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A. Scope: Buildings designated as historic landmarks or included within the boundaries of a designated historic district or properties for which a preliminary determination of eligibility has been made shall be subject to issuance of certificates of appropriateness.
B. Certificate Required: A certificate of appropriateness issued by the commission shall be required before a building permit, moving permit, or demolition permit is issued for any designated historic landmark or any building, structure or site or part thereof in the historic district. A certificate of appropriateness is required if the building, structure or site will be altered, extended, or repaired in such a manner as to produce a major change in the exterior appearance of such building or structure. Such major changes include, but are not limited to:
1. Major changes by addition, alteration, maintenance, reconstruction, rehabilitation, renovation or repair.
2. Any new construction and demolition in whole or in part requiring a permit from the city.
3. Moving a building.
4. Any construction, alteration, demolition, or removal affecting a significant exterior architectural feature as specified in the ordinance designating the landmark or historic district.
C. Exemptions From Certificate:
1. An exception to the certificate of appropriateness shall be made if the applicant shows to the city planner that a failure to grant the permit will cause an imminent threat to life, health or property.
2. A certificate of appropriateness shall not be required for paint, landscaping, fencing, or driveways; provided, that said landscaping, fencing or driveway work or repair does not alter the location of said landscaping, fencing or driveways, and does not result in an alteration of the footprint of the structure, landscape area or fence or driveway location. In the event there is an effect on the landscape area or fence or driveway, then the certificate of appropriateness is at the discretion of the city planner in consultation with the chairman of the commission.
D. Application: Applications for a certificate of appropriateness shall be made available at city hall. Such applications shall be completed and submitted to city hall and shall be forwarded to the Charleston historic preservation commission. Every application affecting a designated historic landmark or any building, structure or site or part thereof in a historic district for a demolition permit, a building permit, or a moving permit, including plans and specifications, shall be forwarded by the planning department to the historic preservation commission within seven (7) days following receipt of the application by city hall. The application for issuance of a certificate of appropriateness must include:
1. Street address of property involved.
2. Legal description of the property involved or plat designation (such as is available from the assessor's office or from a tax bill).
3. Brief description of the present improvements situated on the property.
4. A detailed description of the construction, alteration, demolition or use proposed, together with any architect drawings or sketches if those services have been utilized by the applicant, and if not, a sufficient description of the construction, alteration, demolition, and use to enable the commission to determine what final appearance and use of the real estate will be.
5. Owner's name.
6. Developer's name, if different from owner. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004)
7. Name of architect/engineer, if used.
E. Standards: In making a determination whether to approve or deny an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Charleston historic preservation commission shall be guided by the secretary of the interior's "Standards For Rehabilitation".
The standards are to be applied to specific rehabilitation projects in a reasonable manner, taking into consideration economic and technical feasibility. Said standards being:
1. A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.
2. The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided.
3. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.
4. Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.
5. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property shall be preserved.
6. Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence.
7. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of the structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.
8. Significant archaeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.
10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired. (Ord. 06-O-48, 11-7-2006)
F. Design Guidelines: Design guidelines for applying the criteria for review of certificates of appropriateness shall, at a minimum, consider the following architectural criteria:
1. Height: The height of any proposed alteration or construction should be compatible with the style and character of the landmark or of contributing structures within a designated district and with surrounding structures in a historic district.
2. Proportions Of Windows And Doors: The proportions and relationships between doors and windows should be compatible with the architectural style and character of the landmark or of contributing structures within a designated district.
3. Relationship Of Building Masses And Spaces: The relationship of a structure within a historic district to the open space between it and adjoining structures should be compatible.
4. Roof Shape: The design of the roof, fascia, and cornice should be compatible with the architectural style and character of the landmark or of contributing structures within a designated district.
5. Scale: The scale of the structure after alteration, construction, or partial demolition should be compatible with its architectural style and character and with surrounding structures in a historic district.
6. Directional Expression: Facades in historic districts should blend with other structures with regard to directional expression. Structures in a historic district should be compatible with the dominant horizontal or vertical expression of surrounding structures. The directional expression of a landmark after alteration, construction, or partial demolition should be compatible with its original architectural style and character.
7. Architectural Details: Architectural details, including types of materials, colors, and textures, should be treated so as to make the landmark compatible with its original architectural style and character of a landmark or of contributing structures within a designated district.
8. New Structures: New structures in a historic district shall be compatible with the architectural styles and design in said district. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004)
G. Issuance Of A Certificate Of Appropriateness: Upon approval of the application, the commission shall direct the recording secretary to issue the signed certificate of appropriateness to the applicant with copies forwarded to the building official. A certificate of appropriateness shall be invalid if changes in the plans reviewed by the commission are necessary in obtaining a building permit or if the building permit issued for the same work becomes invalid. The certificate of appropriateness remains valid for the same period of validity as the building permit. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004; amd. Ord. 06-O-48, 11-7-2006)
H. Appeals: In the event of denial of an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the applicant may amend the application to accommodate commission objections or request the application be forwarded to the city council. Negative recommendations forwarded to city council require a four-fifths (4/5) majority vote by council to overrule the commission. (Ord. 04-O-51, 10-19-2004)