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(a) Property owners are required to obtain a certificate of appropriateness (COA) before undertaking any change to any designated characteristic of a property within a historic district or of any individual historic landmark. Any changes to components of a property not specifically identified by ordinance shall not require a certificate of appropriateness.
(b) Zoning permit applications for changes within designated historic districts or to historic landmarks shall be deemed as applications for certificates of appropriateness. The Zoning Administrator shall forward these applications to the ALHPC chairperson.
(c) The ALHPC shall make a determination on a COA within sixty days of the filing of the application unless the applicant approves an extension of time. The ALHPC may table the application for additional information or clarification for a period not to exceed an additional thirty days. If the ALHPC fails to render its decision within the specified time period the COA shall be deemed approved.
(d) In making such a determination the ALHPC shall refer to the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and to guidelines adopted by the ALHPC.
(e) The ALHPC shall approve or approve with conditions the COA upon finding that:
(1) The proposal conforms to the guidelines; or
(2) There is no feasible and prudent alternative alteration or change which would conform to the guidelines, and adhering to the guidelines would deny the owner a reasonable rate of return on the real property or amount to a taking of property without just compensation.
(f) If a COA is approved, permits relative to the proposed changes may be issued immediately following normal zoning and building department review procedures.
(g) If a COA is denied, the City shall not issue any permits that would allow modifications for which the COA was denied. In cases where the ALHPC has disapproved a COA, the Board shall state the reasons for such disapproval in writing and transmit the written statement to the applicant together with any recommendation the ALHPC may have made for appropriate changes. The ALHPC shall make every effort to work with the applicant for a period not to exceed sixty days to develop a proposal for such change that will be compatible with the terms of this chapter so as to permit a COA to be issued.
(h) In the case of a denial of a COA for demolition:
(1) The ALHPC and applicant shall undertake meaningful and continuing discussion to find a means of preserving the property.
(2) If the applicant fails to meet with the ALHPC in good faith and at specified times, then denial of the application will stand.
(3) After meeting with the applicant, if the ALHPC determines that denial would create a substantial hardship to the applicant, it shall propose a compromise which relieves the hardship, if it exists.
(4) If, after meeting with the applicant, the ALHPC has not reached a compromise with the applicant that relieves substantial hardship, then the applicant may appeal the decision, within thirty days of the said meeting, directly to the City Council. Council may affirm, modify or reverse the ALHPC's decision.
(5) In the specific cases of demolition, the ALHPC may delay a decision for up to 180 days upon finding that a structure is of such importance that alternatives to demolition should be actively pursued by both the ALHPC and the applicant. Alternate steps to be investigated include, but are not limited to:
A. Consultation with civic groups, public agencies and interested citizens;
B. Recommendations for acquisition of the property by public or private bodies;
C. Exploration of the possibility of moving one or more structures or other features.
(i) Notice of the decision of the ALHPC regarding any application shall be forwarded by the ALHPC Secretary to the applicant by ordinary U.S. Mail within ten working days after the decision date.
(j) At any time prior to completion of work under a COA an applicant may apply for an amendment to the certificate. An applicant must apply for an amendment if the design for which the certificate was issued is altered.
(k) The COA shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of approval by the ALHPC and all work shall be substantially completed within one year from the date of approval. The ALHPC shall grant an extension of time for good cause.
(Ord. 36-2010. Passed 3-22-10.)