New Houses & Subdivisions
1. Hire the proper experts to act as your agents. An architect, engineer, contractor, and/or attorney may be necessary for any new development or construction. While the property owner is always responsible for work done on his or her instruction on the property, professional expertise is critical for this kind of activity.
2. Always check with Village Hall first, to find out the procedures and requirements for new development and to obtain the proper application forms. The Planning Board has jurisdiction over subdivision applications; the Board of Zoning Appeals reviews site plans for new homes as well as variance applications.
3. Have your agent (architect, professional engineer, contractor, attorney) talk to the assistant building inspector about the procedures of the Planning Board, which is in charge of the process by which undeveloped land may be developed. Your agent should find out what is required for approval of your development project. Among the questions the Planning Board will consider are: Is the land in a one- or two-acre zone? Does its topology or proximity to water or wetlands prohibit building? What are the requirements for the flood zone it is in? Are any special permits, reviews, or variances required? If the plan will fail to conform in any way to the Zoning Code, variances will be necessary. If any filling will be done, special permits are required and many regulations apply. See Section 7, subsection on landfill, for details. The result of this review by the Planning Board should be an agreement about whether the property can be developed, how many houses of what maximum size it may contain, where they and accessory structures may be located, and the maximum size for them. Once a subdivision has been approved, the Board of Zoning Appeals will review the site plan for each home.
4. Your agent should read the Zoning Planning sections of the code and inquire of the Building Department to ascertain what regulations and requirements govern the property to be developed and the kind of construction planned.
5. Building and site plans should be drawn, bearing in mind these regulations and requirements. Think about possible future needs as well; for example, if you are contemplating building a swimming pool someday, consider pool enclosure regulations as they pertain to window and door specifications. Any questions or problems should always be discussed with the appropriate Village officials. They would rather help create suitable plans than have to reject defective ones.
6. Your agent should apply to the Building Department for a Building Permit. CONSTRUCTION MAY NOT START WITHOUT A BUILDING PERMIT. The application must be accompanied by: the Nassau County Assessors Form, the short form Environmental Impact Statement, plans with the professional’s (licensed architect or professional engineer) seal and signature, a certified survey, a site plan of the proposed work, building permit fees, certificates of liability insurance for the contractor and such other information as may be required. In the case of totally new construction, the Building Department will automatically deny the application and send it to the Board of Zoning Appeals for site plan review. Don't be upset. This is the regular procedure.
7. The Board of Zoning Appeals will review your plans and visit your property with the site plan to look at a "stake-out" (an outline with rope and stakes of the actual buildings, swimming pools, etc.). At this point in the new construction approval process, the Board’s job is to make sure that plans for the shape and size of the house, its placement on the property, and the placement of other buildings and structures, such as swimming pools or tennis courts, meet Village Codes.
8. If the Board finds any problems with your plans, it will work with you and/or your agent to try to resolve them.
9. The Board will set a public hearing date for your application. If any zoning variances are requested, they will also be discussed at the public hearing, which is an open meeting, announced to the general public, at which a Village matter is discussed before it is decided. Any resident with an interest in the matter under discussion is free to ask questions and make comments, all of which are included in the official record of the hearing. The Village agency which is conducting the hearing is required by law to take into account, but only to the extent mandated by law, the comments made at the hearing.
10. At least 10 days before the hearing, you must notify all contiguous property owners by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the date and subject of the public hearing, and provide the Board with proof that you have given this required notice. Names and addresses of contiguous property owners may be obtained by researching tax maps available at Village Hall.
11. Following the public hearing, the Board will decide whether to deny the permit application or to approve your plans. (When the Board approves plans, it always leaves itself the option to require additional screening, such as trees and shrubs, once construction is complete.)
12. Your agent must talk to the Village Water Department. You cannot get a building permit without proof that you have a water service line, cross connection device and meter in place.
13. Your agent must check with the Building Department for sewage disposal requirements. Your plans must include provisions for sewage disposal, and these may have to be approved by the Nassau County Department of Health before a Building Permit may be issued.
14. Once your application has received approval from the Board, it will go back to the Building Department for approval. It is the Building Department’s job to make sure that construction plans meet State and Village fire and life safety codes to protect the health and welfare of Village residents. The Building Department works very closely with applicants to arrive at satisfactory plans. This can be a lengthy procedure if the development is complex or requires many variances from Village codes and requirements. Do not try to circumvent this process. If you begin construction without a Building Permit you may be subject to serious penalties, including fines and having to remove whatever has been built. A building permit will not be granted until a Legal Order implementing the decision of the Planning Board (and/or the Zoning Appeals Board) is signed by its chair. This process normally takes four to five weeks. In the matter of a subdivision the approved plat must be filed with Nassau County.
15. When you have your building permit, construction may begin. Building Permits are issued for 9 months. At the time your building permit is issued, you will receive a fee schedule for extensions. Three extensions of three months each may be requested if construction is delayed or protracted, but any extension past those 18 months may only be granted by the Board of Trustees, which will also determine the fee for such extension. If you don’t have an extension, you will be required to stop construction.
16. During construction, an Assistant Building Inspector will make regularly scheduled visits to the site for inspections, to make sure that the work is proceeding according to the plans and is meeting the various codes and requirements.
17. If it is necessary to deviate from the approved plans for any reason, your agent must consult with the Building Department. It is much easier to get approval for changes before they have been made than after construction is completed, when you could be forced to reappear before the Planning Board and/or tear down any construction that does not meet codes or match the originally approved plans.
18. Once construction is completed, you must supply an "as built" survey to make sure that it was done according to the plans, and that requirements for drainage and grading have been met. If the completed work does not conform to Village codes its removal may be required. Although this does not happen often, it does happen. The Village is not responsible for errors on the plans, even if its agencies have mistakenly approved them. The final construction must conform with Village codes or variances which have been granted for your project. At this time the Planning Board may exercise its option to require additional screening.
19. Request a Certificate of Occupancy. That is a certificate approving use by the applicant of any newly constructed structure. It allows the Village to be sure that everything has been built according to fire and safety codes and will not pose a danger to inhabitants. A house cannot be occupied without one, and it takes about 30 days for a C.O. to be issued, so plan accordingly. Check with the Building Department about all documentation that you must supply to the Village prior to issuance of the C.O., such as a Fire Underwriters Certificate approving the electrical work, final survey and professional certification. The Building Permit must be extended and all fees paid until such time as the C.O. is actually issued.
20. Once the C.O. has been issued, move in and enjoy your new home! It is a good idea to put your C.O., final plans and survey in a safe place where you will be able to find them when you sell your home or plan future renovations.