[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Scarsdale 1-29-2015 by L.L. No. 5-2015. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction and fire prevention — See Ch. 132.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 167.
Zoning — See Ch. 310.
Editor's Note: Former Ch. 182, Historic Preservation, adopted 2-27-1990 by L.L. No. 1-1990, as amended, was repealed 1-29-2015 by L.L. No. 4-2015.
It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection and preservation of historic buildings is desirable to promote the economic, cultural, educational, and general welfare of the residents of the Village. Inasmuch as the identity of a people is founded in its past and inasmuch as the Village has significant historic, architectural and cultural resources which constitute its heritage, this chapter is intended to:
Protect historic buildings which represent distinctive elements of the Village's historic, architectural and cultural heritage;
Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past;
Protect and enhance the attractiveness of the Village to residents and visitors and the support and stimulus to the economy thereby provided; and
Provide an educational role in the Village with respect to historic preservation.
As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
- BOARD OF TRUSTEES
- The Board of Trustees of the Village.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Village.
- A certificate of appropriateness is issued where there is no evidence or insufficient evidence to support a finding of substantial historical importance or architectural significance to warrant a determination that the building be preserved.
- The Clerk of the Village.
- The Committee for Historic Preservation.
- DELAYED CERTIFICATE
- A delayed certificate of appropriateness issued by the Board of Trustees pursuant to provisions of this chapter. Such certificate may prohibit demolition of an historic building for up to 10 months from the date of the application for a certificate to demolish.
- HISTORIC BUILDING
- A structure which has been determined to meet the criteria set forth herein pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
- The owner of the property in question or a person with a legal interest in such property, such as a contract vendee.
- Includes an individual, a corporation, an association, a partnership, a limited liability company, an unincorporated organization, a government or any agency or political subdivision thereof.
- The Village of Scarsdale.
There is hereby created a committee to be known as the "Committee for Historic Preservation" or the "Committee."
Composition. The Committee shall consist of seven members and one alternate member for purposes of substituting for a member in the event such member is unable to participate because of a conflict of interest or unavailability. All members and the alternate member shall serve without compensation. The Village Historian shall serve as an ex officio, non-voting member of the Committee. All members and the alternate member shall be residents of the Village and shall be qualified by reason of training or experience or by reason of civic interest and sound judgment to determine whether a building in the Village appears to be of substantial historical importance using the criteria set forth in § 182-5 hereof.
Appointments; term of office.
The Chairman, other members of the Committee, and the alternate member shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees. The Chairman shall be appointed for one year; however, this limitation does not prohibit the appointment of the same person to subsequent or consecutive one-year terms. The term of office for each member shall be three years, with a two-term maximum. The appointments shall be staggered in that, initially, three members shall be appointed for three years, three for two years and one for one year. The alternate member shall be appointed for three years.
In the same manner, vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term of any member whose place has become vacant.
The Committee shall keep or cause to be kept in the Village Hall a record of its meetings and of the action taken with respect to each and every matter referred to the Committee by the Building Inspector and shall prepare and file with the Board of Trustees on or before July 1 of each year a complete report of its proceedings during the preceding fiscal year of the Village, ending on May 31.
Operation of the Committee.
The Building Inspector shall advise the Committee, in writing, as soon as practical, of each and every application filed with the Building Department for a permit to demolish all or any substantial part of any building in the Village. A substantial part of any building shall be defined as more than 50% of the existing square footage consisting of any combination of the front, rear and side elevations and the interior structure, including inside walls and floors, but excluding the basement area.
Within 30 days after such application is made, the Committee shall conduct one or more meetings, where public input shall be taken in a form and manner as prescribed by the Committee, to consider and decide whether the applicant is entitled to a certificate to demolish the building or, based upon the criteria set forth in § 182-5, the building in question appears to be one of substantial historical importance, and, as such, should be preserved. If the Committee determines that the building appears to meet such criteria and should be preserved, the Committee shall promptly advise the Building Inspector to inform the applicant of its determination and the applicant's right to appeal the Committee's determination to the Board of Trustees and/or file a hardship application with the Board of Trustees.
Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of the Code or of any rule or regulation concerning the issuance of building or other permits, no person shall carry out any demolition of a structure which the Building Inspector has referred to the Committee as a potential historic building without first obtaining a certificate from the Committee or Board of Trustees as provided in §§ 182-7 and 182-11 or a written statement from the Committee that the structure does not meet the criteria set forth in § 182-5 and is not an historic building. The certificate required by this section shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any building or other permit that may be required by the Code or any state law or regulation.
In making a determination whether to grant an application for a certificate or to deny such application and require that the building in question be preserved, the Committee shall consider the level of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture present in the building, as well as the integrity of location, design, setting, materials and workmanship, and
That the building is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to broad patterns of Village, regional, state or national history; or
That the building is associated with the life of a person or persons of historical significance; or
That the building is the work of a master and embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction that possess high artistic values; or
That the building has yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.
The Committee may consider if the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, New York State Register of Historic Places or Westchester County Inventory of Historic Places. A national, state or county listing alone is not sufficient to warrant preservation.
Each applicant for a certificate shall serve, personally or by mail, a written notice, setting forth the nature and substance of the application and the time and place of the hearing at which the application shall be heard by the Committee, upon all owners of property any part of which is located within 200 feet of the structure to which the application relates. Such notice shall be served by mail not less than 10 days or by personal service not less than seven days prior to the date of the hearing, and proof of proper service, in affidavit form, shall be submitted to the Committee by the applicant at or prior to the hearing. All notices sent to owners shall identify the owner by name.
If the Committee approves an application, it shall issue a certificate which shall specify the work to be done. In issuing such certificate, the Committee may prescribe any conditions that it deems necessary to carry out the intent and purposes of this chapter. A certificate shall relate solely to proposed plans accompanying the application or otherwise submitted to the Committee for consideration prior to issuance of its certificate.
All decisions of the Committee to approve a certificate shall be by a vote of at least a majority of the members of the Committee and shall be in writing. Said writing shall include detailed findings explaining the reasons and rationale of the Committee to issue a certificate. A copy of the Committee's determination and findings shall be sent to the owner by certified mail and a copy filed with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. If the Committee determines that a certificate should not be granted or should be granted with conditions, the decision shall also be supported by detailed findings explaining the reasons and criteria underlying said decision and shall advise the owner of the right to commence a hardship application process in accordance with § 182-8 and/or appeal the determination to the Board of Trustees as provided in § 182-11.
If the Committee fails to issue a certificate or notify the owner of its determination not to issue a certificate within 60 days after the application therefor is filed or within such additional time period as the Committee and owner may agree on, such application shall be deemed approved.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing the Committee, in acting with respect to an application for a certificate or in adopting regulations in relation thereto, to waive any provisions of Chapter 132, Building Construction and Fire Prevention, or Chapter 310, Zoning, of the Code. The Committee may, in exercising or performing its powers, duties or functions with respect to any historic building, apply or impose with respect to the demolition of such historic building determinations or conditions which are more restrictive than those contained in any other applicable provisions of the Code or other applicable provisions of law.
Anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding, in any cases where a duly authorized enforcement agency shall order or direct the demolition of any historic building for the purpose of remedying conditions determined to be dangerous to life, health or safety, a certificate shall be issued to permit compliance with such order or direction, modified, if feasible, to permit the work to proceed in a manner whereby the danger to life, health and safety may be abated.
Any certificate or permit to demolish a structure issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire 12 months from the date of issuance if the work authorized thereby is not commenced by the end of such twelve-month period. Any such certificate or permit shall expire if such authorized work is not completed or is abandoned within a period of 12 months after being commenced. Any period or periods of time during which the right to use any certificate or permit is stayed pursuant to this chapter or to any statutory or judicial authority or order shall be excluded from the computation of the 12 months.
The Building Inspector shall refuse to grant a demolition permit where a certificate has been denied or where the grant of such permit is not within the terms and conditions of such certificate as has been granted.
An owner whose certificate has been denied or granted with conditions may apply to the Board of Trustees, within the time prescribed in § 182-8, for relief from such denial or conditions on the grounds that such denial or conditions constitute a hardship upon the applicant. In order to prove the existence of a hardship, the owner shall establish that:
The historic building is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible;
The historic building cannot be adapted for any other use, whether by the owner or by a purchaser, which would result in a reasonable return;
Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the historic building and preserving it have failed; and
The hardship is not the result of any act or omission to act of the owner.
After receiving written notification from the Committee of the denial of a certificate or the grant with conditions, an owner may, within one year of the mailing of the notification, file an application with the Board of Trustees, on such form as the Board of Trustees may require, asserting that a hardship exists.
The Board of Trustees shall hold a public hearing on the hardship application with notice as provided for in § 182-6A and shall render a decision in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 182-6C within 60 days from the close of the public hearing or within such additional time period as the Board of Trustees and the owner may agree.
If the Board of Trustees determines that a hardship exists, it shall take one or more actions, which may include, without limitation, the following:
Exercising its powers hereunder and its good offices to assist the owner in developing an economically feasible plan to overcome the objections to the issuing of a certificate.
It may issue a certificate, if it finds such certificate may be issued without substantial detriment to the public welfare and without departure from the intent and purpose of this chapter.
Recommending acquisition of the historic building by the Village where its preservation is essential to the intent and purposes of this chapter and private preservation is not feasible.
Recommending acquisition by the Village by purchase or condemnation of an historic building on such terms as the Board of Trustees may approve.
If the Board of Trustees recommends one or more of the steps to alleviate such hardships enumerated in Subsection (A)(3) of this section and within 90 days the Board of Trustees has failed to adopt one or more of such steps or other steps as may be sufficient to alleviate such hardship, the certificate shall be deemed to have been issued to the owner unless a delayed certificate has been issued by the Board of Trustees pursuant to Subsection C of this section. The ninety-day period shall be computed from the date the decision of the Board of Trustees is delivered to the Clerk.
If the Board of Trustees determines that a hardship exists and has determined to issue a delayed certificate, such delayed certificate shall prohibit demolition or razing for a period of up to 10 months from the date of application therefor, during which the time the Board of Trustees and/or Committee and the owner shall undertake serious and continuing discussion for the purpose of finding a method to save the historic building. During such period, the owner and the Committee shall cooperate in attempting to avoid demolition of the historic building. At the end of such period, unless the Committee shall have advised the Building Inspector, in writing, that either a mutually agreeable method of saving the historic building bearing a reasonable prospect of eventual success is under way or a formal application for funds from a governmental unit or nonprofit organization to preserve the historic building is pending, the Building Inspector, after notifying the Board of Trustees, may issue a permit to demolish the historic building without the approval of the Board of Trustees. If the Committee shall have so advised the Building Inspector as described in the preceding sentence, then unless the Committee shall, within two months following the end of the ten-month period, have advised the Building Inspector, in writing, that either such mutually agreeable method for saving the historic building has been successful or funds to preserve the historic building have been obtained and are available for disbursement, the Building Inspector, after notifying the Board of Trustees, may issue the permit to demolish the historic building without the approval of the Board of Trustees.
All work performed pursuant to a certificate issued under this chapter shall conform to all requirements included in such certificate. 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 or upon notification of such fact by the Board of Trustees, 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.
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $50,000.
Whenever any person has engaged in or is about to engage in any act or practice which constitutes or will constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter, the Board of Trustees may make application to a court of competent jurisdiction for an order enjoining such act or practice or requiring such person to refrain from such prospective violation. Upon a showing that such person has engaged in or is about to engage in any such act or practice, a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other appropriate order shall be granted without bond. Any action to enforce this chapter shall be brought by the Village Attorney.
Any owner who is aggrieved by a decision of the Committee with respect to issuance of a certificate or the grant of a certificate with conditions may appeal to the Board of Trustees by filing a written notice of appeal with the Village Clerk within 30 days from the date notice of the decision of the Committee is mailed to the owner. The notice of appeal shall state the date, general nature of the decision appealed from and the ground of the appeal. The Board of Trustees may hear such appeal at a regular meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. The Board of Trustees shall not be bound by the record adduced before the Committee and may, in its discretion, affirm or reject, in whole or in part, the determination of the Committee. The decision of the Board of Trustees shall be rendered within 60 days after the filing of the notice of appeal. In the event that the Board of Trustees does not render a timely decision, the denial of a certificate shall be deemed disapproved.
Any person or persons, jointly or severally, aggrieved by a decision of the Board of Trustees on an appeal for a certificate or grant of a certificate with conditions, or the Board of Trustee's determination regarding a hardship application, may, within 30 days after such decision is filed with the office of the Village Clerk, apply to the State Supreme Court for review pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent, under proper permit, if applicable, the ordinary maintenance and repair of any architectural feature of a building that has been determined to be an historic building and denied a certificate.
No owner or person with an interest in a building that has been identified by the Committee to be an historic building shall allow the property to fall into a serious state of disrepair so as to result in the deterioration of any part of the building or significant architectural feature.
Any proposed addition, modification or alteration to a building that has been identified by the Committee as an historic building and denied a certificate shall be referred to the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) together with the detailed findings supporting the Committee's and/or Board of Trustee's determination that the building is an historic building. The detailed findings from the Committee and/or Board of Trustees shall serve as guidance to the BAR when reviewing any proposed addition, modification or alteration.
If any part or parts of this chapter are for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter.