[Adopted 8-15-1972; amended in its entirety 2-5-2004 by L.L. No. 1-2004]
Statement of intent. It is the general purpose of the following regulations to protect and perpetuate places and buildings having a special historic or aesthetic interest or value. Such special regulations are adopted in the exercise of the police power to promote the general welfare and, with particular regard to the character of the district hereinafter designated, to conserve the property values therein.
It is hereby found that within the hamlet known as "Bedford Village" there is an area, designated as a historic district and hereinafter described, which dates from the founding of the Town in 1680 and contains a number of historic landmarks, including the Village Green and a colonial graveyard, and public and private buildings that display the architecture of the period from the late 1700's to the present. It is further found that this area has a special historic value by virtue of the presence of the Old Court House erected in 1787 and used by the county until 1870 during the period when Bedford was one of Westchester's two County Seats. It is further found that this area has:
An historic value and interest by reason of historic events that have taken place within, on or near it, by age or association with historic or famed personages and by being illustrative of events or periods in the growth or history of Bedford Village and the surrounding areas.
A special aesthetic value and interest by reason of being representative of a style or period in the architectural design of buildings or the landscaping and trees which form an integral part of the area's environment.
The historic district is hereby defined as that part of the hamlet of Bedford, commonly known as "Bedford Village," as shown on the map entitled "Bedford Village Historic District in the Town of Bedford," which map is incorporated herein by reference.
Editor's Note: The Bedford Historic District Map is included at the end of this chapter.
Establishment; membership; terms; vacancies.
In order to carry out these regulations, the Town Board shall appoint a Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission consisting of five members, who shall be residents of the Town of Bedford, as follows:
One member from the discipline of planning.
The Bedford Town Historian or his designee.
An architect recommended by the four other members of the Commission.
One member recommended by the Bedford Historical Society.
One member recommended by the owners of property within the historic district.
The Commission shall select one of its members to serve as Chairperson.
All members designated shall serve for three-year terms, except that when the Commission is first organized, the member in Subsection A(1)(a) shall be named for one year, and the member in Subsection A(1)(b) shall be named for two years. Members may serve for more than one term. Vacancies shall be filled as prescribed above.
Duties of Review Commission.
It shall be the duty of the Review Commission to maintain the character of the Bedford Village Historic District and to regulate the construction of new buildings and the reconstruction, alteration and demolition of existing buildings, including outbuildings, walls, fences, steps and signs, to ensure that such construction or alterations are compatible with that character. In maintaining the existing character of the Bedford Village Historic District, the Review Commission shall consider architectural style, materials, color and detail.
In addition to the aforementioned and subject to budgetary appropriation by the Town Board, the Review Commission shall have the following powers exercisable within the Bedford Village Historic District:
To retain or employ professional consultants, secretaries, clerks or other such personnel as may be necessary to assist the Review Commission in carrying out its duties.
To conduct surveys of buildings for the purpose of determining those of historic or architectural significance and pertinent facts about them.
To formulate recommendations concerning the preparation of maps, brochures and historical markers for selected historic or architectural sites and buildings.
To cooperate with and advise the Town Board, the Planning Board and other municipal agencies in matters involving historic or architectural sites and buildings.
To advise owners of historic buildings on problems of preservation and restoration.
The Commission, in exercising or performing its powers, duties or functions under this article with respect to any improvement in the district, may apply or impose, with respect to the construction, reconstruction, alteration, demolition or use of such improvement, a determination or conditions which are more restrictive than those prescribed or made by or pursuant to other provisions of law applicable to such activities, work or use.
Applicability. This article shall apply to all buildings, structures, outbuildings, walls, fences, steps, topographical features, earthworks, paving and signs. No changes in or origination of any exterior architectural feature and its related landscaping, including but not limited to construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, removal, demolition or painting, shall be made except as hereinafter provided.
Exceptions. Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior architectural feature and its related landscaping in the district which does not involve a change in design, material, color or the outward appearance thereof. Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition of any exterior architectural feature and its related landscaping which the Building Inspector shall determine is required by public safety because of dangerous or unsafe conditions, but the plans for such changes shall be subject to approval by the Review Commission.
Notwithstanding any inconsistent ordinance, local law, code, rule or regulation concerning the issuance of building permits, no change in or origination of any exterior architectural feature in the district shall be commenced without a certificate of approval from the Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission, nor shall any building permits for such change be issued without such 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 ordinance, local law, code, rule or regulation of the Town of Bedford.
Application for a certificate of approval shall be made to the Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission in such form and providing such information as may be required by the Commission.
Within 60 days after application is filed, the Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission shall determine whether the proposed construction, reconstruction or alteration of the exterior architectural feature and related landscaping involved will be appropriate to the preservation of the district for the purposes of this article. In the event that such determination has not been made within the time prescribed therefor and shall not have been disapproved during such time, such application shall be deemed to have been approved. The grounds for the refusal of any application by the Commission shall be stated upon the records of such Commission.
In passing upon appropriateness, the Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission shall consider, in addition to any other pertinent factors, the historical and architectural value and significance, architectural style, general design, arrangement, texture, material and color of the exterior architectural feature and related landscaping involved and the relationship thereof to the exterior architectural features of other structures in the immediate neighborhood.
A copy of the approval or disapproval of such application shall be filed in the Town Clerk's office within such sixty-day period.
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this article shall be deemed a violation, and the violator shall be liable to a fine of not more than $250 or to imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each day that such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.