A.   Criteria: The following criteria shall be utilized by the Charleston historic commission in determining the designation of historic districts:
      1.   The historic district contains one or more landmarks along with such other buildings, places or areas within its definable geographic boundaries, which, while not of such historic significance to be designated as landmarks, nevertheless contribute to the overall visual characteristics of the landmark or landmarks located in such district; and/or
      2.   A significant number of structures meeting any of the standards under landmark designation criteria; and/or
      3.   Establishing a sense of time and place unique to the city; and/or
      4.   Exemplifying or reflecting the cultural, social, economic, political or architectural history of the nation, the state or the city.
   B.   Application: Any person, group of persons or association, including, but not limited to, the Charleston historic preservation commission, may apply to the Charleston historic preservation commission for the designation of a historic district. Nominations shall be made to the historic preservation commission on a form provided by the commission and made available at city hall. A filing fee may be required. Persons wishing guidance or advice prior to completing an application may contact the chair of the historic preservation commission. At a minimum, the application for historic district designation shall include the following:
      1.   The names and addresses of the properties and property owners.
      2.   A map delineating the boundaries of the area to be designated.
      3.   A written statement describing the area and properties within the historic district and setting forth reasons in support of the proposed designation.
      4.   A list and photographs of significant exterior architectural features of all contributing properties in the district.
      5.   Documentation that property owners have been notified of the application.
      6.   Legal description of the proposed district.
   C.   Historic District Designation Procedure:
      1.   Preliminary Determination: A preliminary determination by the commission or its executive committee as to whether a property, structure, or area meets one or more of the foregoing criteria shall be made within thirty (30) days of filing of a nomination with the commission. If the preliminary determination concludes that the nomination does not merit further consideration, the submitter of the nomination will be notified of the reason(s) for denial.
      2.   Hearing:
         a.   The commission shall schedule a public hearing to be held within thirty (30) days after preliminary approval of the application. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004)
         b.   Notice of date, time, place and purpose of the public hearing shall be sent by mail to owner(s) of record and to the nominators, as well as to the adjoining (those properties abutting the proposed district) property owners, not less than fifteen (15) nor more than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the hearing. A notice of public hearing also shall be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the city. The notice shall state the location of the property and summarize how the proposed district meets the criteria set forth in historic district criteria. City staff shall prepare and deliver notice to local newspaper. The nominator shall bear the cost of legal notice publication in local newspaper. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004; amd. Ord. 06-O-48, 11-7-2006)
         c.   During the public hearing, the commission shall review and evaluate the application according to the criteria established by ordinance. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004)
      3.   Decision: A decision shall be made at the closing of the public hearing. Following the public hearing, the commission shall prepare its evaluation, recommendation and all available information for submission to the city council within ten (10) days. If the commission decides that the proposed historic district should be so designated, it shall do so by resolution passed by a majority of the commission. The owner(s) of record shall be notified promptly by letter of the commission's decision. A simple majority vote by the city council is necessary for approval of a historic district designation. If the city council approves the application for such a designation, a notice will be sent to the property owner, nominators, the planning department, the building official, and the office of the city clerk, and recorded with the county recorder of deeds, indicating the area has been designated as such and that buildings located within the boundaries of the historic district shall be subject to issuance of certificates of appropriateness. If the city council denies the petition, the application may be resubmitted in accordance with the application process. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004; amd. Ord. 06-O-48, 11-7-2006)