§ 156.157  CERTIFICATES OF APPROPRIATENESS.
   (A)   Certificate of appropriateness required.
      (1)   No exterior portion of any building or other structure (including masonry, walls, fences, light fixtures, steps and pavement, or other appurtenant features) nor above-ground utility structure, nor any type of outdoor advertising sign, nor important landscape and natural features may be erected, altered, restored, moved or demolished on a landmark or within the historic district until and after the property owner or his/her agent has contacted the Historic Preservation Commission staff to determine whether the project will require a certificate of appropriateness.  If a certificate of appropriateness is required, then the applicant will follow the procedures in division (D) of this section.
      (2)   The Town of Wilkesboro and all public utility companies shall be required to obtain a certificate of appropriateness for landmarks and in the historic district prior to initiating any changes in the character of street paving, sidewalks, utility installations, lighting, walls, fences, and structures on property, streets, or easements owned or franchised by the State of North Carolina, Town of Wilkesboro, or public utility companies.
      (3)   A certificate of appropriateness shall be issued prior to the issuance of a zoning permit or other permit granted for purposes of constructing, altering, moving or demolishing structures.  Therefore, a certificate of appropriateness is a prerequisite to the issuance of such a zoning permit or such other permits. Any such zoning permits or such other permits not issued in conformity with this section shall be invalid.
   (B)   Maintenance and repair permitted. No certificate of appropriateness shall be required for:
      (1)   The routine maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in an historic district or on an historic landmark that does not involve a change in design, material, or outer appearance;
      (2)   The Commission shall have no jurisdiction over interior arrangement and shall take no action unless it is to prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, moving, or demolition of buildings, structures, appurtenant features, outdoor advertising signs or other significant features which would be incongruous with the special character of a landmark or district;
      (3)   The construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, moving, or demolishing of any such feature that the building inspector or similar official shall certify to the property owner and to the Historic Preservation Commission is required by the public safety because of an unsafe condition; and
      (4)   The routine maintenance or repair of streets, sidewalks, pavement markings, utility lines, street signs, traffic signs, and/or replacement of street light fixtures in the event of equipment failure, accidental damage, or natural occurrences.
   (C)   Minor works. The Historic District Commission may, after adoption of Design Review Guidelines, allow the review and approval of a certificate of appropriateness for minor works by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.  However, no denial of a certificate of appropriateness is allowed without formal action by the Commission.
   (D)   Procedures to obtain a certificate of appropriateness.
      (1)   Applications. Applications for a certificate of appropriateness shall be submitted to the Zoning Enforcement Officer no later than 14 calendar days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission.  The names and addresses of the property owners filing the application and those of the property owners within 100 feet on all sides of the property that is the subject of the application.  The Zoning Enforcement Officer is responsible for transmitting the application to the Historic Preservation Commission.
      (2)   Notice and hearing. The planning staff will notify by mail the owners of any property located within 100 feet on all sides of the property that is the subject of the application.  Prior to the issuance or denial of a certificate of appropriateness, the Historic Preservation Commission will give the applicant and other affected property owners and/or residents the opportunity to be heard.
      (3)   Time limit for action. The Historic Preservation Commission shall act upon the application within 60 calendar days after the filing.  If the Commission fails to act upon the application within this time shall be deemed to constitute approval and a certificate of appropriateness shall be issued.
      (4)   Decisions. All actions of the Historic Preservation Commission shall be set forth in writing.  The Historic Preservation Commission's final action on an application for a certificate of appropriateness shall be by the passage of a motion to take one of the following actions:
         (a)   Approve the application for a certificate of appropriateness as proposed, and provide in writing the findings on which the decision is based;
         (b)   Approve the application for a certificate of appropriateness subject to specific conditions and/or modifications, providing these conditions of approval in writing;
         (c)   Disapprove the application for a certificate of appropriateness as proposed, and provide in writing the findings on which the decision is based.
      (5)   Time limit on approval.
         (a)   The applicant shall have 180 days from the date the certificate of appropriateness is approved and issued to procure a building or demolition permit.  Failure to procure the permit in this period will be a failure to comply with the certificate of appropriateness and it shall be void.
         (b)   If a building permit is not required, the work must be completed within the 180 day period.
         (c)   If work is commenced, but discontinued for a period of 180 days or more, the certificate will be void.
      (6)   Reapplication after denial. If the Historic Preservation Commission determines that a certificate of appropriateness should not be issued, a new application affecting the same property may be submitted only if substantial changes are made in plans for the proposed work.
      (7)   Demolition.
         (a)   An application for a certificate of appropriateness authorizing the relocation, demolition or destruction of a designated landmark or a building, structure or site within an historic district may not be denied, except as provided in division (D)(7)(b) of this section.  However, the effective date of such a certificate may be delayed for a period of up to 365 days from the date of approval.  The commission shall reduce the maximum period of delay authorized by this section where it finds that the owner would suffer extreme hardship or be permanently deprived of all beneficial use of or return from such property by virtue of the delay. During such period the commission shall negotiate with the owner and with any other parties in an effort to find a means of preserving the building or site.
         (b)   An application for a certificate of appropriateness authorizing the demolition or destruction of a building, site or structure determined by the state historic preservation officer as having statewide significance as defined in the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places may be denied except where the Commission finds that the owner would suffer extreme hardship or be permanently deprived of all beneficial use or return by virtue of the denial.
         (c)   If the commission has voted to recommend designation of a property as a landmark or designation of an area as a district, and final designation has not been made by the Town Board, the demolition or destruction of any building, site or structure located on the property of the proposed landmark or in the proposed district may be delayed by the Commission for a period of up to 180 days or until the Town Board takes final action on the designation, whichever comes first.
         (d)   In case any building, structure, site, area or object designated as a landmark or located within the historic district is about to be demolished whether as a result of deliberate neglect or otherwise, materially altered, remodeled, removed or destroyed, except in compliance with the ordinance, the commission or other party aggrieved by such action may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent such unlawful action.
      (8)   Appeals. Any aggrieved party may take an appeal from the actions of the Historic Preservation Commission to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, whether the application was approved or denied.  The appeal shall be taken within 20 calendar days after the decision of the Commission and shall be in the nature of certiorari.
(Am. Ord. passed 9-14-2016)