Town of Ithaca, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Ithaca 5-10-2004 by L.L. No. 5-2004.[1]; amended in its entirety 12-7-2009 by L.L. No. 19-2009.[2] Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction and fire prevention — See Ch. 125.
Noise — See Ch. 184.
Signs — See Ch. 221.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 234.
Zoning — See Ch. 270.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 153, Fees, adopted 12-3-1994 by L.L. No. 10-1994, as amended.
[2]
Editor's Note: This local law also provided for an effective date of 1-1-2010.
A. 
The Town Board may, by resolution, establish and revise from time to time the fees charged by the Town for various activities regulated by the Town or for various services performed by the Town, including fees for permits and licenses issued by the Town Clerk, fees for permits and certificates issued by a Code Enforcement Officer, Town Highway Superintendent/Director of Public Works or his/her designee, Town Planner or his/her designee, or other Town officials, and the fees for processing applications for variances, approvals, and similar matters requiring publication or Board action.
B. 
Nothing in this chapter shall amend, repeal or supersede any provisions in other Town Code chapters that set forth fees for specific Town activities or services.
A. 
Miscellaneous provisions.
(1) 
The Town Board, Planning Board, or Zoning Board of Appeals, as applicable, shall hold no public hearing nor take any action to endorse or approve any application until all applicable fees have been paid to the Town.
(2) 
Fees shall be calculated by the Code Enforcement Officer, Town Planner or his/her designee, Town Clerk, or by staff associated with the Public Works Department, Planning Department, and/or Building and Code Enforcement Department. Such fees shall be collected by the Town Clerk or the Town Clerk's designee, who shall issue a receipt stating the purpose of the payment. This receipt must be filed with the application as evidence of payment.
(3) 
All application fees paid to the Town in accordance with the fee schedule established from time to time by Town Board resolution (the "Fee Schedule") shall be nonrefundable unless miscalculated. No funds paid to the Town for review or inspection shall be returned to the applicant should an application be disapproved by the Town, reduced in scale by the applicant, or otherwise partially or wholly abandoned.
B. 
Application fees and public hearing fees.
(1) 
A nonrefundable fee shall be paid along with each application as set forth in the Fee Schedule to cover expenses related to the administration and processing of applications, including agenda or public hearing notice, clerical processing, processing of the application by planning, engineering public works, and/or building and code enforcement personnel, the cost of professional services, including but not limited to engineering, planning, legal, and other expenses incurred by the Town in its review of the submitted application material for preliminary and/or final subdivision or site plan approval or other approvals, and inspection of on- or off-site improvements.
(2) 
Whenever an application or appeal is filed with the Town for which a public hearing is required, there shall be paid simultaneously a fee as set from time to time by Town Board resolution to defer the costs of publishing and mailing the notice and application to appropriate parties, and the cost of transcribing the proceedings relating to the application or appeal. Such fee may be included in the Fee Schedule as part of any application fee set by Town Board resolution.
(3) 
If the hearing continues for more than one meeting necessitating republication and/or re-noticing, an additional public hearing fee shall be paid prior to each continued hearing. If the matter continues for more than one meeting but the subsequent meetings do not require a public hearing, an agenda processing fee shall be paid prior to each additional meeting at which the matter is continued without a public hearing. In the discretion of the Town Board, Planning Board, or Zoning Board of Appeals, as the case may be, or the person designated to collect application fees, additional public hearing fees or additional agenda processing fees may be waived with respect to any subsequent meetings, particularly if the continuation was necessitated by actions of the Town officials and not by the applicant.
(4) 
In the case of subdivision or site plan applications, the Planning Board, or the person designated to collect application fees, in its discretion, may waive the fee for a final plat or plan in those circumstances where final plat or plan approval is given simultaneously with preliminary plat or plan approval. In these cases, only the preliminary plat or plan fee would be charged.
(5) 
As part of the application for preliminary site plan approval, a preliminary estimate of the cost of improvements shall be provided by the applicant's licensed professional engineer or registered architect, along with the other items required for a preliminary site plan application as set forth in Chapter 270, Zoning.
(6) 
As part of the application for final site plan approval, a revised estimate of the cost of improvements shall be provided by the applicant's licensed professional engineer or registered architect, along with the other items required for final site plan application as set forth in Chapter 270, Zoning.
(7) 
In the case of site plan applications, the terms "cost of improvements," "improvement cost" or "project cost" shall mean the costs of construction of all site improvements (whether on or off the specific site involved), including grading, roads, drainage improvements, sewers, water lines, buildings and any other improvement of any nature whatsoever to be constructed by the applicant. Such terms exclude land acquisition costs, architect fees, engineering fees and other similar nonconstruction costs.
(8) 
The estimates provided with the preliminary or final application shall be used to determine the required fee as set forth in the Fee Schedule.
(9) 
An estimate of the cost of improvements provided by the applicant and not by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect may be accepted when, in the judgment of the Town Highway Superintendent/Director of Public Works or his/her designee and/or the Town Planner or his/her designee such estimate is reasonably accurate. The Town Highway Superintendent/Director of Public Works or his/her designee and/or the Town Planner or his/her designee may adjust such estimate and the estimate as so revised by the Town Highway Superintendent/Director of Public Works or his/her designee or Town Planner or his/her designee shall be used to determine the required fee.
(10) 
In the case of clustered subdivision applications, the fees set forth for subdivisions shall apply.
(11) 
Rezoning applications.
[Amended 3-7-2016 by L.L. No. 3-2016]
(a) 
In the case of applications for rezoning, a basic fee as set forth in the Fee Schedule for initial review of the general plan by staff and the Town Board shall be submitted with the initial application. When the rezoning is referred to the Planning Board for recommendation, the fee for preliminary site plan review shall be paid prior to any further review of the general plan by the Planning Board and prior to any recommendation by the Planning Board to the Town Board. If the Town Board approves an application for rezoning upon recommendation by the Planning Board, and when specific development is proposed, the fee for final site plan review shall be paid to cover the costs of further review by staff and the Planning Board.
(b) 
In addition to the other fees in this Subsection B(11), when the application is for rezoning to a Planned Development Zone pursuant to Article XXI of Town Code Chapter 270, Zoning, the applicant shall also submit with the initial application an escrow fee as set forth in the Fee Schedule to cover reasonable and necessary attorney fees and attorney expenses incurred by the Town related to creation of the Planned Development Zone. Such attorney fees and expenses include those associated with the drafting and review of the local law to rezone the parcel(s) to Planned Development Zone, and attorney meetings with Town officials (including the Town Board Planning Committee), staff and/or the applicant to discuss the potential Planned Development Zone.
(12) 
In the case of applications for special approval, a basic fee as set forth in the Fee Schedule for initial review of the general plan by staff and the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be submitted with the initial application. If the application is referred to the Planning Board for a recommendation, the required fee for preliminary site plan review shall be paid prior to any further review of the general plan by the Planning Board and prior to any recommendation by the Planning Board to the Zoning Board of Appeals. If the Zoning Board of Appeals approves an application for special approval upon recommendation by the Planning Board, and when specific development is proposed requiring further review, the fee for final site plan review shall be paid to cover the costs of further review by staff and the Planning Board. If the application is not referred to the Planning Board, the basic fee shall be paid without any further fees for site plan review.
(13) 
In the case of applications for special permits, a basic fee as set forth in the Fee Schedule for initial review of the general plan by staff and the Planning Board shall be submitted with the initial application. If an application is submitted for a special permit at the same time as an application for site plan approval is submitted, the fees for site plan approval will be paid without any fees required for a special permit.
(14) 
The above fees may be waived in whole or in part, or may be modified, by the Town Board for good cause shown. Such cause may include, but is not limited to, an extreme hardship to the applicant in paying for all or a portion of the review fees, the benefit to the general community that would be provided by the proposed project, or other unique or special circumstances which would warrant, in the judgment of the Town Board, such a waiver.
C. 
SEQRA - related fees.
(1) 
In addition to the fees required as stated in the Fee Schedule, the fees for review or preparation of an environmental impact statement involving an application for approval or funding of an action requiring preparation or filing of a draft environmental impact statement shall be determined by the lead agency for each such application. The fees shall be based on the actual cost to the Town for reviewing or preparing the draft and final environmental impact statement, including the cost of hiring consultants, the salary time of Town employees and actual disbursements incurred as a result of the review or preparation of such impact statement, but in no event shall the fees be greater than those established in 6 NYCRR 617.13. The Town Supervisor, Code Enforcement Officer, Planner or his/her designee, or Highway Superintendent/Director of Public Works or his/her designee may require, prior to the commencement of the review or preparation of an environmental impact statement, a deposit to be made with the Town in an amount reasonably estimated to cover the fee set forth in this section.
(2) 
The above fees may be waived in whole or in part, or may be modified, by the Town Board for good cause shown. Such cause may include, but is not limited to, an extreme hardship to the applicant in paying for all or a portion of the fees, the benefit to the general community that would be provided by the proposed project, or other unique or special circumstances which would warrant, in the judgment of the Town Board, such a waiver.
D. 
Escrow fees procedures.
[Added 3-7-2016 by L.L. No. 3-2016]
(1) 
The Town shall place escrow fees paid pursuant to Town Code requirements into a trust and agency account to fund the expenses incurred by the Town as described in the various Town Code provisions that require escrow fees. The Town shall keep a record of the name of the applicant and proposed project and of all such monies deposited and withdrawn.
(2) 
Where consultant fees by attorneys, engineers or other professionals are to be paid out of escrow fees, the consultants shall submit monthly itemized bills to the Town reasonably setting forth the services performed and expenses incurred, and the amounts charged for such services and expenses.
(3) 
Where Town employee costs are to be paid out of escrow fees, the Town shall prepare monthly itemized bills reasonably setting forth the employee services performed, the costs of such services, and expenses incurred.
(4) 
Town staff shall transmit copies of said itemized consultant and/or Town bills to the applicant, together with a notice notifying the applicant that the failure to object, within 15 days of the sending of said notice, to payment of the charges out of the escrow fees shall constitute an agreement by the applicant that the charges are reasonable in amount and necessary in connection with the application. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Subsection D, in no event shall the total amount of the portion of all bills attributable to SEQRA-related fees (as described in Subsection C above) exceed the amounts allowed to be charged by 6 NYCRR § 617.13.
(5) 
An applicant's objection to payment of a bill or part thereof out of the escrow fees must be received by the Town Clerk within 15 days of the sending of the notice described in Subsection D(4) above. The objection must state the specific services and amounts that are objected to, and the reasons why they are not reasonable in amount and necessary in connection with the application.
(6) 
The following process shall apply to all objections except those associated with SEQRA-related fees. Within 45 days of the Town Clerk's receipt of a timely objection, the Town Board will review and audit the contested bill pursuant to New York Town Law §§ 118 and 119, consider the objection, and prepare a written response to the applicant setting forth reasons why the applicant's claims are valid or invalid. The written response shall include a determination of whether the fees, costs and expenses are reasonable in amount and necessarily incurred by the Town in connection with the application, and whether the amount to be paid out of the escrow fees should be adjusted downward. The Town Clerk will notify the applicant in writing of the Town Board's written decision within five days of the decision. Payment of the amount approved by the Town Board shall be made out of the escrow fees.
(7) 
The following process shall apply to objections to SEQRA-related fees. Within 15 days of the Town Clerk's receipt of a timely objection, the Town Supervisor will review the contested bill, consider the objection, and prepare a written response to the applicant setting forth reasons why the applicant's claims are valid or invalid. The written response shall include a determination of whether the fees, costs and expenses are reasonable in amount and necessarily incurred by the Town, and whether the amount to be paid out of the escrow fees should be adjusted downward. The Town Clerk will notify the applicant in writing of the Town Supervisor's written decision within five days of the decision. The Town Board will audit the bill (which shall reflect any downward adjustments made by the Town Supervisor) pursuant to New York Town Law §§ 118 and 119, and payment of the amount approved by the Town Board shall be made out of the escrow fees. The appeal procedure for SEQRA-related fees shall not interfere with or cause delay in the environmental impact statement process or prohibit an action on the application from being undertaken.
(8) 
For the purposes of this Subsection D, a consultant's fee or expense or part thereof is reasonable in amount if it bears a reasonable relationship to the customary fee or expense charged by consultants in the relevant field within the region for services performed on behalf of municipalities in connection with the type of application at issue. The Town Board (or Town Supervisor, for SEQRA-related fee objections) may also take into account any special conditions or circumstances that the Town Board or Town Supervisor may deem relevant. An attorney's fee or expense is necessarily incurred if it was charged by the attorney for a service associated with the application for rezoning which was rendered in order to assure or assist in compliance with, or to draft, laws, regulations, standards or codes which govern land use and development; to assure or assist in the orderly development of a land use or development; to assure the proper and timely construction of public improvements, parks and other facilities which affect the public welfare; to protect the legal interests of the Town; to avoid claims against and liability of the Town; or to promote such other interests that the Town Board may specify as relevant.
(9) 
If the Town Clerk does not receive a timely objection to a bill, the Town Board shall review and audit the bill pursuant to New York Town Law §§ 118 and 119 and shall authorize payment of the approved amount, which payment shall be made out of the escrow fees.
(10) 
A positive escrow fee balance must be maintained as follows:
(a) 
For applications for rezoning to a Planned Development Zone, until the local law accomplishing the rezoning becomes effective and all associated legal bills have been paid;
(b) 
For all other types of applications, until the relevant board grants final approval and all associated bills have been paid; and
(c) 
For applications where the Town is charging for SEQRA-related fees, the portion of the escrow fee balance attributable to SEQRA-related fees must remain positive until the lead agency accepts the final environmental impact statement as complete and all associated bills have been paid.
(11) 
The Town will notify the applicant if the escrow fees are depleted or are reasonably expected to be depleted within a month, in which case the following shall apply:
(a) 
For applications for rezoning to a Planned Development Zone, the Town Board's review of and actions related to the proposed rezoning local law will stop until the escrow fee is replenished in a reasonable amount as determined by the Town Board based on the Town's experience with legal work necessary to assist it with applications for a rezoning to a Planned Development Zone;
(b) 
For all other applications, the applicant shall promptly replenish the escrow fee in a reasonable amount as determined by the Town official or board that has power to require payment or specify the amount of an escrow fee, or if no official or board is so identified in the Town Code, by the Town Planner. Where allowed by law, the relevant official or board will stop its review of and actions related to the application until the escrow fee is replenished.
(12) 
All fees remaining in the trust and agency account related to a proposed Planned Development Zone rezoning project shall be returned to the applicant within 15 days after:
(a) 
The rezoning local law is effective, or after the Town Board makes a final determination to deny the rezoning application, and all associated legal bills have been paid; or
(b) 
The applicant notifies the Town Board in writing that it is withdrawing its request for rezoning to a Planned Development Zone, and all legal bills associated with its request have been paid.
(13) 
Except for SEQRA-related fees, all fees remaining in the trust and agency account related to all other types of applications shall be returned to the applicant within 15 days after:
(a) 
The relevant board grants final approval of, or denies, the application, and all associated bills have been paid; or
(b) 
The applicant notifies the relevant board in writing that it is withdrawing its application, and all associated bills have been paid.
(14) 
For applications where the Town is charging for SEQRA-related fees, the portion of the escrow fee balance attributable to SEQRA-related fees shall be returned to the applicant within 15 days after the lead agency accepts the final environmental impact statement as complete, and all associated bills have been paid.
A. 
In the event the Planning Board requires that a sum of money is to be paid to the Town in lieu of a parkland or recreational land reservation in connection with a subdivision or site plan approval, the amount to be paid shall be the following amount:
(1) 
The assessed value as determined for real estate tax purposes of all of the land included in the project, as shown on the most recently available assessment roll for such lands on the date of final approval, multiplied by 10% (or such lesser percentage as the Planning Board may determine if the demand for parklands created by the proposed project warrants such lesser percentage).
(2) 
If the lands for the project have been acquired by the applicant during the period two years prior to final subdivision or site plan approval by a bona fide conveyance from an unrelated party for value, the price paid for such conveyance shall be substituted for assessed value for the purposes of making the calculation set forth in Subsection A(1) above.
B. 
The Planning Board may recommend to the Town Board a reduction in the amount of the above sums if the Planning Board finds that special circumstances exist, causing the amounts above to substantially exceed the reasonable value of the land that would otherwise be reserved in the particular project under consideration. If the Town Board concurs with such recommendation, the Town Board may reduce the payment to an amount which more accurately reflects the value of land for which payment is being made.
C. 
The sum set forth above shall be payable upon the earliest of the following:
(1) 
Thirty days after granting final site plan or subdivision approval; or
(2) 
The signing of a plan or plat by the Planning Board Chairperson evidencing approval of same; or
(3) 
The filing of an application for a building permit for construction of one or more structures in the project; or
(4) 
The sale, lease or other disposition of an individual lot by the developer.
D. 
No sums shall be payable in connection with lot line modifications or lot reconfiguration where no new lots or dwelling units are created.