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   (A)   Generally. The creation, modification, and elimination of historic districts shall be in accordance with Public Act 169 of 1970, as amended, being M.C.L.A. §§ 399.201 - 399.215.
   (B)   Creation or modification of historic districts. The City Council may, by ordinance, establish one or more historic districts or modify the boundaries of an existing historic district. Before creating or modifying a historic district, the City Council shall, by resolution, appoint a Historic District Study Committee. The Committee shall contain a majority of persons who have a clearly demonstrated interest in or knowledge of historic preservation and shall contain representation from one or more duly organized local historic preservation organizations.
      (1)   The Committee shall do all of the following:
         (a)   Conduct a photographic inventory of resources within each proposed historic district following procedures established or approved by the Center.
         (b)   Conduct basic research on each proposed historic district and the historic resources located within that district.
         (c)   Determine the total number of historic and non-historic resources within the proposed historic district and the percentage of historic resources of that total. In evaluating the significance of historic resources, the Committee shall be guided by the selection criteria for evaluation issued by the United States Secretary of the Interior for inclusion of resources in the National Register of Historic Places, as set forth in 36 C.F.R. part 60, and criteria established or approved by the Center, if any.
         (d)   Prepare a preliminary historic district study committee report that addresses at a minimum all of the following:
            1.   The charge of the Committee.
            2.   The composition of the Committee membership.
            3.   The historic district or districts studied.
            4.   The boundaries for each proposed historic district in writing and on maps.
            5.   The history of each proposed historic district.
            6.   The significance of each district as a whole, as well as a sufficient number of its individual resources to fully represent the variety of resources found within the district, relative to the evaluation criteria.
         (e)   Transmit copies of the preliminary report for review and recommendations to the City Planning Commission, the Center, the Michigan Historical Commission, and to the State Historic Preservation Review Board.
         (f)   Make copies of the preliminary report available to the public pursuant to subsection (4).
      (2)   Not less than 60 calendar days after the transmittal of the preliminary report, the Committee shall hold a public hearing in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, Public Act 267 of 1976, as amended, being M.C.L.A. §§ 15.261 to 15.275. Public notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing shall be given in the manner required by Public Act 267 of 1976, as amended, being M.C.L.A. §§ 15.261 to 15.275. Written notice shall be mailed by first-class mail not less than 14 calendar days before the hearing to the owners of properties within the proposed historic district, as listed on the tax rolls of the city.
      (3)   After the date of the public hearing, the Committee and the City Council shall have not more than one year, unless otherwise authorized by the City Council, to take the following actions:
         (a)   The Committee shall prepare and submit a final report with its recommendations and the recommendations, if any, of the City Planning Commission to the City Council. If the recommendation is to establish or expand a historic district or districts, the final report shall include a draft of a proposed ordinance or ordinances.
         (b)   After receiving a final report that recommends the establishment of a historic district or districts, the City Council, at its discretion, may introduce and pass or reject an ordinance or ordinances. If the City Council passes an ordinance or ordinances establishing one or more historic districts, the City Clerk shall file a copy of the ordinance or those ordinances, including a legal description of the property or properties located within the historic district or districts with the Register of Deeds. If a majority of the property owners within the proposed historic district, as listed on the city tax rolls, have approved the establishment of the historic district pursuant to a written petition or petitions, the City Council shall not pass an ordinance establishing the historic district less than 60 days after presentation of the petition or petitions. A written petition shall not be a prerequisite to the establishing, modifying, or eliminating of a historic district unless the City Council, in its discretion, determines otherwise.
      (4)   A writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a committee in the performance of an official function shall be made available to the public in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, Public Act 442 of 1976, as amended, being M.C.L.A. §§ 15.231 to 15.246.
   (C)   Elimination of all or part of a historic district. If considering elimination of a historic district, a committee shall follow the procedures set forth in division (B) for issuing a preliminary report, holding a public hearing, and issuing a final report but with the intent of showing one or more of the following:
      (1)   The historic district has lost those physical characteristics that enabled establishment of the district.
      (2)   The historic district was not significant in the way previously defined.
      (3)   The historic district was established pursuant to defective procedures.
   (D)   Historic District Study Committee. Before establishing additional historic districts or modifying or eliminating an existing historic district, a Historic District Study Committee appointed by the City Council shall comply with the procedures set forth in divisions (B) and (C) and shall consider any previously written committee reports pertinent to the action. To conduct these activities, the city may retain the initial Historic District Study Committee appointed by the City Council under division (B), establish a standing committee, or establish a committee to consider only specific proposed districts and then be dissolved.
   (E)   Review of permit applications in proposed historic districts. Upon receipt of substantial evidence showing the presence of historic architectural, archaeological, engineering, or cultural significance of a proposed historic district, the City Council may, at its discretion, adopt a resolution requiring that all applications for permits within the proposed historic district be referred to the Commission. The Commission shall review permit applications with the same powers that would apply if the proposed historic district was an established historic district. The review may continue in the proposed historic district for not more than one year, or until such time as the City Council approves or rejects the establishment of the historic district by ordinance, whichever occurs first.
   (F)   Emergency moratorium. If the City Council determines that pending work will cause irreparable harm to resources located within an established historic district or a proposed historic district, the City Council may, by resolution, declare an emergency moratorium of all such work for a period not to exceed six months. The City Council may extend the emergency moratorium for an additional period not to exceed six months upon finding that the threat of irreparable harm to resources is still present. Any pending permit application concerning a resource subject to an emergency moratorium may be summarily denied.
(Ord. passed 3-27-2000; Am. Ord. 080324-1, passed 3-24-2008)