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 5-15-1963 by Ord. No. 3-1963; amended in its entirety 2-11-2009 by L.L. No. 1-2009. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Appearance tickets — See Ch. 52.
Architectural review — See Ch. 53.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 71.
Vacant buildings — See Ch. 72.
Coastal zone management — See Ch. 73.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 81.
Fences and walls — See Ch. 90.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 98.
Floodplain management — See Ch. 100.
Housing standards — See Ch. 108.
Storm sewer system — See Ch. 162.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 170.
Surface water control — See Ch. 173.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 174.
Zoning — See Ch. 197.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALTERATION
Any change, rearrangement or addition to a building other than repairs; any modification in construction or in building equipment.
BUILDING
A structure wholly or partially enclosed within exterior walls, or within exterior and party walls, and a roof affording shelter to persons, animals or property.
DEMOLITION
The removal of an entire structure or pool.
REPAIR
Replacement or renewal, excluding additions, of any part of a building, structure, device or equipment with like or similar materials or parts for the purpose of maintenance, preservation or restoration of such building, structure, device or equipment.
SMALL PROJECTS
Any addition to or alteration or modification of an existing single- or two-family residence structure:
A. 
For which a valid certificate of occupancy exists for all structures on the property;
B. 
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;
C. 
That:
(1) 
Has a gross floor area of 300 square feet or less where located in Zoning Districts R-1, R-2 and R-3 and 200 square feet or less where located in all other zoning districts;
(2) 
Does not create a second story if none previously existed on the structure; and
(3) 
Is less than 15% of the existing floor area of the structure; and
D. 
That does not substantially change the appearance visible from the street of any front or side facade or roof.
STRUCTURE
An assembly of materials, forming a construction framed of component structural parts for occupancy or use, including buildings.
The Office of Building Inspector is hereby created and shall be filled by an appointment by the City Manager. The Building Inspector shall possess background experience related to building construction or fire prevention and shall, within the time constraints prescribed by law, obtain such training as the State of New York shall required for code enforcement personnel.
A. 
In the absence of the Building Inspector, or in the case of his inability to act for any reason, the City Manager shall have the power to designate a person to act on behalf of the Building Inspector and to exercise all the powers conferred upon him by this chapter.
B. 
Fire Inspector. The Office of Fire Inspector is hereby created and shall be filled by an appointment by the City Manager. The Fire Inspector shall possess background experience related to building construction or fire prevention and shall, within the time constraints prescribed by law, obtain such training as the State of New York shall require for fire code enforcement personnel.
The City Manager may appoint one or more subordinates, as the need may appear, to act under the supervision and direction of the Building Inspector and to exercise any portion of the powers and duties of the Building Inspector as directed by him.
No officer or employee of the Department of Buildings shall engage in any activity inconsistent with his duties or with the interest of such Department; nor shall he, during the term of his employment, be engaged directly or indirectly in any building business; in the furnishing of labor, materials or appliances for the construction, alteration or maintenance of a building or the preparation of plans or specifications thereof within the City of Rye, except that this provision shall not prohibit any employee from such activities in connection with the construction of a building or structure owned by him and not constructed for sale.
The compensation for the Building Inspector, acting Building Inspector(s), Fire Inspector and subordinates shall be fixed and adjusted as needed by the City Manager.
The Building Inspector shall administer and enforce all the provisions of the Uniform Code and the provisions of this chapter, including receiving building permit applications; reviewing plans and specifications; conducting inspections; issuing permits for the erection, alteration, relocation, addition, repair and/or demolition of buildings and structures; issuing certificates of occupancy; collecting fees as set forth by the City Council and maintaining and filing all records necessary for the administration of the office to the satisfaction of the City Council. The Building Inspector is authorized to pursue administrative actions and, in consultation with the Corporation Counsel, legal action as necessary to abate conditions not in compliance with the Uniform Code, this chapter or other laws, rules or regulations of the City of Rye or of the State of New York.
A. 
Except as hereinafter provided, no person, firm, corporation, association or partnership shall commence the construction, enlargement, alteration, improvement, removal, relocation or demolition of any building or structure or any portion thereof, or install a solid-fuel-burning heating appliance, chimney or flue in any dwelling unit without first having obtained a permit from the Building Department. Other examples of buildings, structures and activities requiring the issuance of a building permit are:
(1) 
Erection of a deck or open porch or the expansion of decks or porches.
(2) 
Window, door or other changes that increase the thermal conductivity.
(3) 
The installation of solid-fuel devices, fireplaces and stoves.
(4) 
Placing a roof over a deck, a terrace or entry door.
(5) 
Finishing or making improvements in a basement or cellar to provide recreation space, living area, or toilet.
(6) 
Finishing attic space for any type of occupancy.
(7) 
Changing exits or reducing required natural light or ventilation.
(8) 
Erection of lawn storage buildings, with or without foundations, if any dimension is eight feet or larger.
(9) 
Erection of any type of in-ground/aboveground receptacle for water where the depth exceeds 24 inches.
(10) 
Public or private utility structures.
(11) 
Changes in use or occupancy.
(12) 
Tennis courts and other recreational facilities.
(13) 
Retaining walls of four feet in height measured along the face of the wall.
(14) 
Freestanding walls of four feet in height, measured from grade.
B. 
No permit shall be required for:
(1) 
Necessary repairs which do not materially affect structural features;
(2) 
Alterations to existing buildings, provided that the alterations:
(a) 
Do not materially affect structure features; and
(b) 
Do not affect firesafety features such as smoke detectors, sprinklers, required fire separations and exits; and
(c) 
Do not involve the installation or extension of electrical systems; and
(d) 
Do not include the installation of solid-fuel-burning heating appliances and associated chimneys and flues.
(3) 
Residential storage sheds where all dimensions are less than eight feet which are not intended for use by one or more persons as quarters for living, sleeping, eating or cooking; for example, a small storage building.
(4) 
Nonresidential farm buildings, including barns, sheds, poultry houses and other buildings used directly and solely for agricultural purposes.
(5) 
Retaining walls less than four feet in height and terraces (may be subject to other permit requirements).
(6) 
Interior decorations that do not involve structural changes, including light, ventilation or systems alterations, such as changing kitchen cabinets, closet alterations or bath modernization, provided that plumbing is not moved and replacement is performed by a licensed plumber.
(7) 
Exterior improvements that do not materially change the appearance of the building and are not structural in nature, including resurfacing deteriorated walls and replacing windows and doors.
(8) 
Adding a new roof covering, provided that the resulting dead load does not exceed the design capacity of the roof framing.
(9) 
Painting.
(10) 
Any structure not intended to be occupied that will not be above the surface of the ground.
C. 
Application for a permit.
(1) 
The application for a building or demolition permit, and its accompanying documents, shall contain sufficient information to permit a determination that the intended work accords with the requirements of all local, county, and state building codes.
(2) 
The form of the permit and application therefor shall be prescribed by the Building Inspector. The application shall be signed by the owner (or his authorized agent) of the building and shall contain at least the following:
(a) 
Full name and address of the owner and, if by a corporation, the name and address of the responsible officials;
(b) 
Identification and/or description of the land on which the work is to be done;
(c) 
Description of use or occupancy of the land and existing or proposed building;
(d) 
Description of the proposed work;
(e) 
Four sets of plans and specifications for the proposed work, including a site plan, drawn to scale, showing the location and size of all proposed new construction, showing the first floor elevation with respect to mean sea level, and all existing structures on site. If necessary, the Building Inspector may require details of structural, mechanical and electrical work;
(f) 
The information provided on the site plan shall be based on a survey prepared within the last two years of the submission date. A copy of the survey must be submitted along with the site plan.
(g) 
The required fee; and
(h) 
Such other information as may reasonably be required by the Building Inspector to establish compliance of the proposed work with the requirements of the applicable building laws, ordinances and regulations.
(3) 
Applicant shall notify the Building Inspector of any changes in the information contained in the application during the period for which the permit is in effect. A permit will be issued when the application has been determined to be complete and when the proposed work has been determined to conform to the requirements of all local, county, and state building codes. The authority conferred by such permit may be limited by conditions, if any, contained therein. Amendments, if any, to the application or to the plans and specifications accompanying the same shall be filed with the Building Inspector and approval shall be received from the Building Inspector and/or Board of Architectural Review prior to the commencement of such change of work.
(4) 
Plans and specifications shall bear the signature of the person responsible for the design and drawings and, where required by § 7302 of the New York State Education Law, the seal of a licensed architect or a licensed professional engineer.
(5) 
The Building Inspector may waive the requirement for filing plans and specifications for minor alterations.
D. 
General requirements.
(1) 
The Building Inspector shall examine or cause to be examined all applications for permits and the plans, specifications and documents filed herewith. He shall approve or disapprove the application within a reasonable time. Such applications may only be approved by the Building Inspector. Any building or demolition permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall be prominently displayed on the property or premises to which it pertains.
(2) 
Upon approval of a building permit application and if the Board of Architectural Review shall approve or fail to act on such application within the time specified in Chapter 53 of the Rye City Code, the Building Inspector shall approve the issuance of a building permit to the applicant upon the form prescribed by him. Upon approval of the application, the plans and specifications shall be endorsed with the word "approved" and shall be initialed by the Building Inspector. One set of such approved plans and specifications shall be retained in the files of the Building Department and the other sets shall be returned to the applicant together with the building permit.
(3) 
The issuance of a building or demolition permit shall constitute authority to the applicant to proceed with the work in accordance with the approved plans and specifications and in accordance with the applicable building laws, ordinances or regulations. All work shall conform to the approved application, plans and specifications.
(4) 
All building and demolition permits shall be prominently displayed on the job site at all times during the progress of construction or demolition so as to be readily seen from adjacent thoroughfares. A set of approved drawings shall be kept on site in a four-inch diameter PVC pipe four feet long and shall be securely attached to a post.
(5) 
An application for change in plans or work in the building or upon the property must be made by the owner or his agent and a written permit obtained before any part of the change is commenced. The Building Inspector shall issue a permit for such change.
(6) 
All work covered by the Westchester County home improvement licensing requirements must be performed by contractors holding a current home improvement license issued by the County.
(7) 
All contractors or homeowners, if they as homeowners are the applicants, are required to produce, by certificate of insurance naming the City of Rye as additional insured, proof of liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 and proof of workers' compensation and disability insurance as required by law.
(8) 
After completion of footings and establishing forms' first course of the foundation walls or equivalent structure, the owner shall notify the Building Department. If required by the Building Inspector, the owner shall cause a survey to be made by a licensed land surveyor, showing the true location of such foundation walls with respect to the lot lines of the lot and the top of foundation elevation in respect to mean sea level, and a copy of such survey shall be filed with the Building Inspector before construction is continued.
(9) 
Prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the owner shall provide a final survey in regards to the true location of the structure with respect to the lot lines, if required by the Building Inspector.
(10) 
A building or demolition permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire one year from the date of issuance or upon the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, whichever occurs first. The permit may, upon written request, be renewed for successive one-year periods provided that:
(a) 
The permit has not been revoked or suspended at the time the application for renewal is made;
(b) 
The relevant information in the application is up-to-date; and
(c) 
The renewal fee is paid.
(11) 
Buildings, construction and improvements requiring building permits, as provided by § 68-8A of this chapter, shall include all conditions and building occupancy classifications listed in Part 701 of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (9 NYCRR 701).[1] Those building classifications are:
(a) 
One and two-family residences.
(b) 
Multiple dwellings.
(c) 
Business occupancies.
(d) 
Mercantile occupancies.
(e) 
Industrial occupancies.
(f) 
Storage occupancies.
(g) 
Assembly occupancies.
(h) 
Institutional occupancies.
(i) 
Miscellaneous occupancies.
[1]
Editor's Note: See now Title 19 of NYCRR.
E. 
Revocation of building/demolition permit. The Building Inspector may revoke a permit heretofore issued in the following instances:
(1) 
Where he finds that there has been any false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact in the application, plans or specifications on which the building permit was based.
(2) 
Where he finds that the permit was issued in error and should not have been issued in accordance with the applicable law.
(3) 
Where he finds that work performed under the permit is not being prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of the application, plans or specifications.
(4) 
Where the person to whom a permit has been issued fails or refuses to comply with a stop-work order issued by the Building Inspector.
F. 
Expedited issuance.
(1) 
The Building Inspector may issue a building permit on an expedited basis for additions and alterations existing as of May 17, 1995, to one and two-family residential properties upon submission, in form and substance satisfactory to the Building Inspector, of the following documentation:
(a) 
Plans signed and sealed by a New York State licensed architect or engineer.
(b) 
A representation by that architect or engineer that the plans as submitted conform in all respects to all applicable state and local building, fire and zoning codes and that the work was completed in accordance with the submitted plans.
(c) 
An agreement personally signed by each owner and the architect or engineer agreeing to:
[1] 
Use of this expedited procedure;
[2] 
Indemnify and hold harmless the City, its agents and employees for any claims arising out of the issuance of the building permit;
[3] 
Release and waive all rights against the City, its officers, agents and employees from all claims arising out of the issuance of the building permit and any certificate of occupancy based upon the building permit; and
[4] 
Permit the City to inspect the premises at any time to determine that the work was done in compliance with the plans and the law.
(d) 
Payment of appropriate fees and penalties, if applicable.
(2) 
Every building permit issued under this expedited procedure and any certificate of occupancy issued based upon that building permit shall contain a notation thereon indicating that it was issued pursuant to this section and was based upon the representations and agreements made in order to obtain the building permit.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection G, Notice, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 3-10-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010. This local law also provided that it shall take effect 5-1-2010.
A. 
The Building Inspector shall keep permanent official records of all transactions and activities conducted by him, including all applications received, permits and certificates issued, fees charged and collected, inspection reports, and notices and orders issued. All such records shall be public records open to public inspection during business hours.
B. 
The Building Inspector shall annually submit to the City Manager a written report and summary of all business conducted by the Building Department, including permits and certificates issued, fees collected, orders and notices promulgated, inspections and tests made and appeals or litigation pending.
The Building Inspector may request and shall receive, so far as may be necessary in the discharge of his duties, the assistance and cooperation of the Police and Fire Departments and of all municipal officials exercising any jurisdiction over the construction, use or occupancy of buildings or the installation of equipment herein.
A. 
No person shall make any connection with the public sewer or drain without a permit being issued in accordance with Chapter 162 of the City Code. No permit shall be issued to connect to a public sewer or drain unless such person holds a Westchester County plumbing license.
B. 
Plans, including a riser diagram and specifications of all plumbing and drainage work, except the mere removal of obstructions or the repairing of leaks or such replacement of old or broken fixtures as does not involve any change in piping or traps, together with an application, signed by the owner or his agent, for a permit, must be submitted to the Building Inspector for approval, and a permit must be obtained before any such work is commenced within any building or upon any property. The Building Inspector shall issue the permit.
C. 
A peppermint test will be performed on all waste and vent piping with a combined developed length greater than 10 feet.
A. 
No such permit shall be issued unless the applicant has submitted proof that the installation work shall be done or directly supervised by a licensed plumber, or by a person who has successfully completed an examination conducted by the former Examining Board of Installers of Mechanical Equipment of the City of Rye, or by a person who has successfully completed a comparable examination conducted by at least one other municipality located in Westchester or Putnam Counties and has demonstrated competence to perform all necessary functions of installing oil-burning equipment. If the applicant has contracted with a partnership or corporation for performance of the installation, at least one partner or officer must be either a licensed plumber or person who successfully completed the required proficiency test.
B. 
All electrical work associated with the installation of any oil or gas heating equipment shall be performed by a licensed master electrician. A master electrician shall have passed an examination conducted by Westchester County to determine his or her competence to perform the functions of a master electrician properly.
C. 
No alteration in existing oil or gas heating installation, HVAC or an electrical installation, for which a permit has been issued, shall be made without the inspection and approval of the Building Inspector. Where a replacement of another oil or gas heating unit is made, application must be made as if the installation is a new one.
A. 
Upon the filing of any application for a building-related permit or license, fees shall be payable in connection with the following:
(1) 
Plumbing, oil heating, gas heating or electric certificate of competency.
(2) 
Building permits.
(3) 
Plumbing permit for changes in plumbing that do not require a building permit in existing buildings.
(4) 
Oil or gas heating permits in existing buildings where a building permit is not required.
(5) 
Electrical permits in existing buildings where a building permit is not required.
(6) 
Certificate of occupancy.
B. 
A fee schedule shall be established, and changed as needed, by resolution of the City Council.
C. 
In the event that an application for a building permit is not approved, the applicant shall be entitled to a refund of 50% of the fee paid, provided that no construction has been commenced. If construction work has been started and the application is not approved, the fees shall not be refunded.
D. 
Due to the large additional administrative and inspection expenses incurred by the City, an additional application fee of $1,000 shall be payable when construction work has been commenced prior to the issuance of the building permit or when, as determined by the Building Inspector acting reasonably, construction work has been done in a manner not substantially consistent with a prior approval by the Board of Architectural Review or when, as determined by the Building Inspector acting reasonably, construction work has been done in a manner not in substantial compliance with the requirements of a building permit.
A. 
No building erected subject to the Uniform Code shall be used or occupied, except to the extent authorized hereunder, until a certificate of occupancy has been issued by the Building Inspector.
B. 
No building similarly enlarged, extended, or altered, or upon which work has been performed which requires the issuance of a building permit shall be occupied unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued.
C. 
No change shall be made in the nature of the occupancy of an existing building unless a certificate of occupancy authorizing the change has been issued by the Building Inspector.
D. 
The owner or his agent shall submit an application for a certificate of occupancy. Accompanying this application and before the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, there shall be filed with the Building Inspector an affidavit of the registered architect or licensed professional engineer who supervised the construction of the work or of the superintendent of construction who supervised the work and who, by reason of his experience, is qualified to supervise the work for which the certificate of occupancy is sought. This affidavit shall state that the deponent has examined the approved plans of the structure for which a certificate of occupancy is sought, that the structure has been erected in accordance with approved plans and, as erected, complies with the law governing building construction except insofar as variances therefrom have been legally authorized. Such variances shall be specified in the affidavit.
E. 
All applications for a certificate of occupancy are to be accompanied by a certification of the actual cost of the work, inclusive of professional fees and contractor profit. Any additional fees are due prior to the issuance of a certificate.
F. 
When electrical work is performed as part of a building permit, a certificate of compliance from the electrical inspection agency shall be submitted prior to a certificate of occupancy being issued.
A. 
When, after final inspection, it is found that the proposed work has been completed in accordance with the applicable building laws, ordinances and regulations and also in accordance with the application, plans and specifications filed in connection with the issuance of the building permit, the Building Inspector shall approve the issuance of a certificate of occupancy upon the form provided by him. If it is found that the proposed work has not been properly completed, the Building Inspector shall refuse to approve the issuance of a certificate of occupancy and shall order the work completed in conformity with the building permit and in conformity with the applicable building regulations.
B. 
A certificate of occupancy shall be issued, where appropriate, within 30 days after application therefor is made.
C. 
The certificate of occupancy shall certify that the work has been completed and that the proposed use and occupancy is in conformity with the provisions of the applicable building laws, ordinances and regulations and shall specify the use or uses and the extent thereof to which the building or structure or its several parts may be put.
A. 
Inspections during construction.
(1) 
Work for which a building permit has been issued hereunder shall be inspected for approval prior to enclosing or covering any portion thereof and upon completion of each stage of construction, including, but not limited to, building location, site preparation, site drainage, excavation, foundation, framing, superstructure, electrical, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning. It shall be the responsibility of the owner, applicant, or his agent to inform the inspector that the work is ready for inspection and to schedule such inspection.
(2) 
Work which requires special inspections during construction shall be the responsibility of the owner, applicant, or his agent to provide a list at their expense. A statement of the special inspections, including a complete list of materials and work requiring such inspections, and a list of the individuals and approved agencies shall be provided to the Building Inspector for the permit application file. The reports of such special inspections shall be provided to the Building Inspector for the permanent record.
(3) 
If entrance to make an inspection is refused or cannot be obtained, the City Council, after being notified by the inspector of the situation, may apply to any court of competent jurisdiction for an order to make an inspection.
B. 
Fire prevention and property maintenance inspections.
(1) 
Multiple dwellings shall be inspected for the purpose of determining compliance with fire prevention and property maintenance requirements of the Uniform Code at least once in every 36 months. Inspections of such buildings shall include the common areas such as halls, foyers, staircases, etc. and vacant dwelling units. Where the tenants of occupied dwelling units allow, the inspection may include such units.
(2) 
Firesafety inspections of buildings or structures having "areas of public assembly," defined as all buildings or portions of buildings used for gathering together 50 or more persons for amusement, athletic, civic, dining, educational, entertainment, patriotic, political, recreational, religious, social, or similar purposes, the entire fire area of which they are a part, and the means of egress therefrom," shall be performed at least once in every 12 months.
(3) 
All other buildings, uses and occupancies (except one- or two-family dwellings) shall be inspected at least once in every 24 months.
(4) 
An inspection of a building or dwelling unit may also be performed at any other time upon:
(a) 
The request of the owner, authorized agent, or tenant;
(b) 
Receipt of a written statement alleging that conditions or activities failing to comply with the Uniform Code exist; or
(c) 
Other reasonable and reliable information that such a violation exists.
(5) 
Enforcement/inspection of the fire prevention and property maintenance inspections shall be performed by the Fire Inspector.
Whenever there are reasonable grounds, the Building Inspector may require material, construction equipment or assemblies to be subjected to tests in order to furnish proof of compliance with the reference standards of the Uniform Code.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to construct, alter, repair, move, remove, demolish, equip, use or maintain any building or structure or portion thereof in violation of any provision of this chapter or to fail, in any manner, to comply with a notice, directive or order of the Building Inspector or to construct, alter or use and occupy any building or structure or part thereof in a manner not permitted by an approved building permit or certificate of occupancy.
B. 
Any person who shall fail to comply with a written order of the Building Department, within the time fixed for compliance therewith, and any owner, builder, architect, tenant, contractor, subcontractor, construction superintendent or their agents or any other person taking part or assisting in the construction or use of any building who shall knowingly violate any of the applicable provisions of this chapter or any lawful order, notice, directive, permit or certificate of the Building Department made thereunder shall incur a penalty of not more than $250 or 15 days imprisonment, or both. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
C. 
This section shall not apply to violations of the provisions of the Uniform Code punishable under § 385 of the Executive Law[1] of the State of New York nor to violations of the provisions of the Multiple Residence Law punishable under § 304 of the Multiple Residence Law of the State of New York.
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 385 of the Executive Law was repealed by L. 1981, c. 707, § 12. See now § 382 of the Executive Law.
Appropriate actions and proceedings may be taken at law or in equity to prevent unlawful construction or to restrain, correct or abate a violation or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises or to prevent illegal acts, conduct or business in or about any premises; and these remedies shall be in addition to the penalties prescribed in the preceding section.
If there is any conflict with other codes, rules or regulations, the most restrictive provisions shall apply.