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§ 25-309 Request for certificate of appropriateness authorizing demolition, alterations or reconstruction on ground of insufficient return.
   a.   (1)   Except as otherwise provided in paragraph two of this subdivision a, in any case where an application for a permit to demolish any improvement located on a landmark site or in an historic district or containing an interior landmark is filed with the commission, together with a request for a certificate of appropriateness authorizing such demolition, and in any case where an application for a permit to make alterations to or reconstruct any improvement on a landmark site or containing an interior landmark is filed with the commission, and the applicant requests a certificate of appropriateness for such work, and the applicant establishes to the satisfaction of the commission that: (a) the improvement parcel (or parcels) which includes such improvement, as existing at the time of the filing of such request, is not capable of earning a reasonable return; and
   (b)   the owner of such improvement:
      (1)   in the case of an application for a permit to demolish, seeks in good faith to demolish such improvement immediately (a) for the purpose of constructing on the site thereof with reasonable promptness a new building or other income-producing facility, or (b) for the purpose of terminating the operation of the improvement at a loss; or
      (2)   in the case of an application for a permit to make alterations or reconstruct, seeks in good faith to alter or reconstruct such improvement, with reasonable promptness, for the purpose of increasing the return therefrom; the commission, if it determines that the request for such certificate should be denied on the basis of the applicable standards set forth in section 25-307 of this chapter, shall, within ninety days after the filing of the request for such certificate of appropriateness, make a preliminary determination of insufficient return.
      (2)   In any case where any application and request for a certificate of appropriateness mentioned in paragraph one of this subdivision a is filed with the commission with respect to an improvement, the provisions of this section shall not apply to such request if the improvement parcel which includes such improvement has received, for three years next preceding the filing of such request, and at the time of such filing continues to receive, under any provision of law (other than this chapter or section four hundred fifty-eight, four hundred sixty or four hundred seventy-nine of the real property tax law), exemption in whole or in part from real property taxation; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall nevertheless apply to such request if such exemption is and has been received pursuant to section four hundred twenty-a, four hundred twenty-two, four hundred twenty-four, four hundred twenty-five, four hundred twenty-six, four hundred twenty-seven, four hundred twenty-eight, four hundred thirty, four hundred thirty-two, four hundred thirty-four, four hundred thirty-six, four hundred thirty-eight, four hundred forty, four hundred forty-two, four hundred forty-four, four hundred fifty, four hundred fifty-two, four hundred sixty-two, four hundred sixty-four, four hundred sixty-eight, four hundred seventy, four hundred seventy-two or four hundred seventy-four of the real property tax law and the applicant establishes to the satisfaction of the commission, in lieu of the requirements set forth in paragraph one of this subdivision a, that:
         (a)   The owner of such improvement has entered into a bona-fide agreement to sell an estate of freehold or to grant a term of at least twenty years in such improvement parcel, which agreement is subject to or contingent upon the issuance of the certificate of appropriateness or a notice to proceed;
         (b)   The improvement parcel which includes such improvement, as existing at the time of the filing of such request, would not, if it were not exempt in whole or in part from real property taxation, be capable of earning a reasonable return;
         (c)   Such improvement has ceased to be adequate, suitable or appropriate for use for carrying out both (1) the purposes of such owner to which it is devoted and (2) those purposes to which it had been devoted when acquired unless such owner is no longer engaged in pursuing such purposes; and
         (d)   The prospective purchaser or tenant:
            (1)   In the case of an application for a permit to demolish seeks and intends, in good faith either to demolish such improvement immediately for the purpose of constructing on the site thereof with reasonable promptness a new building or other facility; or
            (2)   In the case of an application for a permit to make alterations or reconstruct, seeks and intends in good faith to alter or reconstruct such improvement, with reasonable promptness.
   b.   In the case of an application made pursuant to paragraph one of subdivision a of this section by an applicant not required to establish the conditions specified in paragraph two of such subdivision, as promptly as is practicable after making a preliminary determination as provided in paragraph one of such subdivision a, the commission, with the aid of such experts as it deems necessary, shall endeavor to devise, in consultation with the applicant, a plan whereby the improvement may be (1) preserved or perpetuated in such manner or form as to effectuate the purposes of this chapter, and (2) also rendered capable of earning a reasonable return.
   c.   Any such plan may include, but shall not be limited to, (1) granting of partial or complete tax exemption, (2) remission of taxes and (3) authorization for alterations, construction or reconstruction appropriate for and not inconsistent with the effectuation of the purposes of this chapter.
   d.   In any case where the commission formulates any such plan, it shall mail a copy thereof to the applicant promptly and in any event within sixty days after giving notice of its preliminary determination of insufficient return. The commission shall hold a public hearing upon such plan.
   e.   (1)   If the commission, after holding a public hearing pursuant to subdivision d of this section, determines that a plan which it has formulated, consisting only of tax exemption and/or remission of taxes, meets the standards set forth in subdivision b of this section, as such plan was originally formulated, or with such modifications as the commission deems necessary or appropriate, the commission shall deny the request of the applicant for a certificate of appropriateness and shall approve such plan, as originally formulated, or with such modifications.
      (2)   Such plan, as so approved, shall set forth the extent of tax exemption and/or remission of taxes deemed necessary by the commission to meet such standards.
      (3)   The commission shall promptly mail a certified copy of such approved plan to the applicant and shall promptly transmit a certified copy thereof to the tax commission. Upon application made by the owner of such improvement pursuant to the provisions of paragraph five of this subdivision e, the tax commission shall grant, for the fiscal year next succeeding the date of approval of such plan, the tax exemption and/or remission of taxes provided for therein.
      (4)   In accordance with procedures prescribed by the regulations of the commission, it shall determine, upon application by the owner of such improvement made in advance of each succeeding fiscal year, the amount of tax exemption and/or remission of taxes, if any, which it deems necessary, as a renewal of such plan for the ensuing year, to meet the standards set forth in subdivision b of this section, and shall promptly mail a certified copy of any approved renewal of such plan to the applicant and shall promptly transmit a certified copy of such renewal to the tax commission. Upon application made by the owner of such improvement pursuant to the provisions of paragraph five of this subdivision e, the tax commission shall grant, for such fiscal year, the tax exemption and/or remission of taxes specified in such determination.
      (5)   Where any such plan or a renewal thereof is approved by the commission, pursuant to the provisions of the preceding paragraphs of this subdivision e, prior to January first next preceding the fiscal year to which the tax benefits of such plan or renewal thereof are applicable, the owner shall not be entitled to such benefits for such fiscal year unless he or she files an application therefor with the tax commission between February first and March fifteenth, both dates inclusive, next preceding such fiscal year. Where any such plan or a renewal thereof is approved by the commission between January first and June thirtieth, both dates inclusive, next preceding the fiscal year to which the tax benefits of such plan or renewal thereof are applicable, the owner shall not be entitled to such benefits for such fiscal year unless he or she files an application therefor with the tax commission on or before August first of such fiscal year.
   f.   (1)    In any case where the commission determines, after holding a public hearing pursuant to subdivision d of this section, that a plan which it has formulated, consisting in whole or in part of any proposal other than tax exemption and/or remission of taxes, meets the standards set forth in subdivision b of this section, as such plan was originally formulated, or with such modifications as the commission deems necessary or appropriate, the commission shall approve such plan, as originally formulated, or with such modifications, and shall promptly mail a copy of same to the applicant.
      (2)   The owner of the improvement proposed to be benefited by such plan mentioned in paragraph one of this subdivision f may accept or reject such plan by written acceptance or rejection filed with the commission. If such an acceptance is filed, the commission shall deny the request of such applicant for a certificate of appropriateness. If a new application for a permit from the department of buildings and a new request for a certificate of appropriateness are filed, which application and request conform with such proposed plan, the commission shall grant such certificate as promptly as is practicable and in any event within thirty days after such filing.
      (3)   If such accepted plan consists in part of tax exemption and/or remission of taxes, the provisions of paragraphs two, three, four and five of subdivision e of this section shall govern the granting of such tax exemption and/or remission of taxes.
   g.   (1)   Except in a case where the applicant is required to establish the conditions set forth in paragraph two of subdivision a of this section, if
         (a)   The commission does not formulate and mail a plan pursuant to the provisions of subdivisions b, c, and d of this section within the period of time prescribed by such subdivision d; or
         (b)   The commission does not approve a plan pursuant to the provisions of subdivision e or f of this section within sixty days after the mailing of such plan to the applicant; or
         (c)   A plan approved by the commission pursuant to the provisions of paragraph one of subdivision f of this section is rejected by the owner of such improvement pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of such subdivision; the commission may, within ten days after expiration of the applicable period referred to in subparagraphs (a) and (b) of this paragraph one, or within ten days after the filing of a rejection of a plan pursuant to paragraph two of subdivision f of this section, as the case may be, transmit to the mayor a written recommendation that the city acquire a specified appropriate protective interest in the improvement parcel which includes the improvement with respect to which the request for a certificate of appropriateness was filed, and shall promptly notify the applicant of such action.
      (2)   If, within ninety days after transmission of such recommendation, or, if no such recommendation is transmitted, within ninety days after the expiration of the period herein prescribed for such transmission, the city does not:
         (a)   Give notice, pursuant to section three hundred eighty-two of the charter, of an application to condemn such interest or any other appropriate protective interest agreed upon by the mayor and the commission; or
         (b)   Enter into a contract with the owner of such improvement parcel to acquire such interest, as so recommended or agreed upon; the commission shall promptly grant, issue and forward to the owner, in lieu of the certificate of appropriateness requested by the applicant, a notice to proceed.
   h.   No plan which consists in whole or in part of the granting of a partial or complete tax exemption or remission of taxes pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to have been approved by the commission unless it is also approved by the mayor and council within the period of time prescribed by this section for approval of such plan by the commission.
   i.   (1)   In any case where the applicant is required to establish the conditions set forth in paragraph two of subdivision a of this section, as promptly as is practicable after making a preliminary determination with respect to such conditions, as provided in paragraph one of subdivision a of this section, and within one hundred and eighty days after making such preliminary determination, the commission, alone or with the aid of such persons and agencies as it deems necessary and whose aid it is able to enlist, shall endeavor to obtain a purchaser or tenant (as the case may be) of the improvement parcel or parcels with respect to which the application has been made, which purchaser or tenant will agree, without condition or contingency relating to the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness or notice to proceed and subject to the provisions of paragraph three of this subdivision i, to purchase or acquire an interest identical with that proposed to be acquired by the prospective purchaser or tenant whose agreement is the basis of the application, on reasonably equivalent terms and conditions.
      (2)   The applicant shall, within a reasonable time after notice by the commission that it has obtained such a purchaser or tenant, which notice shall be served within the period of one hundred and eighty days provided by paragraph one of this subdivision i, enter into such agreement to sell or lease (as the case may be) with the purchaser or tenant so obtained. Such notice shall specify a date for the execution of such agreement, which may be postponed by the commission at the request of the applicant.
      (3)   The provisions of this section shall not, after the consummation of such agreement, apply to such purchaser or tenant or to the heirs, successors or assigns of such purchaser or tenant.
      (4)   (a)   If, within the one hundred eighty day period following the commission's preliminary determination pursuant to paragraph one of subdivision a of this section, the commission shall not have succeeded in obtaining a purchaser or tenant of the improvement parcel, pursuant to paragraph one of this subdivision i, or if, having obtained such a purchaser or tenant, such purchaser or tenant fails within the time provided in paragraph two of this subdivision i, to enter into the agreement provided for by such paragraph two, the commission, within twenty days after the expiration of the one hundred eighty day period provided for in paragraph one of this subdivision i, or within twenty days after the date upon which a purchaser or tenant obtained by the commission pursuant to the provisions of such paragraph one fails to enter into the agreement provided for by said paragraph, whichever of said dates later occurs, may transmit to the mayor a written recommendation that the city acquire a specified appropriate protective interest in the improvement parcel or parcels which include the improvement or are part of the landmark site with respect to which the request for a certificate of appropriateness was filed, and shall promptly notify the applicant of such action.
         (b)   If, within ninety days after transmission of such recommendation, or, if no such recommendation is transmitted, within ninety days after the expiration of the period herein prescribed for such transmission, the city does not give notice, pursuant to section three hundred eighty-two of the charter, of an application to condemn such interest or any other appropriate protective interest agreed upon by the mayor and the commission, or does not enter into a contract with the owner of such improvement parcel to acquire such interest, as so recommended and agreed upon; the commission shall promptly grant, issue and forward to the owner, in lieu of the certificate of appropriateness requested by the applicant, a notice to proceed.
      (5)   Such notice to proceed shall authorize the work of demolition, alteration, and/or reconstruction sought with respect to the improvement parcel or parcels concerning which the application was made, only if such work (a) is undertaken and performed by the purchaser or tenant specified pursuant to the provisions of paragraph two of subdivision a of this section, in the application, or a bona-fide assignee, successor, lessee or sub-lessee of such purchaser or tenant (other than the owner who made application therefor), and (b) is undertaken and performed with reasonable promptness after the issuance of such notice to proceed.