§ 4-224  CERTIFICATE OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP.
   (A)   Application on forms prescribed by the Commission for certificate of economic hardship may be made by an owner or his agent who has been denied a certificate of appropriateness for major facade changes, new construction, demolition or a minimum maintenance plan. When a claim of unreasonable economic hardship is made due to the effect of this article, the owner must prove that he cannot realize a reasonable return upon the value of this property or that he cannot make reasonable use of his property. The public benefits obtained from retaining the resource must be analyzed and duly considered by the Commission.
   (B)   In determining the existence of an unreasonable economic hardship, the Commission will base its decision on the information submitted by the applicant and any other information that the Commission may deem relevant. The deteriorated condition of a resource attributable to the owner’s failure to provide proper maintenance over an extended period of time will not be considered a relevant factor in evaluations of economic hardship. Hardship that is attributable to a resource being allowed to deteriorate by past or current owners will be considered self-imposed; restoration costs incurred to remediate such neglect will not be considered. This provision will not be affected by any transfer of ownership by means including, but not limited to, sale, inheritance or gift.
   (C)   Applications for certificates of economic hardship shall be accompanied by the following documents, when relevant. The Commission will determine which documents are relevant to the application in question.
      (1)   An estimate of the cost of the proposed construction, alteration, demolition, or removal and an estimate of any additional cost that would be incurred to comply with the recommendations of the Commission for changes necessary for the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness.
      (2)   The estimated market value of the property in its current condition, after completion of the proposed construction, alteration, demolition or removal, and after completion of work that would incorporate any changes recommended by the Commission.
      (3)   The current fair market value of the property, as determined by the average of at least two independent appraisals made by appraisers licensed by the state.
      (4)   All appraisals obtained within the previous two years by the owner or applicant in connection with his purchase, financing or ownership of the property.
      (5)   Amount paid for the property, the date of purchase of the property or other means of acquisition of title, such as by gift or inheritance, and the party from whom purchased or otherwise acquired, including a description of the relationship, if any, between the owner of record or applicant and the person from whom the property was purchased, and any terms of financing between the seller and buyer.
      (6)   Maintenance records for the property for the previous two years.
      (7)   Annual debt service, if any, for the previous two years.
      (8)   Any listing of the property for sale or rent, price asked and offers received, if any within the previous two years.
      (9)   Any consideration by the owner as to profitable adaptive uses for the property.
      (10)    A report from a licensed engineer or architect in the state with rehabilitation experience as to the soundness of any resources on the property and their suitability for rehabilitation. Such engineer or architect shall be pre-approved by the Commission.
      (11)    A description of the applicant’s plans for the property if demolition or removal is approved and the appropriateness of same in relation to the city’s zoning code and the current guidelines for new construction in a historic district.
      (12)    Replacement plans for the property in question. Replacement plans for this purpose will include, but shall not be limited to, preliminary elevations and site plans.
      (13)    In addition, the owner may provide proof that the owner has the financial ability to complete the replacement project. Providing such proof is optional.
   (D)   The applicant shall submit all necessary materials at least 15 days prior to the Commission meeting in order that staff may review and comment and/or consult on the case. Staff and/or professional comment shall be forwarded to the Commission for consideration and review and made available to the applicant for consideration prior to the meeting.
   (E)   The Commission may require that an applicant furnish such additional information that is relevant to its determination of unreasonable economic hardship. The Commission or staff may also furnish additional information as the Commission believes it relevant. The Commission shall also state which form of financial proof it deems relevant and necessary to a particular case.
   (F)   In the event that any of the required information cannot be obtained by the applicant, the applicant shall file a statement of the information which cannot be obtained and shall describe reasons acceptable to the Commission why such information cannot be obtained.
   (G)   After the application for certificate of economic hardship has been submitted, the applicant shall have the opportunity to address the Commission with regard to the case for economic hardship.
   (H)   The Commission shall review all of the evidence and information required of any applicant for a certificate of economic hardship and make a determination within 45 days of receipt of the application whether the denial of a certificate of appropriateness has deprived, or will deprive, the owner of the property of reasonable use of, or reasonable economic return on, the property. If the Commission disapproves such certificate of economic hardship, the applicant shall proceed with work only when issued a certificate of appropriateness as provided in § 4-220. If the Commission approves such certificate of economic hardship, the applicant and Commission shall agree on the work to be completed, and the certificate of economic hardship shall be issued along with the certificate of appropriateness with the necessary conditions specified.
(Ord. 3075, passed 3-20-01)