[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Middletown 3-12-1990 (Ch. 10A of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This legislation is enacted in order to promote the economic and general welfare of the City of Middletown and the public generally, and to ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the areas within the district of this municipality. The City of Middletown is rich in architectural history and culture. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure the existence of this fact for future generations. This shall be achieved by enacting legislation that calls for the continued existence, restoration and preservation of historic downtown Middletown and its buildings, construction of buildings which conform to the surrounding historic styles and making certain that any work done on existing structures is harmonious to the existing historical features of the buildings contained within the district.
There shall exist in the City of Middletown an Architectural Board of Review.
This Board shall consist of seven members, which shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Common Council.
The members of the Board shall serve without compensation.
All members of the Board shall be residents of the City or shall have a major presence in the form of a business or professional office located in the City and shall be specially qualified by reason of training or experience in architecture, land development, community planning, real estate, landscape architecture, engineering, building construction or other relevant business or profession, or by reason of civic interest and sound judgment to judge the effects of a proposed building upon the desirability, property values and development of surrounding areas; at least one member shall be a registered architect in the State of New York, and at least one member shall be an active member of the bar of New York State.
The Chairman shall be elected by the members of the Board.
The term of office for each member shall be three years except that the initial appointments of one member shall be for one year, 1/2 of the remaining members for two years and 1/2 of the remaining members for three years.
Vacancies shall be filled by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Common Council, for the unexpired term of any member whose place has become vacant.
A secretary shall be appointed by the members in order to keep a record of all the meetings, a copy of which shall be kept on file, for public scrutiny, in the City Clerk's office.
The geographic boundaries of the Architectural Control District shall be the same as the boundaries of the Downtown Middletown Business Improvement District, as described in § 203-1 of the Code of the City of Middletown and in Exhibit 2, Boundaries, attached to the end of Chapter 203, Business Improvement Districts, of the Code of the City of Middletown, together with the following additional streets to be included in the Architectural Control District:
Prior to the commencement of any work to the exterior of a commercial or mixed-use building, including any portion of the structure which is visible from the public right-of-way, excluding demolition of the building within the Architectural Control District, or prior to the creation or emplacement of a sign on the exterior of a commercial or mixed-use building anywhere within the City of Middletown, the owner must first submit an application to the Architectural Board of Review.
The application shall contain:
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
The location and photographs of property.
Elevation drawings of proposed changes.
Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties.
Samples of colors and materials to be used.
If a sign is going to be used, 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.
Any other information the Board may deem necessary in order to visualize the proposed work.
Upon completion of the required application form, along with the application fee, the application must be delivered to the secretary 14 days prior to the day of the meeting.
No building permit shall be issued for such proposed work until a certificate of appropriateness has first been issued by the Board. The certificate of appropriateness required by this act shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any building permit that may be required by any other ordinance to the City of Middletown.
The Board shall approve, disapprove or approve with modifications the application within 60 days from receipt of the completed application. The Board shall hold a public hearing on all applications, in order to allow all interested parties a chance to voice their opinions. Such hearing shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation at least 10 days prior to such hearing, and notice thereof shall be served by mail, postmarked at least 10 days prior to the date of the public hearing, upon the owner or owners of the proposed property and all owners of properties within 100 feet of either side of the property. Notice of the Board's findings shall be mailed to the owners of the property by the City Clerk within 10 days of the findings.
When the Board is considering or reviewing an application of proposed changes, it shall give special consideration to the historical and architectural significance of the building and its relationship to the surrounding area, the appropriateness of the exterior design and its relationship to the surrounding area and the colors, arrangement, texture and materials to be used and their relationship to the surrounding area. The Board shall also consider any other factors relating to aesthetic considerations which are deemed pertinent to the benefit of the City and to the historic significance of the structure or building and the surrounding area.
The Board shall have the power to require that any alterations, repairs and additions follow in kind to the existing structures in the district. All of these changes must be consistent in materials, as well as the style of the particular period which said building reflects. Any new buildings must be consistent with the architectural styles of the buildings within 500 feet of the lot lines of the parcel where the building is proposed to be constructed. The Board holds no power over the renovations of the interior of any building, provided that said renovations do not affect the exterior portions of the building.
The Board may refuse to approve an application for exterior structural alterations of any building within the district if it deems the exterior structure to be of such architectural or historic interest that the removal will be less appropriate than the proposed application.
The Board shall meet at least once every other month or as deemed necessary by the Chairman.
All applications submitted in accordance with this section and in accordance with this chapter must comply with the Design Review Guidelines ("Guidelines") approved from time to time by the Architectural Board of Review and the Common Council. All decisions of the Architectural Review Board must take into account the Guidelines and must determine whether the requirements set forth in the Guidelines have been satisfied by the applicant. A copy of the Guidelines is attached as an appendix to this chapter.
In the case of disapproval, the Board shall state the reason therefor in a written statement to the applicant and make recommendations in regard to appropriateness of design, arrangement, texture, material, color and the like of the property involved.
Among other grounds for considering a design inappropriate and requiring disapproval and resubmission are the following:
Arresting and spectacular effects.
Contrasts of materials or colors and intense or lurid colors.
A multiplicity or incongruity of details resulting in a restless and disturbing appearance.
The absence of unity and coherence in composition not in consonance with the dignity and character of the present structure in the case of repair, remodeling or enlargement of an existing building or with the prevailing character of the neighborhood in the case of a new building.
Any applicant aggrieved by the action of the Board in disapproving an application may appeal the decision of the Board by requesting the Board to make a formal finding of fact. In the event of such a request, the Board shall make such findings of fact within 30 days after the request is filed. The request is to be filed with the City Clerk's office. The Clerk will then relay the request to the Board. The Board shall then allow the applicant an opportunity to answer the findings by the submission of formal proof and shall reconsider the application.
If the application is disapproved after such reconsideration, the applicant may bring a proceeding to review in the manner provided by Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and rules, in a court of record on the grounds that action is illegal, in whole or in part. Such proceeding must be commenced within 30 days after the filing in the office of the City Clerk of the decision after reconsideration.
Failure to comply with this chapter is an offense within the meaning of the Penal Law of the State of New York, and any person violating any provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 and/or up to 15 days in jail, and each day on which such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense, plus the Corporation Counsel of the City of Middletown is authorized to seek an injunction halting any work done in violation of this chapter, and a violator will pay reasonable attorney fees for such legal action if the City is successful.
[Added 10-15-1991; amended 12-27-2005]
The fee schedule shall be as follows: