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Chapter 18. General Zoning Ordinance

Sec. 18-142. Designation of Historic Structures, Sites, Districts

(1) Criteria. Criteria for designation of historic structures, sites and districts is as follows:

(a) A historic structure, site or district designation may be placed on any natural or improved site, or on any area of particular historic, architectural or cultural significance which:

1. Exemplifies or reflects the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state or community; or

2. Is identified with historic persons or with important events in national, state or local history; or

3. Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type inherently valuable for the study of a period, style or method of construction or of indigenous materials or craftsmanship; or

4. Represents the notable work of a master builder, designer or architect whose work was influential.

(b) The Historic Preservation Committee may recommend to the Plan Commission additional guidelines for designation that are in accordance with generally accepted historic preservation principles.

(2) Procedure for Designation of an Historic Structure or Site. Upon recommendation of the Historic Preservation Committee, the Plan Commission shall hold a public hearing following publication of a Class 1 notice and application of the criteria provided in this section, subject to the following:

(a) At least 10 days prior to such hearing, the Plan Commission shall notify in writing the owners of record as listed in the office of the City assessor who are owners of property in whole or in part situated within 200 feet of the boundaries of the property affected.

(b) At such public hearings, the Plan Commission may hear other witnesses in addition to the persons notified.

(c) Within 40 days after such public hearing, the Plan Commission may recommend designation of a property as a historic structure or a historic site.

(d) Council approval of the Plan Commission recommendation shall constitute designation. Notice of such designation shall be sent to the property owner of record and to the other persons identified in Subsection (2)(a) of this section. Notification also shall be given to the City Clerk, building services supervisor and City assessor.

(e) Upon designation, the historic structure or site automatically shall be zoned "D" for historic preservation area and shall be included on an official land use map.

(f) Upon designation, the historic structure or site shall be added to the municipal register of historic places.

(3) Rescission of Designation of an Historic Structure or Site. The designation of a historic structure or site may be rescinded as follows:

(a) If the owner of record of a designated historic structure or site desires to sell and is unable to find a buyer willing to preserve the structure or site, the owner may petition the Plan Commission for a rescission of its designation. Such petition shall contain an affidavit under oath that the person has made reasonable attempts in good faith to find and attract such a buyer, as well as such further information deemed reasonably necessary by the commission for the purpose of evaluating the petition.

(b) Following the filing of such petition, the commission shall instruct the Historic Preservation Committee to work with the owner for up to 6 months to locate a buyer who is willing to abide by the designation. If no such buyer is found at the end of 6 months, and the owner still desires to sell the property, the commission shall recommend rescission to the Council for action.

(c) In the event of rescission, the Council shall notify the City Clerk, building services supervisor and City assessor and shall cause the rescission to be recorded at City expense in the County Register of Deeds' office and to be removed from the municipal register and land use map.

(d) Following any such rescission, the commission may not recommend designation of the subject property as a historic structure or site for at least 2 years from the date of rescission.

(4) Procedure for Creation of Historic District. The procedure for creation of a historic district shall be as follows:

(a) For preservation purposes, the Historic Preservation Committee shall select geographically defined areas within the City to be designated as historic districts and shall work with the City attorney to prepare a historic preservation plan in ordinance form for each area to be recommended to the Plan Commission. Such designation and plan shall meet the criteria of designation as stipulated in this section. Each historic preservation plan prepared for or by the Committee shall include a cultural and architectural analysis supporting the historic significance of the area, the specific guidelines for development and a statement of preservation objectives.

(b) Upon recommendation of the Committee, the Plan Commission shall hold a public hearing, following publication of a Class 2 notice.

(c) At least 10 days prior to such hearing, the City Clerk shall give notice to the alderperson of the district and the owners of record in whole or in part situated within 200 feet of the boundaries of the proposed district.

(d) The Plan Commission shall review the historic district plan and make a recommendation to the Council within 40 days of the public hearing.

(e) Council adoption of the historic district plan in ordinance form shall constitute designation.

(f) Upon designation, the historic district automatically shall be zoned "D" for historic preservation area and shall be included on an official land use map.

(g) Upon designation, the historic district shall be listed on a municipal register of historic places.

(5) Recognition of Historic Structures Sites and Districts. After a historic structure, site or district has been so designated in accordance with this section, the Plan Commission may with consent of the owner cause to be prepared and erected on such property at City expense a suitable plaque or sign declaring that the property is a historic structure or site. Such marker shall be easily visible to pedestrians.

(6) Maintenance. Owners of record of a historic structure, historic site or an improvement in a historic district shall keep in good repair all of the exterior portions of such improvement and all interior portions which, if not so maintained, may cause or tend to cause the exterior portions of the improvement to fall into a state of disrepair.

(7) Voluntary Restrictive Covenant. The owner of any historic structure or site, at any time following a designation of the property, may enter into a restrictive covenant on that property after negotiation with the Committee and the approval of the Plan Commission. The Historic Preservation Committee may assist the owner in preparing such covenant in the interest of preserving the historic structure or site. The owner shall record such covenant in the County Register of Deeds' office and shall notify the City assessor of such covenant and the conditions thereof.