A. Authority. The city of Vancouver is established as a “certified local government” as determined by state and federal historic preservation standards. The standards require a commission to serve as the review authority on matters of historic preservation. The Clark County historic preservation commission, as provided in Clark County Code, Section 40.250.030, shall serve as the review authority on matters of historic preservation as outlined in subsection D of this section for properties within the city of Vancouver.
B. Composition of the Commission.
1. The Clark County historic preservation commission shall consist of seven members. Five members of the commission shall be appointed by the Clark County council and shall be residents of the county and two members of the commission shall be appointed by the Vancouver city council and shall be residents of the city except as provided for in subsection (B)(2) of this section.
2. The Vancouver city council and the Clark County council shall coordinate to ensure that the commission includes at least two professionals who have experience in identifying, evaluating and protecting historic and cultural resources and are selected from among the disciplines of history, public history, architecture, architectural history, historic preservation, planning, cultural anthropology, cultural geography, American studies or the practice of historic rehabilitation or restoration. The commission may take action even if there is a temporary vacancy in one or all of the professional positions. An exception to the residency requirement of the commission members may be granted by the Vancouver city council for the commission members appointed by the city council in order to obtain representatives from these disciplines.
C. Terms. The terms shall be for three years. Membership on the commission shall be limited to two full consecutive three-year terms. Reappointment after two consecutive terms may be made after at least a one-year absence. Vacancies occurring other than through the expiration of terms shall be filled for the unexpired term. Members may be removed by the city or county councils for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.
D. Powers and Duties. The major responsibilities of the commission are to identify and actively encourage the conservation of the city and county’s historic and cultural resources by initiating and maintaining a register of historic places and reviewing proposed changes to register property(ies); to raise community awareness of the county’s historic and cultural resources; and to serve as the county’s primary resource in matters of historic preservation. In carrying out these responsibilities, the commission shall engage in the following activities:
1. Conduct and maintain a comprehensive inventory of historic and cultural resources within the boundaries of the city of Vancouver to be included in the Clark County cultural resources inventory; publicize, and periodically update, inventory results;
2. Maintain the Clark County heritage register (CCHR). This official register shall be comprised of buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts identified by the commission as having historic significance worthy of recognition by the county and encouragement of efforts by owners to maintain, rehabilitate, and preserve properties;
4. Review proposals to construct, change, alter, modify, remodel, move, demolish or significantly affect properties or districts on the Clark County heritage register as provided in VMC 17.39.080; and adopt standards in its rules and procedures to guide this review and the issuances of a certificate of appropriateness or waiver;
5. Provide advisory review for structures located in the city’s heritage overlay districts per Chapter 20.510 VMC;
6. Submit nominations to the Washington State Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places;
7. Review nominations to the National Register of Historic Places and provide recommendations to the applicable agency;
8. Provide for comment by the commission on all applications for approvals, permits, environmental assessments or impact statements, and other similar documents pertaining to identified historic or cultural resources or adjacent property(ies) upon staff request;
9. Provide information, comment, and support to the public and agencies on matters related to historic preservation;
10. Encourage recognition of noteworthy efforts in the rehabilitation or maintenance of historic buildings, structures, sites, and districts, and new construction in historic areas;
11. Serve as the local review board for special valuation pursuant to Chapter 84.26 RCW;
12. Conduct all commission meetings in compliance with Chapter 42.30 RCW, Open Public Meetings Act, to provide for adequate public participation.
E. Rules and Officers.
1. The commission shall establish and adopt its rules and procedures not inconsistent with this chapter.
2. The commission shall select from among its membership a chair and vice-chair to conduct the commission’s business.
3. All official actions of the commission shall require a majority vote of the members present. No member shall be eligible to vote upon a matter unless that member attended the hearing.
F. Commission Staff. Staffing for the commission shall be provided by the Clark County community planning department and the city of Vancouver.
G. Interlocal Agreement Required. An interlocal agreement shall be established between the city of Vancouver and Clark County implementing the provisions of this chapter.
H. City Review Staff. City staff with knowledge of the local resources and the designation and review processes will prepare staff reports and recommendations, and will attend commission work sessions and public hearings concerning properties within the Vancouver urban area.
I. Appeals. Appeals of decisions rendered by the Clark County historic preservation commission pertaining to property(ies) within the city of Vancouver shall be heard by the Vancouver city council.
J. Education Services. The city shall provide heritage education services, including but not limited to public workshops, lectures, seminars and educational materials and professional education for commissioners and staff, for both the city of Vancouver and Clark County as agreed to in the interlocal agreement. (Ord. M-4297 § 2, 2020; Ord. M-3643, 2004)