City of Rye, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Rye 8-19-1987 by L.L. No. 8-1987.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Charter provisions — See Charter, Art. 19.
Building construction — See Ch. 68.
Landmarks preservation — See Ch. 117.
Zoning — See Ch. 197.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 53, Architectural Review, adopted 4-21-1965 by L.L. No. 1-1965.
A. 
The Council hereby finds that excessive uniformity, dissimilarity, inappropriateness or poor quality of design in the exterior appearance of structures erected, reconstructed or altered in any residential, business and other areas in the City of Rye adversely affects the desirability of the immediate area and neighboring areas within the community and by so doing impairs the benefits of occupancy or use of real property in such areas, impairs the stability and value of both improved and unimproved real property in such areas, prevents the most appropriate development of such areas, produces degeneration of the property in such areas, with attendant deterioration of conditions affecting the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the inhabitants of the community, and destroys a proper relationship between the taxable value of real property in the community and the cost of municipal services provided therefor. It is the purpose of this chapter to prevent these and other harmful effects and thus to promote and protect the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community.
B. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
[Amended 5-31-1995 by L.L. No. 6-1995]
ERECTED, RECONSTRUCTED or ALTERED
As defined in Chapter 68, Building Construction, of the Code of the City of Rye and in the approved regulations of the Building Inspector.
ORDINARY MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
As defined in Chapter 68, Building Construction, of the Code of the City of Rye and in the approved regulations of the Building Inspector.
SMALL PROJECT
Any addition to or alteration or modification of an existing single- or two-family residence structure:
[Amended 10-24-2013 by L.L. No. 3-2013]
(1) 
For which a valid certificate of occupancy exists for all structures on the property;
(2) 
Upon which property there are no open building permits and no building permit or certificate of occupancy was issued within the immediate past 12 months;
(3) 
That does not change the appearance visible from the street of any front or side facade or roof.
STRUCTURE
Includes all buildings, accessory buildings, decks, signs and satellite earth station dish antennas as defined by Chapter 108, Housing Standards, and Chapter 197, Zoning, of the Code of the City of Rye.
[Amended 2-1-2006 by L.L. No. 2-2006; 3-16-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011]
In accordance with Article 19 of the Rye City Charter, there is hereby created a Board of Architectural Review which shall consist of seven members who shall serve without compensation. All members of the Board shall be lawful residents of the City and shall be specially qualified by reason of training or experience in architecture, land development, community planning, real estate, landscape architecture, architectural history, engineering, law, building construction or other relevant business or profession, or by reason of civic interest and sound judgment to judge the effect of a proposed erection, reconstruction or alteration of a structure upon the desirability, property values and development or preservation of surrounding areas and to understand and carry out the legislative findings and policy statements of the Council set forth in § 53-1. There shall be no requirement that a member of the Board be a citizen of the United States. At least one member shall be a registered architect in the State of New York. The Chair and other members of the Board shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the approval of the Council, for terms of three years, with staggered terms, such terms to be subject to renewals at the discretion of the Mayor, subject to the approval of the Council, except that one new appointment made in 2006 shall be for a two-year term, and one new appointment made in 2006 shall be for a one-year term so that term, and thereafter their successors, shall be appointed for terms of three years from and after the expiration of the term of their predecessors in office. In the same manner, vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term of any member whose place has become vacant.
[Amended 2-1-2006 by L.L. No. 2-2006]
A. 
Meetings of the Board of Architectural Review shall be held at the call of the Chair and at such other times as the Board may determine but shall be held within 21 days of the date of referral to the Board of any application for building permit as required in § 53-4 of this chapter. The Chair or, in his/her absence, the Acting Chair may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. A majority of the appointed members of said Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall also keep records of its examinations and other official actions. The Building Inspector shall act as the Secretary of the Board and shall keep in the City Hall a comprehensive record of all meetings and transactions by the Board. The Board shall have power from time to time to adopt, amend and repeal rules and regulations, not inconsistent with law or the provisions of this chapter and subject to review of the Council, governing its procedure and the transaction of its business and for the purpose of carrying into effect the standards outlined in § 53-5 of this chapter.
B. 
Every rule or regulation, every amendment or repeal thereof and every order, requirement, decision or determination of the Board shall immediately be filed with the Building Department and shall be a public record.
C. 
Notice. An applicant for a building permit needing Board of Architectural Review approval for any project, except small projects as defined in Chapter 53, shall notify abutting property owners and property owners across the street of the application upon its filing and at least 14 days before the date of any Board of Architectural Review meeting. To facilitate notification of the public, a public notification list shall be prepared by the applicant, using the most current City of Rye Tax Maps and Tax Assessment Roll, showing the Tax Map sheet, block and lot number, the owner's name and owner's mailing address for each property as described by the rules and Schedule B of the Building Department.[1] If a property within the notification area is a multifamily dwelling, apartment building, cooperative or similar-type residential structure, the applicant shall send the notice to the property owner of record. Such notices shall be mailed by first-class mail and the notice shall substantially conform to the model notice in Schedule A.[2] The applicant must obtain a certificate of mailing for every notice mailed. All notices mailed must be sent via certified mail (no return receipt required). All certificates of mailing must be provided to the Building Department at least five days prior to the public hearing.
[Added 3-10-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010[3]]
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedule B is on file in the Building Department.
[2]
Editor's Note: Schedule A is on file in the Building Department.
[3]
Editor's Note: This local law provided that it shall take effect 5-1-2010.
A. 
Every application for a building permit for the construction of any structure within the City of Rye or for the reconstruction or alteration of any structure, including any addition thereto, within the City of Rye that would affect the exterior appearance of such structure shall be referred by the Building Inspector to the Board of Architectural review within 21 days of the date of the application, provided that it conforms in all respects to all other applicable laws and ordinances. The term "structure" shall be construed in accordance with the legislative findings and definitions set forth in § 53-1 of this chapter. The requirements of this section do not apply to "small projects" as defined in § 53-1 of this chapter and § A201-1 of the Rules of the Building Inspector, except for small projects that require or have been granted a variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals; or that involve a recreational or accessory structure or facility; or when the Building Inspector refers the small project to the Board of Architectural Review upon finding that the small project may meet one or more of the guidelines for such referral as prepared by the Board of Architectural Review, thereby having a substantial aesthetic impact upon immediately neighboring properties. The requirements of this section do not apply to additions or alterations that meet the requirements of § 68-5F or 197-84C(5) of this Code.
[Amended 5-31-1995 by L.L. No. 6-1995]
B. 
Applications must be accompanied by plans showing all elevations of new structures and all affected elevations in the case of reconstructions or alterations. When required by the Building Inspector or by the Board of Architectural Review, a site plan shall be submitted showing both existing and proposed contours at two-foot intervals, all existing trees with a trunk diameter of four inches or more at a point three feet above the ground level and whether such trees shall remain or be removed and/or other topographical features.
A. 
Approval or disapproval of any building permit shall be by a vote of a majority of the members of the Board of Architectural Review. In considering an application for a permit, the Board shall take into account natural features of the site and surroundings, exterior design and appearances of existing structures in the area and the character of the area and its peculiar suitability for particular purposes, with a view to conserving the values of property, encouraging the most appropriate use of property and preventing the harmful effects referred to in § 53-1 of this chapter.
B. 
Findings for approval; conditions.
(1) 
The Board shall, subject to the provisions of Subsection B(2) of § 53-5, approve any application referred to it upon finding that the structure for which the permit was requested if erected, reconstructed or altered in accordance with the submitted plan would be in harmony with the purpose of this chapter, would not be visually offensive or inappropriate by reason of poor quality of exterior design, monotonous similarity or striking visual discord in relation to the site or surroundings, would not mar the appearance of the area, would not impair the user enjoyment and desirability or reduce the values of properties in the area, would not be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood, would not prevent the most appropriate development or preservation and/or utilization of the site or of adjacent lands or would not adversely affect the economic stability, health, safety and general welfare of the community.
(2) 
In approving any application, the Board may impose appropriate conditions and safeguards designed to prevent the harmful effects set forth in § 53-1 of this chapter. The Board may also suggest interior change(s) that would improve the exterior appearance.
C. 
The Board may disapprove any application for a permit, provided that the Board has afforded the applicant an opportunity to confer upon suggestions for change of the plan, or provided that the Board finds and states that the structure for which the permit was requested would, if erected, reconstructed or altered as indicated, provoke one or more of the harmful effects set forth in § 53-1 of this chapter by reason of:
(1) 
Excessive similarity to any other structure or structures existing or for which a permit has been issued or to any other structure included in the same permit application, facing the same street and within 500 feet of the proposed site, in respect to one or more of the following features of exterior design and appearance: apparently identical facade; substantially identical size and arrangement of either doors, windows, porticoes or other openings or breaks in the facade facing the street, including reverse arrangements; or other significant identical features, such as but not limited to material, roofline and height or other design elements, provided that a finding of excessive similarity shall state not only that such similarity exists, but further that it is of such a nature as to be expected to provoke beyond reasonable doubt one or more of the harmful effects set forth in § 53-1 of this chapter.
(2) 
Excessive dissimilarity or inappropriateness in relation to any other structure or structures existing or for which a permit has been issued or to any other structure included in the same permit application, within 1,000 feet of the proposed site, in respect to one or more of the following features: cubical contents; gross floor area; height of building or height of roof; inappropriate relationship to the site, its contours, shape or natural characteristics; inappropriate location of features incorporated into the structure, including but not limited to windows, doors, chimneys, stairs, porches, air conditioners or air-conditioning equipment, or of features ancillary to the structure, including but not limited to antennas, toolsheds, greenhouses, patios, decks, balconies, garages or refuse storage areas; or other significant design features, such as material or quality or architectural design, provided that a finding of excessive dissimilarity or inappropriateness exists, but further that it is of such nature as to be expected to provoke beyond a reasonable doubt one or more of the harmful effects set forth in § 53-1 of this chapter and that the finding is not based on personal preference as to taste or choice of architectural style.
D. 
The Board of Architectural Review shall examine, review, approve or disapprove applications for permits for the following exterior facilities: swimming pools, jacuzzis, hot tubs, tennis courts, paddle tennis courts and other courts (hereinafter collectively referred to as "recreational facility" or "recreational facilities") as to the necessary screening required by § 197-86 of the Code of the City of Rye, Table A, Column 3, Subsections (9)(a) and (9)(b). Approval or disapproval must be by majority vote of the total Board. A ten-foot wide landscape strip planted and maintained with at least a double row of alternately spaced evergreens, with an actual height of at least six feet above the natural grade when installed, is the preferred screening method for recreational facilities and must be approved by the Board. However, the Board may approve alternate screening under the following conditions:
(1) 
There is existing landscaping on the lot between the recreational facility and the property line equal in effectiveness, height and density to the required evergreen screening.
(2) 
There is an existing six-foot-high opaque fence or wall on the lot between the recreational facility and the property line, which is totally owned and controlled by the lot owner and in conformity with the fence height regulations of this chapter, provided that the Board further finds that the increased height of matured evergreen screening is not necessary to screen the recreational facility from the view of the abutting property and that the fence was installed at least two years prior to the application for the waiver.
(3) 
The existing topography of the lot where the recreational facility is to be located, relative to the topography of the abutting property, is such that the recreational facility will not be within the view of the abutting property, provided that the Board further finds that it is reasonable to expect that this topographic relationship will not be adversely altered in order to facilitate future development of either property.
(4) 
The soil conditions where the landscaping strip would be required to be installed are such that the evergreens can not be expected to survive or to properly mature, provided that the Board further finds the recreational facility can not be reasonably placed in another location with suitable soil conditions, and further provided that a six-foot-high opaque fence or wall which conforms to the fence height regulations of this chapter will be installed between the property line and the recreational facility in place of the landscaping strip.
(5) 
Conditions do exist which are not specifically covered in Subsection C(1) through (4) above, but which are of a similar nature, provided that the Board further finds that approval of the waiver will not be inconsistent with the spirit and intent of this section or less protective of the view from the abutting properties.
(6) 
The approval of any alternate screening as described in Subsection C(1) through (5) above and the acceptance of it by the owner shall also be subject to the following limitations and conditions:
(a) 
A variance has not been granted by the Board of Appeals permitting a reduction of the minimum property line setbacks required by this chapter.
(b) 
The recreational facility was not constructed prior to the application for approval, except that this limitation shall not apply to recreational facilities constructed prior to the effective date of the screening requirements for which an owner wishes to seek compliance.
(c) 
After construction of the recreational facility, the owners of the lot shall thereafter be required to maintain, repair and replace such existing landscaping, fencing, walls or topographical features which served as the basis for approval as if they were required by this chapter in the first instance and enforced in the same manner.
(d) 
The approval shall become null and void one year after its approval by the Board of Architectural Review unless the recreational facility has been substantially completed.
(e) 
The approval shall become null and void if the recreational facility is removed.
[Amended 5-1-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991; 1-20-1999 by L.L. No. 1-1999]
The Board of Architectural Review shall have the power to examine, review and, by majority vote of the total Board, approve or disapprove applications for permits for signs, awnings, marquee-type awnings and canopies affixed to any structure or erected in connection with any structure, pursuant to § 165-2 of the Code of the City of Rye.
[Amended 9-18-1996 by L.L. No. 7-1996]
The Board of Architectural Review shall have the power to examine, review and, by majority vote of the total Board, approve or disapprove applications for the installation of satellite earth station dish antennas, subject to the provisions of § 197-9D of the Code of the City of Rye. Satellite earth station dish antennas which measure one meter or less in diameter are permitted as of right in residential zones and are not subject to the provisions of this section or § 197-9D. Such antennas, which measure two meters or less in diameter, are permitted as of right in nonresidentially zoned areas.
The Board of Architectural Review shall advise with respect to public buildings and such other matters as the Council, the Planning Commission, the Landmarks Advisory Committee (NOTE: or Landmarks Preservation Commission, if so changed by City Council) and/or any other public agency, Board or Commission may refer to it.
The Building Inspector shall refuse any building permit application disapproved as provided in § 53-5 of this chapter. If the Board of Architectural Review shall fail to approve or disapprove any building permit application referred to it under § 53-4 of this chapter within 21 days of the date of referral of such application to it, the application shall be considered to have been approved, and the Building Inspector shall forthwith issue the permit unless the applicant shall have agreed to an extension of time.
Any applicant aggrieved by the action of the Board of Architectural Review in disapproving a building permit application and of the Building Inspector in denying such permit because of such disapproval may request the Board to make formal findings of fact. In the event of such a request, the Board shall make findings of fact within 30 days after the request is filed in the office of the City Clerk, shall thereafter provide the applicant with an opportunity to answer the findings by the submission of formal proof and shall reconsider the application on the basis of such answer. If the application is disapproved after such reconsideration, the applicant may take an appeal therefrom to the duly constituted Board of Appeals of the City of Rye. The standard of review shall be whether the decision of the Board of Architectural Review was arbitrary, capricious and/or unsupported by substantial evidence of record. The Board of Appeals may reverse or affirm the action of the Board of Architectural Review and reverse or affirm any action taken by the Building Inspector pursuant to that action of the Board of Architectural Review.
Chapter 117, Landmarks Preservation, of the Code of the City of Rye ascribes certain responsibilities and powers to the Board of Architectural Review, and these are hereby included in this Chapter 53.