(A)   Established; composition; appointment; compensation. There is hereby established the Community Appearance Commission, to consist of at least seven (7) regular members appointed by City Council, and no more than fifteen (15).  One (1) of the regular members shall be employed as an Agricultural Agent in Union County who shall serve as a voting ex officio member.  The commission shall serve without compensation.  However, members of the commission may be reimbursed for actual expenses incidental to the performance of their duties within the limits of any funds available to the commission.
   (B)   Terms; reappointment. Members of the Community Appearance Commission shall serve four (4) year terms. Membership of the commission is declared to be an office that may be held concurrently with any other elected or appointive office pursuant to Article VI, Section 9, of the Constitution.
   (C)   Qualifications. All members of the Community Appearance Commission shall be residents of the territorial zoning jurisdiction of the city at the time of appointment.  Where possible, appointments shall be made in such a manner as to maintain on the commission at all times a majority of members who have had special training or experience in a design field, such as architecture, landscape design, horticulture, city planning, or a closely related field.
   (D)   Meetings; generally. The commission shall establish a meeting time, and shall meet at least quarterly and more often as it shall determine and require.  The chairman may call a special meeting upon request of a majority of the members of the Board.  All meetings of the commission shall be open to the public, and reasonable notice of time and place thereof shall be given to the public. All meetings shall conform to the North Carolina Open Meetings Law, G.S. § 143-318.9 et seq.
   (E)   Meetings; attendance.  Any member of the commission who misses more than three (3) consecutive meetings, or more than half the regular meetings in a calendar year shall be subject to removal and replacement by City Council.  Absences due to sickness, death or other emergencies of like nature shall be recognized as approved absences and shall not affect the member's status on the Board; except, that in the event of a long illness or other such case for prolonged absence, the member shall be replaced.
   (F)   Rules and records; minutes; quorum. The commission shall adopt rules for the transaction of its business and shall keep a record of its members'attendance and of its resolutions, discussions, findings and recommendations, which shall be public record. A majority of the members shall be considered as a quorum for the transaction of business.
   (G)   Powers and duties of the Commission. The Community Appearance Commission, upon its appointment, shall make careful study of the visual problems and needs of the municipality or county within its area of zoning jurisdiction, and shall make any plans and carry out any programs that will, in accordance with the powers herein granted, enhance and improve the visual quality and aesthetic characteristics of the municipality or county.  To this end, the City Council may confer upon the Community Appearance Commission the following powers and duties:
      (1)   To initiate, promote and assist in the implementation of programs of general community beautification in the City of Monroe;
      (2)   To seek to coordinate the activities of individuals, agencies and organizations, public and private, whose plans, activities and programs bear upon the appearance of the City of Monroe;
      (3)   To provide leadership and guidance in matters of area or community design and appearance to individuals, and to public and private organizations and agencies;
      (4)   To make studies of the visual characteristics and problems within the City of Monroe, including surveys and inventories of an appropriate nature, and to recommend standards and policies of design for the entire area, any portion or neighborhood thereof, or any project to be undertaken;
      (5)   To prepare both general and specific plans for the improved appearance of the City of Monroe.  These plans may include the entire area or any part thereof, and may include private as well as public property.  The plans shall set forth desirable standards and goals for the aesthetic enhancement of the City's zoning jurisdiction, including public ways and areas, open spaces, and public and private buildings and projects;
      (6)   To participate, in any way deemed appropriate by City Council and specified in the ordinance establishing the commission, in the implementation of its plans.  To this end, the City Council may include in the ordinance the following powers:
         (a)   To request from proper officials of any public agency or body, including agencies of the State and its political subdivisions, its plans for public buildings, facilities, or projects to be located within the City's planning jurisdiction;
         (b)   To review these plans and to make recommendations regarding their aesthetic suitability to the appropriate agency, or to the City Council.  All plans shall be reviewed by the commission in a prompt and expeditious manner, and all recommendations of the commission with regard to any public project shall be made in writing.  Copies of the recommendations shall be transmitted promptly to the City Council, and to the appropriate agency.
         (c)   To formulate and recommend to the City Council the adoption or amendment of ordinances regarding land use that will, in the opinion of the commission, serve to enhance the appearance of the City of Monroe and its surroundings.
         (d)   To direct the attention of City Council to needed enforcement of any ordinance that may in any way affect the appearance of the City of Monroe.
         (e)   To seek voluntary adherence to the standards and policies of its plans.
         (f)   To enter, in the performance of its official duties and at reasonable times, upon private lands and make examinations or surveys.
         (g)   To promote public interest in and an understanding of its recommendations, studies, and plans, and to that end to prepare, publish and distribute to the public such studies and reports as will, in the opinion of the commission, advance the cause of improved municipal or county appearance.
         (h)   To conduct public meetings and hearings, giving reasonable notice to the public thereof.
   (H)   Staff services; advisory council. The Community Appearance Commission may recommend to the City Council suitable arrangements for the procurement or provision of staff or technical services for the commission, and the Council may appropriate such amount as it deems necessary to carry out the purposes for which it was created. The commission may establish an advisory council or other committees.
   (I)   Annual report.  The Community Appearance Commission shall submit an annual report of its activities and submit recommendations to the City Council and shall submit copies of its minutes and proceedings of its regular and special meetings. The annual report of the Community Appearance Commission will be submitted by January 30 of each year.
   (J)   Receipt and expenditure of funds. The commission may receive contributions from private agencies, foundations, organizations, individuals, the State or Federal government, or any other source, in addition to any sums appropriated for its use by the City Council. It may accept and disburse these funds for any purpose within the scope of its authority as herein specified. All sums appropriated by the City to further work and purposes of the commission are deemed to be for a public purpose.
(Ord. O-2003-36, passed 6-17-03; Am. Ord. O-2004-11, passed 4-5-04; Am. Ord. O-2009-32, passed 11-3-09)