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(1) The purpose of this chapter is:
(a) To protect, preserve and enhance the distinctive architectural heritage of the town;
(b) To promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the people of the town;
(c) To foster civic pride;
(d) To ensure harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the town;
(e) To strengthen the local economy; and
(f) To stabilize and improve property values.
(2) It is the hope of the Town Council that by encouraging a general harmony of style, form, color, proportion, texture and material between buildings of historic design and those of contemporary design, it will be possible for the town’s historic landmarks and districts to continue to be a distinctive aspect of the town and to serve as visible reminders of the significant historical and cultural heritage of the town and the state.
(B) Historic Landmarks Commission.
(1) Creation. In order to implement the provisions of this chapter, there is hereby established the Historic Landmarks Commission, hereinafter referred to as the “Commission”, consisting of seven residents of the town.
(2) Appointment. Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Town Council. Membership of the Commission will consist of citizens with a demonstrated interest in historic preservation and who are able to prepare for and attend meetings. It shall be the policy of the Town Council to seek citizens for appointment to the Commission who have either educational backgrounds or work experience involving architecture, history, planning, engineering, law, banking or real estate. Further rules of procedure and appointment for the Commission are included with the Rules of Procedure included in Hisotric Preservation Ordinance guidelines as recommended in the Comprehensive Planning Guide for local governments and are incorporated here within.
(3) Duties and powers, general. It shall be the duty of the Commission to promote the purposes and objectives of this chapter and to review plans and applications, as hereinafter provided, for all construction within historic districts or pertaining to duly designated historic landmarks, including both modifications to existing buildings, demolitions and construction to new buildings. The Commission shall have the power to approve or deny approval of the applications in accordance to prescribed procedures and guidelines.
(C) Meetings rules and records. The Commission shall promulgate and the Town Council shall approve regulations for meeting and records of the Commission. These rules are attached as part of Appendix A of this chapter.
(D) Survey and inventory of historic properties. The Commission may authorize an ongoing survey and inventory of historic properties; provided, the survey is conducted in accordance with professional standards and under the qualified supervision of the State Historic Preservation Office. The survey shall follow procedures described in The South Carolina Historic Preservation Program: Survey Manual.
(E) Jurisdiction of the Historic Landmarks Commission.
(1) Jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Commission to review proposed alterations to exteriors and buildings, new construction and demolition shall be the following:
(a) A distance of 500 feet from the property line of a building or areas within the zoning authority of the town which have been accepted to the National Register of Historic Places kept by the U.S. Department of the Interior;
(b) A distance of 500 feet from the property line of buildings or groups of buildings within the zoning authority of the town which have been designated a local historic landmark by the Town Council upon the recommendation of the Commission; and
(c) Areas within the zoning authority of the town which have been designated a historic district by the Town Council upon the recommendation of the Commission.
(2) Designation of historic landmarks and Historic Districts.
(a) The Commission may recommend to the Town Council the designation as a historic landmark or as a historic district any individual building, group of buildings or sites it deems to be important to the history, culture and heritage of the people and the town.
(b) When considering whether a building, structure, site, object or district should be designated historic by the Town Council, the following criteria should be considered:
1. It is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of the town’s history;
2. It is associated with the lives of persons significant in the town’s past;
3. It embodies the distinctive characteristics of the type, period or method of construction, that represents the work of a master, that possesses high artistic values or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction;
4. It has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history; and/or
5. It is important in preserving areas which embody physical resources of unique value in the cultural development of the community.
(3) Action by Town Council. Designation as a Historic Landmark or Historic District or the expansion of a historic district shall not become effective until officially adopted by the Town Council. Owners of properties proposed to be designated historic shall be notified in writing 30 days prior to consideration by Town Council. Owners may appear before the Council to voice approval or opposition to the designation.
(4) Identification on Zoning Map. Any national register landmark, locally designated landmark or historic district shall be superimposed on the Zoning Map of the town. The boundaries of any Historic District designated by the Town Council shall be clearly shown on the zoning map.
(5) Appeal. Any property owner may appeal the decision of the Town Council before the courts of the state.
(F) Nominations to national register of historic places.
(1) The Commission may designate and recommend the nomination of buildings, structures, sites objects or districts to the National Register of Historic Places. When considering whether a building, structure site, object or district should be nominated, the Commission should apply the following national register criteria.
(2) The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology engineering and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that possess integrity of location design setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association:
(a) Are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of the town’s history;
(b) Are associated with the lives of persons significant in the town’s past;
(c) Embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, that represent the work of a master, that possess high artistic values or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
(d) Have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
(3) The Commission shall conduct first review and evaluation of all proposed national register nominations within its jurisdiction, including any which may have been submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office, and shall forward all reviewed nominations to the SHPO with recommendations for consideration by the State Board of Review. Property owners will be notified when their property is being nominated to the national register and that there will be public notification for all nominations to be considered by the Commission. The Commission shall not have the authority to nominate properties directly to the national register; only the State Board of Review shall have this final review authority.
(G) Permitted uses.
(1) Permitted uses. All uses permitted by the town, either by right or as a special use, shall be permitted in areas designated historic by the Town Council in accordance with provisions of this chapter, adopted by the Town Council.
(2) Dimensional regulations. Structures designated historic by the County Council shall observe the dimensional and other regulations provided for in this chapter.
(H) Maintenance and repair. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature of structures designated as historic which does not involve a change in design, material, color or outer appearance thereof, nor to prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition of any feature which the Building Inspector or similar official shall certify is required for the public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition.
(I) Certificate of appropriateness.
(1) General. Prior to any demolition, new construction, alteration, modification or addition to a designated historic landmark or within an area designated as a historic district by the Town Council, a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Landmarks Commission shall be required. The town shall require a certificate of appropriateness to be issued by the Commission prior to the issuance of a building permit for the purposes of construction, alteration, moving or demolition for property affected by this chapter. Any building permit or other permit not issued in conformity with this section shall be considered void.
(2) Interior alterations to structures. The Commission shall not consider interior arrangement or any alteration to the interior of any structure designated as historic.
(3) Requirements of public utilities. All governments and public utility companies shall be required to obtain approval from the Commission in accordance with this chapter prior to initiating any changes in the character of street paving sidewalks, trees, utility installations, lighting, walls, fences, structures and buildings on property designated historic by the Town Council.
(4) Contents of application and procedure. The Commission shall, by uniform rule in its rules of procedure, require data as are reasonably necessary to determine the nature of the application and establish a procedure for considering this application. These procedures are attached as an amendment and incorporated here within.
(5) Substantial hardship. In the event an application for a certificate of appropriateness is denied, the property owner may apply for an exception based on the substantial hardship of maintaining the property according to the Commission’s guidelines. Substantial hardship is to be considered by the Commission where there are unusual and compelling circumstances, such as:
(a) The property has little or no historic value;
(b) The property cannot be reasonably maintained in the manner dictated by this chapter;
(c) There is no other reasonable means of saving the property from deterioration or collapse; or
(d) The property is owned by a nonprofit organization and it is not financially or physically feasible to achieve the charitable purposes of the organization.
(J) Review criteria.
(1) Intent. It is the intent of this section to ensure, insofar as possible, that buildings or structures designated as historic shall be in harmony with the architectural and historical character of the town. In granting a certificate of appropriateness, the Commission shall take into account the architectural or historical significance of the structure under consideration and the exterior form and appearance of any proposed additions or modifications to that structure as well as the effect of the change or additions upon other structures in the vicinity.
(a) No building or structure designated as historic shall be demolished or otherwise removed until the owner thereof has received a certificate of appropriateness from the Commission. The Commission may delay the granting of the certificate of appropriateness for a period of up to 180 days from the time of the filing of the application with the designated official. The Commission may extend this postponement for a certificate of appropriateness with regards to a request to demolish a structure for another 180 days after a finding by the Commission that the structure is of extreme historical importance to the people of the town.
(b) Within the period of postponement of the demolition of any building, the Commission shall take steps to ascertain what can be done to preserve the buildings. The steps shall include, but will not be limited to, consultation with civic groups, interested citizens and public boards and agencies.
(c) After the postponement period has elapsed and the Commission has been unable to determine an adequate alternative to demolition, the certificate of appropriateness shall be granted. If the Commission finds that a building proposed for demolition is of no particular historical significance or value towards maintaining the historical character of the town, it may issue the certificate of appropriateness in the normal manner.
(3) Alteration, repair or restoration. When considering an application for a certificate of appropriateness for alteration, repair or restoration, the Commission shall use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation as guidelines in making its decisions. These guidelines are to serve as the basis for determining the approval, approval with modification or denial of certificate of appropriateness. These guidelines are attached and incorporated into this chapter.
(K) Specific guidelines; new construction. In considering an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the character of the property, neighborhood or environment must be received in accordance with guidelines established in the rules of procedure for the Town Historic Landmarks Commission, which is attached as Historic Preservation Ordinance guidelines as recommended in the Comprehensive Planning Guide for local governments.
(L) Appeal of a decision of the Commission.
(1) Pursuant to the S.C. Code § 5-23-240, no suit shall be brought against the Historic Landmarks Commission or the town and not against any individual Commission member, it shall be dismissed as to a board member.
(2) Any persons or any officer, department or board aggrieved by any final decision of the Commission must follow procedures for appeal as outlined in S.C. Code § 5-23-340.
(Ord. 97-04, passed 12-19-1996)