Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) Hearing Date for Certificate of Appropriateness. An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness shall require review by the Preservation Commission at an administrative hearing.
(1) General applications. Upon receipt of a "complete" application for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Zoning Administrator, the Clerk for the Preservation Commission shall contact the Chairman to set the date and time for an administrative hearing to review the application. The administrative hearing shall be designated neither less than ten (10) days nor more than forty-five (45) days from the date of application. The Clerk shall forward complete applications to the members of the Preservation Commission as soon as possible.
(2) Hearing date for demolition applications.
A. Where a structure has not been reviewed for designation as a Historic Resource, but the building or structure at issue is found to be both "significant" and "preferably preserved," review for demolition may be delayed up to ninety (90) days to allow for a determination of historical or architectural merit.
B. Where a structure has been recommended as a Historic Resource by the Preservation Commission and is pending Council approval, the hearing date shall be delayed and the status quo preserved pending designation to prevent anticipatory demolitions.
C. Where a structure is designated as a Historic Resource by Council, a hearing on the demolition application may be delayed up to twenty-four (24) months to allow the Preservation Commission, preservation organizations, concerned citizens, and others to explore alternatives to demolition, such as finding a purchaser for the structure or raising money for its rehabilitation.
(b) Public Notice of Hearing. The public shall be given notice of: the date, time, and place of the administrative hearing; a short description of the purpose, location of the subject property, and the review body involved; and informed that a copy of the application, together with all maps, plans, and reports submitted with reference thereto, shall be on file for public examination in the office of the Zoning Administrator. Notice shall be provided as follows:
(1) First class mail. The Zoning Administrator shall cause to be provided written notice by first class mail or hand delivery to the applicant and all property owners within two hundred (200) feet of the subject property at least ten (10) days in advance of the date the Preservation Commission is to convene to review the request. Such notice shall also be sent by first-class mail to any person who within the past twelve (12) months has submitted a written request to the Zoning Administrator to be notified of any application for a Certificate of Appropriateness.
(2) Sign. Notice shall also be posted by a sign placed by the Zoning Administrator on the subject property and visible from the public right-of-way for at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing.
(c) Administrative Hearing Proceedings. All administrative hearings of the Preservation Commission shall be open to the public.
(1) Upon convening a public hearing, the Chairman shall:
A. State the application pending, indicate the dates and methods public notice was provided, and state the standard set forth in this chapter for the granting of the application.
B. The Chairman shall recognize any City staff report and recommendation prepared on the application.
C. Administer the oath to each person presenting testimony to the Preservation Commission at the hearing. The oath may be given on an individual basis or to all persons present; however, where the oath is given as a group, the Chairman shall verify that each person who presents testimony was present and gave an affirmative response.
D. The applicant and any other proponent parties in interest shall be invited to give testimony prior to opponent parties in interest. Any party in interest may be represented by an attorney or expert witness. All testimony shall be subject to cross-examination.
E. Prior to dismissing a witness, the Chairman shall recognize members of the Preservation Commission with questions or comments regarding the testimony. Members of the Preservation Commission should examine and compare the application and testimony against the applicable Historic Design Review Guidelines established for the Preservation District, and probe to separate fact from opinion and lay opinion from expert opinion. All questions and responses shall be directed through the Chairman.
F. Where additional time or information not available at the hearing is required, the Chairman may continue a hearing to a date, time, and place announced at the time the hearing is continued. Such a continuance shall not require additional public notice.
G. Upon the presentation of all relevant testimony, the Chairman shall close the administrative hearing and the Preservation Commission shall deliberate upon the application and reach a decision.
(2) The Preservation Commission shall first determine if the structure is identified by the City as a Historic Resource or has the potential for designation as a Historic Resource. If the property has the potential for designation as a Historic Resource, the Preservation Commission shall recommend it to Council and proceed with review of the application according to the Historic Design Review Guidelines as if the property has been identified as a Historic Resource. If the application does not involve a Historic Resource, the Preservation Commission shall proceed with review according to the Historic Design Review Guidelines for properties not designated as Historic Resources.
(d) Decision by the Preservation Commission. Regardless of any continuances of the hearing, the Preservation Commission shall make every reasonable effort to render a decision on the application within forty-five (45) days after the application was received, unless an extension of time is agreed to by the applicant.
(1) The Preservation Commission shall consider the application(s), plans and specifications, and determine whether the proposed construction, reconstruction, alterations, or demolition is appropriate, or whether it has an adverse effect upon the purposes of the Preservation District. The Preservation Commission shall issue its decision in the form of a written Final Order in which it expressly sets forth the findings and conclusions of fact used as the basis or rationale for the decision.
(2) Approval. If the applicant has proven by the preponderance of the evidence on the whole record that the proposed activity will have no adverse effect on a Historic Resource or the historic character or architectural integrity of all or a portion the Preservation District, then the Preservation Commission shall vote to grant the application and cause the Chairman to endorse a Certificate of Appropriateness and return the plans and specifications to the applicant, retaining a copy thereof to the extent that is used for deliberation in the hearing. All evidence and record of the proceedings may be maintained by the office of the Zoning Adminstrator, subject to disposal in accordance with a record retention schedule.
A. Approval Subject to Modifications. The Certificate of Appropriateness may include any reasonable conditions placed upon the approval regarding the proposed activity. Such conditions shall be made part of the Certificate of Appropriateness and of any subsequent zoning approval. Receiving a Certificate of Appropriateness does not negate requirements to adhere to all other City zoning regulations and City, County and/or State building regulations.
B. Demolition. A Certificate of Appropriateness may be issued for demolition upon a finding that:
1. The structure itself, or in relation to its environs, has no significant historical, architectural, aesthetic or cultural value in its present restored condition; or,
2. Realistic alternatives (including adaptive uses) are not economically viable because of the nature or cost of work necessary to preserve such structure or realize any appreciable part of such value. Such finding shall require the applicant to submit sufficient evidence to meet the burden of proof that "bona fide," reasonable, and unsuccessful efforts to locate a purchaser for the building or structure who is willing to preserve, rehabilitate or restore the building or structure; or,
3. The demolition is consistent with, or materially furthers, the criteria and purpose of this chapter; or,
4. The applicant has agreed to accept a Demolition Permit on specified conditions approved by the Preservation Commission.
C. Additional Demolition Instruction. When a Certificate of Appropriateness is issued for demolition, the applicant shall receive further instruction that new in-fill construction in the Preservation District is subject to review by the Preservation Commission.
D. Termination. The Certificate of Appropriateness will be valid for one (1) year from the date of approval.
(3) Denial. If however, the Preservation Commission determines that the proposed construction, reconstruction, alteration, or demolition will have an adverse effect on the District and violates the spirit and purposes of these regulations, then the Preservation Commission shall deny issuance of the Certificate of Appropriateness. If the Certificate of Appropriateness is denied, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the following:
A. The reasons for denial, and recommendations for a subsequent resubmission of a modified application, if any.
B. The Preservation Commission shall offer to undertake continuing and meaningful discussions with the applicant over a period of at least thirty (30) days, but not to exceed six (6) months, from the date of denial, during which time the Preservation Commission shall search for an acceptable compromise proposal that would allow for approval.
C. Denial of Application for Demolition. In the case of a denial of an application for demolition, in addition to the offer to undertake continuing and meaningful discussions in paragraph "B" above, the Preservation Commission shall offer to investigate financial and other opportunities for the preservation of the subject property, including purchase by a third party. The Preservation Commission shall offer to continue to schedule good faith discussions at least every forty-five (45) days after the initial administrative hearing.
1. If a compromise proposal is accepted by both parties, or if the Preservation Commission later determines that preservation of a structure proposed for demolition is not feasible, the Preservation Commission may henceforth reverse its Final Order and issue a Certificate of Appropriateness.
2. If the applicant fails to meet with the Preservation Commission in good faith at the time specified, then discussions may terminate. Upon termination for any reason, the Preservation Commission shall inform the applicant in writing of the termination of such good faith discussions and that the Final Order for denial of the application shall stand.
3. If, after holding such good faith discussion over the continued discussion period, no alternative property use is developed or no offer to preserve the structure or architecturally significant features is made by the applicant, a third party, or the City, then the Preservation Commission may also consider whether failure to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness will create a situation where, because of the character of the property, it cannot be used and the result would be a taking, violating the owner's Constitutional rights. If such a finding is made, the Preservation Commission shall further determine whether a Certificate of Appropriateness may be issued without substantial detriment to the public welfare and without substantial derogation from the purposes of this Ordinance. In such event, the Preservation Commission may reverse its Final Order and grant the application, with or without modifications.
(Ord. 074-10. Passed 12-20-10.)