Welcome MAT (Mayor's Advisory Taskforce) - A Guide for the Business Community in Irvington

Welcome to Irvington
The Village of Irvington values its business community and is committed to supporting existing businesses, and encouraging new businesses to locate in Irvington.  The Village wants to create an environment in which businesses can be successful and profitable.

Various zoning regulations (available on line at the Village web site) have been enacted to protect and enhance the quality of life for all Irvington residents. Some regulations impact business owners, including, among others, those relating to use and occupancy permits, building permits, signage, and parking.

The Welcome MAT (Mayor’s Advisory Taskforce) is a program set up by the Village to refer business and property owners to resources in the community to help navigate the permitting process. The Welcome MAT is led by the Mayor and has the full support of Village staff including the Village Administrator, Building Inspector, and Clerk/Treasurer.

Preparing a new business facility is the responsibility of the business owner and landlord.  Businesses in the early stages of planning that need help navigating the application and approval process may contact the Mayor or Building Department staff for help and guidance. Often professional consultation of an architect or engineer is required.

This brochure is intended to provide an overview of the various permit applications and Review Boards that one might encounter in the process of obtaining approvals and an occupancy permit for any business space.

The Building Department
When embarking on a new business venture, one of the first steps should be a visit to the Building Department, even before signing a lease.  A change of use or occupancy is required for all new businesses.  This process helps determine whether a desired use is permitted in a particular space.  By contacting the Building Department early in the process, unnecessary financial commitments might be avoided or minimized.

All inquiries about building codes and zoning regulations, building permits, and review procedures will be directly referred to the Building Department. The Building Department is the primary source of information and interpretation of applicable codes. The Building Department processes and issues all permits in the Village, and enforces all local Zoning Codes and the New York State Building Codes, which govern all buildings and any new construction. 

The Building Department has prepared a list describing “What Requires a Permit” that provides a general outline of building permit requirements. All information can be found on the Building Department’s web site at: www.irvingtonny.gov/building.  If a business owner or landlord is unsure about any permit needs, they may seek help or clarification through the Building Department.  Many occupancy delays are caused by failure to understand the process and how to obtain the necessary permits. If, during the development of a business space, changes are made to the original approved plan, the Building Department will help determine if additional permits or approvals are needed. Failure to do so may cause additional delays in permitted occupancy. 

The Building Department can only approve or deny what is in a complete application. Changes to any original application must be documented and filed as an amendment. Plans for a new business may require approvals from one or more of the various Village Review Boards.  Handouts available through the Building Department will provide valuable guidance.  

The Architectural Review Board (ARB)
Any signs, awnings, or exterior modifications to a building will require ARB approval. The Building Department has prepared a description of the application requirements (available online and in hard copy at the Building Department).  As in all Review Board appearances, a complete and thorough application is vital. Many ARB applications require only one appearance, and applicants may make presentations to the ARB themselves.  The ARB is scheduled to meet twice a month. 

The Planning Board
Occasionally, an application to the Planning Board might be required. The Planning Board reviews land use issues. If changes are made to the building footprint, or the floor area is increased, or if site improvements are proposed, then an application will be required for Site Plan Development Approval. The Building Department will advise on this.  The Planning Board meets once per month, and applications often require at least two appearances.  All applications for the Planning Board require certified mail notice to neighbors, affecting appearance dates.  A complete application and a thorough presentation are important. Often qualified professional help is advised. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA)
Some applications require variances from existing zoning codes. The ZBA is an appellate board empowered to hear any appeal for denial of an application to the Building Department, Planning Board or ARB, and either grant or deny variances. The application for an appeal or variance to the ZBA is available online or at the Clerk’s office at Village Hall. The ZBA meets once per month.  Zoning Board of Appeals public hearings also require public or certified mail notice to neighbors, affecting appearance dates.  The complexity of each issue before the ZBA determines the number of appearances required for resolution, and careful preparation is important. Many applicants for zoning variances are assisted by professional consultants. 

Review Board appearances are not difficult, but they do require complete applications and good preparation. Determination of requirements for professional help is important early on in the process. It is advisable to select someone who is familiar with the New York State Building Code, Irvington’s Zoning Codes, and permitting procedures. 

Getting Started
When ready to move forward with a new business, start by visiting the Welcome MAT web site at www.irvingtonny.gov/welcomeMAT.  Application forms and meeting schedules for Architectural Review Board, Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals are available along with contact information for all relevant Village staff.  Or, call Village Hall at (914) 591-7070.