Town of Brighton, NY
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Brighton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 6-14-1995 by L.L. No. 3-1995]
This article is an addition to and amends the town's Comprehensive Development Ordinance. Pursuant to the provisions of § 96-a and Article 5-K of the New York General Municipal Law, it is hereby declared a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement, perpetuation and the use of buildings, structures, places and sites of historic value is in the public interest for the Town of Brighton. It is the purpose of this article to:
A. 
Safeguard the heritage of the Town of Brighton by protecting and enhancing the landmarks which represent cultural, social, economic, political and architectural history.
B. 
Foster civic pride in the beauty and history of Brighton through education.
C. 
Protect and enhance the attractiveness of Brighton to home buyers, visitors, shoppers and residents and thereby provide economic benefits to the town and its citizens.
D. 
Conserve and improve the value of property within Brighton.
E. 
Foster, encourage and advise the preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of structures.
A. 
There is hereby created a Commission known as the "Brighton Historic Preservation Commission" (the "Commission"). It shall consist of seven members to be appointed by the Town Board, and its members shall have an interest in and knowledge of historic preservation and architectural development within the town and be residents of the town. At least one member shall be a professional architect or civil engineer licensed in New York. At least two members shall own an historic structure or Landmark within the Town of Brighton. However, if any of the designated positions cannot be filled within 60 days after a vacancy in any such position occurs, because no person so qualified has applied for such vacancy, the position may be filled by any resident of the town having the requisite interest in and knowledge of historic preservation, and no action taken by the Commission shall thereby be rendered invalid. The Town Historian and Commissioner of Public Works or his designee shall serve as nonvoting advisors to the Commission.
B. 
Commission members shall serve for a term of four years. If a vacancy shall occur other than by expiration of term, the vacancy shall be filled by the Town Board for the unexpired term. The Town Board shall have the power to remove any member of the Commission for cause and after a public hearing.
[Amended 1-28-2004 by L.L. No. 2-2004]
C. 
The Chairman of the Commission shall be appointed by the Town Board to a two-year term, and the Vice Chairman shall be elected by and from the members of the Commission.
D. 
The powers of the Commission shall include:
(1) 
Promulgation of rules and regulations as necessary for the conduct of its business;
(2) 
The designation of landmarks consistent with the terms of this article;
(3) 
The making of recommendations to the Town Board concerning structures or resources identified as landmarks;
(4) 
Analyzing the feasibility of acquisitions of facade easements or other interests in real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this article;
(5) 
Increasing public awareness of the value of historic preservation by developing and participating in public education programs;
(6) 
Making recommendations to town government concerning the utilization of state, federal or private funds to promote the preservation of landmarks within the town;
(7) 
Analyzing the feasibility of acquisition of property by the town government where its preservation is essential to the purposes of this chapter and where private preservation is not feasible;
(8) 
Approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriateness and hardship applications pursuant to this article; and
(9) 
Making recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board in relation to applications before those Boards relating to properties that include landmarks.
(10) 
Determining, for the purpose of § 444-a of the Real Property Tax Law of the State of New York, whether any alteration or rehabilitation to a landmark qualifies for exemption under said § 444-a. Such determination may be made by the Commission at the time it approves a certificate of appropriateness under this Chapter 224, whether or not application for such exemption has been made at the time such certificate of appropriateness is requested. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness shall not, in and of itself, constitute a determination of the Commission that the alteration or rehabilitation that is the subject of such certificate of appropriateness qualifies for the exemption under § 444-a of the Real Property Tax Law.
[Added 7-14-1999 by L.L. No. 4-1999]
(11) 
Review of applications pursuant to Chapter 73, Article VI of the Code of the Town of Brighton.
[Added 7-26-2006 by L.L. No. 8-2006]
(12) 
The adoption and amendment, from time to time, of a list of properties that may have historic or cultural significance and for which a cultural survey has been completed.
[Added 7-26-2006 by L.L. No. 8-2006]
E. 
The Commission shall meet on a regular basis at least monthly. Special meetings may be held at any time by written request of any two Commission members or on the call of the Chairman of the Commission or the Town Supervisor.
F. 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of four of the Commission members, but any action taken by the Commission shall require not less than a majority of its full authorized membership.
G. 
Notice of any public hearings required to be held under this article shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the town at least five days before the date of such hearing.
A. 
The Commission may designate an individual property, site or a structure or a significant feature of any such property, site or structure as a landmark (any property, site or structure or feature thereof so designated is hereinafter referred to as a "Landmark") if it:
(1) 
Possesses historic value as part of the cultural, political, economic, architectural or social history of the locality, region, state or nation; or
(2) 
Is identified with historic personages; or
(3) 
Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style; or
(4) 
Is the work of a significant designer.
B. 
In no case shall the Commission include more than a two-hundred-fifty-foot radius of land around a site or structure or feature thereof to be designated as a Landmark without the consent of the owner of such site or structure, nor shall it include more than one parcel of land in a designation unless such surrounding land or parcel qualifies for designation in its own right.
C. 
Prior to any designation of any property, site or structure as a Landmark, the Commission shall endeavor to contact, in writing, the owner of such proposed Landmark for the purpose of informally notifying such owner of the proposed designation, providing such owner a copy of this chapter and advising such owner of the opportunity for an informational meeting with the Commissioner of Public Works or his designee and the Town Historian concerning the proposed designation. Thereafter, if the Commission determines to proceed with designation, notice of a proposed designation shall be sent by registered mail to the owner of the property proposed for designation, describing the property proposed and announcing a public hearing by the Commission to consider the designation, which hearing shall be held not less than 20 nor more than 30 days after the date such notice is mailed to the property owner. Once the Commission has issued notice of a proposed designation, no building permits shall be issued by the Building Inspector for any property, subject in whole or in part to such designation, until the Commission has made its decision.
D. 
At the public hearing, the Commission, owners and any interested parties may present testimony or documentary evidence at the hearing which will become part of a record regarding the historic importance of the proposed Landmark. The record may also contain staff reports, public comments or other evidence offered before the hearing is closed.
E. 
Following the hearing, the Commission shall make a determination and shall send its decision to the property owner or owners affected. It shall also forward notice of each property designated as a Landmark to the Town Supervisor and to the office of the Brighton Town Clerk, which shall deliver each such notice to the Monroe County Clerk's office for recording.
F. 
An owner who wishes to appeal a designation as a Landmark may appeal such decision to the Board of Appeals within 60 days of the date of such designation by the Commission. Failure to timely appeal shall be deemed a waiver of applicant's appeal right. All appeals made to the Board of Appeals shall be in writing.
G. 
The Board of Appeals shall not decide upon any appeal from a Landmark designation without first holding a public hearing, notice of which hearing, including the substance of the appeal, shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the town at least five days before the date of such hearing. Provided that due notice shall have been published and that there shall have been substantial compliance for the remaining provisions of this section, failure to give notice in exact conformance herewith shall not be deemed to invalidate action taken by the Board of Appeals in connection with any appeal.
H. 
Each appeal shall fully set forth the circumstances of the case, shall refer to the specific provisions of the law and shall exactly set forth the ground or grounds upon which the Landmark designation should be reversed.
I. 
The secretary shall keep minutes of the proceedings of the Board of Appeals showing the vote of each member upon every appeal or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact. The secretary shall keep records of the Board's official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed and shall be a public record.
J. 
The owner of any Landmark previously designated by the Commission may request that the Commission revoke the Landmark designation at any time based upon new factual information not previously considered by the Commission that demonstrates that the rationale for designating such property, site or structure or a significant feature of any such property, site or structure as a Landmark is not applicable.
[Amended 7-26-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000]
No person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction or new construction of or to a landmark, nor shall any person carry out any demolition or moving of a landmark, without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the Commission. The Commission may establish rules and/or policies, following a public hearing, for determining when repairs to and maintenance of landmarks will not require a certificate of appropriateness. Exterior painting of a structure shall not require a certificate of appropriateness, unless some or all of the surface to be painted is a brick, stone, ceramic or other structure that cannot be returned to its original color and/or condition after it is painted.
A. 
The Commission's decision on approving or disapproving a certificate of appropriateness shall be based upon the following principles:
(1) 
Any alteration of an existing property shall be compatible with its historic character; and
(2) 
Any new construction attached to or appurtenant to a Landmark shall be compatible with the historic character of the Landmark.
B. 
In applying the principle of compatibility, the Commission shall consider the following factors;
(1) 
The general design, character and appropriateness to the Landmark or the proposed alteration or new construction.
(2) 
The scale of proposed alteration or new construction in relation to the Landmark, surrounding properties and the neighborhood.
(3) 
Visual compatibility with the existing structure and with the surrounding properties, including proportion of the property's front facade, proportion and arrangement of windows and other openings within the facade, roof shape and the rhythm of spacing of properties on streets, including setback.
(4) 
The importance of historic, architectural or other features to the significance of the Landmark.
C. 
In passing upon an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Commission shall not consider changes to interior spaces.
D. 
An owner who wishes to appeal a decision disapproving a certificate of appropriateness may appeal such decision to the Board of Appeals within 60 days of the date of such determination by the Commission. Failure to timely appeal should be deemed a waiver of applicant's appeal right. All appeals made to the Board of Appeals should be in writing.
E. 
The Board of Appeals shall not decide upon any appeal from a decision disapproving a certificate of appropriateness without first holding a public hearing, notice of which hearing, including the substance of the appeal, shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the town at least five days before the date of such hearing. Provided that due notice shall have been published and that there shall have been substantial compliance with the remaining provisions of this section, failure to give notice in exact conformance herewith shall not be deemed to invalidate action taken by the Board of Appeals in connection with any appeal.
F. 
Each appeal shall fully set forth the circumstances of the case, shall refer to the specific provisions of the law and shall exactly set forth the ground or grounds upon which the decision disapproving the certificate of appropriateness should be reversed.
G. 
The secretary shall keep minutes of the proceedings of the Board of Appeals, showing the vote of each member upon every appeal or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact. The secretary shall keep records of the Board's official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed and shall be a public record.
A. 
Prior to the commencement of any work requiring a certificate of appropriateness, the owner shall file an application for such a certificate with the Commission. Such filing is to take place in the Brighton Town Hall Public Works Department on such forms as may be prepared by such Department, which shall, to the extent possible, be integrated with any other application forms required by the Department for such work. The application shall contain:
(1) 
Name, address and telephone number of applicant;
(2) 
Location and photographs of the property;
(3) 
Elevation drawings of proposed changes, if available;
(4) 
Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties, if available;
(5) 
Samples of color and materials to be used;
(6) 
Where the proposal includes signs or lettering, a scale drawing showing the type of lettering to be used, all dimensions and colors, a description of materials to be used, method of illumination and a plan showing the sign's location on the property; and
(7) 
Any other information which the Commission may reasonably deem necessary in order to visualize the proposed work.
B. 
No building permit shall be issued for such proposed work until a certificate of appropriateness has first been issued by the Commission. The certificate of appropriateness required by this chapter shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any building permit that may be required by any other ordinance of the Town of Brighton, except that approval of a certificate of appropriateness shall be in lieu of any review otherwise required from the Architectural Review Board. The Department of Public Works is hereby directed to implement procedures which will integrate the certificate of appropriateness application procedure with the procedure for obtaining any other required town approvals and with the developmental review process. The Commission may make advisory recommendations to the Zoning and/or Planning Board in connection with a certificate of appropriateness granted with respect to any Landmark.
C. 
The Commission shall approve, deny or approve with modifications the certificate within 60 days from receipt of the completed application. The Commission shall hold a public hearing on the application, at which an opportunity will be provided for proponents and opponents of the application to present their views. The applicant will be required to post a sign provided by the town, notifying the public of the application, in the front yard of the property subject to application for a period of 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing.
D. 
All decisions of the Commission shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by certified mail and a copy filed at the office of the Town Clerk and Department of Public Works for public inspection.
[Amended 9-27-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2014]
E. 
Unless construction is commenced within one year of the date of the granting of a certificate of appropriateness, and thereafter diligently pursued, such certificate shall become null and void, unless renewed upon application to the Historic Preservation Commission.
[Added 9-27-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2014]
F. 
The Historic Preservation Commission shall have the authority to revoke or suspend any certificate of appropriateness issued by the commission where it is found that there have been false statements or misrepresentations as to a material fact in the application, plans or specifications upon which the certificate of appropriateness was granted.
[Added 9-27-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2014]
An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed demolition has been denied may apply for relief to the Commission on the ground of hardship. In order to prove the existence of hardship, the applicant shall establish that:
A. 
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible or, in the case of a property owned by an entity certified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, where the failure to permit demolition would unreasonably interfere with the applicant's charitable purpose;
B. 
The property cannot be adapted for any other use, whether by the current owner or by a purchaser, which would result in a reasonable return; and
C. 
Reasonable efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.
Any owner of a Landmark whose application for a certificate of appropriateness for any purpose other than demolition has been denied may apply to the Commission for relief on the ground of hardship. In order to prove the existence of hardship for a business commercial property, the applicant shall establish that the property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible. If the applicant is certified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the applicant shall establish that denial of the proposed alteration would unreasonably interfere with the applicant's charitable purpose.
A. 
After receiving written notification from the Commission of the denial of a certificate of appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process. No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the Commission makes a finding that a hardship exists.
B. 
The Commission shall hold a public hearing on the hardship application at which an opportunity will be provided for proponents and opponents of the application to present their views.
C. 
The applicant shall consult in good faith with the Commission, local preservation groups and interested parties in a diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property.
D. 
All decisions on hardship applications shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail and a copy filed at the Town Hall for public inspection. The decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application.
A. 
An applicant whose application for hardship status under this chapter is denied may appeal such decision to the Board of Appeals within 60 days of the date of denial of the hardship application. Failure to timely appeal shall be deemed a waiver of applicant's appeal right. All appeals made to the Board of Appeals shall be in writing.
B. 
The Board of Appeals shall not decide upon any appeal from a hardship application denial without first holding a public hearing, notice of which hearing, including the substance of the appeal, shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the town at least five days before the date of such hearing. Provided that due notice shall have been published and that there shall have been substantial compliance with the remaining provisions of this section, the failure to give notice in exact conformance herewith shall not be deemed to invalidate action taken by the Board of Appeals in connection with any appeal.
C. 
Each appeal shall fully set forth the circumstances of the case, shall refer to the specific provisions of the law and shall exactly set forth the ground upon which the hardship application should be granted.
D. 
The Secretary shall keep minutes of the proceedings of the Board of Appeals, showing the vote of each member upon every appeal or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact. The Secretary shall keep records of the Board's official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed and shall be a public record.
All work performed pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness issued under this chapter shall conform to any requirements included therein. The Building Inspector and Fire Marshal may inspect periodically any such work to assure compliance. In the event work is found that is not being performed in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness or upon notification of such fact by the Commission, the Building Inspector or the Fire Marshal may issue a stop-work order in which case, all work shall immediately cease. No further work shall be undertaken on the project as long as a stop-work order is in effect.
A. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior architectural feature of a Landmark which does not involve a change in design, material or outward appearance.
B. 
No owner or person with an interest in real property designated as a Landmark shall permit the property to fall into a serious state of disrepair so as to result in the material deterioration of any exterior architectural feature which would, in the judgment of the Commission, produce a detrimental effect upon the Landmark.
C. 
Notice of violation.
(1) 
The Commission shall advise the Commissioner of Public Works of any Landmark which has fallen into a serious state of disrepair. The Commissioner shall review the advice of the Commission and, if he determines such action to be warranted, shall serve a notice of violation on the property owner of any Landmark which has fallen into a serious state of disrepair as defined pursuant to Subsection B by one of the following methods:
(a) 
By personal service;
(b) 
By certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to his or their last known address as shown on the latest completed assessment roll of the Town of Brighton; or
(c) 
By the posting of such notice in a conspicuous place upon the premises affected and a copy thereof mailed on the same day it is posted, addressed to his or their last known address as shown on the latest completed assessment roll of the Town of Brighton, such notice to be sent by registered mail.
(2) 
Such notice shall provide that, if the owner fails to cure such violation within the period proscribed for compliance, the Commissioner of Public Works may cure the violation or cause the violation to be cured and the owner of the property shall be responsible for the cost of such cure by the assessment and levy on the real property on which such violation occurred and the expense so assessed shall constitute a lien and charge on the real property on which it is levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other town charges. Within 30 days of the date of such notice or such lesser period of time as may be set forth in such notice if the Commissioner of Public Works determines that an emergency exists, the affected property owner shall either cure the violation; if by the nature of said violation it cannot be cured within 30 days, commence to cure and continue to work on said property until such violation has been cured; or appeal the notice of violation to the Commission.
D. 
Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the town from enforcing its Property Maintenance Law[1] against owners and/or occupants of any Landmark.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 129, Property Maintenance.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or other entity to construct, alter, repair, demolish or take any other actions with respect to any Landmark in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or to fail to comply in any manner with any notice or order of the Commissioner of Public Works or his designee or Fire Marshal and any such action or failure to act shall be deemed a violation and will result in the termination of any permits issued or any proceedings commenced under the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Whenever there is any violation of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this chapter, a violation notice and/or appearance ticket may be issued to the person, individual, partnership or corporation owning, operating or maintaining the premises in which such violation has been noted.
C. 
Violation notices shall be in writing, shall identify the property or premises, shall specify the violation or remedial action to be taken and shall provide that said violation must be corrected within 30 days from the receipt of said violation notice unless said thirty-day period shall be modified in the discretion of the enforcement officer issuing such violation notice or unless a shorter period of time has been prescribed for in this chapter.
D. 
Violation notices and other orders or notices referred to in this chapter shall be served on the person(s) or entity(ies) charged with the violation either personally or by certified mail addressed to the last known address, if any, of such person or entity, as shown by the last preceding record of the Receiver of Taxes or in the office of the County Clerk.
A. 
Any person who shall fail to comply with a written notice of the Commissioner of Public Works or his designee and/or Fire Marshal within the time fixed for compliance therewith and any owner, builder, tenant, contractor or subcontractor or their agents or any other person taking part or assisting in any construction, alteration or demolition in violation of the applicable provisions of this chapter or any lawful order, notice, directive, permit or certificate of the Commissioner of Public Works or his designee and/or Fire Marshal made thereunder shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or both; and each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. The imposition of such penalty shall not be held to prohibit the enforced removal of prohibited conditions by any appropriate remedy, including immediate application for an injunction.
B. 
An action or proceeding in the name of the Town of Brighton, New York, may be commenced in any court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or restrain by injunction the violation of any provision of this article, any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this article or a violation of any order issued under this article. Such remedy shall be in addition to penalties otherwise prescribed by law.
C. 
Any person who demolishes, alters, restores or reconstructs any Landmark in violation of this article shall be required to restore the property and its site to its appearance prior to the violation. This civil remedy shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any criminal prosecution and penalty.
Where this article imposes greater restrictions than are imposed by the provision of any law, ordinance, regulation or private agreement, the provisions of this article shall control. Where greater restrictions are imposed by any law, ordinance, regulation or private agreement than are imposed by this article, such greater restrictions shall not be affected by this article. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this article does not supersede, abolish, transfer or curtail any authority or powers of the Town Board of the Town of Brighton granted pursuant to either Town Law or the Comprehensive Development Ordinance, including but not limited to the powers granted by Chapter 209 thereof.
[Adopted 2-10-1999 by L.L. No. 2-1999]
This article shall be known as the "Historic Landmark Property Tax Abatement Local Law."
The provisions of § 444-a of the Real Property Tax Law are hereby made applicable, in their entirety, to alterations or rehabilitation of properties designated as landmarks by the Historic Preservation Commission of the Town of Brighton.