Town of Orchard Park, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Orchard Park 12-3-2003 by L.L. No. 6-2003. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 45.
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Historic Preservation Law of the Town of Orchard Park."
A. 
Orchard Park's collective past is embodied in buildings, sites, and objects. These historic resources are a tangible link to people and events that have shaped our lives, to builders who created our architectural legacy, and to ways of life almost forgotten. This chapter strives to promote a valid public purpose, to strengthen the Town's economic base by enhancement of our aesthetic qualities, to foster continued economic development, to provide financial incentive for landmark rehabilitation, to improve property values community-wide, and to preserve our architectural legacy for posterity.
B. 
Regulations and decisions pursuant to this chapter shall be made for the following reasons:
(1) 
To protect and enhance the landmarks and historic buildings situate in the Town of Orchard Park that represent distinctive elements of Orchard Park's historic, architectural and cultural heritage;
(2) 
To create a system of tax exemption to encourage real property preservation;
(3) 
To foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past;
(4) 
To protect and enhance Orchard Park's attractiveness to visitors;
(5) 
To support and stimulate the Town's economy;
(6) 
To ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the Town.
Pursuant to the authority conferred by Article 5-K and § 96-a (entitled "Protection of Historical Places, Buildings and Works of Art") of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York, the Town Board of the Town of Orchard Park does hereby enact this chapter to establish local law, regulations, restrictions and special conditions for the protection, enhancement, perpetuation and use of places, districts, sites, buildings, structures, works of art and other objects having special character, historical or other aesthetic significance or value. Pursuant to that authority, the Town has adopted standards to be followed in historic preservation.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the following meanings.
ADAPTIVE REUSE
Conversion of a building originally designed for a certain purpose to a different purpose.
ALTER
To change one or more exterior features of a landmark, an improvement on a landmark site or structure.
BUILDING
Any structure or part thereof having a roof supported by columns or walls for the shelter or enclosure of persons or property.
BUILDING INSPECTOR
The Building Inspector of the Town of Orchard Park.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
A certificate issued by the Presentation Board approving plans for alteration, construction, removal or demolition of a landmark, an improvement to a landmark site or structure.
CONSTRUCTION
Building an addition or making an alteration to an existing structure or building a new principal or accessory structure.
DEMOLITION
Destruction of a building, structure or improvement.
EX-OFFICIO MEMBER
A person sitting on or having membership on a board or commission in an advisory or liaison capacity, but who does not have a vote, or power of decision-making authority as to that particular board or commission.
EXTERIOR
Architectural style, design, general arrangement and components of the outer surfaces of an improvement, building or structure as distinguished from the interior surfaces, including but not limited to the kind and texture of building material and the type of windows, doors, signs and other such exterior features.
FACADE
The exterior of a building or structure that can be viewed.
IMPROVEMENT
Any building, structure, place, parking facility, fence, gate, wall, work of art or other object constituting a physical betterment or any part thereof.
LANDMARK
Property, object, structure or natural feature or any part thereof so designated pursuant to this chapter.
LANDMARK SITE
A significant historical or cultural site(s) where buildings or structures no longer exist, so designated pursuant to this chapter.
OWNER
A person, firm or corporation which owns the fee of a property or lessor state therein, a mortgagee or vendee in possession, a receiver, and administrator, an excavator, a trustee or any other person, firm or corporation in control of property.
PRESERVATION
Retention of essential character of an improvement, object, building, natural feature or structure as embodied in its existing form, integrity and material. This term includes the retention of trees, landscaping and vegetative cover of a site. This term may include temporary stabilization work as well as ongoing maintenance of historic building materials.
PROPERTY
Land and improvements thereon.
PUBLIC PLACE
A place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access, and includes, but is not limited to, highways, transportation facilities, schools, parks, playgrounds, churches, stores, restaurants and municipal buildings or other buildings substantially open to the public.
RECONSTRUCTION
Reproduction of the exact form and detail of a vanished building, structure, improvement or part thereof as it appeared at a specific time.
REHABILITATION
Repair or alteration that enables buildings, structures or improvements to be efficiently utilized while preserving those features of buildings, structures or improvements that are significant to their historic, architectural or cultural value.
RESTORATION
Recovery of the form and details of a building, structure or improvement and its site during a particular time.
SITE
A plot or parcel of land.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected which requires permanent or temporary location on the ground. This term shall include but not be limited to buildings, walls, fences, signs, billboards, lighting fixtures, screen enclosures and works of art.
TOWN
The Town of Orchard Park, County of Erie, State of New York
TOWN BOARD
The Town Board of the Town of Orchard Park, County of Erie, State of New York.
TOWN CLERK
The Town Clerk and the office of the Town Clerk of the Town of Orchard Park, County of Erie, State of New York.
A. 
Establishment. The Town Board of the Town of Orchard Park hereby creates a board, which shall be known as the "Town of Orchard Park Historic Preservation Board," hereinafter referred as the "Preservation Board." Said Preservation Board shall meet at least monthly if any business is pending or at least quarterly if no business is pending. Meetings may be held at any time on the written request of the Town Supervisor, the Preservation Board Chairman, or any two members of either the Preservation Board or the Town Board.
B. 
Membership. The Preservation Board shall consist of seven members who shall be appointed by the Town Board. Persons whose primary residence is within the Town of Orchard Park shall be eligible for appointment by the Board, unless an individual with the qualifications set forth in § 74-5C below is not available in the Town of Orchard Park. All members shall serve terms of four years. Their successors shall be appointed for terms of four years from and after the expiration of their predecessors in office. If any Historic Preservation Board member resigns or otherwise cannot fulfill his or her term of office, the Town Board shall appoint an interim member to serve the remainder of the term.
[Amended 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007; 4-27-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011; 4-4-2018 by L.L. No. 3-2018]
C. 
Composition. The Preservation Board shall be made up entirely of members who have demonstrated significant interest and commitment to the field of historic preservation. It shall be composed, to the extent available in the Town of Orchard Park, of the following:
(1) 
At least one architect or student of architecture enrolled as an upperclassman or graduate student in the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Architecture, with preference towards those with an interest in the field of historic preservation;
(2) 
At least one member shall be a historian;
(3) 
At least one member shall be a real estate professional;
(4) 
At least one member shall be a professional engineer or building contractor.
(5) 
A representative of the Town of Orchard Park Planning Board shall be an ex-officio member of the Preservation Board.
(6) 
A representative of the Town Board of Orchard Park may be an ex-officio member of the Preservation Board.
D. 
Designation, powers and duties of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson shall be elected by and from the voting members of the Preservation Board and shall serve a term of two years. If the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson cannot fulfill his or her term of office, a successor shall be elected by and from the membership to fill the remainder of the term of office until the next regular election. The Chairperson shall chair and conduct all meetings of the Preservation Board. The Vice Chairperson shall ensure that the minutes of all Preservation Board meetings are suitably recorded, prepared and distributed and, in the absence of the Chairperson, to assume the duties of the Chairperson.
E. 
Quorum. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of the majority of the Preservation Board members, excluding ex-officio members. A majority of the full membership, excluding ex-officio members, shall be required to grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness (§ 74-8 below).
F. 
Powers. The Preservation Board shall be empowered as follows:
(1) 
To adopt criteria for the identification of historic, architectural and cultural landmarks within the Town;
(2) 
To recommend designation of properties that meet certain criteria establishing their local, statewide, regional and/or national importance, any one of which shall be sufficient to designate the property as an historic site.
[Amended 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
(3) 
To make recommendations to the Town Board concerning the utilization of state, federal or private funds or grants to promote the preservation of landmarks within the Town;
(4) 
To recommend the acquisition of a landmark or structure by the Town;
(5) 
To grant or deny certificates of appropriateness, subject to review by the Building Inspector, who may override the decision of the Board only in the event of an emergency.
[Amended 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
(6) 
To make recommendations to the Town Board on the acceptance or granting of facade easements and development rights or other interests in real property as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter;
(7) 
To designate historic districts which shall be areas of the community that convey a certain historic sense or impression.
[Amended 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
(8) 
To promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the conduct of the Board's business;
(9) 
To advise and recommend to the Town Board on matters of employment of staff and professional consultants to carry out the duties of the Preservation Board, if necessary.
(10) 
To recommend designations to the Town Board, providing the Town Board considers such recommendations under the same standard as the Historic Preservation Board.
[Added 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
G. 
Records to be kept.
(1) 
The Preservation Board shall keep minutes of its meetings, showing the vote of each member on every vote. If such member is absent or fails to vote, such fact shall be indicated in the minutes.
(2) 
The Preservation Board shall also keep records of its examinations or other official actions. The determination of the Preservation Board shall be in writing, signed by the Chairperson.
(3) 
Minutes of any business conducted by the Preservation Board shall be placed on file in the offices of the Town Clerk and the Planning and Zoning Board of the Town of Orchard Park.
A. 
The Historic Preservation Board may recommend designation of an individual property in the Town as a landmark if it:
(1) 
Has attained the age of 50 years; or
[Amended 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]
(2) 
Because of a unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood or locale; or
(3) 
Is associated with the life of an individual or people or events significant in national, state or local history; or
(4) 
Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, a period or a method of construction; or
(5) 
Represents the work of a master architect or designer or possesses high artistic value.
B. 
The Preservation Board may recommend designation of a property or a group of properties as an historic site, subject to Town Board approval, if it contains significant historical or cultural sites where buildings or structures no longer exist, such as a cemetery or a former significant establishment which is important to area history or prehistory or may yield information relating to area history or prehistory.
C. 
Notification. The potential landmark designation shall encompass properties in the Town of Orchard Park. A public hearing relating to an individual property/properties shall be published at least 15 days prior to the hearing date. The Preservation Board shall request of the Town Board a public hearing on the individual property/properties. The Preservation Board, property owners and other interested parties may present testimony or documentary evidence at the hearing, which will become part of a record regarding the historic architectural or cultural significance of any local landmark or potential landmark. The affected property owner shall receive notice by certified mail that his or her property is being considered for designation.
[Amended 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
D. 
Permit deferment.
(1) 
Upon initial consideration by the Board of a recommendation for designation of an historic landmark or site, no building permits for demolition, renovation or rebuilding, except for emergency demolition or repairs, shall be issued by the Building Inspector for that property until approved by the Town Board.
[Amended 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007; 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]
(2) 
If a property has ever been under consideration for landmark designation, even though landmark status was not granted by the Town Board, the Building Inspector shall issue no demolition permits for 65 days following notification of the Preservation Board of the application for such a certificate. During the pendency of an application for designation, the Historic Preservation Board shall encourage consultation among local civic groups to identify a viable alternative to demolition of the designated property.
[Amended 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
E. 
A property is deemed "landmark" upon affirmative action by the Town Board. Once given landmark status, that status shall remain in perpetuity for that property, regardless of changes in ownership.
F. 
Any designation pursuant to this chapter shall be recorded in the office of the Erie County Clerk in such form as may be determined appropriate by the Erie County Clerk.
G. 
The landmark designation shall take effect upon the adoption of a resolution of the Orchard Park Town Board.
[Amended 3-7-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
A. 
Real property tax exemption as it pertains to increase in property tax which could be a result of alteration or rehabilitation.
(1) 
In accordance with the Real Property Tax Law of the State of New York (RPTL), § 444-a, entitled "Historic Property," the Town Board of the Town of Orchard Park has authority to grant taxation and special ad valorem levy exemptions consistent with this section.
(2) 
Real property which meets the landmark criteria that is altered or rehabilitated subsequent to the effective date of this chapter from Town of Orchard Park shall be exempt from real property and ad valorem levies to the extent of that increase in real property tax or levy which is a result of such alteration or rehabilitation. The exemption shall be subject to and in accordance with the following schedule:
Year of Exemption
Percentage of Exemption
1
100%
2
100%
3
100%
4
100%
5
100%
6
80%
7
60%
8
40%
9
20%
10
0%
(3) 
No such exemption shall be granted for such alterations or rehabilitations unless such property qualifies as a landmark under the criteria set forth in § 74-6A, above, and such alterations and rehabilitations are approved by the Town of Orchard Park Historic Preservation Board prior to commencement of work.
(4) 
Alterations and rehabilitations shall be deemed for the purpose of historic preservation if only exterior work is involved, or interior work is involved relating to that portion of a building that is a public place.
(5) 
Alterations for the purpose of converting one- or two-family dwellings into multiple dwelling buildings shall not qualify for exemption, unless the exterior of the structure is not to be modified.
(6) 
The owner of real property must apply to the Preservation Board for approval of any proposed rehabilitation or alteration. Such application is to be made on a form prescribed by the State Equalization Assessment Board and is available from the Preservation Board, Town Assessor, or the Building Inspector. Application shall be filed with the Town Building Inspector.
(7) 
Exemptions granted under this section shall be made where the Town Assessor is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to an exemption. Approval by the Preservation Board shall be proof of such entitlement. The Town Assessor shall approve such application and such property shall thereafter be exempt from taxation and special ad valorem levies as herein provided [§ 74-7A(2)] commencing with the assessment roll prepared on the basis of the taxable status of the subject property. The assessed value of any exemption granted pursuant to this section shall be entered by the Assessor on the assessment roll with the taxable property, with the amount of the exemptions shown in a separate column.
(8) 
An exemption granted pursuant to this section shall exist and enure through its scheduled term to the benefit of any subsequent owners of the landmark designated property.
B. 
New York State income tax exemptions. The Historic Preservation Board of Orchard Park shall cooperate to the fullest extent with local property owners by providing whatever documentation and/or forms necessary relative to the historic preservation of a property, which falls within the realm of an exemption on New York State income tax.
C. 
Federal income tax exemptions. The Historic Preservation Board of Orchard Park shall cooperate to fullest extent with local property owners by providing whatever documentation and/or forms which are necessary relative to the historic preservation of a property which falls within the realm of the federal income tax exemption.
In the community interest with respect to privately owned and public properties, no person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, excavation, grading, demolition, new construction, or moving of a landmark property, nor shall any person make any material change to such property, its light fixtures, signs, sidewalks, fences, steps, paving or other exterior elements which affect the appearance or cohesiveness of the landmark without first requesting a review and endorsement from the Historic Preservation Board in the form of a certificate of appropriateness as to the proposed activity.
A. 
Criteria for grant of certificate of appropriateness.
(1) 
In passing upon an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Historic Preservation Board shall not consider changes to the interior of buildings unless the building is a public place and will continue to function as a public place, or is to be converted to use as a public place.
(2) 
The Board's decision shall be based upon the following principles:
(a) 
Features which contribute to the character of the historic landmark shall be retained with as little alteration as possible; and
(b) 
Any new construction or alteration of existing features shall be compatible with its historic character as well as the surrounding property.
(3) 
In applying the principal of compatibility, the Board shall consider the following factors:
(a) 
The general design, character and appropriateness of the proposed alteration or construction;
(b) 
The scale of the proposed alteration or construction in relation to itself, surrounding properties and the neighborhood;
(c) 
Texture, materials and color and their relation to the property itself, the surrounding properties and the neighborhood;
(d) 
Visual compatibility with surrounding properties; and
(e) 
The importance of historic, architectural or other features relating to the significance of the property.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(4), regarding application for national or state landmark recognition, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007.
B. 
Application for certificate of appropriateness.
(1) 
Prior to the commencement of any work requiring a certificate of appropriateness, the owner shall file an application for such certificate with the Historic Preservation Board. The application shall contain:
(a) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(b) 
The location of the property and photographs of the property.
(c) 
Elevation drawing of proposed changes.
(d) 
Perspective drawings, including relationship of the property to adjacent properties.
(e) 
Samples of color and/or materials to be used.
(f) 
Where the proposal includes signs or lettering, a scale drawing showing the type(s) of lettering to be used, the method of illumination and a plan showing the sign's proposed location on the property.
(g) 
Any other information which the Board may deem necessary in order to visualize the proposed work.
(2) 
No building or demolition permit shall be issued for such proposed work until a certificate of appropriateness has first been issued by the Preservation Board. That Board shall act to grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness within 45 days of the date upon which a completed application is filed. If the application is not acted upon within 45 days, the application shall be deemed approved and the Certificate granted. The applicant may request an extension of the decision deadline date of up to 30 days, if so desired. 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 Orchard Park.
C. 
Administration and enforcement; display of certificate.
(1) 
The Building Inspector shall administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter. In connection with overseeing this responsibility, the Building Inspector shall provide a written permit procedure document coordinated with the established building permit procedure.
(2) 
All work performed pursuant to this chapter shall conform to any requirements included herein. It shall be the duty of the Building Inspector to inspect periodically any such work to assure compliance. In the event that work is found that is not being performed in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness, the Building Inspector shall issue a stop-work order, and all work shall immediately cease. No further work shall be undertaken on the project as long as the stop-work order is in effect.
(3) 
The certificate of appropriateness shall be displayed on the building in a location conspicuously visible to the public while work pursuant to the certificate is being done.
A. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of a landmark, which does not involve a change in design, material, color 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 architectural feature which would, in the judgement of the Preservation Board, produce a detrimental effect upon the life and character of the property. Examples of such deterioration include:
(1) 
Deterioration of exterior walls or other vertical supports.
(2) 
Deterioration of roof 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 public safety.
[Added 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007[1]]
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:
A. 
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible;
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. 
Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also provided for the renumbering of former §§ 74-10 through 74-16 as §§ 74-14 through 74-20, respectively.
[Added 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]
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.
[Added 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]
A. 
After receiving written notification for the Preservation Board of a denial of a certificate of appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process. No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the Preservation Board makes a finding that a hardship exists.
B. 
The Preservation Board 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 Preservation Board, 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 Preservation Board shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail and a copy filed with the Town Clerk's office for public inspection. The Preservation Board's decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application. If the application is granted, the Preservation Board shall approve only such work as is necessary to alleviate the hardship.
[Added 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007[1]]
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 Board, 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.
[1]
through 74-16 as §§ 74-14 through 74-20, respectively.
A. 
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days, or both.
B. 
Failure to comply with any of the provision of his chapter shall result in the termination of any permits issued or any proceedings commenced under provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Any person who demolishes, alters, constructs or permits a landmark to fall into a serious state of disrepair which results in a violation of this chapter shall be required to restore the property and its site to an appearance acceptable to the Historic Preservation Board. Any action to enforce this subsection shall be brought by the Town Attorney upon authorization by the Town Board. This civil remedy shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any criminal prosecution and penalty.
[Amended 8-1-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Historic Preservation Board relating to hardship or a certificate of appropriateness may, within 30 days of the filing of the decision with the Town Clerk, file a written application to the Town Board for review of the decision. The Town Board shall schedule a public hearing on the matter without unnecessary delay. The appeal of the Preservation Board's decision may be based only upon the record and criteria utilized by the Preservation Board to render its decision. If new information becomes available subsequent to the Preservation Board's decision, a new application must be submitted to the Preservation Board. The Town Board's decision on the appeal shall be considered final.
Where this chapter imposes greater restrictions than are imposed by the provisions of any law, ordinances or regulations, the provisions of this chapter shall apply. Where greater restrictions are imposed by any law, ordinance or regulations, such greater restrictions shall apply.
No decision to carry out or approve an action subject to the provision of this chapter shall be rendered by any department, board, commission, officer or employee of the Town of Orchard Park until there has been full compliance with all requirements of this chapter. This shall not prohibit environmental, engineering, economic feasibility or other studies. Compliance with this chapter shall be required before commencement of an alteration.
This chapter shall apply to the Town of Orchard Park.
If any section, clause or provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person is adjudged invalid, the adjudication shall not affect other sections, clauses or provisions.
This chapter shall become effective immediately upon adoption by the Town and filing with the Secretary of State of the State of New York.