Town of Bedford, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 9-24-1986]
This Article shall be known as the "Katonah Historic District Preservation Ordinance."
A. 
It is the general purpose of the following regulations to help protect and perpetuate places and buildings having a special historic or aesthetic interest or value. Such special regulations are adopted to promote the interests of prosperity and the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare. Specific objectives are to:
(1) 
Provide for the protection, enhancement, perpetuation and use of an area which is illustrative of the growth and development of Katonah and which is of particular historic and aesthetic value.
(2) 
Help preserve the historic character of the area as a whole, and to retain and enhance those properties which contribute to its character.
(3) 
Recognize and help ensure the preservation of those elements of Katonah's past which represent many and varied architectural, artistic and cultural achievements which cannot be duplicated or otherwise replaced.
(4) 
Promote the use of the historic area as a means of providing enjoyment and unique educational benefit by perpetuating the physical evidence of Katonah's past.
(5) 
Stabilize and improve property values within the area.
(6) 
Foster civic pride in those elements of Katonah's past which gives it unique character and sets it apart from other communities.
(7) 
Provide an educative role in the community with regard to historic structures and landmarks preservation.
(8) 
Continue the mixture of civic, religious and residential uses which contribute to the vitality of the community.
B. 
Findings.
(1) 
It is found that within the Hamlet of Katonah here is an area which exemplifies Katonah's history as a rare surviving example of a turn of the century planned community and as the village that moved. The area includes and surrounds the Katonah Greens, an integral part of the plan designed for Katonah by the landscape architects G. S. and B. S. Olmstead.
(2) 
Most of the buildings in the area were either built or moved to their present sites within the fifteen-year period from 1895 to 1910 and present a microcosm of American architectural styles during this period. Few major alterations of architecture or use have been made since that time.
(3) 
The district is primarily residential, with a mix of private homes, religious and cultural institutions, and offers an unusually cohesive view of New York State village life at the turn of the century. As a group these structures illustrate the transition from the ornate styles of the late 19th century to the simpler designs of the early 20th century. Whereas other communities have had many historic structures, landmarks and areas lost without consideration of the values represented or the possibility of preserving them, the Katonah District survives as a living lesson in American architectural history.
(4) 
The unique character of this area in Katonah has been recognized by its inclusion of the National Register of Historic Places and on the New York State Register of Historic Places. This recognition includes historic designation of 38 properties bordering upon the Katonah Greens.
(5) 
In consideration of Katonah's unique history, distinctive character, national recognition and substantial preservation, the Town of Bedford designates this area, defined in § 71-10, as the Katonah Historic District and declares the Katonah Greens to be scenic landmarks.
The Katonah Historic District, hereafter referred to as the "district," is defined as that part of Katonah as shown on the attached map entitled "Katonah Historic District," which map is incorporated herein by reference.[1] These boundaries coincide with those shown in the National Register of Historic Places and the New York State Register of Historic Places at the time of the adoption of this Article.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Katonah Historic District Map is included at the end of this chapter.
As used in this Article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CERTIFICATE OF HISTORICAL REVIEW
A certificate issued by the Katonah Historic District Advisory Commission indicating that an applicant has met the review requirements of this Article and may proceed in accordance with this and other controlling ordinances.
MAJOR CHANGE IN EXTERIOR APPEARANCE
Any change in appearance which:
A. 
Requires a special use permit, use variance or site plan review.
B. 
Involves the demolition of a principal or accessory structure or portion thereof.
C. 
Involves the new construction of a principal or accessory structure.
D. 
Adds an enclosed addition to an existing structure.
E. 
Involves the addition or removal of a deck or porch to an existing structure.
F. 
Is done by a government agency or public utility and affects the appearance of a scenic landmark.
PLANS
Sketches, drawings, and/or photographs, not necessarily professionally prepared, with sufficient detail to show, as far as they relate to exterior appearance, the architectural design of the building, structure or topographical feature, and use of the site both before and after the proposed work is done.
SCENIC LANDMARK
Any designated landscape feature or aggregate of landscape features, any part of which is 30 years or older, which has or have special character or historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of this historic district.
THE KATONAH GREENS
The generally grassy area in the middle of the Parkway and Bedford Road as shown on the Katonah Historic District Map.
A. 
The Town Board shall appoint a Katonah Historic District Advisory Commission (the "Commission") to help carry out the objectives of this Article.
B. 
The Commission shall consist of five residents of the Town of Bedford who shall serve five-year terms, except that initially one member shall be appointed for five years, one for four years, one for three years, one for two years, and one for one year.
C. 
One member shall be an architect, one shall be the Town Historian, or his/her designee, and two shall be residents of the district. The Commission shall appoint a chairperson.
D. 
The Commission shall adopt procedural rules for conducting its business in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
A. 
The Commission shall be responsible for helping to maintain the historic character of the district. Unless otherwise specified herein, the duties of the Commission shall be as follows:
(1) 
Assist owners of historic buildings with preservation plans and activities, and provide advice as to recommended restoration methods or choice of appropriate materials.
(2) 
Review and comment upon proposed actions by other public agencies affecting physical development and land use patterns in the district.
(3) 
Issue certificates of historical review and reports on proposed major changes in appearance as described in this Article.
(4) 
Inform owners of property within the district of the provisions of this Article on a periodic basis.
(5) 
Compile and maintain a photographic inventory of historic structures and scenic landmarks within the district.
B. 
Additionally, the Commission may undertake the following:
(1) 
Increase public awareness of the value of historic, architectural and cultural preservation by developing and participating in public information programs in conjunction with other public and private organizations.
(2) 
Cooperate with the Town Board and other Town departments, boards, agencies or commissions by requesting and providing appropriate information, cooperation, assistance or studies.
(3) 
Recommend to the Town Board appropriate utilization of grants from federal, state and county agencies, private groups and individuals and the utilization of budgetary appropriations to promote the preservation of the district.
C. 
Within the limits of their funds, the District Commission may obtain the services of qualified persons to direct, advise and assist the Commission and may obtain the equipment, supplies and other material necessary to its effective operation.
A. 
A certificate of historical review ("certificate") shall be required before any major change in exterior appearance within the district is commenced, and before any other permits or approvals of the Town are issued. This certificate shall be issued in addition to, and not in lieu of any other required permit or approval.
B. 
Application by the owner of any property within the district for a certificate shall be made to the Commission. A completed application shall be made in writing, accompanied by plans and in sufficient detail for the Commission to have full knowledge of the proposed changes. Modified applications may be treated as new applications.
C. 
The Commission shall hold a public hearing on each application for major changes in exterior appearances. Notice shall be given in the same manner as for hearings before the Zoning Board of Appeals pursuant to § 125-129D of the Code of the Town of Bedford, with the exception that, in addition, all owners of property within the historic district shall be notified.
D. 
The Commission may seek technical advice from outside its members on any application. In such instance, the applicant and members of the Commission shall receive copies of any consultant's or agency's written opinion.
E. 
The Commission may make recommendations regarding the preservation of architectural and landscaping detail in order to maintain and enhance the historical character of the district. In all cases, the Commission shall advise and work with the applicant to achieve change(s) compatible with the historic nature of the district and the intent of this Article. If suitable, the Commission may also advise the owner in developing an economically feasible plan to overcome the Commission's possible objections and shall indicate to the applicant economical ways of replacing historical materials.
F. 
A written report of the Commission shall be filed with the Town Clerk, Town Board, Building Inspector, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and the applicant within 30 calendar days from the receipt of a completed application.
(1) 
If the opinion of the Commission is that the proposal conforms with the intent of this article, its report shall so state, and a certificate shall be issued with the report.
(2) 
If the Commission is concerned that the proposed changes are not compatible with the intent of this article, it shall so state in its written report. In arriving at its position, the Commission shall consider, in addition to any other pertinent factor, the historical and architectural value, significance, architectural style, general design, arrangement, texture and materials of the exterior architectural features and related landscaping involved and the relationship thereof to the exterior architectural features of other structures in the immediate neighborhood.
G. 
Review by Town Board.
(1) 
In case the Commission's report does not recommend issuance of a certificate, the Town Board shall review the report and consider the appropriateness of the proposed change(s) to the preservation of the district for the purposes of this article, as well as the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community with particular attention given to the needs of the residents and industries within the historic area or any special circumstances or hardship that the applicant may choose to bring forward.
(a) 
Based on its findings, the Town Board may direct the Commission to issue a certificate without further delay; or
(b) 
The Town Board may find the concerns raised by the Commission are substantially overriding and shall determine that no certificate shall be issued.
(2) 
The findings of the Town Board shall be forwarded to the applicant, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Planning Board, Building Inspector and the Town Clerk within 45 days of its receipt of the report of the Commission.
H. 
In the event that the Commission or the Town Board does not act within the times prescribed, the applicant and other Town agencies may proceed as if a certificate had been issued.
Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by any action occurring as a result of this article may apply to the State Supreme Court for review of a proceeding under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. Such proceeding shall be instituted within 30 days after the filing of a decision in the office of the Town Clerk. The Court may take evidence as it may direct and report the same with its findings of fact and conclusions of law, if it shall appear that testimony is necessary for the proper disposition of the matter. The court at special term shall itself dispose of the cause on the merits, determining all questions which may be presented for determination.
A. 
In case any building or structure is erected, constructed, demolished or moved or otherwise affected as set forth pursuant to this article, either by proceeding without a certificate or contrary to approved plans and specifications for which a certificate is issued, the Building Inspector shall issue a stop-work order and serve same upon the owner of record, a tenant in possession and any contractor or subcontractor working at a subject premises.
B. 
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.
C. 
In addition to the foregoing, the Town shall have such other remedies for any violation or threatened violation of this article as now or hereafter may be provided by law, including but not limited to prosecution in the Town Court of the Town of Bedford and proceeding in the Supreme Court in an action for an injunction to restrain any violation of this article and further in an action in Supreme Court for an injunction to order removal in whole or in part of any exterior architectural feature permitted to exist in violation of this Article and for reconstruction or restoration as may be necessary to restore the building or structure to its appearance prior to the violation.
A. 
Insofar as all buildings in the Town of Bedford must be maintained to meet minimum safety and building codes, this article does not seek to impose additional requirements regarding maintenance of properties within the historic district.
B. 
Nothing contained herein shall supersede the powers of other local legislative or regulatory bodies or relieve any property owner of complying with the requirements of any other state statutes or municipal ordinances or regulations. Within 30 days of passage of this article, the Town Clerk shall mail to the owner of record of each property within the historic district, a copy of this article.