[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southeast 11-7-2013 by L.L. No. 10-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Architectural Review Board — See Ch. 3.
Protection of scenic roads — See Ch. 110.
Zoning — See Ch. 138.
Editor's Note: This local law superseded former Ch. 83, Historic Sites and Historic Districts, adopted 12-11-1986, as amended.
The purposes of this chapter are:
To effect and accomplish the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of these landmarks, these historic sites, and these districts which represent or reflect elements of the Town's cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history.
To safeguard the Town's historic, aesthetic and cultural heritage.
To foster civic pride.
To protect and enhance the Town's attractions to tourists and visitors with its concomitant stimulus to business and industry.
To strengthen the economy of the Town.
To promote the use of these landmarks and historic sites for the education, pleasure and welfare of the people of the Town.
Certain words used in this chapter are defined and explained in definitions which follow, and the other words in this chapter shall have the meanings commonly attributed to them. Doubts as to the precise meaning of words in this chapter shall be determined by the Zoning Board of Appeals by resolution, giving due consideration to the expressed intent and purposes of the chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUFFER ZONE
- An area extending from the road right-of-way line on all designated scenic and historic routes a distance equal to the front yard specified in the Town Zoning Law (Chapter 138 of the Code of the Town of Southeast) into adjoining/abutting properties. An historic site shall have a buffer zone of 50 feet extending from each contributing historic element of the site. The buffer zone serves to form a barrier around the scenic and historic route and historic site to minimize disturbance to such routes, including building, grading or clearing activities, except as authorized by the Historic Sites Commission.
- A certificate of appropriateness.
- The Historic Sites Commission.
- HISTORIC DISTRICT
- A specified area which is listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places, or which has been designated by the Town Board as locally historic and is listed herein. A designated historic district possesses a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development.
- HISTORIC SITE
- A site or structure which is listed on the State or National Register of Historic Places, or which has been designated by the Town Board as locally historic and is listed herein. The designated historic site is the location of a significant event, a prehistoric or historic occupation or activity, or a building or structure, whether standing, ruined, or vanished, where the location itself possesses historic, cultural, or archaeological value regardless of the value of any existing structure.
- Any public highway, street, road, or other way approved by the Town Board permanently dedicated to the movement of vehicles and pedestrians and providing the principal means of access to abutting property.
- SCENIC AND HISTORIC ROUTE
- A route of locally or regionally outstanding scenic, natural, recreational, cultural, historic or archaeological significance, which has been designated by the Town Board herein.
- SUBSTANTIALLY CONTIGUOUS
- The proposed activity is adjacent to or within 50 feet of an historic site.
The intent of this chapter is to preserve and protect locally significant historic sites and structures. Any disturbance to a designated historic site, or a property that is substantially contiguous to an historic site, shall require a certificate of appropriateness pursuant to § 83-11 from the Historic Sites Commission.
The following sites or structures are hereby designated as local historic sites:
[Amended 11-17-2016 by L.L. No. 8-2016]
The intent of this section is to recognize and encourage the preservation of the visual quality and historic character of certain routes and their surroundings within the Town. The objectives of this section are to:
Encourage the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of such scenic and historic routes that represent or reflect the elements of the Town of Southeast's heritage.
Recognize the Town of Southeast's scenic and historic routes, as embodied in the landscape, geologic, and man-made features, including: houses, barns, stone walls, stone chambers, bridges, cemeteries, and reservoir structures.
Promote the use of scenic and historic routes for the education, pleasure, and welfare of the people of the Town of Southeast.
Protect and maintain the condition of stone walls and stone chambers within and around scenic and historic routes.
Each property adjacent to a scenic and historic route shall maintain the buffer zone, as defined in § 83-2 above, from the road right-of-way line into the property in a condition recognized by the Town Board in its designation of the scenic and historic roadway. Within the buffer zone, there shall be no significant disturbance, including, but not limited to, tree removal, clearing, grading and filling, or the building or demolition of structures, including driveways, except pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness by the Historic Sites Commission. The following activities shall not require approval:
Maintenance of existing landscaping.
Planting of new trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals.
Repair of existing fences, stone walls or retaining walls, provided that original materials and building techniques are used.
Maintenance and repair of existing driveways.
Maintenance and repair of existing homes, barns, or other accessory structures, including painting; door, window, and siding replacement; and roof repair or replacement; provided that, from the scenic route, the general character of the home is maintained.
Any activities outside of the designated buffer zone.
The following routes are designated as local scenic and historic routes:
Starr Ridge Road Scenic and Historic Route: all properties that have land that abuts either Starr Ridge Road or Starr Lea Road south of I-84.
Milltown Road Scenic and Historic Route: all properties that have land abutting either Milltown Road or that portion of Federal Hill Road from Milltown Road to Joe's Hill Road.
Turk Hill Scenic and Historic Route: all properties that have land that abuts Turk Hill Road.
Allview Avenue Scenic and Historic Route: all properties that have land that abuts Allview Avenue south of US Route 6/NYS Route 22 to Birch Hill Road.
The Historic Sites Commission shall consist of at least seven members, who shall be interested in the preservation of historically and architecturally significant sites and landmarks.
The members of the Commission and the Chairman thereof shall be appointed by the Town Board for terms of seven years; provided, however, that of those members first taking office, one shall be appointed for a term of one-year, one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, one for a term of four years, one for a term of five years, one for a term of six years, and one for a term of seven years. Appointments made at any time following the creation of the first Commission shall be for terms of seven years. The Town Board shall appoint to the Commission the Town Historian, if possible an architect recommended by the other members of the Board, and at least five residents of the Town of Southeast. Members may serve more than one term. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as original appointments, with the advice of the remaining members of the Commission, for the remainder of the unexpired term. Each member shall serve until the appointment of his successor. The terms of members first taking office shall commence on the date of their appointment. Members shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.
The Commission shall provide for its own rules and procedures. Any procedures not provided for shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order, where applicable. Each member of the Commission shall be entitled to one vote, except that any member having any personal or financial interest in any matter pending before the Commission shall not participate in the Commission's deliberations or decisions. A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The rules shall provide for the calling of special meetings by the Chairman or by at least three members of the Commission. All regular or special meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public, and meetings and recommendations of the Commission shall be advertised in the local newspaper at least five to 10 working days prior to the hearings.
The Commission shall keep a record of its resolutions and actions, which shall be open to public inspection. The concurring affirmative vote of a majority of members shall constitute approval of the plans before it for review or for the adoption of any resolution, motion or other action of the Commission.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to maintain the character of the historic sites and districts and to regulate and control the construction of new buildings, if any, and the reconstruction, repair or demolition of, or any other alterations or changes in, such historic sites, including but not limited to walls, fences, signs, steps, topographical features and paving, to ensure that any action taken in or with respect to such landmarks, areas, and historic sites is compatible with the existing character of such historic sites and districts.
The Commission shall have the authority to make recommendations to the Town Board of any property, area, or district to be designated as an historic site or district. The Town Board shall hold a public hearing on any proposed designation prior to adopting a local law amending this chapter to formally designate a property, area, or district as a local historic site or district.
No changes or alterations to the exterior of historic sites, including but not limited to construction, reconstruction, repair, restoration, renewal, demolition or painting, shall be made or commenced unless the Commission has issued a certificate of appropriateness, and no building or other permit for such purpose shall be issued unless such certificate of appropriateness has been issued by the Commission.
Application for a certificate of appropriateness shall be made to the Commission in such form and shall provide such information as may be required by the Commission.
Exception. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent ordinary maintenance or repair which does not involve a change of existing design, material, scale or appearance, including related landscaping, or significant change in color, or any work required by a Town official to eliminate unsafe conditions, provided that any permanent repairs shall meet the above-stated criteria.
Within 45 days after application has been made, the Commission shall determine whether the proposal set forth in the application is appropriate to the preservation of the existing character of the historic site. In the event that such determination has not been made within the time prescribed herein and shall not have been disapproved during such time, such application shall be deemed to have been approved.
In passing upon appropriateness, the objective and duty of the Commission shall be to preserve the original atmosphere and character of the historic sites and, specifically, to maintain, insofar as possible, those features which were significant in the decision to register said historic sites on the National Register of Historic Places. In so doing, the Commission shall consider, in addition to any other pertinent factors, the historical and architectural value and significance, architectural style, general design, arrangements, texture, material and color of the particular features involved, including the related landscaping.
A copy of the approval or disapproval of any such application shall be filed with the Town Board and in the Town Clerk's office within a forty-five-day period.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to consider the following guidelines when reviewing an application for a certificate of appropriateness:
The pattern and alignment of buildings and structures established by the traditional setbacks from the street should be maintained.
The traditional design vocabulary used for defining building entrances should be maintained.
The location and scale of fences, walls, and other similar objects should be maintained in their original location.
Parking lots should be subdivided into small components so that the visual impact of large paved areas is reduced. Parking lots should be screened from view from public rights-of-way. Where historic paving materials exist in the area, similar materials should be used for new paving.
Rehabilitation of structures:
Any construction or reconstruction to an historic structure should respect the original design character of the building.
New uses that require the least change to the existing structure should be encouraged.
The removal or altering of any historic material or significant architectural features should be avoided to the greatest extent possible. Examples of historically significant features include porches, window trim, cupolas, chimneys and steps.
The replacement of missing architectural elements should be based on accurate duplications of original features.
The use of materials similar to those employed historically should be required.
Where reconstruction of an element is impossible because of a lack of historical evidence, then a new design that relates to the building in general size, scale, and material may be considered.
Service equipment and trash containers should be screened from public view.
On commercial buildings, large display windows at the street level that are characteristic of commercial buildings should be preserved.
Original roof forms and pitch should be preserved where they contribute to the historic character of the building.
Original roof materials that are visible from the street should be preserved.
Historic trim and ornaments should be preserved.
Additions to historic structures:
Additions to existing buildings should be compatible with the size, scale, color, material, and character of the main building and its environments.
New additions or alterations should not obscure or confuse the essential form and character of the original building.
New additions or alterations that would hinder the ability to interpret the design character of the historic period of the district should be avoided.
When locating additions to historic buildings, the pattern created by the repetition of building facades in the area should be maintained.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, if the applicant established to the satisfaction of the Commission that, due to strict application of the provisions of this chapter: (1) the land or improvement in question cannot yield a reasonable return if the proposed construction, removal, alteration or demolition is not permitted; or (2) that a hardship is created for the applicant due to unique circumstances, and that the hardship is the result of the application of this section, and is not the result of any act or omission by the applicant; then the Commission may grant relief or recommend relief in the following manner:
Authorize issuance of a permit by the Building Inspector if the proposed alteration, construction, removal or demolition will not alter the essential character of the structure or area.
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $250 or imprisoned for not more than 15 days, or both. Each day that a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense.