(a)   Establishment; Membership.
      (1)   Pursuant to Act 169 of the Public Acts of 1970, as amended, a Commission, to be known as the Battle Creek Historic District Commission, is hereby established.
      (2)   The Historic District Commission membership shall consist of seven persons who reside in the City, the majority of whom shall have a clearly demonstrated interest in or knowledge of historic preservation.
         A.   One member, if available, shall be a graduate of an accredited school of architecture, shall have two years of architectural experience or shall be is an architect registered in the State.
         B.   If no architect is available meeting the qualifications of paragraph (a)(2)A. hereof, then one member, if available for appointment, shall be an architect, an archeologist, an historian, or an architect and historian, or a combination thereof, and shall meet the professional qualifications specified in 36 C.F.R. 61, as amended.
         C.   Two members shall be appointed from a list of residents submitted by one or more duly organized local historic preservation organizations.
         D.   To the extent available, members of the Commission shall include persons from the disciplines of architecture, history, archeology, planning or other historic preservation-related disciplines such as urban planning American studies, American civilization, cultural geography, cultural anthropology or landscape architecture.
         E.   Remaining members of the Commission shall be appointed from among persons who have backgrounds in law, business, real estate, government, banking, finance and community organization and who have a demonstrated interest, competence or knowledge in historic preservation.
      (3)   Members shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the approval of the City Commission. Appointments shall be for three-year terms, except that the initial appointments shall provide for three three-year terms, two two-year terms and two one-year terms.
      (4)   All terms shall terminate on January 1, except that a member shall continue in office until a successor is appointed and takes office. Members shall be eligible for reappointment; however, members may not serve more than two consecutive terms. When a vacancy on the Commission occurs, within sixty calendar days an interim appointment shall be made by the Mayor, with the approval of the City Commission, to complete the unexpired term.
   (b)   Election and Terms of Officers.  The Historic District Commission shall elect from its membership a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson whose terms of office shall be fixed by the Historic District Commission. The Chairperson shall preside over the Historic District Commission and shall have the right to vote. The Vice-Chairperson shall, in case of the absence or disability of the Chairperson, perform the duties of the Chairperson. The Planning and Community Development Department shall provide clerical and staff assistance sufficient to carry out the intent of this chapter.
   (c)   Meetings, Regulations and Records.
      (1)   The Historic District Commission shall hold regularly scheduled monthly meetings in an appropriately designated room at City Hall.
      (2)   All meetings shall be open to the public and conform to the Michigan Open Meetings Act, being Act 267 of the Public Acts of 1976, as amended. Any person shall be entitled to appear and be heard on any matter before the Commission before it reaches its decision. Public notice of the time, date and place of the meeting shall be given in the manner required by the Open Meetings Act. A meeting agenda shall be part of the notice and shall include a listing of each permit application to be reviewed or considered by the Commission.
      (3)   The Commission shall keep a record of its resolutions, proceedings and actions, including minutes of all decisions of the Commission, which shall include reasons for making those decisions. Records of the Commission shall be available to the public in compliance with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, being Act 442 of the Public Acts of 1976, as amended. The Commission shall submit an annual report of its activities to the Planning Commission and the City Commission each January.
      (4)   The provisions of Act 317 of the Public Acts of 1968, as amended, shall govern the conduct of Commission members concerning any conflict of interest or possible conflict of interest regarding a public contract. The provisions of Act 196 of the Public Acts of 1973, as amended, shall govern the conduct of Commission members regarding the ethical standards to be observed in carrying out their public duties under this chapter.
      (5)   The Historic District Commission shall adopt by-laws providing for its organization and conduct of business. The concurring vote of four members of the Commission shall be necessary to issue a certificate of appropriateness. Other actions of the Commission shall require a simple majority of members present constituting a quorum.
   (d)   Duties and Powers.
      (1)   The Historic District Commission shall:
         A.   Administer in conformance with this chapter and the Local Historic Districts Act, being Act 169 of the Public Acts of 1970, as amended, the Historic Districts within the City.
         B.   Maintain a City Historic Register.
         C.   Adopt design review standards for resource treatment to carry out its duties.
         D.   Review all applications and plans for which a permit is required by City ordinance regarding the construction, alteration, repair, moving or demolition affecting the exterior appearance of an historic or nonhistoric resource within an Historic District.
         E.   Maintain an on-going survey and inventory system to document all historic resources of significant historic, cultural or architectural values.
         F.   Make recommendations to the City Commission regarding acquisitions of historic resources pursuant to Section 1470.19.
         G.   Contract, with City Commission approval, with persons, firms, corporations or organizations to enlist the aid of experts to carry out its duties pursuant to this chapter or State and Federal legislation.
         H.   Adopt rules of procedure subject to the approval of the City Commission.
      (2)   The Historic District Commission may:
         A.   Act as the agent to accept and administer State or Federal grants for historic restoration purposes, accept public or private gifts for historic preservation purposes, and participate in State and Federal programs that benefit historic preservation, as the duly appointed agent of the City Commission.
         B.   Maintain publicly-owned historic resources using its own funds, if not specifically earmarked for other purposes, or those public funds committed for this use by the City Commission.
         C.   Assist private and public concerns in the registration and marking of historic resources and in the application of State and Federal grant-in-aid programs for the revitalization of those properties.
         D.   Encourage and cooperate with civil and fraternal groups and other organizations in promoting the City's history, traditions and customs through participation in public historic activities, patriotic celebrations and other special events.
         E.   Encourage and cooperate with local organizations in developing historic material to promote the historic heritage of the City.
         F.   Represent or serve as a liaison between the City Commission and other organizations interested in the history of Battle Creek.
         G.   Serve in a management, administrative, advisory or research capacity for the City Commission in historic matters, or for projects with significant historic, cultural or architectural value.
         H.   Prepare recommendations to the City Commission regarding the acceptance of gifts of resources having significant historic, cultural or architectural value and assist in receipt of such resources.
         I.   Encourage adaptive re-use of historic resources.
         J.   Disseminate information and offer technical assistance or referrals to the public and encourage and advise property owners in historic preservation or adaptive re-use of historic resources.
(Ord. 14-97.  Passed 8-5-97.)