[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Ossining 8-22-1978 as L.L. No. 3-1978. Section 123-5F amended during codification; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board of the Town of Ossining hereby finds:
That there exists in the Town of Ossining places, sites, structures and buildings of special historic significance or which by reason of famous events, the antiquity or uniqueness of architectural construction and design are of particular significance to the heritage of our town.
That the conservation, protection and preservation of such places, sites, structures and buildings is a public necessity and will promote the public health, safety and general welfare.
Now, therefore, the Town Board hereby declares that the purpose of this chapter is to accomplish the conservation, protection and preservation of such places, sites, structures and buildings.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any act or process which changes one or more of the exterior architectural features of a structure designated as a landmark or any structure or building in an Historic District.
- A structure wholly or partially enclosed within exterior walls, or within exterior or party walls and a roof, which may afford shelter to persons, animals or property.
- EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES
- The architectural style, design, general arrangement and components of all of the outer surfaces of any building or structure, including but not limited to the kind, color and texture of the building material and the type and style of all windows, doors, lights, signs and other fixtures appurtenant to said building or structure.
- HISTORIC DISTRICT
- Any area which contains places, sites, structures or buildings which have a special character and ambience or historical value or aesthetic interest and which represent one or more periods or styles of architecture of an era of history and which cause such area to constitute a distinct section of the town.
- Any place, structure or building of historical value or aesthetic interest by reason of its antiquity or uniqueness of architectural design or as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the town, county, state or nation.
- LANDMARK AND HISTORIC DISTRICT MAP
- A map to be prepared and maintained by the Town Engineer, identifying the location of all landmarks, landmark sites or historic districts.
- LANDMARK SITE
- A parcel or part thereof on which is situated a landmark and any abutting parcel or part thereof constituting part of the premises on which the landmark is situated.
- Any assembly of materials forming a construction framed of component structural parts for occupancy or use, including buildings.
- STYLES OF ARCHITECTURE
- Style recognized by one of the following organizations:
- A. The National Register of Historic Places.
- B. Historic American Buildings Survey.
- C. Historic American Engineering Record, United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
- D. Division for Historic Preservation, New York State Office of Parks and Recreation.
- E. National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- F. Society of Architectural Historians.
There is hereby created a Landmarks Preservation Committee which shall consist of five members, residents of the Town of Ossining, who shall be appointed by the Town Board.
Among the membership there shall be one member of the New York State Bar, three residents of the Town of Ossining and one member of the American Institute of Architects.
[Amended - 10-12-1978 by L.L. No. 5-1978]
Members are to be appointed for terms of three years, provided that, of those members first taking office, two shall be appointed for three years, two for two years and one for one year. Members may serve for more than one term, and each member shall serve until the appointment of a successor.
In the event of a vacancy occurring during the term of a member of the Landmarks Preservation Committee, the Town Board shall make an appointment to complete the unexpired term of such member; and where such member is required to have specified qualifications, such vacancy shall be filled by appointment in the manner herein prescribed with a person having the same qualifications.
The members of the Committee shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties in consequence of Town Board prior approval and appropriation for such purposes.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee shall have the powers and duties granted by the sections herein.
In addition, the Landmarks Preservation Committee shall have the power to retain consultants, including but not limited to technical experts, engineers, architects and historians, to advise in the preparation of any plans or projects, or to render assistance and advice in connection with any project, to fulfill the duties of the Landmarks Preservation Committee. Any contract to retain such consultants which involves the expenditure of town funds shall be subject to the prior approval of the Town Board.
Quorum. At least three members of the Landmarks Preservation Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of its business or the performance of its functions, and the concurring vote of three members of the Landmarks Preservation Committee shall be necessary for the adoption of any recommendations, motions or other acts of the Landmarks Preservation Committee.
Proceedings. All proceedings of the Committee shall be recorded by a Secretary to be appointed by the Town Board. The minutes of such proceedings shall be filed with the Town Clerk.
Any person may request the designation of a landmark, landmark site or historic district by submitting to the Landmarks Preservation Committee an application for such designation on a form furnished by the Landmarks Preservation Committee. The Landmarks Preservation Committee, in addition, may, on its own motion, initiate proceedings for the designation of a landmark, landmark site or historic district.
In the event the Landmarks Preservation Committee entertains an application for designation, notice that such application is being entertained shall be given by the Committee to the owner or owners of the parcel on which the proposed landmark site or historic district is situated. Notice shall also be given to the owners of all property located within 250 feet of the exterior boundary lines of the subject parcel. Said owner or owners shall have the right to confer with the Landmarks Preservation Committee prior to final action by the said Committee on the application.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee shall conduct a public hearing and shall either approve or disapprove an application within 60 days after the receipt of the application or initiation of the proceedings by the Landmarks Preservation Committee. The approval may limit itself to the proposed historic district or landmark site as described in the application or may include modification thereof.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee may disapprove the application. In the event that no decision is rendered within 60 days, the application shall be deemed disapproved.
An approved or disapproved application shall immediately be filed with the Town Board, and notice of such approval or disapproval shall be mailed by the Town Clerk to the owners of the subject property. The Town Board shall call a public hearing on all applications either approved or disapproved by the Landmarks Preservation Committee. Such hearing shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the town 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 landmark or landmark site or of current owners of the properties within the proposed historic district as shown by the current tax rolls of the town and the owner or owners of all property located within 250 feet of the exterior boundary lines of the subject place, site, structure or historic district.
The Town Board shall approve or deny an application within 60 days of the filing of the decision by the Committee. The Building Inspector, the Landmarks Preservation Committee and the owner or owners of the subject property shall be notified in writing by the Town Clerk of the Town Board's action. If the Town Board approves an application, the Town Clerk shall also notify the Assessor and Town Engineer.
Building permits and proposed landmarks.
Upon receipt of notice that the Landmarks Preservation Committee is considering a place, site, structure or building for designation as an historic landmark, the Building Inspector shall not issue any permit for the demolition, alteration or improvement of said place, site, structure or building for a period of 120 days unless prior to the expiration of said period there is a final determination by the Town Board that said place, site, structure or building has not qualified as a landmark or landmark site or as part of an historic district. If within said period the Town Board designated the property in question as a landmark or landmark site or as part of an historic district, no building permit shall be issued except pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Upon notification that the Town Board has designated a landmark, a landmark site or historic district, the Town Engineer shall immediately cause such property to be so designated on the Landmark and Historic District Map.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee and/or the Town Board may make a recommendation to the Town Assessor of the Town of Ossining concerning any amendment of the assessment of the property on which any landmark, as established by the Landmarks Preservation Committee, is located. The Town Assessor shall review the recommendation of the Landmarks Preservation Committee and/or the Town Board and shall then make an independent determination as to the proposed amendment of the assessment of said property. If the Town Assessor shall amend the assessment of the said property, then the owner of the said property shall have the right to challenge such amendment in accordance with law.
No structure, site, place or building designated as a landmark or landmark site appearing on the Landmark and Historic District Map and the official Zoning Map of the area in which the landmark or landmark site is located or any place, site, structure, building or property located wholly or partly within the boundaries of the historic district shall be constructed, altered, repaired, moved or demolished except in compliance with the requirements set forth in this section and all other applicable laws of the State of New York, County of Westchester and Town of Ossining.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee shall review all plans for the moving, exterior construction, alteration or repair, landscaping or demolition of places, sites, structures or buildings designated as landmarks or landmark sites and all places, sites, structures or buildings wholly or partly within the boundaries of the historic district.
It shall be the duty of the Landmarks Preservation Committee to review such plans before a building permit for the proposed activity is granted by the Building Inspector.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee shall only review plans relating to the exterior features of a structure or building and shall have no jurisdiction to consider interior walls, arrangements or structures.
In reviewing the plans, the Landmarks Preservation Committee shall give consideration to:
The historical and architectural value and significance of the building or structure and its relationship to the historic and architectural value of the surrounding area.
The general appropriateness of proposed exterior design, colors, arrangement, texture and materials.
Any other factors relating to aesthetic considerations which the Landmarks Preservation Committee deems pertinent to the benefit of the town and to the historic significance of the structure or building and surrounding area.
Alterations, repairs and additions to buildings or structures located wholly or partly within the boundaries of the historic district or which are designated as landmarks shall be made consistent with the materials and styles of the particular architectural period of which said building or structure is characteristic.
New construction shall be consistent with the architectural styles of historic value in the historic district. However, the Landmarks Preservation Committee may approve the construction of buildings or structures which have a dissimilar architectural style to that of the historic district if said Committee deems it proper that the new construction will be in the best interests of the historic district.
Moving of buildings or structures designated as landmarks or located wholly or partly within boundaries of the historic district may be allowed as an alternative to demolition.
Procedure for the review of plans.
Application for a building permit to construct, alter, repair, move or demolish any place, site, structure or building designated as a landmark or any place, site, structure or building within or on the boundaries of the historic district shall be made to the Building Inspector except as provided hereafter. The application shall state that the property is a landmark and/or is located within or out of the boundaries of the historic district. Plans or photographs shall be submitted showing the structure or building in question and also giving its relation to adjacent structures or buildings and the construction, alteration, repair, moving or demolition sought to be accomplished.
The Building Inspector shall transmit the application and the plans to the Landmarks Preservation Committee.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee shall then review the plans according to the provisions of this chapter. In reviewing the plans, the Landmarks Preservation Committee may confer with the applicant or his authorized representative concerning the building permit.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, if the applicant establishes, to the satisfaction of the Committee, that there is unnecessary hardship in the strict application of the provisions of this section:
A notice to proceed will be granted if the applicant provides proof that the following facts and conditions exist:
The land or improvement in question cannot yield a reasonable return if the proposed construction, removal, alteration or demolition is not permitted; or
The hardship of the applicant is due to unique circumstances and the proposed alteration, construction, removal or demolition will not alter the essential character of the area and the hardship is the result of the application of this chapter or any other applicable law and is not the result of any act or omission by the applicant.
Any relief granted shall be in conformance with the objectives of this chapter.
The Landmarks Preservation Committee shall approve, modify and approve or disapprove such plans within 60 days after receiving the application and said plans and shall transmit a record of its proceedings and findings to the Building Inspector and the applicant. If the Committee fails to act within 60 days of receipt of the application, the application shall be deemed to have been approved.
The Building Inspector shall not grant a building permit until an application has been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Committee or 60 days have elapsed from the date the application is received by the Committee.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent ordinary maintenance or repair, with like materials of similar quality and color, of any place, site, structure or building designated as a landmark or landmark site, or any property located wholly or partly within the boundaries of an historic district.
This chapter shall not apply in any case where the Building Inspector or any authorized town enforcement agency orders or directs the construction, removal, alteration or demolition of any improvement on a landmark site or in an historic district for the purpose of remedying conditions determined to be unsafe or dangerous to the life, health or property of any person.
Any interested party who is adversely affected by a decision of the Landmarks Preservation Committee under this section may appeal the decision of the Landmarks Preservation Committee to the Town Board within 30 days of the date of the decision of the Landmarks Preservation Committee. The Town Board shall hear such aggrieved party and shall have the power to affirm, reverse or modify the decision of the Landmarks Preservation Committee under this section.
A violation of this chapter shall be deemed an offense and shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or by imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The imposition of the penalties in this section shall not preclude the Town Attorney from instituting any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent an unlawful creation, construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, repair, conversion, maintenance or use or to restrain, correct or abate a violation or to prevent an illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about any premises.