[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Montebello 1-18-2006 by L.L. No. 1-2006; amended in its entirety 12-16-2009 by L.L. No. 4-2009. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Structures are generally not permitted in the Village's rights-of-way. However, mailboxes must be placed therein in order to be close enough to the edge of the roadway to facilitate mail delivery according to postal regulations. This conundrum has been resolved by the Village not objecting to the installation of mailboxes with minimal supports of various kinds, such as metal or wooden posts, not considering such to be structures. With the escalating real estate values and the trend towards larger homes, and for the deterrence of vandalism, a number of residents seek to install, or have installed without approval, substantial mailbox support structures on footings, which structures become an aesthetic element or architectural feature of their property. This has led to the issuance of a substantial number of violation notices, which ultimately can lead to prosecution, removal orders and fining because said structures unlawfully violate the Village's rights-of-way as well as due to the failure to follow the building permit procedure applicable to structures.
The purpose of this chapter is to strike a fair balance, permitting, but regulating the size of, such structures, thus minimizing the proliferation of large structures that can represent more of a hazard close to Village roadways. This chapter places the obligation on the property owner to hold the Village harmless if said owner opts to erect such structure.
It has come to the attention of the Village Board that permanent pillars or monuments, usually constructed of stone or masonry, were often erected on the sides of driveways within the Village, not always serving as a mailbox structure, the present law addressing only single pillars erected for mailbox purposes. In addition, there is evidence that many of such structures preexisted the Village, being significant in the historic fabric of the Village, as well as architecturally important. Therefore, it appears equitable as well as logical that both classes of pillars be recognized and permitted in appropriate circumstances, in addition to single mailbox pillars or structures.
Subject to the conditions set forth herein, up to two driveway pillars or monuments, including mailbox support structures, not exceeding 27 inches in any horizontal dimension, inclusive of cap, and of a height not exceeding 54 inches, and not to exceed 66 inches in total height, including any vertical projection therefrom, shall be permitted in the Village's rights-of-way directly abutting the applicant's property. Said structures shall be constructed only after obtaining a building permit by application which shall include construction plans revealing a sound and secure structure in the judgment of the Building Inspector consistent with the State Building Code and a dimensioned sketch or marked survey locating said proposed structure. Any electrification or illumination shall be included in the plans and subject to UL or equivalent approval as required in the Building Code. A simplified application for this limited purpose shall be developed by the Building Inspector and the Village Attorney, but until such occurs, the standard application shall be used. The fee for such an application shall be based upon cost of construction as per the Building Permit Fee Schedule of the Village of Montebello. Said structure shall be placed in a way that, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, minimizes the obstruction of sight lines to and from the adjacent roadway.
Such structures in existence prior to formation of the Village, May 7, 1986, shall be grandfathered irrespective of size. Submission of proof to the Building Inspector which, in his or her judgment, establishes the historic existence of the structure to a reasonable certainty shall result in the entering into of a license agreement pursuant to § 115-3 and shall be a defense to prosecution under this chapter.
The issuance of a certificate of use by the Building Inspector shall be construed to be the grant of a license agreement to maintain said driveway pillars or monuments, including mailbox support structures, in the Village's right-of-way, which grant shall be revokable by the Village at any time without compensation to the owner should the Village's use of its right-of-way require removal of said structure. The Village shall give the property owner 60 days' written notice prior to revokation, circumstances permitting.
The grant of the aforesaid license agreement shall by operation of this chapter carry with it the owner's and any benefitted subsequent owner's agreement to hold the Village harmless and indemnify the Village from any damages to the property or person of the owner, or to the property or person of any other person, claiming to have resulted directly or indirectly from the presence of said mailbox support structure. This includes damage to the support structure. The hold-harmless and indemnification protection shall also extend to whoever supplies snowplowing services to the Village, such as the Town of Ramapo and its Highway Department.
Driveway pillars or monuments, including mailbox support structures, whether grandfathered pursuant to § 115-2B or more recently constructed, existing as of January 1, 2010, or the effective date of this chapter, whichever is later, must be brought up to compliance within six months thereof. After expiration of said grandfathering period without compliance, the owner of said structure shall be subject to prosecution for maintaining an unlawful structure in a Village right-of-way.
The Village does not hereby purport to authorize the placement of driveway pillars or monuments, including mailbox support structures, in state or county rights-of-way. However, upon the provision by the applicant of written permission from the state or county, the Building Inspector is authorized to issue a building permit, oversee construction, and issue a certificate of use for same. For the purposes of this chapter, simple mailbox support posts not exceeding eight inches in any horizontal dimension and not erected on a footing versus being held in position by cement or the equivalent shall not be considered mailbox support structures regulated hereby.