Important Documents:

ALU Compliance Certificate Application (PDF)

ALU Compliance Certificate Ledger

ALU Regulations (PDF)

Architects List (PDF)

Contractor Authorization Certificate (PDF)

Rules and Regulations (PDF)

2020 Contractor List

Important Contacts



June 10, 2020

Dear Construction Professionals:

As daily changes in status continue to occur as a result of New York State Executive Orders imposed as a response to COVID-19, we have determined that it will be helpful to provide some additional guidance to contractors and property owners about the upcoming date to pause construction activity.

Most of you are aware that Chautauqua Institution has chosen to conduct our season of programming online for the 2020 summer season. We will not be open in a normal capacity on our campus this summer, though retail and restaurant establishments will be open and community services, and some of our facilities will see limited activity in support of our online efforts.

After careful thought and polling of contractors to determine the status of currently approved projects with active Compliance Certificates, the Institution has determined that most current projects will be in good position to pause construction by noon on June 26, 2020, until the end of our normal summer season, resuming construction on Aug. 31, 2020, as required by our Architectural and Land Use (ALU) Regulations. There are a few projects that will not be habitable by this date, in part due to COVID-19. Projects that require a few minor adjustments to make the house habitable may be considered for a brief extension beyond June 26 on a case-by-case basis. The contractor and/or property owner must make a formal request and provide a detailed list of work items that are necessary to make the project habitable, along with a brief, strict timeline extension request for the Administrator of ALU Regulations to review and consider. As the Institution seeks to provide a peaceful, pleasant and safe environment for the residents and guests who have chosen to spend all or part of their summer on the grounds, any projects granted an extension will be required to abide by strict limitations on access to the grounds, vehicle use, equipment use, noise and disruptions, as well as work schedules and overall timeframe for achieving habitable status.

We are trying to provide a peaceful, pleasant and safe environment for the many people who have chosen to spend their summer here at Chautauqua. Your skilled, valuable work has been instrumental in providing this opportunity for them and we thank you for sharing your resources and craftsmanship with the Chautauqua community. We appreciate the incredibly difficult season that this has been for everyone and we thank you for the wonderful cooperation you have provided so far. Please let us know if you have questions.

Good luck with the remainder of the construction season!

John L. Shedd, AIA
Vice President of Campus Planning and Operations | 716.357.6245

Jennifer Majewski
Campus Planning and Operations | 716.357.6245

May 4, 2020

Dear Property Owners and Construction Professionals:

We hope you are healthy and safe during these trying times.

As you may have heard, Chautauqua Institution is conducting our summer season online for 2020 without in-person programming happening here on the grounds. You are also aware that per Chautauqua Institution Architectural and Land Use Regulations, on-grounds construction projects are not allowed to continue during the summer. These regulations have not changed. However, over the next several weeks, we will be reviewing these and other campus regulations to determine if any temporary exceptions will be made for the 2020 summer season. We will issue a notification after these decisions have been made. Please continue to follow the current Chautauqua Institution regulations; local, state and federal laws; and other Executive Orders that may affect construction operations.

Thank you for your cooperation.

John L. Shedd, AIA
Vice President of Campus Planning and Operations | 716.357.6245

Jennifer Majewski
Campus Planning and Operations | 716.357.6245

April 6, 2020

Dear Authorized Contractors:

ALL Compliance Certificates issued for construction projects at Chautauqua Institution are hereby revoked if the project does not qualify to continue as outlined in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order “New York State on PAUSE,” until this ban is lifted by the governor.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an Executive Order called “New York State on PAUSE.” This Executive Order directed all non-essential businesses to close their in-person operations and bans all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason. This includes most construction projects with the exception of projects outlined in the executive order as illustrated on the New York State Empire Development website. Violations of this order can mean fines of up to $10,000 and up to one year imprisonment.

9. Construction

All non-essential construction must shut down except emergency construction (e.g. a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site).
Essential construction may continue and includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
For purposes of this section construction work does not include a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on a job site.

For this reason, Compliance Certificates are hereby revoked, until this ban is lifted, for all construction projects that do not qualify to continue as outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order.

Please refer to the property owner and your legal counsel with any questions you have regarding your projects. Thank you for complying with this order from the governor.

John L. Shedd, AIA
Vice President of Campus Planning and Operations | 716.357.6245

Jennifer Majewski
Campus Planning and Operations | 716.357.6245

The built environment is an integral and vital component of the fabric of Chautauqua. Private property owners have the privilege and responsibility to improve and maintain this fabric through revitalization efforts as well as the occasional construction of a new dwelling. This effort is only possible with the pool of talented professional contractors that commit to using their experience in this critical effort as well.

Being a unique place, there are unique circumstances under which capital improvement projects can be accomplished. As private property and an Historic District, there are certain processes, rules and regulations that have been put in place to help maintain Chautauqua’s national historic significance and presence. The Architectural and Land Use Regulations (ALU) was created for this purpose and the procedures that are required flow out of the need for continual and steadfast enforcement of the ALU.

The information contained on this page as well as the links to PDF documents and forms will help the homeowners, architects and contractors walk down the road to successful design and construction within the confines of the regulations. The following gives a brief overview of methods and process for completion of work within Chautauqua. The Operations Office is always available and willing to assist through the various stages along the way. 

Process Chart

How To Work Here – What To Do

To be authorized to work on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution:

  1. Know and understand the Architectural and Land Use Regulations (ALU)
  • Request a printed copy ($25) from the Operation Office
  • Access it for free on our website
  • Schedule an appointment with the Administrator
  1. Complete a Contractor Authorization Certificate form and submit to the Operations Office
  • Request a printed copy from the Operation Office
  • Download it from our website
  • Return form in person, by mail or email to the Operations Office
  • Renew every year – by end of Season (August), Operations Office will send out new forms
  1. Activate or purchase new Contractor Vehicle Pass and hang on mirror – ALL YEAR
  • $10 one-time cost
  • Must contact operations office with Pass # to reactivate
  • Applies to all contractors and their employees

In order to complete projects on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution:

  1. Refer to Compliance Process Matrix to determine level of action required
  • See Article 6.3 of the ALU
  1. Submit completed Compliance Certificate Application to Operations Office
  • Can be done by either the Owner or Contractor
  • Schedule an appointment with the Administrator – I will guide you
  • Forms available from the Operations Office
  • Download it from our website
  • Return application and any documents in person, by mail or email to the Operations Office
  1. Review Process
  • Administrator and/or Architectural Review Board
  • Administrator will advise throughout and notify when approval complete
  • Operations Office will fax completed Certificate to Town of Chautauqua when relevant for a Building Permit
  1. Pick up, submit payment for and post the Compliance Certificate
  • Fees per the schedule
  • Violations and additional Fees if Certificate not posted
  • Work not to start until Certificate is approved and posted (unless written permission is granted from the Administrator) 


2013 ALU Revisions


At its annual end-of-season meeting on Saturday, Aug. 24, Chautauqua Institution’s board of trustees approved revisions to its Architectural and Land Use (ALU) Regulations, which will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2013.

The revised regulations include several important changes aimed at benefitting property owners and the larger Chautauqua community going forward:

  • The new regulations are geared toward preserving existing structures through restoration or renovation and discourage demolition. The process for renovation approval has been streamlined and simplified.
  • The new regulations have been designed to be clear, straight-forward and quantifiable. Definitions and requirements are more comprehensive, and quantitative measures have been defined for setbacks, height limits, percentage of green space and building size, to name a few. This information will help ensure consistent results.
  • The new regulations create 5 distinct districts (formerly 18) based on the character of buildings, lot layout patterns, building heights, setbacks, appearances and uses. We feel that the impact of this change on current property owners will be minimal since it’s reflective of existing conditions, allows for more uniform rules and regulations, and grandfather provisions will be made for prior compliant situations that are not compliant with new regulations.
  • The new regulations require that each project recognizes either the existing architectural style of a building or utilizes an academically identifiable architectural style for new construction.
  • Within each of the 5 districts a box or envelope has been created that follows the pattern in that district. Projects that work within that box or envelope will be reviewed by the Institution’s Architectural and Land Use Administrator even when a substantial rehabilitation project is proposed. Currently all substantial rehabilitation projects are reviewed by the Architectural Review Board.