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(a) In reviewing plans, the Historic District Commission shall follow the U. S. Secretary of the Interior's standards for rehabilitation and guidelines for rehabilitating historic buildings, as set forth in 36 C.F.R. Part 67. Design review standards and guidelines that address special design characteristics of Historic Districts administered by the Commission may be followed if they are equivalent in guidance to the Secretary of the Interior's standards and guidelines and are established or approved by the Bureau of History.
(b) The Commission shall also consider all of the following:
(1) The historic or architectural value and significance of the resource and its relationship to the historic value of the surrounding area.
(2) The relationship of any architectural features of the resource to the rest of the resource and the surrounding area.
(3) The general compatibility of the design, arrangement, texture and materials proposed to be used.
(4) Other factors, such as aesthetic value that the Commission finds relevant.
(c) The Historic District Commission shall review and act upon only exterior features of a resource and shall not review and act upon interior arrangements unless specifically authorized to do so by the City Commission or unless interior work will cause visible change to the exterior of the resource.
(d) The Historic District Commission shall not disapprove an application due to considerations not prescribed in this section.
(e) Work within an Historic District shall be permitted through the issuance of a notice to proceed by the Commission if any of the following conditions prevail and if the proposed work can be demonstrated by a finding of the Historic District Commission to be necessary to substantially improve or correct any of the following conditions:
(1) The resource constitutes a hazard to the safety of the public or to the structures and occupants.
(2) The resource is a deterrent to a major improvement program that will be of substantial benefit to the community, and the applicant proposing the work has obtained all necessary planning and zoning approvals and financing and environmental clearances.
(3) Retaining the resource will cause undue financial hardship to the owner when a governmental action, an act of God or other event beyond the owner's control created the hardship, and all feasible alternatives to eliminate the financial hardship, which may include offering the resource for sale at its fair market value or moving the resource to a vacant site within the Historic District, have been attempted and exhausted by the owner.
(4) Retaining the resource is not in the interests of the majority of the community.
(f) The Historic District Commission shall meet within sixty calendar days after a complete application is filed with the Commission to review and consider the permit application. A permit shall not be issued and proposed work shall not proceed until the Commission has acted on the application by issuing a certificate of appropriateness or a notice to proceed, as prescribed in this chapter.
(g) If the Historic District Commission approves the application, it shall issue a certificate of appropriateness or notice to proceed, which is to be signed by the Chairperson of the Commission and filed with the Building Inspection Department.
(h) If the Historic District Commission disapproves the application, its decision is binding upon the Building Inspection Department and the Planning and Community Development Department. A denial and the reasons therefor shall be in writing and filed with the Building Inspection Department and furnished to the applicant. The denial shall also include notification of the applicant's rights of appeal to the State Historic Preservation Review Board and to the Circuit Court.
(i) If appropriate, a denial may contain a notice that an application may be re-submitted for Historic District Commission review when suggested changes have been made.
(j) Failure of the Historic District Commission to approve or disapprove an application for a certificate of appropriateness or written modification thereto, as provided for in this section, within sixty days from the date such application or modifications are filed with the Commission, unless an extension is agreed upon in writing by the applicant and the Commission, shall be deemed to constitute approval.
(Ord. 14-97. Passed 8-5-97.)