Village of Cooperstown, NY
Otsego County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article III, District Regulations, as amended, all uses in districts affected by the Waterfront Development Overlay District shall be special permit uses subject to approval of the Village Board, with the exception of public parks or playgrounds and other municipal facilities. In granting approval for all other uses, the Village Board may prescribe yard dimensions in excess of those set forth in §§ 300-10 through 300-15 (Schedule of Regulations) for the basic districts in which the uses may be located, on a site-by-site basis. However, in any case, no building or structure may be constructed within 100 feet of the lake shoreline or 75 feet of the river shoreline. (See also § 300-31C.)
The boundaries of the Flood Hazard Overlay District coincide with areas governed by Chapter 107, Flood Damage Prevention, of the Code of the Village of Cooperstown, namely those areas of special flood hazard identified by the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration on its Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) or Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) dated May 17, 1974, and by any revisions thereto. Areas thus affected are subject to the requirements of § 300-31B of this chapter.
[Amended 2-21-2006 by L.L. No. 1-2006; 10-20-2008 by L.L. No. 6-2008]
A. 
Establishment and purpose.
(1) 
A Historic and Architectural Control Overlay District is established encompassing the entire Village of Cooperstown. In making this designation and establishing such overlay district, it is recognized that the Village of Cooperstown includes a concentration of historic buildings, structures and sites united historically and aesthetically by their physical development, and significant for their association with the lives of historic personages and events that have contributed to the broad patterns of history, as well as embodying the distinctive characteristics of multiple architectural types, styles and methods of construction, and the work of both known and unknown designers. It is also recognized that the entire Village is part of the Glimmerglass Historic District, designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
(2) 
It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of historic and architectural resources are 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 since the Village of Cooperstown has many significant historic, architectural and cultural resources which constitute its heritage and make up its unique community character, the purpose and intent of this section is to:
(a) 
Protect and enhance the Village's historic structures and character which represent distinctive elements of Cooperstown's historic, architectural and cultural heritage, the Village's sense of place, and its unique character;
(b) 
Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past;
(c) 
Protect Cooperstown's community character by maintaining a diversity of residential and nonresidential buildings and sustaining Village neighborhoods to meet the needs of residents and property owners at various economic levels;
(d) 
Protect and enhance Cooperstown's attractiveness to visitors, which is a significant factor in the economic viability of the Village;
(e) 
Ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and future development of the Village; and
(f) 
Further the policies set forth in § 300-2 of this chapter.
B. 
Regulated activity; requirement of certificate of appropriateness. No person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction or moving of any building, structure or property within the Historical and Architectural Control Overlay District, nor shall any person make any material change in the appearance of such property, its light fixtures, sidewalks, fences, steps or other exterior elements, without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the Village of Cooperstown Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board. This section is not applicable to interior elements, color (except as otherwise noted in this section) nor to signs, which continue to be regulated by § 300-30 of this chapter and by Chapter 227, Signs, of the Code of the Village of Cooperstown. However, the Planning Board in granting any sign permit or approval for any building, structure or property shall take into account the criteria set forth in Subsection E of this section.
C. 
Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board.
(1) 
There is hereby created a board to be known as the "Cooperstown Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board" (hereinafter also referred to as "the Board" in this subsection).
(2) 
The Board shall consist of five members to be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Board of Trustees.
(a) 
All such members shall be residents of the Village.
(b) 
To the extent that such professionals are available, the Board shall include members to represent the disciplines of history, architecture and architectural history. Members may also represent the fields of planning, folklore, cultural anthropology, archaeology, conservation, construction, landscape architecture, museums and other historic preservation-related professions.
(c) 
The composition of Board members shall include a healthy mixture of individuals with qualifications and interests that complement each other rather than representing only one field.
(d) 
All members shall have a known interest in historic preservation and architectural development within the Village of Cooperstown.
(3) 
Terms of Board members will be for three years, with the exception of the initial term of each member, which shall be staggered with terms of one, two and three years, respectively, so that only a maximum of two such members' terms shall expire in any one year.
(4) 
The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board shall be designated by the Mayor or, in the absence of such designation, shall be elected by and from among the members of the Board.
(5) 
The powers of the Board shall include:
(a) 
Employment of staff and professional consultants as necessary to carry out the duties of the Board, subject to Board of Trustees approval;
(b) 
Promulgation of rules and forms as necessary to carry out the duties of the Board;
(c) 
Conducting of surveys of significant historic, architectural and cultural properties within the Village;
(d) 
Designation or identification of neighborhoods or clusters of properties within the Village that have a distinct historical or architectural character;
(e) 
The making of recommendations to the Board of Trustees concerning the acquisition of facade easements or other interests in real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this section;
(f) 
Increasing public awareness of the value of historic, cultural and architectural preservation by developing and participating in public education programs;
(g) 
Making recommendations to the Board of Trustees concerning the application for, or utilization of, state, federal or private grants or funds to promote historic preservation within the Village;
(h) 
Recommending acquisition of a historic building, structure or property by the Board of Trustees where its preservation is essential to the purposes of this section and where private preservation is not feasible;
(i) 
Approval or disapproval of applications for certificates of appropriateness pursuant to this section; and
(j) 
Making recommendations on use or area variance applications that come before the Village Zoning Board of Appeals where such variances involve historic preservation, architectural or historic character issues.
(6) 
The Board shall meet at least monthly, but meetings may be held at any time on the written request of any two of the Board members or on the call of the Chairman.
(7) 
A quorum for the holding of meetings and transaction of Board business shall consist of three of the Board's members.
(8) 
Alternate members. The Village Board may appoint not more than two alternate members of the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board. Each such alternate member shall attend meetings of the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board and participate in its deliberations but shall vote only in the event that a member of the Historical Preservation and Architectural Review Board is absent, otherwise unable to act with respect to a particular matter, or is unable to participate because of a conflict of interest [Village Law, Section 7-718(16)]. When acting pursuant to the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board authority provided hereby, such alternate member shall have all the rights and privileges of a member of the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board. The term of appointment of said alternates shall be as authorized by the Village Board under a duly adopted resolution. This section is adopted pursuant to the authority granted by § 10, Subdivision 1(e)(3), of the Municipal Home Rule Law and shall supersede any provision of the Village Law which is inconsistent herewith, as well as Village Law § 7-718(16).
[Added 4-23-2012 by L.L. No. 4-2012]
D. 
Procedures for certificate of appropriateness.
(1) 
Procedure when no other zoning approval is required.
(a) 
Application. Prior to the commencement of any activity or work requiring a certificate of appropriateness when such activity or work does not involve or is not connected with any other zoning approval under this chapter, the owner of the subject property shall file an application for such certificate (together with five copies) with the Village Zoning Enforcement Officer. Such application shall then be forwarded to the Board within 21 days of receipt. The application shall include the following:
[1] 
Completed application form, including name, address and telephone number of owner (and applicant, if applicant is different from owner);
[2] 
Location and photographs of the property and/or structure;
[3] 
Elevation drawings of proposed changes, if applicable;
[4] 
Perspective drawings, including relationship to adjacent properties, if applicable or available;
[5] 
Samples of materials to be used, if applicable or available;
[6] 
Any other information that may be necessary in order to visualize the proposed work; and
[7] 
Application fee, if applicable.
(b) 
No physical work on, or alteration of, any building, structure or property shall commence until a certificate of appropriateness has first been issued by the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board. The certificate of appropriateness required by this section shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any zoning approval or permit from the Village of Cooperstown or building permit from Otsego County that may be required by any other section of this chapter or other applicable local laws or regulations of the Village of Cooperstown, Otsego County or the State of New York.
(c) 
The Board shall approve, deny or approve the permit with modifications within 62 days from the date that it accepts the complete application. If an application involves demolition, the Board shall hold a public hearing on the application. On all other applications, no public hearing is required, but the Board, in its discretion, may require a public hearing on any application where the Board deems a public hearing would be helpful in obtaining more information for rendering a decision, where a significant exterior alteration is proposed, where an application may present public controversy, or where other circumstances warrant it. Once a public hearing is determined to be required, it shall provide an opportunity for the applicant to present the proposal and for interested members of the public to be heard on the proposal. Said public hearing shall be held within said sixty-two-day time period and shall be subject to a public notice published in the Village's official newspaper at least 10 days before the hearing with notices mailed to adjacent property owners within five days before the hearing is held.
(d) 
All decisions of the Board with respect to any application should be in writing and provide the reasons in support of such decision. A copy shall be provided to the applicant and a copy retained for the Board's records, a copy filed with the Village Clerk's office and with the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
(e) 
Certificates of appropriateness shall be valid for 24 months, after which the owner must reapply if he still wishes to undertake work on the property.
(2) 
Procedure when other zoning approval is required. Where any activity or work requiring a certificate of appropriateness involves or is connected with any other zoning approval under this chapter, the issuance of the certificate of appropriateness shall be a condition of any other zoning approval or permit if it is not obtained prior to the completion of the other review process. In cases where the certificate of appropriateness is so integral to the review and decision of the other zoning approval or permit application, the reviewing board of the other zoning approval or permit may require, in its sole discretion, that the certificate of appropriateness be obtained prior to the commencement of the review process for the other zoning approval or permit.
E. 
Criteria for approval of a certificate of appropriateness.
(1) 
In reviewing and making a determination on an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board shall consider the following principles, criteria and guidelines.
(2) 
The Board's decision shall be based on the following principles of compatibility:
(a) 
Properties which contribute to the character of the Village and/or the particular neighborhood in which the property is located shall be retained, with their historic features altered as little as possible;
(b) 
Any alteration of an existing property shall be compatible with its historic character and, to the extent applicable, also with the surrounding historic properties or neighborhood; and
(c) 
New construction and/or the application of new materials or technology shall be compatible with the neighborhood in which it is located.
(3) 
In applying the principle of compatibility, the Board shall consider the following factors:
(a) 
The general design, character and appropriateness to the property of the proposed alteration or new construction;
(b) 
The scale of proposed alteration or new construction in relation to the property itself, surrounding properties, and the neighborhood;
(c) 
Texture and composition of building materials (and where the materials are brick, stone or other materials where color cannot be changed, the color of such materials may be a factor to be considered) and their relation to similar features of other buildings, structures and/or properties in the neighborhood;
(d) 
Visual compatibility with surrounding buildings, structures and 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; and
(e) 
The importance of historic, architectural or other features to the significance of the property.
(4) 
Additional guidelines.
(a) 
A property should be used as it was historically or converted to a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.
(b) 
The historic character of a property should be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property should be avoided.
(c) 
Each historic building, structure and/or property should be recognized as a physical record of its time, place and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, should not be undertaken.
(d) 
Changes to a historic building, structure or property which may have been taken over time are also evidence of the history of such building, structure or property. Those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right should be retained and preserved.
(e) 
Distinctive features, finishes, materials and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property should be preserved.
(f) 
Deteriorated historic features should be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature and/or material, the new feature and/or material should match the old in design, color, texture and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features should be substantiated by documentary, physical or pictorial evidence.
(g) 
Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting and certain mechanical sanding techniques, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.
(h) 
Significant archaeological resources affected by any project shall be documented, protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
(i) 
New additions, exterior alterations or related new construction should not destroy historic materials, features and spatial relationships that characterize a building, structure or property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the size, scale, materials, features, proportion, massing and character of the property and neighborhood. Such new additions, exterior alterations or related new construction should also protect the integrity of the property and its environment.
(j) 
New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic building, structure and property would be unimpaired.
(5) 
Energy efficiency; accessibility considerations; health and safety code considerations. The conservation and improvement of existing built resources, including reuse of historic and older buildings, greening the existing building stock, and reinvestment in older and historic communities, are important components of energy conservation and combating climate change. Furthermore, Building Code and ADA requirements ensure that buildings are accessible and provide for the health and safety of their occupants. As such, the provisions of this section shall not presumptively prohibit the utilization of renewable energy, green materials or energy conservation technologies for any property, nor changes necessary to meet safety and health codes or ADA requirements. However, such work should be assessed for its potential negative impact on the building's historic character and to the character of the immediate neighborhood. Particular care must be taken not to obscure, damage or destroy character-defining materials or features in the process of undertaking work to meet code or accessibility requirements or energy conservation practices.
F. 
Hardship criteria for demolition. 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 by documentary evidence that:
(1) 
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible, and provided that the lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence;
(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; and
(3) 
Good-faith efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.
G. 
Hardship criteria for alteration. 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 by documentary evidence that the property is incapable of earning a reasonable return without the proposed alteration, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible, and provided that the lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence.
H. 
Hardship application procedure.
(1) 
After receiving written notification from the Board of the denial of a certificate of appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process by submitting a hardship application within 24 months of the date of the decision that denied the certificate of appropriateness application. No physical work on, or alteration of, any building, structure or property shall commence and no zoning permit, building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the Board makes a finding that a hardship exists.
(2) 
The Board 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. The procedures set forth in Subsection D(1)(c) and (d) above shall be followed with respect to the hearing procedures and decisionmaking procedures.
(3) 
The applicant shall consult in good faith with the Board, local preservation groups and interested parties in a diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property.
(4) 
All hardship decisions of the Board shall be in writing. A copy shall be forwarded to the applicant and a copy retained with the Board's files, a copy filed with the Village Clerk's office and with the Zoning Enforcement Officer. The Board's decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application. If the application is granted, the Board shall approve only such work as is necessary to alleviate the hardship.
I. 
Enforcement. All work performed pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness issued under this section shall conform to any requirements included therein. It shall be the duty of the Village Zoning 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 a certificate of appropriateness, or upon notification of such fact by the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board, the Zoning 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. The stop-work order shall remain in effect until lifted by the Zoning Enforcement Officer once work progresses, or will progress, in accordance with a certificate of appropriateness.
J. 
Maintenance and repair.
(1) 
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior architectural feature of a building, structure or property within the overlay district which does not involve a change in design, material or outward appearance.
(2) 
No owner or person with an interest in property shall permit the property to fall into serious disrepair, as such term is defined in Article XVI of this chapter, so as to result in the deterioration of any exterior architectural feature which would, in the judgment of the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board, produce a detrimental effect upon the character of the neighborhood in which it is located, of the Village as a whole, or the life and character of the building, structure or property itself.
K. 
Violations.
(1) 
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed a violation, and the violator shall be subject to a fine or penalty as provided in § 300-63 of this chapter.
(2) 
In addition to the fines or penalties provided in § 300-63 of this chapter, any person who demolishes, alters or constructs in violation of this section shall be required to restore the property and its site to its appearance prior to the violation. In addition to the fines or penalties provided in § 300-63 of this chapter, any person who permits a designated property to fall into a serious state of disrepair shall be required to restore the property to a safe condition. If such work requires more than ordinary maintenance and repair, the applicant shall apply for a certificate of appropriateness. 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 other civil fines or remedies or criminal prosecution and penalty.
L. 
Appeals. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board relating to hardship or a certificate of appropriateness may, within 30 days of the decision, commence a special proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR).