Bedford, NY: Office of Building Inspector

Building Inspector
Office: Bedford Town House. Ground Floor
Telephone: (914) 666 8040
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays

(Appointments strongly recommended)
Staff: Building Inspector
Asst. Building Inspector
Code Enforcement Officer
Secretaries (1 1/2)
Assistant Deputy Fire Inspectors (3)

The following text is reproduced from the Bedford brochure by Patricia Ploss, Copyright © 1990 by the Town of Bedford and used with permission.

If you are thinking of doing anything to your home, whether inside the building or out -- building, adding, demolishing, rewiring, redoing the plumbing, fixing your septic system or installing a wood burning stove -- you are well advised to make a phone call to the Building Inspector's Office your first priority.

The Building Inspector and the assistants are the ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY for the Zoning Ordinance, Building Code, rules and regulations for fire prevention and a myriad of other regulations of the Town of Bedford. in addition, this is the department that reviews plans and conducts inspections throughout the numerous stages of a construction project.

And, in the face of violations and failure to comply with the various regulations, the Building inspector is empowered to issue an appearance ticket to bring a violator to court. The preference of this office, however, is to bring a project into compliance with the regulations rather than forcing a resident into court.

Under the ZONING ORDINANCE, the Building Inspector can only issue a Building Permit or a Certificate of Compliance when all the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, and any other laws and ordinances affecting the property involved, are in compliance. Also, no building permit may be issued unless all taxes and special assessments, including any interest and penalties, have been paid.

Applications for BUILDING PERMITS are to be filed with the Building Inspector who then either issues a building permit or denies it. The applicant has the right to appeal the Bulding Inspector's decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) if he feels that decision is unfair, that there is some misinterpretation or there is a particular hardship. If the denial is determined to be in violation of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, the appeal must be made to the Codes Division, Department of State, in Albany. A hearing before the New York State Board of Review would then be scheduled. No work may begin until a Building Permit is issued. This issuance is dependent upon certain paperwork and maps being filed with the Building Inspector, upon certain road frontage or bonding requirements being met, and when necessary, where Planning Board approval has been obtained.

Periodic inspections must be scheduled by the applicant regularly during the building process. Upon completion, the Building Inspector can also issue, upon written request of the owner, a CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE. The Building Inspector can also issue, upon written request of the owner, a CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY after a visual inspection of an existing building, constructed under a prior code, shows that building meets established standards. The Building Inspector may make recommendations for upgrading certain conditions when this visual inspection is made.

The installation of a WOOD BURNING STOVE requires a permit and an inspection to insure that it is installed according to the manufacturer's specifications. Each is slightly different and the Bedford Building Department's concern is for the safety of all its residents.

You should also be sure to contact the Building Inspector's Office before embarking on even the most MINOR ALTERATIONS or when you are contemplating: -- A new deck -- Swimming Pool -- Tennis Court -- Fence -- Shed -- Oil Tank (in commercial areas)

The BURNING OF LEAVES, TREES AND BRUSH is illegal. However, there may be circumstances that provide for a special permit. Under New York State Law, you must be defined as a farm eligible for the Agricultural Exemption to be allowed a burning permit. If you are other than a "farm," you must first secure a Westchester County permit before you will be given a Bedford burning permit.

The Building Inspector is involved with several other ordinances in the Town of Bedford.

Under the SIGN ORDINANCE portion of the Zoning Ordinance, the Building Inspector is the official responsible for seeing that there are no roof signs, no kleig lights spanning the nighttime sky, no flashing or intermittently illuminated signs; no strings of incandescent lights, moving or rotating signs, signs on awnings, or portable signs, with or without wheels.

Under the CABARET ORDINANCE, he is responsible for determining the maximum number of patrons permitted and for making sure the required number of exits exist. Electrical Inspections are required and must be done by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters Inspector. This inspector can be reached at the Building Inspector's Office in the Bedford Town House between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Wednesdays.

Under the ordinance dealing with ELECTRICAL INSPECTIONS, the Building Inspector is the official designated to receive various reports.

Trees are protected in the Town of Bedford under the TREE ORDINANCE and if you wish to remove certain trees from your property you may need to file an application with the Building Inspector. Under the general regulations of the Tree Ordinance, a tree removal permit is required before removing:
- Trees 12 inches and over (at 4 1/2 feet high) on parcels of land five acres or more or on any parcel of land without a residential structure;
- Trees growing on slopes over twenty-five percent (25%);
- Any threatened or endangered species of tree as defined by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or landmark trees, as defined by the Bedford Town Board, regardless of size.

The Ordinance outlines criteria upon which the Building Inspector shall grant a tree removal permit. Under the WETLANDS ORDINANCE, the Building Inspector may forward applications such as Building Permits to the Wetlands Commission if he believes wetlands may be involved. The Wetlands Commission then makes a recommendation to the Building Inspector and the applicant.

In order to protect the Town's Wetlands, the application must show a number of distances from the involved wetland; the scope of excavation; details of drainage, and/or the construction of any dams, embankments or other water control devises.

Under the ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS SECTION of the Zoning Ordinance the Building Inspector is also the enforcement officer for those sections dealing with: - noise - smoke - radiation - atmospheric pollutants - odorous, toxic or noxious matter - electromagnetic interference - fire and explosive hazards - exterior illumination - liquid or solid waste - steep slopes - vibrations - dust - traffic

(This information is intended to provide a broad overview of the Building Inspector's responsibility and function in the Town of Bedford and is not intended to be all-inclusive. Specifics of ordinances, rules and regulations should be requested at the office of the Town Clerk or the Building Inspector. A copy of the Code of the Town of Bedford is available in each of the Town's three libraries).

For information about this page or its contents send e-mail to or fax to (914) 234-9609.