§ 156.432  POWERS AND DUTIES.
   (A)   Survey and inventory.
      (1)   Pursuant to the town's historic district certified local government (CLG) status, the Commission may request funding for and authorize a new survey and inventory of properties, or update of a prior inventory, provided that such survey or update is conducted in accordance with professional standards under qualified supervision; and is coordinated with and complementary to those standards of the State Historic Preservation Office; and follows procedures described in the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Program: Survey Manual.
      (2)   The Commission shall maintain a local survey and inventory of buildings, structures, and sites. These records shall be available to the public.
      (3)   In addition to maintaining CLG status, the survey and inventory may be used to record the historic architecture of the town; to study a given area in order to evaluate eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places or district status; or to monitor change to the architectural fabric of Mount Pleasant.
      (4)   The 2010 comprehensive survey of the district entitled "A Historic Resources Survey of the Old Village Historic District" shall be the survey referenced for any of the uses listed above.
   (B)   Designation of historic properties. The Commission shall review the local survey and inventory and make recommendations for historic designation to the Town Council, based on any of the following criteria.
      (1)   A property, be it a structure or site, may be designated historic if it was built at least 50 years before the current year, and:
         (a)   Has inherent character, interest, or value as part of the development or heritage of the community, state, or nation; or
         (b)   Is the site of an event significant in history; or
         (c)   Has an association with a person or persons who contributed significantly to the culture and development of the community, state, or nation; or
         (d)   Exemplifies the cultural, political, economic, social, ethnic, architectural, archeological or historic heritage of the community, state, or nation; or
         (e)   Embodies distinguishing characteristics of a type, style, period, or specimen in architecture or engineering; or
         (f)   Is the work of a designer whose work has influenced significantly the development of the community, state, or nation; or
         (g)   Contains elements of design, detail, materials, or craftsmanship that represent a significant innovation; or
         (h)   Is part of or related to a distinctive element of community planning; or
         (i)   Represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood, waterfront or community; or
         (j)   Represents an archeological site, be it a prominent land feature with significance to the development of the historic districts, a prehistory site, or other culturally significant place important to the history of Mount Pleasant, the historic districts, the state or the nation; or
         (k)   Embodies distinguishing characteristics of a type of land development character through the prevailing patterns of existing lots, densities, spacing of homes, lot sizes and shapes, and other characteristics that exemplify the culture, traditions, beliefs, practices, lifeways, arts, crafts, and social institutions that constitute the heritage of the community.
      (2)   Ordinarily structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within 50 years before the current year shall not be considered eligible for historic designation. However, such properties may be recommended if they fall within the following categories:
         (a)   A building or structure removed from its original location, but which is significant primarily for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; or
         (b)   A reconstructed building, when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; or
         (c)   A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own historical significance; or
         (d)   A property achieving significance within 50 years before the current year if it is of exceptional importance.
      (3)   The Commission may review properties for historic designation at its discretion or when prompted when a structure or site has achieved 50 years since construction.
      (4)   Owners of properties recommended for designation shall be provided notice and an opportunity for a public hearing before the Town Council prior to a final decision. Specifically, the owners shall be notified, in writing via certified mail, 30 days before the Town Council's review of the recommendation, and may appear before Town Council to support or oppose the proposed historic designation.
      (5)   Upon approval of the Town Council, designated districts, district extensions, buildings, structures and sites shall be preserved and protected under the regulations of this chapter, or the design guidelines referenced herein.
      (6)   Property owners who wish to appeal the decision of the Town Council may do so before the courts of the state, as provided in South Carolina Code of Laws.
   (C)   Creation of new historic districts and the reduction or elimination of existing historic districts.
      (1)   The Commission shall have the power to recommend to the Town Council the creation of new historic districts, and the reduction or elimination of existing historic districts. The recommendation shall be based upon the properties within the district meeting criteria of § 156.432(B).
      (2)   Owners of properties to be included in new or expanded districts or those eliminated from districts shall be notified, in writing, 30 days prior to consideration by the Town Council. Owners may appear before the Town Council to voice their opinion on the designation, and may object to the decision of the Town Council to designate their property by filing suit before the courts of the state, as provided in the South Carolina Code of Laws.
      (3)   Upon approval by the Town Council, newly created historic districts shall be treated as new use districts, with regulations and guidelines appropriate for that district and area of the town and shall be under the authority of the HDPC.
   (D)   Nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.
      (1)   The Commission may nominate buildings, structures, sites, objects, or districts to the National Register of Historic Places, according to the criteria and registration requirements set forth by the National Park Service which oversees the National Register of Historic Places.
      (2)   The Commission shall have first review and evaluation of all proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places within its jurisdiction, including any that may have been submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office. Owners of properties to be reviewed by the Commission shall be notified, in writing, 30 days prior to the Commission's review.
      (3)   The Commission shall forward all reviewed nominations to the State Historic Preservation Office, with recommendations for consideration by the State Board of Review.
      (4)   The Commission shall not have the authority to nominate properties directly to the National Register of Historic Places; only the State Board of Review and the State Historic Preservation Office shall have this final review authority.
   (E)   Identification of historic properties and districts.
      (1)   The Secretary shall maintain a map illustrating all historic properties as defined herein, which may be amended from time to time as allowed within these provisions.
      (2)   All locally designated historic districts shall be clearly shown through a written description and map located within each Historic Overlay District.
   (F)   Design review.
      (1)   It shall be the duty of the Commission to review applications regarding moving, demolition, new construction, exterior alteration, building additions, site alterations, hardscaping, walkways, driveways, patios, walls, fences and docks in the historic district.
      (2)   This review shall follow established criteria in accordance with approved design guidelines.
   (G)   Design guidelines.
      (1)   In order to accomplish the design review as provided above, the Commission shall adopt design guidelines.
      (2)   Such design guidelines, and any subsequent amendments thereto, shall be published and made available to the public.
      (3)   Amendments to design guidelines shall take effect at the second regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the HDPC following the approval.
      (4)   The Commission shall readopt design guidelines at their first regularly scheduled monthly meeting of each year.
   (H)   Demolition by neglect enforcement; petition and hearing.
      (1)   All charges of demolition by neglect must be initiated by a petition.
      (2)   Petitions for a finding of demolition by neglect must include: a written description and photographic evidence of said neglect; a summary of the detrimental effect upon the character of the historic district as a whole or the life and character of the property itself; and signatures of five residents or property owners who are bringing the petition. Residents or property owners residing at the same address shall count only once toward the total number of signatures.
      (3)   Between 30 and 45 days prior to hearing a petition to find that a building is being demolished by means of neglect, the Commission shall notify the owner of the property in question of the time, date and place that the petition will be heard.
      (4)   If, pursuant to the hearing, the Commission finds that a building within the limits of the historic district is being demolished by means of neglect, the Commission shall contact the property owner to instruct him or her to bring the building into compliance with the current design guidelines and provisions of this subchapter.
      (5)   If the property owner does not respond, apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness, or initiate repair not requiring a COA within 90 days of the Commission's issuance of notification, the Commission shall report to the Zoning Administrator that the building is in violation of the design guidelines, providing their findings for such violation(s). The Zoning Administrator may then take appropriate enforcement action.
      (6)   If the property owner wishes to make a claim of substantial economic hardship, the property owner must submit evidence describing the circumstances of hardship. Evidence may include, but is not be limited to:
         (a)   Nature of ownership (individual, business, or nonprofit) or legal possession, custody, and control;
         (b)   Financial resources of the owner and/or parties in interest (such as tax returns for the past two years);
         (c)   Cost of repairs;
         (d)   Assessed value of the land and improvements;
         (e)   Real estate taxes for the past two years;
         (f)   Amount paid for the property, date of purchase, and party from whom purchased, including a description of the relationship between the owner and the person from whom the property was purchased, or other means of acquisition of title, such as by gift or inheritance;
         (g)   Annual debt service, if any, for previous two years;
         (h)   Any listing of the property for sale or rent, price asked, and offers received, if any;
         (i)   Annual gross income from the property for the previous two years;
         (j)   Itemized operating and maintenance expenses for the previous two years, including proof that adequate and competent management procedures were followed; and
         (k)   Annual cash flow, if any, for the previous two years.
      (7)   In the event that the Commission finds substantial economic hardship, the finding shall be accompanied by a recommended plan to relieve the economic hardship. This plan may include loans or grants from public, private, or nonprofit sources, acquisition by purchase or eminent domain, or relaxation of the provisions of this subchapter sufficient to mitigate substantial economic hardship.
      (8)   Nothing in this section shall diminish the town's power to declare a building unsafe or in violation of the minimum housing code.
   (I)   Demolition.  The Commission shall review all requests for demolition based on the following criteria:
      (1)   Historic buildings and structures. Historic properties comprised of buildings and structures designated through nomination by inclusion in a survey or survey update, or by individual nomination, shall be afforded the highest degree of preservation. Demolition may only be allowed if one or more of the following conditions are met, with the burden of proof falling upon the applicant:
         (a)   Where the public safety and welfare requires the removal of the building; or
         (b)   If the building or structure cannot be economically rehabilitated on the site to provide a reasonable income or residential environment compared to other structures in the general area; or
         (c)   A finding of substantial economic hardship is established by the Commission.
      (2)   Buildings and structures lacking historic designation status.  In the case of buildings or structures lacking historic property designation, the Commission may, at its discretion, first make a determination that the building or structure is worthy of individual designation as an historic property pursuant to the provisions of § 156.432(B). If no such determination is made, demolition may then be allowed if one or more of the following conditions are met, with the burden of proof falling upon the applicant:
         (a)   Where the public safety and welfare requires the removal of the building; or
         (b)   The structure cannot be economically rehabilitated on the site to provide a reasonable income or residential environment compared to other structures in the general area; or
         (c)   A finding of substantial economic hardship is established by the Commission; or
         (d)   Where the proposed new development is more compatible with the surrounding area, considering such factors as location and exterior design.
      (3)   Accessory buildings and structures.  In the case of accessory buildings and structures, demolition shall be allowed if one of the following conditions is met, with the burden of proof falling upon the applicant:
         (a)   Where the building or structure is determined not to have any historical significance; or
         (b)   Where the public safety and welfare requires the removal of the building or structure.
      (4)   The Commission may postpone the issuance of a demolition permit for 90 days in order to find an alternative to the demolition, or to find an entity willing to save the building or salvage architectural materials.
      (5)   Where full demolition requests were granted as a result of new construction plans or where the applicant intends to request new construction plans in the future, the permit for demolition shall not be issued until new construction plans have been approved by the Commission and submitted for a building permit.
      (6)   Permits for full demolition without replacement shall only be permitted for accessory structures and shall not be permitted for primary structures.
      (7)   During demolition, nearby sites, structures, and in the case of partial demolitions, connecting structures, shall be protected, and after demolition, the site shall be cleared and cleaned.
(Ord. 06052, passed 6-21-06; Am. Ord. 10080, passed 1-11-11; Am. Ord. 14047, passed 8-12-14; Am. Ord. 19062, passed 11-13-19; Am. Ord. 20042, passed 8-14-20)