(a)   The demolition of an historic landmark designated by the Historic Commission shall not be permitted unless one of the following conditions exist:
      (1)   Demolition has been ordered by the Development Code Administrator or Chief Building Inspector for public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition that constitutes an emergency;
      (2)   The owner demonstrates that the historic landmark is either not habitable or otherwise not safe, the repair, rehabilitation or restoration of the property is not economically feasible and the property's condition did not result from damage which has been purposefully caused to the property, or allowed to occur due to the gross neglect of the owner with the intention of making the restoration of the property not economically feasible.  For purposes of this section, "economically feasible " means that the costs of the repair, rehabilitation or restoration of an historic landmark, when combined with the cost of the land, do not exceed the fair market value of the real property after the repair, rehabilitation or restoration of the historic landmark has been completed. No permit to demolish will be permitted under this division (a)(2) or (a)(3) hereof unless the owner or owner's representative obtains final approval from the Historic Commission for the structure which will replace the structure to be demolished;
      (3)   The owner demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Historic Commission that denial of the demolition is inconsistent with a legitimate interest in the health, safety and welfare of the City; or
      (4)   The demolition request is for an inappropriate addition or a portion of a structure that is not historically significant, and, the demolition will not adversely affect those parts of the structure that are significant as determined by the Historic Commission.
   (b)   Whoever constructs, reconstructs, or alters any exterior architectural feature within the historic district without a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be required to restore and reconstruct such features in full detail.
   (c)   No historic landmark may be moved from its current location unless the Historic Commission determines that the moving of the property will not materially and adversely impact the historical character of the building or structure or other historic landmarks in proximity to the subject historic landmark.
   (d)   Appeal for denied demolition and alteration.
      (1)   Application for demolition. An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed demolition has been denied may apply for relief on the grounds of hardship. Substantial hardship does not include an applicant's inability to maximize return on his or her investment. Deterioration of a historic property due to neglect by its owner does not create the basis of finding of hardship.
         A.   In order to prove the existence of hardship, the applicant must establish that:
            1.   The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible; and
            2.   The property cannot be adapted for any other use, whether by the current owner or by a purchaser, which would result in a reasonable return; and
            3.   Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed. Efforts must be proven by different methods of documentation.
      (2)   Application for alteration. An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness for a proposed alteration has been denied may apply for relief on the grounds of hardship. In order to prove the existence of hardship the applicant shall establish that the property is incapable of earning a reasonable return regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible.
      (3)   To prove economic hardship the applicant shall submit sufficient information to enable the Historic Commission to make an accurate assessment of economic conditions affecting the application. In considering cases of economic hardship the Commission may solicit expert testimony or request that the applicant submit any items it needs, including but not limited to the items below. The level of documentation may vary as appropriate to each case; however, the Commission's assessment shall be based solely on the property's economic fundamentals and not the financial capacity of the owner.
         A.   Documentation on alternative uses and potential economic return they will earn could include, but is not limited to, the following:
            1.   Estimate of the cost of the proposed redevelopment, 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 continued use of the property and the issued Certificate of Appropriateness;
            2.   A report from a licensed engineer or architect with experience in rehabilitation as to the structural soundness of any buildings on the property and their suitability for rehabilitation including any evidence that deterioration has progressed to the extent that rehabilitation is not practical;
            3.   Estimated market value of the property in its current condition; after completion of the proposed development, alteration, demolition or removal, and after changes recommended by the Historic Commission for the renovation of the existing property for continued use;
            4.   Testimony from a third party architect, developer, appraiser, or other real estate professional experienced in rehabilitation or reuse of existing buildings on the property taking into consideration any existing evidence that deterioration has progressed to the extent that rehabilitation is not practical.
         B.   Documentation on the current economic return on the property could include, but is not limited to the following:
            1.   The amount paid for the property, the date of purchase, and the party from whom purchased, including a description of the relationship, if any, between the owner of record or applicant and the person from whom the historic property was purchased;
            2.   If the property is income-producing, the annual gross income from the property for the previous two years; itemized operating and maintenance expenses for the previous two years; and depreciation deduction and annual cash flow after debt service, if any, during the same period;
            3.   Real estate taxes from the previous two years and assessed value of the property according to the most recent assessed valuation;
            4.   All appraisals obtained within the previous two years by the owner or applicant in connection with the purchase, financing or ownership of the property.
         C.   Documentation if property is not able to be sold, considered in relation to any listings of the property for sale or rent, price asked, and offers received, if any, within the two previous years, could include, but is not limited to, testimony and relevant documents regarding:
            1.   Any real estate broker or firm engaged to sell or lease the property;
            2.   Reasonableness of the price or rent sought by the applicant;
            3.   Any advertisements laced for sale or rent of the property;
            4.   Economic incentives and/or funding available to the applicant through federal, state, city, or private programs.
            5.   All purchase offers that were rejected during period of sale.
      (4)   Hardship application procedure.
         A.   After receiving written notification from the Historic Commission of the denial of a Certificate of Appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process. No building permit, demolition permit or zoning permit shall be issued unless the Commission makes a finding that a hardship exists.
         B.   The applicant must file an application in writing to the Development Code Administrator outlining the reasons for the hardship request.
         C.   The Historic Commission may hold a public hearing on the hardship application at which an opportunity will be provided for proponents and opponents of the application to present their views.
         D.   The applicant shall consult in good faith with the Historic Commission, local preservation groups, and interested parties in a diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property. The Commission may impose a waiting period not to exceed 60 days in order to seek alternatives prior to making a decision regarding an application for alteration and not to exceed six months for an application for demolition. During the waiting period, the Commission and the applicant shall undertake continuing discussions for the purpose of finding a means to preserve the structure, site or area involved or explore other alternatives for requested alteration of structures.
         E.   If the Historic Commission and the applicant cannot agree on a means of preserving the structure through a demolition hardship appeal, within 90 days after the start of the waiting period, the Development Code Administrator shall request that the Planning Director obtain approval and the Director shall have the authority to order necessary appraisals of the market value of the land and structures, if any, comprising the real estate on which the proposed demolition is to be done. The appraisal shall then be referred to the City Manager who shall, within 15 days after the designated six-month waiting period, transmit the application, the appraisals, his recommendation relative to the advisability of immediately purchasing such real estate and the status of the fund from which the purchase money is to be appropriated, to the City Council.
         F.   Within 30 calendar days of the receipt of the application and the report of the City Manager, the City Council shall determine whether or not the immediate acquisition of such property is in the best interest of the public. In the event of an affirmative decision, the City Council shall direct the City Manager to take the necessary steps for immediate acquisition. In the event of a negative decision, the City Council shall either direct the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness, in accordance with applicable law, or, on the basis of the public's best interest, deny the certificate.
         G.   All decisions of the Historic Commission shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant and be filed with the Clerk of City Council. The Commission decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application. If the application is granted, the Commission shall approve only such work as to alleviate the hardship.
(Ord. O2018-02, passed 2-20-2018; Am. Ord. O2019-104, passed 1-7-2020)