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(A) (1) A permit shall be obtained before any work affecting the exterior appearance of a resource is performed within a historic district. The person, individual, partnership, firm, corporation, organization, institution or agency of government proposing to do that work shall file an application for a permit with the inspector of buildings. Upon receipt of a complete application, the inspector of buildings shall immediately refer the application, along with all required supporting materials that make the application complete to the Commission. 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. The commission shall not issue a certificate of appropriateness unless the applicant certifies in the application that the property where work will be undertaken has, or will have before the proposed project completion date, a fire alarm system or a smoke alarm complying with the requirements of the Stille-DeRossett-Hale single state construction code act, 1972 PA 230, M.C.L.A. §§ 125.1501 to 125.1531. A local unit may charge a reasonable fee to process a permit application.
(2) The Commission shall file certificates of appropriateness, notices to proceed, and denials of applications for permits with the Inspector of Buildings. A permit shall not be issued until the Commission has acted as prescribed by this chapter.
(3) If an application is for work that will adversely affect the exterior of a resource the Commission considers valuable to the city, the state or the nation, and the Commission determines that the alteration or loss of that resource will adversely affect the public purpose of the city, state or nation, the Commission shall attempt to establish with the owner of the resource an economically feasible plan for the preservation of the resource.
(4) The failure of the Commission to act on an application within 60 calendar days after the date a complete application is filed with the Commission, unless an extension is agreed upon in writing by the applicant and the Commission, shall be considered to constitute approval.
(5) The Commission may charge a reasonable fee to process a permit application.
(Prior Code, § 1.512)
(B) If a permit application is denied, the decision shall be binding on the inspector or other authority. A denial shall be accompanied by a written explanation by the Commission of the reasons for denial and, if appropriate, a notice that an application may be re-submitted for Commission review when the suggested changes have been made. The denial shall also include the notification of the applicant’s right to appeal to the state’s Historic Preservation Review Board and to the Circuit Court.
(Prior Code, § 1.513)
(C) Work within a 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 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 structure’s 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, 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 events 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; and/or
(4) Retaining the resource is not in the interest of the majority of the community.
(Prior Code, § 1.514)
(D) (1) An applicant aggrieved by a decision of the Commission concerning a permit application may file an appeal with the state’s Historic Preservation Review Board. The appeal shall be filed within 60 calendar days after the decision is furnished to the applicant. The appellant may submit all or part of the appellant’s evidence and arguments in written form. The state’s Historic Preservation Review Board shall consider an appeal at its first regularly scheduled meeting after receiving the appeal. A permit applicant aggrieved by the decision of the state’s Historic Preservation Review Board may appeal the decision to the Circuit Court having jurisdiction over the Historic District Commission whose decision was appealed to the state’s Historic Preservation Review Board.
(2) Any citizen or duly organized historic preservation organization in the city, as well as resource property owners, jointly or severally aggrieved by a decision of the Historic District Commission may appeal the decision to the Circuit Court; except that, a permit applicant aggrieved by a decision rendered under this chapter may not appeal to the court without first exhausting the right to appeal to the state’s Historic Preservation Review Board.
(Prior Code, § 1.515)
(E) When work has been done upon a resource without a permit, and the Commission finds that the work does not qualify for a certificate of appropriateness, the Commission may require an owner to restore the resource to the condition that the resource was in before the inappropriate work or to modify the work so that it qualifies for a certificate of appropriateness. If the owner does not comply with the restoration or modification requirement within a reasonable time, the Commission may seek an order from the Circuit Court to require the owner to restore the resource to its former condition or to modify the work so that it qualifies for a certificate of appropriateness. If the owner does not comply or cannot comply with the order of the court, the Commission or its agents may enter the property and conduct work necessary to restore the resource to its former condition or modify the work so that it qualifies for a certificate of appropriateness in accordance with the court’s order. The costs of the work done shall be charged to the owner, and may be levied by the city as a special assessment against the property. When acting pursuant to an order of the Circuit Court, the Commission or its agents may enter a property for purposes of this section.
(Prior Code, § 1.516)
(Ord. 706, passed 10-17-2005; Ord. 751, passed 7-18-2011; Ord. 800, passed 4-15-2019)