Village of LeRoy, NY
Genesee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of LeRoy 8-12-1992 by L.L. No. 3-1992. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

Subdivision of land — See Ch. 180.

Zoning — See Ch. 215.

§ 124-1
Purpose. 

§ 124-2
Commitment to be voluntary. 

§ 124-3
Historic Preservation Commission. 

§ 124-4
Designation of landmarks. 

§ 124-5
Designation of historic districts. 

§ 124-6
Certificate of appropriateness required. 

§ 124-7
Criteria for approval of a certificate of appropriateness. 

§ 124-8
Certificate application procedure. 

§ 124-9
Hardship criteria. 

§ 124-10
Hardship application procedure. 

§ 124-11
Enforcement. 

§ 124-12
Maintenance and repair required. 

§ 124-13
Compliance with chapter. 

§ 124-14
Building permits for owners who have not accepted status. 

§ 124-15
Penalties for offenses. 

§ 124-16
Appeals. 

§ 124-1 Purpose.

It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of landmarks and historic districts is necessary to promote the economic, cultural, educational and general welfare of the public. Inasmuch as the identity of a people is founded on its past, and inasmuch as LeRoy has many significant historic, architectural and cultural resources which constitute its heritage, this chapter is intended to:

A. 

Protect and enhance the landmarks and historic districts which represent distinctive elements of LeRoy's historic, architectural and cultural heritage.

B. 

Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past.

C. 

Protect and enhance LeRoy's attractiveness to visitors and the support and stimulus to the economy thereby provided.

D. 

Ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the village.

§ 124-2 Commitment to be voluntary.

It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the property owners of Village of LeRoy should be given the freedom and choice to decide on their own whether they desire to commit their property to landmark status with the accompanying restrictions. It is absolutely essential that if historic preservation is to be successful in a small community like the Village of LeRoy that its citizens and homeowners believe that they are not being coerced into participating in a historic preservation law against their will. There can be no community-wide support if property owners are relinquishing control of sacred property rights without their consent.

§ 124-3 Historic Preservation Commission.

A. 

There is hereby created a commission to be known as the "LeRoy Historic Preservation Commission."

B. 

Membership.

(1) 

The Commission shall consist of six members to be appointed, to the extent available in the community, by the Mayor as follows:

(a) 

At least one shall be an architect.

(b) 

At least one shall be a historian.

(c) 

At least one shall be a licensed real estate broker.

(d) 

At least one shall be an attorney.

(e) 

At least one shall be a resident of a historic district.

(f) 

At least one shall have demonstrated significant interest in and commitment to the field of historic preservation, evidenced either by involvement in a local historic preservation group, employment or volunteer activity in the field of historic preservation, or other serious interest in the field.

(2) 

All members shall have a known interest in historic preservation and architectural development within the Village of LeRoy.

C. 

Commission members shall serve for terms of four years, with the exception of the initial term of one of the six members which shall be one year, one which shall be two years and one which shall be three years.

D. 

The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Commission shall be elected by and from the members of the Commission.

E. 

The powers of the Commission shall include:

(1) 

Making recommendations to the village government concerning employment of staff and professional consultants necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission.

(2) 

Promulgation of rules necessary for the conduct of its business.

(3) 

Adoption of criteria for the identification of significant historic, architectural and cultural landmarks and for the delineation of historic districts.

(4) 

Conduct of surveys of significant historic, architectural and cultural landmarks and historical districts.

(5) 

Recommendation for designation to the Village Board of Trustees of identified structures or resources as landmarks and historic districts. Final designation shall remain with the Village Board of Trustees.

(6) 

The making of recommendations to the village government concerning the acquisition of facade easements or other interests in real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

(7) 

Increasing public awareness of the value of historic, cultural and architectural preservation by developing and participating in public education programs.

(8) 

Making recommendations to village government concerning the utilization of state, federal or private funds to promote the preservation of landmarks and historic districts within the village.

(9) 

Recommending acquisitions of a landmark structure by the village government where its preservation is essential to the purposes of this chapter and where private preservation is not feasible.

(10) 

Approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriateness pursuant to this chapter.

F. 

The Commission shall meet at least monthly, but meetings may be held at any time on written request of any two of the Commission members or on the call of the Chairman or the Mayor.

G. 

A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of four of the Commission's members, but not less than a majority of the full authorized membership may grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness.

§ 124-4 Designation of landmarks.

A. 

The Commission may recommend for designation to the Village Board of Trustees an individual property as a landmark if it:

(1) 

Possesses special character or historic or aesthetic interest or value as part of the cultural, political, economic or social history of the locality, region, state or nation;

(2) 

Is identified with historic personages;

(3) 

Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style;

(4) 

Is the work of a designer whose work has significantly influenced an age; or

(5) 

Because of a unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.

B. 

Notice of a proposed designation shall be sent by certified mail at least 10 days prior to a hearing to the owner of the property for designation, describing the property proposed and announcing a public hearing by the Commission to consider the designation. Notice also shall be published at least once in an official newspaper of the village at least 10 days prior to a hearing.

C. 

The Commission shall hold a public hearing prior to designation of any landmark. The Commission, owners and any interested parties may present testimony or documentary evidence at the the hearing which will become part of a record regarding the historic, architectural or cultural importance of the proposed landmark. The record may also contain staff reports, public comments or other evidence offered outside of the hearing.

D. 

Acceptance of landmark designation.

(1) 

The Commission shall notify the owner by certified mail of any landmark that the Commission has found that the property is worthy to be designated a landmark. The notice shall state that the owner, to qualify as a designated landmark, may opt in only by signing a form accepting the status of a landmark. This form must be notarized with an acknowledgment and shall contain all the obligations that the owner must adhere to when he or she has accepted the designation as a landmark.

(2) 

Once the form has been signed, the matter of final acceptance of the property as a landmark shall be referred to the Village Board of Trustees. The Board shall hold a public hearing on landmark status at a duly constituted meeting with proper notice. The Board shall then either accept or deny the landmark status based upon previous proceedings and the records at the public hearing. Upon acceptance of the property as a landmark, the Board of Trustees shall order the notarized form with an acknowledgment accepting the landmark status recorded in the Genesee County Clerk's office. All filing fees shall be paid by the owner.

(3) 

Upon recording of said form, the owner has the obligation to conform to the terms imposed upon him or her by this chapter.

(4) 

The owner may not opt out after said form has been recorded in the Genesee County Clerk's office.

(5) 

The recording of said form at the Genesee County Clerk's office binds not only the parties thereto but their heirs, grantees and successors in interest.

E. 

Requests for landmark designation.

(1) 

The owner of any property who desires landmark status for his or her property and who not been notified by certified letter that the Commission has proposed his or her property for designation as a landmark may apply for landmark status by sending a letter with a duly authorized signature to the Commission Chairman asking that his or her property be considered for landmark status. The Commission shall then invite the owner by certified letter to the next available meeting to consider the property for landmark status. The Commission shall make a ruling whether the property in question is worthy of landmark status. The owner shall be notified of the decision, and, if the property is designated a landmark, the owner may opt in only by signing a form accepting the status of a landmark. This form must be notarized with an acknowledgment and shall contain all the obligations that the owner must adhere to when he or she has accepted the designation as a landmark.

(2) 

Once the form has been signed, the matter of final acceptance of the property as a landmark shall be referred to the Village Board of Trustees. The Board shall hold a public hearing on landmark status at a duly constituted meeting with proper notice. The Board shall then either accept or deny the landmark status based upon previous proceedings and the records at the public hearing. Upon acceptance of the property as a landmark the Board of Trustees shall order the notarized form with an acknowledgment accepting the landmark status recorded in the Genesee County Clerk's office. All filing fees shall be paid by the owner.

(3) 

Upon recording of said form, the owner has the obligation to conform to the terms imposed upon him or her by this chapter.

(4) 

The owner may not opt out after said form has been recorded in the Genesee County Clerk's office.

(5) 

The recording of said form at the Genesee County Clerk's office binds not only the parties thereto but their heirs, grantees and successors in interest.

§ 124-5 Designation of historic districts.

A. 

The Commission may recommend for designation to the Village Board of Trustees a group of properties as a historic district if the proposed district:

(1) 

Contains properties which meet one or more of the criteria for designation of a landmark.

(2) 

By reason of possessing such qualities, constitutes a distinct section of the village.

B. 

Notice of a proposed designation shall be sent by certified mail at least 10 days prior to a hearing to the owner of the property for designation, describing the property proposed and announcing a public hearing by the Commission to consider the designation. Notice also shall be published at least once in an official newspaper of the village at least 10 days prior to a hearing.

C. 

The Commission shall hold a public hearing prior to designation of any district. The Commission, owners and any interested parties may present testimony or documentary evidence at the the hearing which will become part of a record regarding the historic, architectural or cultural importance of the proposed landmark or historic district. The record may also contain staff reports, public comments or other evidence offered outside of the hearing.

D. 

The Commission shall notify, by certified mail, the owner of any property located in a historic district that the Commission has found the area is worthy to be designated a historic district.

E. 

Once the Commission has approved the designation, the matter of final acceptance of the area as a historic district shall be referred to the Village Board of Trustees. The Board shall hold a public hearing on the historic district status at a duly constituted meeting with proper notice. The Board shall then either accept or deny the historic district status based upon previous proceedings and the records at the public hearing.

F. 

If accepted, the boundaries of the historic district designated henceforth shall be specified in detail and shall be filed, in writing, in the Village Clerk's office for public inspection.

G. 

Designation as a historic district does not result in any obligation to the property owners within that district who have not opted in to landmark status to seek a certificate of appropriateness for alteration, demolition or new construction affecting landmarks. The owner of a property which is within a historic district and who has not opted in shall have his or her application for a building permit referred to the Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission shall within 30 days issue a written opinion which will make recommendations for the building which are consistent with its historic character. The Commission's recommendations shall be of an advisory nature only. Thereafter, the Zoning Code Enforcement Officer must immediately either issue or deny the building permit based solely upon compliance with Chapter 215, Zoning, of the Code of Village of LeRoy and not the advisory recommendations of the Commission. An owner of a property which is within a historic district who did not opt in to the landmark status by signing a notarized acknowledgment accepting such status shall not have his or her property designated a landmark. The owner of this property is therefore not required to conform to the mandatory provisions of this chapter.

H. 

Requests for landmark designation within a historic district.

(1) 

The owner of any property who desires landmark status for his or her property which is located within a historic district and who has not been notified by certified letter that the Commission has proposed his property for designation as a landmark may apply for landmark status by sending a letter with a duly authorized signature to the Commission Chairman asking that his or her property be considered for landmark status. The Commission shall then invite the owner by certified letter to the next available meeting to consider the property for landmark status. The Commission shall make a ruling whether the property in question is worthy of landmark status. The owner shall be notified of the decision, and, if the property is designated a landmark, the owner may opt in only by signing a form accepting the status of a landmark. This form must be notarized with an acknowledgment and shall contain all the obligations that the owner must adhere to when he or she has accepted the designation as a landmark.

(2) 

Once the form has been signed, the matter of final acceptance of the property as a landmark shall be referred to the Village Board of Trustees. The Board shall hold a public hearing on landmark status at a duly constituted meeting with proper notice. The Board shall then either accept or deny the landmark status based upon previous proceedings and the records at the public hearing. Upon acceptance of the property as a landmark the Board of Trustees shall order the notarized form with an acknowledgment accepting the landmark status recorded in the Genesee County Clerk's office. All filing fees shall be paid by the owner.

(3) 

Upon recording of said form, the owner has the obligation to conform to the terms imposed upon him or her by this chapter.

(4) 

The owner may not opt out after said form has been recorded in the Genesee County Clerk's office.

(5) 

The recording of said form at the Genesee County Clerk's office binds not only the parties thereto but their heirs, grantees and successors in interest.

§ 124-6 Certificate of appropriateness required.

No person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction or moving of a landmark or property which has been formally approved as a landmark within a historic district, nor shall any person make any material change in the appearance of such property, its light fixtures, signs, sidewalks, fences, steps, paving or other exterior elements visible from a public street or alley which affect the appearance and cohesiveness of the historic district without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission.

§ 124-7 Criteria for approval of a certificate of appropriateness.

A. 

In passing upon an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Historic Preservation Commission shall not consider changes to interior spaces.

B. 

The Commission's decision shall be based upon the following principles:

(1) 

Properties which contribute to the character of the historic district shall be retained with their historic features altered as little as possible.

(2) 

Any alteration of existing properties shall be compatible with its historic character, as well as with the surrounding district.

(3) 

New construction shall be compatible with the district in which it is located.

C. 

In applying the principle of compatibility, the Commission shall consider the following factors:

(1) 

The general design, character and appropriateness to the property of the proposed alteration or new construction.

(2) 

The scale of proposed alteration or new construction in relation to the property itself, surrounding properties and the neighborhood.

(3) 

Texture, materials and their relation to similar features of other properties in the neighborhood.

(4) 

Visual compatibility with surrounding properties, including proportion of the property's front facade, proportion and arrangement of windows and other openings within the facade, roof shape, the rhythm of spacing of properties on streets, including setback.

(5) 

The importance of historic, architectural or other features to the significance of the property.

§ 124-8 Certificate application procedure.

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 Historic Preservation Commission. The application shall contain:

(1) 

Name, address and telephone number of applicant.

(2) 

Location and photographs of property.

(3) 

Elevation drawings of proposed changes, if available.

(4) 

Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties, if available.

(5) 

Samples of 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, description of materials to be used, method of illumination and a plan showing the sign's location on the property.

(7) 

Any other information which the Commission may 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 Historic Preservation 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 Village of LeRoy.

C. 

The Commission shall approve, deny or approve the permit with modifications within 30 days from receipt of the completed application. The Commission may 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.

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 with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. The Commission's decision shall state the reasons for denying or modifying any application.

§ 124-9 Hardship criteria.

A. 

An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed demolition has been denied may apply for relief on the ground of hardship. In order to prove the existence of hardship, the applicant shall establish that:

(1) 

The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible.

(2) 

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.

(3) 

Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.

B. 

An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed alteration has been denied may apply for relief on the ground of hardship. In order to prove the existence of hardship, 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.

§ 124-10 Hardship application procedure.

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 may 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 of the Commission shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by certified mail and a copy filed with the Village Clerk's office for public inspection. The Commission's decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application.

§ 124-11 Enforcement.

All work performed pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness issued under this chapter shall conform to any requirements included therein. It shall be the duty of the building code enforcement officer to 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 Historic Preservation Commission, the Building Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a stop-work order, and all work shall immediately cease. No further work shall be undertaken on the project as long as a stop-work order is in effect.

§ 124-12 Maintenance and repair required.

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 deterioration of any exterior architectural feature which would, in the judgment of the Historic Preservation Commission, produce a detrimental effect upon the life and character of the property itself.

C. 

Examples of such deterioration include:

(1) 

Deterioration of exterior walls or other vertical supports.

(2) 

Deterioration of roofs or other horizontal members.

(3) 

Deterioration of exterior chimneys.

(4) 

Deterioration or crumbling of exterior stucco or mortar.

(5) 

Ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs or foundations, including broken windows or doors.

(6) 

Deterioration of any feature so as to create a hazardous condition which could lead to the claim that demolition is necessary for the public safety.

§ 124-13 Compliance with chapter.

An owner of a property which has been designated a landmark and/or is within a historic district who did not opt in to the landmark status by signing a notarized acknowledgment accepting such status shall not have his or her property designated a landmark. The owner of this property is therefore not required to conform to the mandatory provisions of this chapter.

§ 124-14 Building permits for owners who have not accepted status.

The owner of a property which has been proposed as a landmark and/or is within a historic district and who has not opted in shall have his or her application for a building permit referred to the Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission shall within 30 days issue a written opinion which will make recommendations for the building which are consistent with its historic character. The Commission's recommendations shall be of an advisory nature only. Thereafter, the Zoning Code Enforcement Officer must immediately either issue or deny the building permit based solely upon compliance with Chapter 215, Zoning, of the Code of the Village of LeRoy and not the advisory recommendations of the Commission.

§ 124-15 Penalties for offenses.

A. 

Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a violation, and violators shall be liable to a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $100 for each day the violation continues.

Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

B. 

Any person who demolishes, alters, constructs or permits a designated property to fall into a serious state of disrepair in violation of this chapter shall be required to restore the property and its site to its appearance prior to the violation. Any action to enforce this subsection shall be brought by the Village Attorney. This civil remedy shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any criminal prosecution and penalty.

§ 124-16 Appeals.

Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Historic Preservation Commission may, within 30 days, file a written application with the Village Board of Trustees for review of the decision.