpose.

Pursuant to the provisions of § 96-a and Article 5-K of the New York General Municipal Law, it is hereby declared a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement, perpetuation and use of buildings, structures, places and sights of historic, architectural, cultural or aesthetic value is a public necessity and purpose in the Village of Pittsford. The objectives of this article are to:
A. 
Safeguard the heritage of the Village of Pittsford by preserving the Historic and Architectural Design District in the Village, which represents and reflects elements of its cultural, social, economic, political and architectural history.
B. 
Protect and enhance the attractiveness of the District to home buyers, visitors, shoppers and residents and thereby provide economic benefits to the Village and its citizens.
C. 
Conserve and improve the value of property within the District.
D. 
Foster, encourage and advise the preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of structures, areas and neighborhoods.
E. 
Promote the use of the District for the education, enjoyment and welfare of the citizens of the Village.
F. 
Foster civic pride in the beauty and history of the past as represented in the District.

§ 210-58 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DISTRICT
The Historic and Architectural Design District.
EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE
The architectural style and general arrangement of such portion of the exterior of a structure as is designed to be open to view from a public street or waterway, including the kind and texture of building materials, siding materials, types of all windows, doors, lights, fences, signs and other fixtures appurtenant to such portion.
HISTORIC AND ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN DISTRICT
The area within the corporate limits of the Village of Pittsford, New York.

§ 210-59 Architectural and Preservation Review Board. [1]

[Amended 9-8-2015 by L.L. No. 13-2015]
The Board of Trustees shall appoint an Architectural and Preservation Review Board (hereinafter referred to as the "APRB") composed of five members. Of the members of the Village APRB first appointed, one shall hold office for the term of one year, two for the terms of two years and two for the terms of three years from and after their appointments. In each case, the successor shall be appointed for the term of three years from and after the expiration of the term of his or her predecessor in office. One member of the APRB may reside outside of the Village, provided he or she is a resident of the town and county wherein the Village is located.
[1]
Editor's Note: As to alternate members of the Architectural and Preservation Review Board, see Ch. 9, Boards and Commissions, Art. I, Alternate Members of Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board and Architectural Preservation Review Board.

§ 210-60 Duties and powers of APRB.

A. 
The APRB shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) 
Review of plans. It shall be the duty of the APRB to review, approve or disapprove all plans and building permit applications for the construction, reconstruction, removal, restoration, alteration or demolition of any exterior architectural feature within the District. The APRB shall have the power to pass upon such activity before a certificate of approval is granted, provided that the APRB shall pass only on the exterior features of a building or structure as are visible from the public street, public walkway, park or other public property, private property open to the general public or waterway and shall not consider interior arrangements. In deciding upon all such plans, the APRB shall be guided by the standards for review enumerated in § 210-61 and shall give consideration to any factors it may deem pertinent, including:
[Amended 7-14-2015 by L.L. No. 11-2015]
(a) 
The historic, cultural or architectural value and significance of any building or structure.
(b) 
The appropriateness and authenticity of the proposed exterior design, arrangement, texture or material and fenestration proposed.
(c) 
The relationship of the proposed exterior design and design features to the historic value and architectural style and character of buildings and structures in the surrounding area and in the District.
(d) 
The extent to which the action proposed in the permit application will promote the purposes of this article.
(e) 
The relationship of the building or structure to open spaces, public ways, signs, landscaping and accessory uses located at and nearby the premises being considered.
(f) 
The compatibility of the building height, scale, mass, and bulk to adjacent and nearby buildings and the surrounding neighborhood.
[Added 4-27-2010 by L.L. No. 2-2010]
(2) 
Investigate and report. The APRB may investigate, report, testify and recommend to the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Village Board of Trustees and any Village Department or official on matters, permits, authorizations and other actions that affect buildings, structures and places within the district.
(3) 
Surveys and studies. The APRB may undertake the survey and study of neighborhoods, areas, sites, places, buildings and structures that have historic, architectural, cultural or aesthetic value. Pursuant to such survey and study, the APRB may propose regulations, special conditions and restrictions as may be appropriate to serve the purposes of this article.
(4) 
Retain specialists. The APRB may retain such specialists, consultants or experts to aid in its duties and to pay for their services, not exceeding, in all, the appropriation made for such purpose by the Village Board of Trustees. The APRB may call upon available Village staff members as well as other individuals for technical advice.
(5) 
Assist property owners. The APRB may advise owners of property or structures within the Historic District on the physical and financial aspects of preservation, renovation, rehabilitation and reuse.
(6) 
Promulgate rules, regulations and criteria necessary to carry out the duties of the APRB.
[Added 1-11-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also redesignated former Subsection A(6) as Subsection A(7).
(7) 
Other powers. The APRB may undertake any other action or activity necessary or appropriate to the implementation of its powers and duties or to the advancement of the purposes set forth in this article.
B. 
(Reserved)[2]
[2]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection B, limiting the authority of the APRB, as amended, was repealed 4-27-2010 by L.L. No. 2-2010.
C. 
(Reserved)[3]
[3]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection C, pertaining to the regulation of building height by the APRB, added 2-13-1996 by L.L. No. 2-1996, was repealed 4-27-2010 by L.L. No. 2-2010.
D. 
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, the APRB is hereby authorized to regulate and/or limit the size and location of all mechanical equipment to be installed, located and/or maintained outside of buildings, either freestanding or attached to the building in all districts, and whether or not such equipment can be seen from a public way. Typical of such mechanical equipment are air-conditioning and/or heating units or appliances and/or water-cooling systems or towers. This shall not apply in residential districts to window-installed air-conditioning units. The APRB, in performing such regulation and limitation, shall take into account any of the factors it may deem pertinent, including those factors specifically set forth in Subdivision A(1)(a) through (e) of § 210-60. The APRB shall also include such measures as camouflaging and/or screening the mechanical equipment from public view and the view of neighbors.
[Added 1-12-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999]

§ 210-61 Standards for review.

The APRB shall be guided by the following standards in issuing a certificate of approval:
A. 
Alterations and additions.
(1) 
Alterations of nondistinguishing and noncontributing exterior architectural features of existing buildings and the addition of exterior architectural features to existing buildings shall be made with materials that are of equal or better quality than the original materials and shall be made consistent with the spirit of their architectural style or shall alter the structure to an appearance consistent with the architectural styles of historic value existing in the district. Alternatively, contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing properties may be permitted when such alterations and additions do not destroy significant historical, architectural or cultural material and such design is compatible with the size, scale, material and character of the property, neighborhood or environment. In applying the principles of consistency and compatibility with the architectural styles existing in the District, the APRB shall consider the following factors: composition, design, texture and other visual qualities.
[Amended 1-11-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011]
(2) 
Wherever possible, new additions or alterations to structures shall be done in such a manner that, if such additions or alterations were to be removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the structure would be unimpaired, except that in the event of an emergency situation, the requirement of the advice and consent of the APRB shall be waived and the Building Inspector shall perform his/her duties pursuant to Chapter 80 of this Code.
[Amended 8-9-2005 by L.L. No. 6-2005]
B. 
New construction.
(1) 
New construction shall be consistent with the architectural styles of historic value in the applicable District. On sites of proposed new construction, where structures adjoining the site are of significantly dissimilar periods or styles of architecture, the APRB may approve such period or style of architecture as it deems proper for the site and in the best interests of the District.
(2) 
In applying the principles of consistency and compatibility with the architectural styles existing in the District, the APRB shall consider the following factors: composition, design, texture and other visual qualities.
C. 
Replacement
[Amended 1-11-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011]
(1) 
Distinguishing and contributing deteriorated exterior architectural features shall be repaired pursuant to Subsection F of this section, rather than replaced, whenever possible. In the event that replacement of such distinguishing and contributing deteriorated exterior architectural features is necessary, the new material shall match the material being replaced in composition, design, texture, and other visual qualities. Replacement of missing distinguishing and contributing exterior architectural features should be based on accurate duplications of features, substantiated by historical, physical or pictorial evidence, rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other buildings or structures.
(2) 
Replacement of nondistinguishing and noncontributing exterior architectural features will be considered an alteration.
(3) 
In the event that an existing exterior architectural feature is inappropriate pursuant to the standards set forth in this article, and in the event that replacement of such exterior architectural feature is proposed, the APRB shall not require the replacement of that exterior architectural feature in kind with regard to its composition, design, texture, material and other visual qualities. Instead, the APRB shall require that such exterior architectural feature be replaced pursuant to the requirements and procedure of this subsection as well as in consideration of the standards of review required by this article.
[Added 8-9-2016 by L.L. No. 3-2016]
D. 
Additional general standards.
(1) 
The distinguishing original qualities or character of any significant building, structure or site and its environment shall not be destroyed. The removal or alteration of any historic material or distinctive architectural features should be avoided when possible.
(2) 
All buildings, structures and sites shall be recognized as products of their own time. Alterations that have no historical basis and that seek to create an earlier appearance shall be discouraged.
(3) 
Distinctive stylistic features or examples of skilled craftsmanship which characterize a building, structure or site shall be treated with sensitivity.
(4) 
Every reasonable effort shall be made to protect and preserve archaeological resources affected by or adjacent to any project.
E. 
Demolition.
(1) 
Demolition may be permitted only after the developer of the site has submitted and obtained approval for his plans for new development, including APRB approval for new construction, including an acceptable timetable and guaranties which may include performance bonds or letters of credit for demolition and completion of the project. In no case shall the time between demolition and the commencement of new construction exceed six months. No structure may be demolished unless the APRB finds that:
[Amended 10-27-2015 by L.L. No. 16-2015]
(a) 
Preservation of the structures is not warranted under the general standards set forth in this article; or
(b) 
The structure is deteriorating and that the owner has demonstrated that he cannot economically afford to preserve the structure; has sought financial assistance under established programs for historic preservation and failed to obtain sufficient assistance to enable him economically to preserve the structure; and has offered to sell the parcel upon which the structure is located and has been unable to find a purchaser at the fair market value who would agree to preserve the structure on the parcel. If the APRB finds that the structure should be preserved it may, notwithstanding the demonstration made by the owner, withhold approval of demolition for a period not exceeding one year from the date of the application for a demolition permit. If, during that period, the owner, the APRB or other interested parties are able to obtain sufficient financial assistance to preserve the structure or a purchaser at the fair market value who will agree to preserve the structure on the parcel, the APRB shall deny a permit to demolish the structure. For purposes of this subsection, "economically afford" means, in the case of a single-family or two-family owner-occupied house, an inability to preserve the structure without financial hardship; in the case of rental or commercial property, an inability to earn a reasonable return on the property if the structure is preserved; in the case of property owned and used by a nonprofit organization, an inability to preserve the structure without financial hardship. Preservation of a structure includes such additions or other alterations as are permissible in the District.
(2) 
Moving of structures or buildings may be permitted as an alternative to demolition.
F. 
Normal maintenance and repair. Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior feature in the district which does not involve a change in design, material or bulk thereof.
G. 
Maintenance.
[Amended 9-8-2015 by L.L. No. 14-2015]
(1) 
No owner or any person with an interest in real property included within an Historic District shall permit the property to fall into a state of disrepair so as to result in the deterioration of any exterior architectural feature which would, in the judgment of the APRB, produce a detrimental effect upon the character of the Historic District as a whole or the life and character of the property itself.
(2) 
In the event that the APRB determines that the exterior architectural feature of any real property located in the Historic District has deteriorated in violation of the preceding subsection, then the APRB shall forward such determination to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Pittsford for further action.
(3) 
In the event that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Pittsford receives a determination from the APRB as referenced in the preceding subsection, then the Board of Trustees shall direct the Building Inspector to issue a notice and order requiring the owner or any person with an interest in such real property to remediate and repair the deteriorated exterior architectural feature so as to bring it into compliance with this subsection. Such notice and order shall set forth a deadline for compliance. In the event that the subject property is not brought into compliance by the established deadline, then the Village, or its duly authorized representative, may enter on such property and correct such violation. The total cost of the correction of such violation, including any and all attorney fees, shall be assessed upon the real property where the violation was corrected. Such total cost shall constitute a lien and charge on the real property on which it was levied, until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged, and shall be collected by the Village Treasurer in the manner provided by law for the collection of delinquent taxes.

§ 210-62 Procedure for review.

A. 
Applicability.
(1) 
No changes in any exterior architectural feature, including but not limited to construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, removal or demolition, shall be made except as hereinafter provided.
(2) 
Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition of any exterior architectural feature which the Building Inspector, with the advice and consent of the APRB, shall determine is required by public safety because of dangerous or unsafe conditions.
B. 
Certificate of approval. Notwithstanding any inconsistent local law, code, rule or regulation concerning the issuance of building permits, no alteration, restoration, construction or demolition of any exterior architectural feature in the District shall be commenced without a certificate of approval from the APRB, nor shall any building permit for such change be issued without such a certificate of approval having first been issued. The certificate of approval required by this section shall be in addition to and not in lieu of, any building permit that may be required by any local law, code, rule or regulation of the Village of Pittsford, New York.
C. 
Application.
(1) 
Application for a certificate of approval shall be made in writing, in duplicate, to the APRB and shall contain the following:
(a) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(b) 
The location of the building, structure or land the exterior architectural features of which are proposed to be changed.
(c) 
Scale drawings of exterior elevations showing all proposed changes.
(d) 
Samples of materials to be used in the proposed change.
(e) 
Where the proposed change includes signs or lettering, a scale drawing showing the type of lettering, all dimensions and colors, a description of materials to be used and the method of illumination, if any, and a plan showing the location on the building or property.
(f) 
A verification from the Village Clerk's office that the proposed project conforms to the Zoning Code, is a permitted nonconforming project or that all necessary variances for the proposed project have been granted.
(2) 
Within a reasonable time after the complete application is filed with the APRB, but in all events within 25 days, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays excluded, after such filing, or within such further time as the applicant, in writing, may allow, the APRB shall make a determination. In such determination, the proposed project shall be approved, disapproved or approved with conditions. A certificate of approval or approval with conditions shall be issued by the APRB, and such certificate shall be valid for a period of one year after the date of issuance.
(3) 
All decisions of the APRB shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by first-class mail, and a copy filed with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. The APRB's decision shall state the reasons for denying or modifying any application.
(4) 
The APRB shall approve or disapprove such plans and, if approved, shall issue a certificate of approval which is to be signed by the Chairman, attached to the application for the building permit, and immediately transmitted to the Building Inspector. The Chairman shall also stamp all prints submitted to the APRB signifying its approval.
(5) 
If the APRB disapproves of such plans, it shall state its reasons for doing so and shall transmit a record of such action and reasons therefor, in writing, to the Building Inspector and to the applicant. The APRB may advise what it thinks is proper if it disapproved of the plan submitted. The applicant, if he/she so desires, may make modifications to the plans and shall have the right to resubmit the application at any time after so doing.
D. 
Hardship criteria.
(1) 
An applicant whose certificate of approval for a proposal 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:
(a) 
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible.
(b) 
The property cannot be adapted for any other use, whether by the current owner or by a purchaser, which would result in a reasonable return.
(c) 
Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.
(2) 
After receiving written notification from the APRB of the denial of a certificate of approval, an applicant may commence the hardship process. No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the APRB makes a finding that a hardship exists.
(3) 
The APRB 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.
(4) 
The applicant shall consult in good faith with the APRB, local preservation groups and interested parties in a diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property.
E. 
Effect of approval. If the APRB approves the application, it authorizes the Building Inspector to issue the building permit for the work so specified in the application; provided, however, that the applicant has obtained all other permits or approvals that may be required by the codes and local laws of the Village.

§ 210-63 Enforcement.

A. 
All work performed pursuant to a certificate of approval issued under this article shall conform to any requirements included therein. It shall be the duty of the Building Inspector 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 approval, or upon notification of such fact by the APRB, the Building Inspector 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.
B. 
The Building Inspector is further authorized and empowered to enforce compliance with all other provisions of this article.

§ 210-64 Civil remedy.

[Amended 1-11-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011]
Any person who demolishes, alters, constructs or permits a designated property to fall into a serious state of disrepair in violation of this article shall be required to restore the property and its site to its appearance and condition 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.

§ 210-65 Article 78 proceeding.

[Amended 12-9-2014 by L.L. No. 17-2014]
Any person or persons, jointly or severally, aggrieved by any decision of the APRB may apply to the supreme court for review by a proceeding under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 210-66 Schedule of meetings.

The APRB shall annually, and no later than April 1st in each year, provide the Village Clerk with a schedule of its regular monthly meetings for the following year.

§ 210-67 Removal.

[Added 8-13-1996 by L.L. No. 7-1996]
The Mayor shall have the power to remove, after a public hearing, any member of the APRB for cause. A failure to attend at least 80% of the regularly scheduled meetings of the APRB in any calendar year shall constitute such cause for removal.