[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Mamaroneck 12-5-1990 by L.L. No. 7-1990. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote the health, safety, comfort and general welfare of the community and to preserve and promote the character and appearance and conserve the property values of the unincorporated area of the town, the attractiveness of whose residential and business areas is the economic mainstay of the community, by providing procedures for an architectural review of structures henceforth erected, reconstructed, altered or remodeled in the town, and thereby:
To encourage quality exterior building design and good appearance and to relate such design and appearance to the sites and surroundings of structures.
To permit originality and resourcefulness in building design and appearances which are appropriate to the sites and surroundings.
To prevent such design and appearances as are offensive to visual sensibilities.
It has been determined thorough review, which includes the town's Master Plan update, that there are elements of design, particularly in the town's business districts, which detract from property and have an adverse visual impact on the community. The Town Board hereby finds that structures which are visually offensive or inappropriate, by reason of poor qualities of exterior design, monotonous similarity or striking visual discord, including color, in relation to their sites or surroundings, mar the appearance of their areas, impair the use, enjoyment and desirability and reduce the values of properties, are detrimental to the character of neighborhoods, prevent the most appropriate development and utilization of land and, therefore, adversely affect the functioning, economic stability, prosperity, health, safety and general welfare of the entire community.
Since its inception, the Board of Architectural Review has played an increasingly significant role in the review of projects within the Town. However, from time to time it has been difficult to have the full Board present for meetings which can impact on the effectiveness of its review. It is therefore found to be necessary to appoint an alternate member of the Board who will serve in the absence of one of the regular members.
[Added 3-31-1993 by L.L. No. 6-1993]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
[Amended 3-31-1993 by L.L. No. 6-1993; 7-17-1996 by L.L. No. 14-1996; 4-22-2003 by L.L. No. 12-2003]
All members of the Board of Architectural Review shall be specially qualified either by reason of training or experience in architecture, land development, city planning, real estate, landscape architecture, professional property values or other relevant business or profession or by reason of civic interest and sound judgment, to judge the effects of a proposed building or alteration or remodeling thereof upon the property values and development of surrounding areas. At least one regular member shall be a registered architect in the State of New York.
Meetings of the Board of Architectural Review shall be held monthly or at the call of the Chairman and at such other times as a majority of the Board shall determine, but shall be held within 30 days of the date of the referral of any application for a building permit referred to the Board as required in § 3-5. A majority 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 copies of its examinations and other official actions. 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 governing its procedure and the transaction of its business and for the purpose of carrying into effect the standards outlined in § 3-6 hereof.
Every application for a permit for any structure other than a one- or two-family house or interior modifications to any structure which does not otherwise require site plan approval or a variance or result in an increase in the number tenants shall be referred to each member of the Board of Architectural Review within seven days of the date of application, provided that it conforms in other respects to all other applicable laws and ordinances.
Applications must be accompanied by plans showing all elevations of new structures and all affected elevations in the case of additions, alterations or remodeling and such details as to elements of design, exterior materials and treatments, roof design, exposed mechanical equipment, service and storage areas, retaining walls, landscaping, signs, awnings, lightposts, parking areas and fences, service and loading areas and such other information as the Board of Architectural Review may require. When the applicant is required by any other local law or ordinance to submit plans for approval, the applicant shall supply the same plans to the Board of Architectural Review. The Board may also require photographs of all buildings within 250 feet of the proposed structure, addition, alteration or remodeling.
Approval of any application shall be by a vote of at least 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 appearance of existing structures and the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular purposes, with a view to conserving the values of and encouraging the most appropriate use of the land.
The Board may approve an application referred to it upon finding that the building or structure for which the permit was requested, if erected 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 visual discord, including color, in relation to the site or its surroundings, would not mar the appearance of the area, would not impair the use, enjoyment and desirability and reduce the values of properties in the area, would not be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood, would not prevent an appropriate development and utilization of the site or of adjacent lands and would not adversely affect the functioning economic stability, prosperity, health, safety and general welfare of the community.
In approving any application, the Board may impose appropriate conditions and safeguards designed to prevent the harmful effects set forth in § 3-1. Such conditions and safeguards may include screening, planting, fencing or other methods of keeping from view obviously unsightly features of such buildings or structures. The Board of Architectural Review shall have the authority to modify or omit standardized facades, signs, materials, colors or other elements of the business's design and external appearance which violate the provisions of the Town's Sign Ordinance and/or so as to achieve the town's land use and design objectives. Except that, if site plan approval is required, the Board shall act in an advisory capacity only, with regard to elements of design and screening reviewed by the Planning Board, as is more fully set forth in § 3-7 of this chapter.
[Amended 3-4-1998 by L.L. No. 4-1998]
If the Town Board shall adopt an official design for any portion of any district or districts established by Chapter 240, Zoning, no building or structure shall be approved by the Board of Architectural Review unless it shall conform to such official design.
The Board may disapprove any application for a permit, provided that the Board has afforded the applicant an opportunity for suggestions for change of the plans, and provided that the Board finds and states that the building or structure for which the permit was requested would, if erected, altered or remodeled as indicated, provoke one or more of the harmful effects set forth in § 3-1 by reason of:
Striking dissimilarity, visual discord or inappropriateness with respect to other business or commercial structures located or proposed to be located on the same street or a corner thereof, in respect to one or more of the following features of exterior design and appearance:
Facade, including color.
Size and arrangement of doors, windows, porticos or other openings, breaks or extensions in the facade.
Cubic content and gross floor area.
Other significant design features, such as but not limited to heights, widths and lengths of elements of design, exterior materials and treatments, roof design, exposed mechanical equipment, service and storage areas, retaining walls, landscaping, signs, lightposts, parking areas and fences, service and loading areas.
Visual offensiveness or other poor qualities of exterior design, including, with respect to signs, considerations of the harmony or discord of colors or incompatibility of the proposed building or structure with the terrain on which it is to be located, including but not limited to excessive divergences of the height of levels of any part of the structure from the grade of the terrain.
The Board of Architectural Review's written findings shall be filed with the Town Clerk within 10 days of the Board of Architectural Review's decision.
If any person files an application for site plan approval, variances or a special permit, the Board of Architectural Review shall require that plans and such other information set forth in this chapter, as it deems necessary, for all buildings or structures on such site, be presented to it before a hearing is held on an application for site plan approval, variances or special permit. The Board of Architectural Review shall act in an advisory capacity to the Planning Board and/or the Zoning Board of Appeals on any elements of design contained in Chapter 177, Site Plan Review, § 177-5, and as to conditions to be set by the Zoning Board of Appeals and for Planning Board which would otherwise fall under the authority of the Board of Architectural Review. Approval by the Planning Board of a site plan or a special permit or approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals of variances shall not negate the requirements of approval by the Board of Architectural Review, as to the design items set forth in this chapter which are not otherwise delegated to the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals, prior to the issuance of any building permit. To the extent that it is practical, the review by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals and the review of the Board of Architectural Review shall be concurrent. In instances where the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals do not follow the advisory recommendations of the Board of Architectural Review, the findings of the Planning Board and/or Zoning Board of Appeals shall specify the reasons for not applying the Board of Architectural Review's recommendations.
The Board of Architectural Review shall advise with respect to public buildings and such other matters as the Town Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board may refer to it or as may be granted it pursuant to other local laws or ordinances.
No building permit shall be issued if the Board of Architectural Review does not approve the application. If the Board of Architectural Review shall fail to approve or disapprove any application referred to it under § 3-5A within 45 days of the date of referral of such application to it, the application shall be deemed to have been approved unless the applicant shall have agreed to an extension of time.
[Amended 10-16-2002 by L.L. No. 10-2002]
Any applicant aggrieved by the action of the Board of Architectural Review in disapproving a building permit application, and of the Director of Building Code Enforcement and Land Use Administration in denying such permit because of such disapproval, may request the Board to make formal findings of fact within 15 days after the request is filed in the Town Clerk's office, shall thereafter provide the applicant with an opportunity to answer the findings by the submission of formal proof and shall within 30 days after the answer is filed reconsider the application on the basis of such answer. If the application is disapproved after such reconsideration, the applicant may appeal directly from such action of the Board of Architectural Review to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Such appeal shall be taken within 30 days after the decision of the Board of Architectural Review has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk. If the appeal is dismissed by the Zoning Board of Appeals, the applicant may bring a proceeding to review in the manner provided by Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules in the Supreme Court. Such proceeding must commence within 30 days after the filing in the office of the Town Clerk of the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
[Amended 10-16-2002 by L.L. No. 10-2002]
Any person or corporation, including but not limited to the owner, lessee, architect or builder or the agent or employee of any of them, who violates or is accessory to the violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation made under the authority conferred by this chapter, or who shall erect, construct, reconstruct, alter, enlarge, convert or move any building or structure without a building permit or in violation of any statement or plans submitted and approved and under the provisions of this chapter, or who shall use any building, structure or land in violation of this chapter or any regulation made under the authority conferred by this chapter or in violation of the provisions of any building permit or certificate of occupancy, or without a building permit or certificate of occupancy where one is required by this chapter, shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine of up to $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both, for each offense, and each and every day that such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. The Director of Building Code Enforcement and Land Use Administration shall serve or mail notice of any violation of this chapter to the last known address of the owner of such property as shown on the official assessment rolls or to the person or corporation committing or permitting the same. In addition, the Inspector shall report all violations to the Town Board. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as depriving the Town or the Town Board of any other available remedy, either of a civil or criminal nature, as provided by law.
The Board of Architectural Review shall hold a public hearing on every application made to it, notice of which hearing and the substance of which application shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the Town at least five days before the date of such hearing and by such other notice as the Board of Architectural Review, by duly adopted rule, shall require.