[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Thomaston 6-30-1992 as L.L. No. 3-1992 (Ch. 5 of the 1980 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Findings and purpose.
The Board of Trustees hereby finds that a lack of coordination in building design and appearance and excessive similarity, dissimilarity, inappropriateness or poor quality of design in the exterior appearance of buildings adversely affects the values of property in the village and affects the use of property in the village for the purposes for which such property is intended. Such adverse effects include, without limitation, the impairment of benefits of ownership and occupancy of properties and the stability and value of both improved and unimproved properties, prevention of the most appropriate development of properties, production of degeneration of property with attendant conditions affecting the health, safety and general welfare of the community and destroying a proper relationship between taxable value of real property and the cost of municipal services afforded to such properties.
It is the purpose of this chapter to prevent said harmful effects and thus to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the community and to preserve and protect the value of properties therein.
There is hereby created a Design Review Board, which shall consist of five (5) residents of the village appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Board of Trustees. The Mayor shall designate which member of the Design Review Board shall be the Chair of the Board, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees, and the person so designated shall serve as Chair until the end of the official year in which such appointment is made. The terms of the members of the Board shall be for one (1) official year. Vacancies occurring for whatever reason other than expiration of term shall be filled for the balance of the unexpired term.
[Amended 11-17-1992 by L.L. No. 10-1992]
All members of the Board shall be persons deemed specially qualified by reason of training, experience or civic interest and by reason of sound judgment to judge the effects of a proposed building or exterior alteration on the nature and character of the community and of the immediate neighborhood, as provided in this chapter.
The Board may conduct a public hearing, on such notice as the Board may determine, on any matter before it when it deems the same to be in the public interest.
A majority of the 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 maintain records of its examinations and other official actions. Such records shall be kept in the village office.
The Board may, from time to time, adopt and amend rules of procedure not inconsistent with law or the provisions of this chapter.
The Board shall meet within thirty (30) days after the referral to the Board of an application for a permit, as required in this chapter. At least ten (10) days prior to such meeting, the applicant for such permit shall give written notice of such meeting to all owners of property within two hundred (200) feet of the property which is the subject of the application, by certified mail, return receipt requested, as indicated on the most recent assessment roll of the village. Proof of mailing of such notice shall be filed with the Village Clerk no later than five (5) days prior to such meeting and returned by certified mail; receipts shall be filed with the Village Clerk no later than one (1) day before the meeting.
The Village Clerk shall post notice of all meetings of the Board in at least three (3) conspicuous locations in the village, including a public bulletin board maintained at the Village Hall.
Upon receipt of any application for a permit to construct, reconstruct, alter or renovate a building or buildings in a manner which would affect the exterior appearance of such building or buildings, the Building Inspector shall determine whether said application conforms to the requirements of Chapter 203, Zoning, of this Code. Upon making such determination, the Building Inspector shall refer said application to the Village Clerk. The Village Clerk shall promptly thereafter transmit the same to the Chair of the Board or, in the absence of the Chair, to the Secretary of the Board. Said Chair or Secretary shall review the application and, within a reasonable period of time, determine in accordance with this section whether further review by the Board is required or appropriate.
[Amended 4-26-1994 by L.L. No. 5-1994]
Such further review shall be required by the Chair or Secretary if the application is for construction of any new building or structure, or for an addition to or reconstruction or alteration of any existing building or structure in such manner as to change substantially the exterior character or appearance of the building or structure. Such further review may be required by the Chair or Secretary in all other instances. Any determination by the Chair or Secretary not to conduct further review shall be communicated to the members of the Board of Trustees, including the Mayor, any one (1) of whom may, within ten (10) days after such communication, overrule such determination and require further review.
Where further review by the Board is to be conducted, such review shall be in accordance with the standards set forth in this chapter. Upon completion of such review, the Board may recommend approval or disapproval of any matter referred to it by a concurring vote of a majority of the entire Board.
Direct application for review.
In addition to permit applications referred to the Board pursuant to Subsection A of this section, the Board may also consider direct applications for review submitted in advance of any application for a building permit, provided that any such application shall include elevation plans of a proposed structure or proposed alteration to an existing structure. The Board may require such application to include additional material, in the discretion of the Board, where the Board determines that such additional material would aid in the Board's review.
In the case of any such direct application for review, the determination of the Board to recommend approval of the proposed plans shall be null and void if the building permit plans submitted to the village contain material variations from the application submitted to the Board. Where the Board has recommended approval of such a direct application for review and, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, the building permit plans submitted to the village do not contain material variations from the application submitted to the Board, the Building Inspector shall refer the application to the Board of Trustees, together with the favorable recommendation of the Board.
Where the Board finds that it would be inappropriate or inadvisable to review a direct application prior to submission of building plans, the Board may require the applicant to withdraw the application for direct review and proceed to submission of building plans in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Applications must be accompanied by plans showing elevations of all proposed new structures and all affected elevations in the case of additions or alterations to existing structures. Where the applicant proposes new construction or where the plans can reasonably be expected to result in new or additional landscaping on the property or where the Board, in its discretion, so requires, the application shall include plans for all new or additional landscaping. Where required by the Building Inspector, the Chair of the Board or a majority of the Board, a site plan shall also be submitted, showing:
In considering an application for a permit, the Board shall take into account the natural features of the site and surrounding areas, the exterior design and appearance of existing structures, the character of the site and area, the fact that the Village of Thomaston is a community of traditional homes and the peculiar suitability of the site or area for particular purposes, all with a view toward protecting and conserving the values of property, encouraging the most appropriate and consistent uses of land in the Village of Thomaston and maintaining the traditional nature of the village.
The Board may recommend approval of an application upon finding that the building or structure for which the permit is requested, if erected or altered in accordance with the submitted plan:
Would be in harmony with the purposes of this chapter as enumerated in Subsection A of this section;
Would not be visually offensive or inappropriate by reason of poor quality of exterior design or appearance, monotonous similarity or visual or architectural discord in relation to the site or surrounding properties in the immediate vicinity;
Would not mar or adversely affect the appearance of the area;
Would not impair the use, 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 and utilization of the site or of adjacent lands; and
Would not adversely affect the economic stability, prosperity, health, safety and general welfare of the area and the entire community of Thomaston.
In recommending approval of an application, the Board may impose appropriate conditions and safeguards designed to prevent or minimize harmful effects of the proposed construction or alteration.
The Board may recommend disapproval of any application for a permit, provided that the Board has first afforded the applicant an opportunity to meet with the Board and discuss suggestions for changes in the application, and further provided that the Board finds and states that the structure for which the permit is requested would, if erected or altered as proposed, provoke one (1) or more of the harmful effects enumerated in Subsection B of this section.
Any recommendation of the Board pursuant to this chapter shall be made only by affirmative vote of at least three (3) members of the Board.
If, within thirty (30) business days after the date on which an application has been duly referred to the Board, or such longer period as may be consented to by the applicant, the Board has not acted on the application, the Building Inspector shall refer the application to the Board of Trustees, who shall consider the same at the next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees held more than ten (10) business days after such referral to the Board of Trustees.
All recommendations or other actions by the Board shall be reviewed by the Board of Trustees, who may affirm, reverse or modify such recommendations or actions.
The Building Inspector shall not issue any permit unless the application has been approved by the Board of Trustees. In the event that the Board of Trustees approves an application on conditions, the Building Inspector shall not issue any permit until all changes in the plans have been made to conform to such conditions and unless all such conditions have been met or complied with.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Board of Trustees in approving or disapproving a permit application or in approving an application on conditions, or by an action of the Building Inspector in denying a permit because of such disapproval by the Board of Trustees, may, within thirty (30) days after the determination of the Board of Trustees, institute a proceeding to review in the manner provided by Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
[Amended 11-17-1992 by L.L. No. 10-1992]
In addition to any other fees provided or required by law, the applicant shall pay to the Village Clerk a fee established by resolution of the Board of Trustees for any application for a permit which requires review by the Design Review Board. Such fee shall be paid before the application is deemed to have been submitted.