Draft Local Law – Hedge Moratorium

RESOLUTION TO SCHEDULE PUBLIC HEARING ON A LOCAL LAW ESTABLISHING A SIX MONTH MORATORIUM ON THE PLANTING OF HEDGES AND SCREEN PLANTING ALONG STREET LINES AND PROPERTY LINES

RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor hereby directs that a public hearing shall be held on December 2, 2017 at 10: 00 a.m. prevailing time, at the Dering Harbor Village Hall, Locust Point Road, Dering Harbor, New York, to hear any and all persons either for or against the following local law entitled: “Local Law establishing a six (6) month moratorium on the planting of hedges and screen planting along street lines and property lines.”

LOCAL LAW NO. OF 2017

A LOCAL LAW establishing a moratorium on the planting of hedges and screen planting along street lines and property lines.

BE IT ENACTED by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor as follows:

Section 1. Legislative Intent. Section 4-420 of the Zoning Law currently entitled “Fences” requires landowners to make application and obtain the review and approval of the Board of Trustees and the Architectural Review Board for a fence, including “living fences.” No other building, structure or improvement in the Village requires such duplicative review. Under this section, the Board of Trustees review and approval “to erect, plant or grow fences” is characterized to be “legislative in nature” and there are no standards or criteria to guide the Board of Trustees action. The Zoning Law does not define what a “living fence” is or provide any standards or criteria to guide the actions of either the Board of Trustees or Architectural Review Board. This Board has undertaken certain steps to amend the Zoning Law with respect to the review of structural fences and standards thereto. The planting of hedges and screen plantings along street lines and property lines has potential impacts upon safety and welfare of the community particular as to sight distances and traffic safety along the Village’s narrow streets, and visual and aesthetic impacts on the character of the community, particularly in the Village’s waterfront areas. The community has debated the propriety of regulating the planting and maintenance of hedges and screen plantings on property lines for years now and has been embroiled in extensive litigation related to the Village’s regulation of such plantings. The Planning Board and the Board of Trustees have been undergoing a study to establish regulatory standards and guidelines for the planting of hedges and screen plantings along property lines, and desire to publish and conduct public hearings on the propriety of regulating hedges and screen plantings and on the establishment of standards and guidelines. Additional time is needed to complete an inventory of the existing conditions and undertake a comparative analysis of the alternatives.
Given the relatively small number of properties in the Village, even one or two new hedges or screen plantings along property lines may have a negative impact upon the community character. Therefore, to assure that new plantings do not change the status quo during the pendency of this study, and to further assure that the Village Board has an opportunity to hear all resident’s concerns and recommendations, in is the intent of this local law to impose six (6) month a moratorium on the planting of new hedges or screen plantings along property lines.

Section 2. Scope of Study Area and Applicability. The provisions of this local law apply to all lands within the boundaries of the Incorporated Village of Dering Harbor as herein provided:

A. No owner of real property shall plant, install, erect, alter, augment, modify, replace, or re-plant a hedge or screen plantings as the terms are defined herein along a street line or property line during this moratorium.
B. The Board of Trustees and the Architectural Review Board shall not accept any new application for the review and approval of a “living fence” or hedge under the provisions of §4-420 of the Zoning Law and Article X of the Zoning Law during this moratorium.
C. For the purposes of this local law, a hedge or screen plantings, shall be defined as any number of woody plants, whether capable of growing into trees or not, which are so planted as to be in a general line and which, when mature, to be so integrated together as to form a barrier or screen. Such hedge or screen plantings need not represent or constitute the precise line of a boundary, but for the purposes of this law may be located within twenty (20) feet of such boundaries. Such terms include hedgerows, windrows and other forms of plantings in a general linear form running along and within twenty (20) feet of the street lines or property lines.
D. The maintenance of hedges and screen plantings that exist as of November 1, 2017 shall not be subject to this moratorium. Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, no existing hedge or “living fence” whether in compliance or not, pending application including but not limited to evergreen agreements will be “grandfathered” under future legislation. Any existing hedge or “living fence” or pending application will be subject to ARB review as appropriate.
E. Landscaping of the premises beyond twenty (20) feet from the street line and property lines shall not be subject to this moratorium.

Section 3. Time Period. This moratorium shall apply for a period of six (6) months from the effective date hereof. The moratorium shall automatically expire at the end of this six month term, unless extended by the adoption of a local law by the Village Board amending this term.

Section 4. Exemptions. The planting hedge or screen plantings may be exempted from the provisions of this moratorium, following a public hearing on notice before the Board of Trustees. Notice of the public hearing shall be published in the official newspaper and by mailings to all abutting owners to be delivered by the applicant in writing by registered mail, return receipt requested, at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the hearing. Proof of such notice must be provided to open the public hearing. The applicant seeking such exemption for this moratorium shall make such application in writing accompanied by a survey or plot plan indicating the proposed location of such hedge or screen plantings, the proposed plant material to be used, the proposed height of the hedge or screen plantings at the time they are installed and the maximum height the hedge or screen plantings will be allowed to grow, aerial photographs or photographs of the existing site conditions on the property and adjacent properties, and any other evidence to support the request.

A. Upon such application, the Board of Trustees shall consider:

(1) The plant materials, height of the proposed hedge or screen plantings and location in proximity to the adjoining street and/or properties.
(2) The purpose for the installation of the proposed hedge or screen plantings.
(3) The compatibility of the proposed hedge or screen plantings with the goals and objectives of this local law and the Village’s planning study when published.
(4) The compatibility of the proposed hedge or screen plantings with safety and/or aesthetic resources of the Village.
(5) Environmental significance of the proposed hedge or screen plantings.
(6) Impact upon the character of the neighborhood.
(7) The unnecessary hardship and unique circumstances, which do not apply throughout the Village, of the applicant in complying with this moratorium.

B. In making its determination under this section, the Board of Trustees may obtain and consider written reports from the Planning Board and/or Architectural Review Board, and such other sources as required in the judgment of the Village Board and consistent with the purpose of this local law. A grant of exemption to an applicant’s premises shall include a determination of unnecessary hardship and unique circumstances and a finding that the grant of the exemption shall be in harmony with and will not be unduly disruptive to the goals and objectives of the study referred to in this law.

Section 4. Authority. The proposed local law is enacted pursuant to Village Law §7-708, Municipal Home Rule Law §§10(1)(i), 10(1)(ii)(a)(11), 10(1)(ii)(a)(12), and 10(1)(ii)(e)(3), and expressly supercedes all applicable provisions of the Zoning Law of the of Dering Harbor to review and approve applications for living fences and hedges, including §4-420 and Article X.

Section 5. Severability. If any section or subsection, paragraph, clause, phrase, or provision of this law shall be adjudged invalid or held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, any judgment made thereby shall not affect the validity of this law as a whole, or any part thereof other than the part or provision so adjudged to be invalid or unconstitutional.

Section 6. Effective Date. This local law shall take effect upon filing with the Secretary of State pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Village Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to refer this local law to the Suffolk County Planning Commission; and
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Village Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to publish the following Notice of Public Hearing:
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor hereby directs that a public hearing shall be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. prevailing time, at the Dering Harbor Village Hall, Locust Point Road, Dering Harbor, New York, to hear any and all persons either for or against a local law entitled: “Local Law establishing a six (6) month moratorium on the planting of hedges and screen planting along street lines and property lines.”
Copies of the proposed law, sponsored by the entire Board of Trustees, are on file in the Village Hall, Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by appointment, and on the Village’s website.

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES VILLAGE OF DERING HARBOR, NEW YORK