Click here to view prior versions of this section.
A. Review Required. No person shall construct any new building or structure, or reconstruct, alter, restore, remodel, repair, move, demolish or make any material change affecting significant historic features as listed in the designation application to any existing property on the CCHR or within a historic district on the CCHR, whether the property is contributing or noncontributing, without review by the commission and without receipt of a certificate of appropriateness or, in the case of demolition, a waiver of certificate of appropriateness, as a result of the review.
1. For individual or contributing properties, the review shall apply to all features of the property, interior and exterior, that contribute to its designation and are listed on the designation.
2. For noncontributing properties, the review shall apply to exterior changes. The purpose of the review in this case is to ensure that the proposed changes do not further detract from the property’s compatibility with the historic district, and to encourage changes which would enhance its compatibility with the historic district.
3. For new construction or redevelopment, the review shall apply to the exterior of the structure(s). The purpose of the review is to ensure that the exterior design of the proposed structure enhances the historic district through conformance with the adopted design guidelines.
This requirement shall apply whether or not the proposed alteration also requires a building or other permit, except as noted under subsection B of this section. Information required by the commission to review the proposed changes is established in its rules and procedures. A pre-application conference is recommended but must be requested by the applicant.
B. Exemptions. The following activities do not require a certificate of appropriateness or review by the commission:
1. Ordinary repair and maintenance activities which do not affect significant historic features including:
a. Painting and emergency measures as defined in VMC 17.39.030;
b. Ordinary repairs and maintenance which do not alter the appearance of a significant feature and do not utilize substitute materials;
c. Repairs to or replacement of utility systems.
2. A registered property may be altered, relocated or demolished without a certificate of appropriateness if the building official attests in writing that the condition of the registered property poses a clear and immediate hazard to public safety provided the alteration, relocation or demolition is limited to only what is necessary to mitigate the hazard and, in the case of demolition, is the only feasible option to mitigate the hazard. All pertinent codes and regulations of Section 14.14A of the Dangerous Building Code shall remain in effect. The comments of the building official with sufficient evidence to support their conclusions shall be provided to the commission staff within 15 days of making his or her decision. The commission staff will make these materials available to the commission at their next regular meeting.
C. Certificate of Appropriateness Review Process.
1. Requests for Review and Issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness or Waiver. The building or zoning official shall report any application for a permit to work on a designated CCHR property or in a Clark County heritage historic district to the commission staff. If the activity is not exempt from review, the commission or staff shall notify the applicant of the review requirements. The building or zoning official shall not issue any such permit (except as provided in subsection B of this section) until a certificate of appropriateness or a waiver is received from the commission but shall work with the commission in considering building and fire code requirements.
2. There shall be two types of reviews for issuance of a certificate of appropriateness:
a. Staff Review. An administrative review by commission staff for repairs and replacements-in-kind as listed below, but not limited to the following:
i. Repairs (other than ordinary repair and maintenance) using the same materials and design as the original;
ii. Re-roofing using the same type and color of material;
iii. Replacement of sidewalks and driveways using the same type and color of materials;
iv. Replacement of foundations or major portions thereof, using the same type and color of materials;
v. Replacement of utility systems if contributing interior features of significance are present;
vi. Structural or seismic upgrades which do not alter or affect significant features.
b. Commission Review. A public hearing review by the commission for alterations in appearance, replacement of historic materials, new construction or additions, or demolition or removal of a CCHR building or cultural resource. Demolition of structures or facilities with recognized historical significance is also subject to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
3. When a certificate of appropriateness is required, the following procedures shall govern according to the type of review required:
a. Staff Review. Applications requiring administrative review for certificates of appropriateness shall be reviewed by the commission staff.
i. Applications for the certificate shall be submitted to the commission staff on forms provided by the staff and in accordance with the following submission requirements:
A. A clear photograph or photographs of the building, object, site or structure;
B. A brief description of the intended work;
C. Samples of replacement material for comparison with the existing or the original building or structure must be furnished with the application.
ii. Decision of the commission staff on the application shall be made within 15 days from the date on which the commission staff receives a fully complete application.
iii. The commission staff may, on his or her own motion, refer the application to the commission for a decision in accordance with the procedures set forth for a public hearing review per VMC 17.39.070(B)(7).
iv. Staff reviews may be appealed to the commission.
A. A final decision regarding an application subject to a staff review procedure may be appealed by a party of record. Final decisions may be appealed only if, within 14 calendar days after written notice of the decision is mailed, a written appeal is filed with the responsible official.
B. An appellant shall submit the following information for an appeal:
1. The case number designated by the city and the name of the applicant;
2. The name and signature of each appellant and a statement showing that the appellant is entitled to file the appeal under subsection (C)(6) of this section; and
3. The specific aspect(s) of the decision being appealed, the reasons why each aspect is in error as a matter of fact or law, and the evidence relied on to prove the error.
C. If multiple parties file a single appeal for review, the appeal shall designate one party as the contact representative for all contact with the responsible official. All contact with the responsible official regarding the appeal, including notice, shall be with this contact representative.
D. The commission shall hear appeals in a public hearing. Staff shall provide notice of an appeals hearing by mailing and emailing notification to the parties of record, and publishing notice in the newspaper of general circulation. Staff shall prepare a report and the commission shall hold a hearing and make a decision. Staff shall prepare a final decision report and make it publicly available and provide it to the parties of record. The decision can be appealed per subsection (C)(6) of this section.
4. Commission Review – Alterations in Appearance, Replacement of Historic Materials (Other than In-Kind), New Construction or Additions. Alteration in the appearance of a significant contributing feature, the replacement of historic material (other than in-kind) in a significant feature, additions to the CCHR or new construction on a CCHR property or in a historic district, or any excavation on an archaeological site requires a commission review for a certificate of appropriateness.
a. The owner or the owner’s agent (architect, contractor, lessee, etc.) shall apply to the commission for a certificate of appropriateness or, in the case of demolition, a waiver.
b. Staff shall publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation. Staff shall also distribute the notice to:
i. The applicant and the applicant’s representative;
ii. The neighborhood association in which the property is located;
iii. To known interest groups and other people the responsible official believes may be affected by the proposed action or who requested such notice in writing.
c. The commission shall hear, deliberate and make a decision on the certificate of appropriateness at a public hearing. The chair of the commission determines when the public record closes, after which no additional evidence or arguments can be submitted.
d. After the hearing, staff shall prepare the commission’s decision in writing which shall state the findings of fact and reasons relied upon in reaching its decision. Decision report shall be completed within 14 days of the close of the case record.
e. If the owner agrees to the commission’s decision, a certificate of appropriateness shall be issued by the commission according to standards established in its rules and procedures.
f. The commission’s recommendations and decision, and, if awarded, the certificate of appropriateness shall be transmitted to the building or planning official. If a certificate of appropriateness is awarded, the building or planning official may then issue the permit.
5. Demolition. A waiver of certificate of appropriateness is required before a permit may be issued to allow whole or partial demolition of a designated CCHR property or in a CCHR historic district. Demolition is subject to review under the State Environmental Policy Act.
a. The owner or the owner’s agent shall attend a pre-application conference with staff to review demolition or alternative plans.
b. After the pre-application conference, the owner or agent may apply to the commission for review of the proposed demolition and request a waiver.
c. The application for the waiver shall provide a bona fide list of alternatives to demolition which includes, but is not limited to, economic analysis; offers to lease, sell or dedicate site to a private, public or nonprofit entity, and outcome of the offer; relocation of building, etc.
d. The applicant shall meet with the commission to review alternatives to demolition.
e. Commission consideration of the alternatives to demolition shall last no longer than 45 days from the date of application, unless the commission finds that an extension of time is necessary. In no case shall the commission extend the review period beyond an additional 45 days.
f. If no alternative to demolition is agreed upon, the commission shall act and advise the official in charge of issuing a demolition permit of the approval or denial of the waiver of a certificate of appropriateness.
g. The commission may attach to the waiver, pursuant to the public hearing, conditions mitigating the loss of the CCHR property. Mitigation measures may include, but are not limited to, photo documentation of the building or site, an identification plaque, use of an architectural element in new construction, moving the building, and/or buffering of the historic or cultural resource.
h. The waiver and any attached mitigation conditions shall be transmitted to the official in charge of issuing demolition permits. Any attached mitigation conditions shall become conditions of approval should a demolition permit be granted.
i. After demolition of a property, the commission may initiate its removal from the CCHR.
6. Appeal of Approval of the Historic Preservation Commission’s Decision. The commission’s decision on a certificate of appropriateness and nominations to the CCHR may be appealed to the city council by a party of record. Final decisions may only be appealed if within 21 calendar days after written notice of decision is mailed, a written appeal is filed with the city. Appeal of the city council’s decision regarding a waiver of a certificate of appropriateness may be appealed to superior court. (Ord. M-4296 § 2, 2020; Ord. M-4079 § 62, 2014; Ord. M-3243 § 2, 1996)