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Historic Preservation Commission

The East Aurora Historic Preservation Commission is a governmental organization within the Village of East Aurora. It was established in 1987 when the Village Board of Trustees adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance, designated as Chapter 156 of the Village Code.

Members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor to four-year terms. There are nine (9) members with a mix of skills and qualifications, including an architect, an historian, an attorney, a resident of an historic district and other persons committed to historic preservation, all of whom also have a known interest in the field.

The Commission generally meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 6:00 PM at Village Hall. Meetings are held in the basement meeting room and are open to the public. If you would like to view copies of the minutes from the commission meetings, please go to our document library. There may be instances where a meeting is cancelled or changed and we will do our best to post that information to the Home page of the village website. You may also contact the Village Clerk's Office at 716.652.6000, ext. 223 for additional information.  

 Current Members

NamePhone NumberTerm Expires
Mark W. Warren 716.432.3552 4/2019
Saxon Deck 716.655.5543 4/2020
Mary Ann Colopy 845.416.8606 4/2019
Patrick J. Mahoney, AIA 716.837.0833 4/2019
John Newton 716.374.0678 4/2018
Lisa Lubozynski 716.655.4761 4/2017
Vacant   4/2020
Jennifer Jones 716.652-3231 4/2018
Michael Ried 716.655.2885 4/2017

 

Reconnaissance Survey of Historic Architectural Resources

In 2013, the Historic Preservation Commission for the Village of East Aurora completed a Reconnaissance Level Survey of Historic Architectural Resources. The report was prepared by Martin Wachadlo and Francis R. Kowsky.  

A full copy of this report (205 pages) can be downloaded in four parts:  Overview, Annotated List 1, Annotated List 2, Annotated List 3.

What is the purpose of the Commission?

The general purpose of the Commission is to promote historic preservation in East Aurora. The Village of East Aurora and its residents take great pride in its many cultural and historic resources of local, regional and national importance. Promoting historic preservation is a way to honor and preserve the legacy of generations past for present and future generations who may live in or visit our community. Historic preservation also promotes the regional goal of heritage tourism and our community as a destination for visitors to Western New York.

What does the Commission do?

The Commission's primary activities include:

  1. review of nominations to designate a landmark or historic district, for recommendation and referral to the Village Board of Trustees for approval,
  2. review of applications for certificate of appropriateness for proposed significant changes to the exterior of landmark properties, and
  3. public education relating to historic preservation in our community.

What are the criteria for designation of a property as a landmark?

In the judgment of the Commission, and subject to the approval of the Village Board of Trustees, a property may be designated as a landmark if it:

  1. Possesses special character or historic or aesthetic interest or value as part of the cultural, political, economic or social history of the locality, region, state or nation; or
  2. Is identified with historic personages; or
  3. Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style; or
  4. Is the work of a designer whose work has significantly influenced an age; or
  5. Because of unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood.

Furthermore, a group of properties may be designated as an historic district if the group:

  1. Contains properties which meet one or more of the criteria for designation as a landmark; and
  2. By reason of possessing such qualities, it constitutes a distinct section of the Village.

For example, the Roycroft Campus constitutes an historic district.

Is this the same thing as designation to the State Register or the National Register of Historic Places?

No. The State and National Registers are distinct from local designation as a landmark by the Village of East Aurora.

How do I nominate a property for designation as a landmark?

Detailed instructions and forms are available through the Village Clerk's Office at Village Hall or by visiting the forms page of this website.

What are the benefits of designation of a property as a landmark?

There are tangible and intangible benefits to designation of a property as a landmark. Foremost is formal recognition of the unique historical importance of the property. It honors the property itself as a valued source of pride not only to the property owner, but also to the community as a whole. The designation also protects the property against demolition or major modifications which would alter the character of the property. The owner of the property may also obtain a plaque (at the owner's expense) and/or certificate commemorating the property's designation as a landmark.

Subject to separate application and assessor approval, if the owner of a landmark property expends funds for rehabilitation of the exterior or public interior of the landmark, the property may also qualify for a phased Village real property tax exemption for any increase in value attributable to the rehabilitation.

What are the responsibilities of being the owner of a landmark property?

The owner of a landmark is also a steward of the property. As such, before an owner undertakes major exterior alterations, reconstruction, new construction, demolition or other material changes to the exterior of a landmark which would be visible from a public street or right of way, the owner must obtain a certificate of appropriateness from the Commission. Examples would include building an addition, removing a porch, replacing the windows or changing the siding.

Do routine maintenance and repair of a landmark require a certificate of appropriateness?

No. Ordinary maintenance and repairs which do not involve a change in design, material, color or outward appearance do not require approval of the Commission. Examples would include repairing a window or replacing a roof with like material.

What are the criteria for granting a certificate of appropriateness?

The decision of the Commission is based upon the following principles:

  1. Properties which contribute to the character of the historic district shall be retained, with their historic features altered as little as possible;
  2. Any alteration of existing properties shall be compatible with its historic character, as well as with the surrounding district; and
  3. New construction shall be compatible with the district in which it is located.

Further, in assessing compatibility, the Commission considers the following factors:

  1. The general design, character and appropriateness to the property of the proposed alteration or new construction;
  2. The scale of the proposed alteration or new construction in relation to the property itself, surrounding properties and the neighborhood;
  3. Texture, materials, and color and their relation to similar features of other properties in the neighborhood;
  4. Visual compatibility with surrounding properties, including proportion of the property's front fa??ade, proportion and arrangement of windows and other openings within the fa??ade, roof shape, and the rhythm of spacing of properties on streets, including setback; and
  5. The importance of historic, architectural or other features to the significance of the property.

If a certificate of appropriateness is granted, does that mean that it is not necessary to obtain a building permit or other approvals?

No. A certificate of appropriateness is not a building permit. If a certificate of appropriateness is required for a project, it is in addition to and not in lieu of any other permit or approval that may be required for a project of that type (e.g., zoning board or planning board approval, if applicable).

How do I apply for a certificate of appropriateness?

Detailed instructions and forms are available through the Village Clerk's Office at Village Hall or by visiting the forms page of this website.

How do I obtain additional information about the Commission?

Questions can be directed to the John Newton, Chairman of the Commission.  (See info in above directory).

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