(a)   The City may at any time establish by ordinance additional Historic Districts, including proposed Districts previously considered and rejected, may modify boundaries of an existing Historic District, or may eliminate an existing Historic District.  Before establishing, modifying or eliminating an Historic District, an Historic District Study Committee shall be appointed by the City Commission to consider only specified proposed or modified Districts or the proposed elimination of Districts, and shall then be dissolved.
   (b)   The Study Committee shall contain a majority of persons who have a clearly demonstrated interest in or knowledge of historic preservation and shall contain representation from one or more duly organized local historic preservation organizations. In conducting its activities, the Study Committee shall consider any previously written Committee reports pertinent to the proposed action.
   (c)   Recommendations of the Study Committee shall be made after it does all of the following:
      (1)   Conducts a photographic inventory of resources within each proposed Historic District following procedures established or approved by the Bureau of History of the Michigan Department of State (hereinafter:  the "Bureau of History").
      (2)   Conducts basic research of each proposed Historic District and the historic resources located within that District.
      (3)   Determines the total number of historic and non-historic resources within a proposed Historic District and the percentage of historic resources of that total. In evaluating the significance of historic resources, the Committee shall be guided by the selection criteria for evaluation issued by the United States Secretary of the Interior for inclusion of resources in the National Register of Historic Places, as set forth in 36 C.F.R. Part 60, and criteria established or approved by the Bureau of History, if any.
      (4)   Prepares a preliminary Historic District report that addresses, at a minimum, each of the following:
         A.   The charge of the Committee;
         B.   The composition of the Committee membership;
         C.   The proposed Historic District or Districts studied;
         D.   The boundaries of each proposed Historic District in writing and on maps;
         E.   The history of each proposed Historic District;
         F.   The significance of each proposed District as a whole, as well as a sufficient number of its individual resources to fully represent the variety of resources found within the proposed District, relative to the evaluation criteria.
      (5)   Transmits copies of the preliminary report for review and recommendations to the Planning Commission, the Bureau of History, the Michigan Historical Commission and the State Historic Preservation Review Board.
      (6)   Make copies of the preliminary report available to the public pursuant to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
   (d)   Not less than sixty calendar days after the transmittal of the preliminary report, the Study Committee shall hold a public hearing in compliance with Act 267 of the Public Acts of 1976, as amended, after giving public notice of the time, date and place of the hearing in the manner required by Act 267.  Written notice shall be mailed by first class mail not less than fourteen calendar days before the hearing to the owners of properties within the proposed Historic District as listed on the tax rolls of the City.
   (e)   After the date of the public hearing, the Study Committee and the City Commission shall have not more than one year, unless otherwise authorized by the City Commission, to take the following actions:
      (1)   Upon receipt of substantial evidence showing significant historic, cultural or architectural value of a proposed Historic District, the City Commission may, at its discretion, adopt a resolution requiring that all applications for permits within the proposed Historic District be referred to the Historic District Commission as prescribed in Sections 1470.08 and 1470.09. The Commission shall review permit applications with the same powers that would apply if the proposed Historic District was an established Historic District.  The review may continue in the proposed Historic District for not more than one year, or until such time as the City Commission approves or rejects the establishment of the Historic District by ordinance, whichever occurs first.
      (2)   The Study Committee shall prepare and submit a final report with its recommendations, and the recommendations, if any, of the Planning Commission, to the City Commission. If the recommendation is to establish an Historic District or Districts, the final report shall include a draft of a proposed ordinance or ordinances.
      (3)   After receiving a final report that recommends the establishment of an Historic District or Districts, the City Commission, at its discretion, may introduce and pass or reject an ordinance or ordinances. If the City Commission passes an ordinance or ordinances establishing or amending the boundaries of one or more Historic Districts, the City Clerk shall file a copy of that ordinance or those ordinances, including a legal description of the property or properties located within the Historic District or Districts, with the Calhoun County Register of Deeds. The City Commission shall not pass an ordinance establishing a contiguous Historic District less than sixty days after a majority of the property owners within the proposed Historic District, as listed on the tax rolls of the City, have approved the establishment of the Historic District pursuant to a written petition.
   (f)   The City Commission may hold additional public hearings as it considers necessary prior to the introduction or adoption of an ordinance or ordinances establishing or amending the boundaries of an Historic District. The City Commission may adopt the proposed ordinance or ordinances, with or without amendments, or return the ordinance or ordinances to the Study Committee for further review and report.
   (g)   Any writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by, a Study Committee in the performance of an official function shall be made available to the public in compliance with Act 442 of the Public Acts of 1976, as amended.
(Ord. 14-97.  Passed 8-5-97.)