Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Statement of Purpose
2. Duties of the Commission
3. By-Laws of the Commission
4. State Enabling Legislation Overview
5. Budget Process
6. Revolving Fund
7. Interlocal Agreements
8. Certified Local Government Program
9. Duties of the Director and Support Staff
10. Survey Process
11. Local Historic Landmark Designation Process
12. Design Review Process
13. Guidelines for Projects and Real Estate Acquisitions
Appendix A – N.C. Division of Archives and History’s Explanation of Local Historic
District and Historic Landmark Designation
Appendix B – State Enabling Legislation, details of N. C. G. S. 160A-400
1. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission was created in 1973 to perform the functions which are enumerated in G.S. 160A-400. They are:
1. To safeguard the heritage of the City and County by preserving any landmark therein that embodies important elements of the cultural, social, economic, political, or architectural history of the City and County; and
2. To promote the use and conservation of such property for the education, pleasure, and enrichment of the residents of the City and County and the State as a whole.
The Commission is composed of twelve members (2 are appointed by the Charlotte Mayor, 4 by the Charlotte City Council, 6 by Board of Commissioners of Mecklenburg County. Appointments are made for three-year terms with no members serving more than two consecutive full terms.
City application: https://adobeformscentral.com/?f=%2au1wIn0tzFD3ohq660AgVA
2. DUTIES OF THE
Toward these ends, the Historic Landmarks Commission undertakes six major activities. They are:
1. To recommend the designation of structures, sites, areas, and objects as “historic landmarks.”
2. To process applications for Certificates of Appropriateness to intended demolition, material alterations, or remodeling of “historic landmarks.”
3. To seek grants for surveys, reports, and adaptive reuse studies for historically significant property.
4. To identify historically important properties for purposes of Environmental Impact Statements as required by provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
5. To educate residents of Mecklenburg County about the historic elements in the local built environment through the Commission website and documentaries or other appropriate means.
6. To secure the fee simple or any lesser included interest in a historic landmark or contributing property or contributing property in a local historic district and dispose of same by sale, lease, or otherwise consistent with the purposes of historic preservation.
3. BY-LAWS OF THE COMMISSION
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
Charlotte, N. C.
Revised 1982, 1992, 2002
I. GENERAL RULES
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission shall be governed by the terms of Part 3B of Chapter 6-160A of the General Statutes of North Carolina and by Joint Resolution of the County of Mecklenburg (June 4, 1973) and the City of Charlotte (June 18, 1973). All members of the Commission should thoroughly familiarize themselves with this statute and these resolutions. In addition, the meetings of the Commission shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order as revised and amended.
II. OFFICERS AND DUTIES
The following officers shall be elected by majority vote of the Commission from among its members. Their terms of office shall be for one year or until their successors are elected, and these officers shall be eligible for reelections:
A. Chair. The Chair shall preside over meetings of the Commission and shall decide all points of order and procedure, unless directed otherwise by a majority of the Commission in session at the time. He or she shall see that an agenda is prepared and that accurate minutes are kept and circulated. He or she shall appoint all Committee Chairs and serve as an ex officio member of each of them. He or she shall act as liaison between the Commission and the Director. He or she shall see that effective presentations are made to the County Commission and City Council and other appropriate bodies of local government and that the policies of the Commission are carried out. He or she shall in general have all powers and perform all duties incident to the office of Chair and such other powers and duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Commission.
B. Vice Chair. The Vice Chair shall serve as acting Chair in the absence of the Chair and at such times shall have the powers and duties as the Chair. In addition, he or she shall perform such other duties and have such other powers as may be prescribed by the Chair or the Commission.
C. Secretary. The Secretary may gather information from other groups dedicated to historic preservation and may report such information to the Commission.
D. Treasurer. The Treasurer reports monthly on the status of the HLC’s Revolving Fund. The Consulting Director prepares the annual budget of the Commission in consultation with the County Budget Department. The Consulting Director welcomes recommendations from the Commission concerning budget items to be requested from the County or from whatever other agency might contribute financially to the work of the Commission.
There shall be such committees as the Commission requires. Committee Chairs and members are appointed by the Commission Chair.
A. Survey Committee. The Survey Committee shall be responsible for identifying buildings, structures, sites, areas, and objects in Charlotte-Mecklenburg for possible designation as historic landmarks and shall see that they are brought to the attention of the Commission in an orderly fashion. A Study List of all prospective historic landmarks shall be developed and maintained by Staff. Meetings are held as needed.
B. Design Review. The Design Review Committee meets on a regular basis to consider Applications for Certificates of Appropriateness for locally designated historic landmarks. Recommendations are presented to the Historic Landmarks Commission for final vote.
C. Projects Committee. The Projects Committee evaluates historic properties that have potential for Commission purchase and sale under the Commission’s Revolving Fund. The Commission must approve all recommendations. Meetings are held as needed.
D. Executive Committee. The Executive Committee of the Commission is composed of the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Projects Committee Chair. The Executive Committee acts as the Personnel Committee and has the power to make decisions as directed by the Commission. All personnel decisions are made by the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting in executive session.
The Commission established the policy and procedure set forth below for the approval of expenditures by staff and the Executive Committee of the
· Executive Committee Approval for Expenditure of Funds. It is the policy of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (CMHLC) that expenditures be approved by a vote of the Board of the CMHLC at its monthly meeting. However, due to the nature of real estate ownership and the preservation of historic properties, unexpected circumstances arise that justify the immediate expenditures of funds prior to the next meeting of the CMHLC.
· Policy and Procedure for Approval of Expenditures by Staff and the Executive Committee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. Due to these concerns, the Board adopts the following procedure to allow the Executive Committee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (“CMHLC”), consisting of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Chair of the Projects Committee, to authorize expenditures from CMHLC’s funds. In addition, the Board of CMHLC also believes that it is prudent to allow staff to expend certain funds associated with real estate owned by CMHLC without its specific approval. Therefore, it has adopted the following policy: The Executive Committee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission shall have the authority to authorize expenditures from the funds of CMHLC, without the approval of the Board of CMHLC, under the following conditions:
a. Emergency Repairs. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to expend funds for repairs to correct any conditions on real property owned by CMHLC that would likely, if not immediately corrected, result in (a) personal injury, (b) damage to property owned by any third party; or (c) substantial damage to property owned by CMHLC, which damage significantly exceeds the cost of the repair.
b. Rental Properties Repairs. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to expend funds for repairs required to fulfill its obligations under state law to provide fit and habitable dwellings to residential tenants or to fulfill its obligations under leases, provided such repairs are of the type that a tenant would reasonably expect to be immediately completed, such as repairs required to provide basic services, including electricity, water/sewer service, heating and air conditioning. This provision shall not be used to pay for routine maintenance or other repairs that could reasonably be handled by the CMHLC Board at a regularly scheduled meeting.
c. Incidental Expenses. In addition to the expenditures authorized herein, the Executive Committee shall also have the right to approve incidental expenses associated with real estate owned by CMHLC up to the sum of $10,000.00 per incident or occurrence.
d. Survey and Research Reports. The Director is authorized to approve that a Survey and Research Report be issued for up to $2,500.00. The Chair of the Survey Committee can authorize the Consulting Director to prepare a Survey and Research Report. The Consulting Director, with the approval of the Chair of the Survey Committee, may prepare Survey and Research Reports for a fee not to exceed $2500.
e. Expenditures by Staff. The Consulting Director shall have the authority to approve expenditures associated with the real estate owned by CMHLC up to the sum of $1,500.00 per incident or occurrence.
E. Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee recommends a slate of officers for the Commission in April or May and supervises the election of officers in June of each year. Elections, unless otherwise determined by the Commission, are held by secret ballot.
F. Other Committees/Chairs. The Commission Chair is authorized to establish additional committees and/or chair as needed.
A. Regular Meetings. Regular meetings of the Commission shall be held on the second Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Commission office, or at such other place as shall be specified by the Commission Chair in advance of the meeting. The Commission does not hold meetings in July of each year.
B. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Commission may be called at any time by the chair. At least 24 hours notice of the time and place of special meeting shall be given by the Secretary or Chair to each member of the Commission.
C. Quorum. A majority of the voting members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. Attendance requirements are in accordance with City and County rulings, as follows: Attendance runs January 1 - December 31. There are no excused absences for sickness, business, or personal matters of any kind. City and County Attendance Policies: City Council has an attendance policy that requires you to attend 65 percent of all regular, special and assigned subcommittee meetings from the time your term begins until the end of this calendar year and each subsequent calendar year thereafter; and you may not miss three consecutive regular meetings of this board. If you fail to meet either of these two requirements you will automatically be removed from the board per City Council's policy.
D. Conduct of Meeting. Meetings are open to the public. The order of business at regular meetings is published in advance of each meeting.
E. Annual Meeting. The annual meeting, where Commission officers are elected for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, is held in June of each year.
F. Elections. Robert’s Rules of Order are followed regarding voting procedure.
Commission rules/By-Laws may be amended at any time by a majority of the members of the Commission.
(Meeting Information – All meetings shall be open to the public. The order of business at regular meetings, unless amended by the Commission, shall be as follows:
a) approval of minutes, b) HLC Chair report, c) review of attendance sheet, d) Director’s Report; e) Committee Reports; f) old business; g) new business).
4. STATE ENABLING LEGISLATION OVERVIEW
The most powerful governmental regulatory powers for historic preservation exist at the level of local government. They are historic landmarks (properties which because of their individual characteristics possess architectural, cultural, or historical significance) and historic districts (properties which as a group possess architectural, cultural, or historic significance). The specific regulations associated with local historic landmarks and local historic districts are enumerated in N.C.G.S 160A-400. It is imperative to realize that this is local enabling legislation, which means that only those local governing boards which choose to exercise these powers may do so. The specific action of the local governing board (City Council, Town Board, and Board of County Commissioners) is to create a local historic commission, either a Historic District Commission, A Historic Landmarks Commission, or a Historic Preservation Commission (this agency has jurisdiction over both historic landmarks and historic districts). See Appendix B for the legislation itself.
1. Historic Landmarks Commission
A. The essential purposes of a Historic Landmarks Commission are:
1. Recommend the designation of properties as historic landmarks under the police power of a local governing board.
2. To conduct comprehensive inventories of local built environment to determine what properties might prospectively be designated as historic landmarks.
3. To conduct design review over the material alteration or demolition of historic landmarks.
4. To encourage the preservation of historic landmarks, including acquiring the fee simple or any lesser included interest in historic landmarks and disposing by sale, lease or any other legal means consistent with the preservation of the landmark.
B. The fundamental consequences for having property designated as a historic landmark are:
1. The Historic Landmarks Commission can delay the demolition of a historic landmark for up to 365 days. During this period the Commission may attempt to dissuade the owner from demolishing the historic landmark.
2. The Historic Landmarks Commission may recommend that the local governing board acquire through eminent domain historic landmarks for which a demolition permit is pending if such historic landmarks have been determined by the State Historic Preservation Officer to have state-wide significance.
3. The Historic Landmarks Commission must issue a Certificate of Appropriateness for any material alteration to a historic landmark.
4. The Historic Landmarks Commission may acquire the fee simple or any lesser included interest in a historic landmark and dispose of same.
5. The owner of a historic landmark may apply for an automatic deferral of one-half of the property taxes (Ad Valorem taxes) on that portion of the property which has been so designated. Such deferral is continuous as long as the property retains its designation as a historic landmark, The deferral is not collectable upon resale. If the property should lose its historic landmark status, the owner must pay three years’ back taxes plus a penalty.
5. BUDGET PROCESS
The final determination of the HLC Budget is made annually by the Mecklenburg County Budget Department. The Consulting Director of the HLC meets initially with a budget analyst, usually in February, to determine whether the upcoming fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th) will be a Current Level Budget or will allow for Increased Services. If the Budget is to be a Current Level Budget, the Budget Department will determine the necessary increases to maintain Current Level. If the County will accept requests for Increased Services, the Consulting Director will develop a list of requests for Increased Services, will solicit input from Commissioners, and will make adjustments he or she and the Budget Analyst deem appropriate for presentation to the Budget Department.
Compensation for HLC County Employees is determined by Mecklenburg County. The Consulting Director of the HLC prepares an annual evaluation of the performance of HLC County Employees and submits same to Mecklenburg County. The Consulting Director and the Recording Consultant are consultants to the Historic Landmarks Commission. They receive an increase of compensation equal to the average annual increase for County employees.
6. REVOLVING FUND
The primary purpose of the fund is to aid in the preservation and rehabilitation of properties that are historic and/or culturally significant to the community.
Program Description – The fund was established by issuance of public bonds and the commitment of other monies to preserve and rehabilitate properties that are deemed "historic."
Eligibility Requirements – Two significant factors for consideration of eligibility for the acquisition of the fee simple or any lesser included interest are: level of endangerment and economic viability, or simply if the Landmarks Commission believes the preservation of the subject property would be worthwhile to the public.
Items for Consideration – Potential projects include individual buildings, structures, sites, areas, or objects which have been studied by the Commission and judged to have historical, architectural, archeological, or cultural value.
Ownership – The Historic Landmarks Commission becomes the owner of any property acquired by the Historic Landmarks Commission. Protective covenants are written into the deeds to assure the longevity of preservation.
Alliances – The Landmarks Commission may, at its discretion, pursue preservation projects with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations.
7. INTERLOCAL AGREEMENTS
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission has Interlocal Agreements with the following municipalities: City of Charlotte, Town of Cornelius, Town of Davidson, Town of Matthews, Mecklenburg County, Town of Huntersville, and Town of Pineville. These Interlocal Agreements, adopted by each municipality, establish the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission as the historic commission for each municipality. For more information on the Interlocal Agreements, contact the Attorney of the Historic Landmarks Commission.
8. CERTIFIED LOCAL GOVERNMENT (CLG) PROGRAM
In 1980, Congress amended the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/nhpa.htm) to require each state to establish a procedure by which local governments may be certified to participate in the national framework of historic preservation programs. This requirement has become the "Certified Local Government (CLG) Program" in which many North Carolina counties and cities participate, including Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte.
Since Congress created a preservation program for the United States in 1966, the National Historic Preservation Program has operated as a decentralized partnership between the federal government and the states. The federal government established a program of identification, evaluation, and protection of historic properties and gave individual state governments the primary responsibility for carrying out this program. The success of that working relationship prompted Congress to expand the partnership to provide for participation by local governments. To read about the benefits of CLG status, see the Guidelines for North Carolina's Certified Local Government Program (http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/2003%20CLG%20Guidelines.pdf)
9. DUTIES OF THE DIRECTOR AND SUPPORT STAFF
Note: The Historic Landmarks Commission has Consultants and Employees. Employees are paid by Mecklenburg County and receive social security, sick leave, vacation, health insurance, retirement benefits, disability benefits, etc, which add approximately 40% to the salary. Consultants receive a stipend from the HLC Annual Budget with no fringe benefits.
The Director (Consultant) – The Director shall be the principal administrative officer of the Commission. The Director shall conduct all business that has not been specifically assigned to others and see that the policies and directives of the Commission are carried out. The Director shall provide continuing planning and organizational support for the Commission. The Director shall attend the meetings of the Commission and other civic and governmental organizations so that there will be a coordinated program of historic preservation for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Director shall assist the Preservation Planner in the preparation of ordinances and engage in additional staff support as it may be required and authorized. The Director shall aid the Preservation Planner in the design review of all plans for properties over which the Commission has jurisdiction and assist in the preparation and review of surveys and reports. In addition, the Director shall perform all duties incident to the office of Director and such other duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Commission. It is understood that the duties enumerated above do not include all responsibilities that might involve the Director.
Preservation Planner (Employee) – The primary responsibility of the Preservation Planner is administering design review and the processing of properties for historic landmark designation. The Preservation Planner shall advise upon and oversee design review matters for all submitted Certificates of Appropriateness Applications for locally designated historic landmarks. The Preservation Planner shall prepare the Agenda for each meeting of the Design Review Committee. The Preservation Planner will also assist the Director of the Commission with the development of Survey and Research Reports and assumes responsibility for the elements involved in the designation process of historic landmarks. It is understood that the duties enumerated above do not include all responsibilities that might involve the Preservation Planner.
Recording Consultant (Consultant) – The Recording Consultant takes minutes at all Commission and Committee meetings. The Recording Consultant is also responsible for contacting and notifying Commission and Committee members of upcoming meetings. The Recording Consultant sends a meeting notification letter by mail and also phones all Commission and Committee members to remind them of any upcoming meetings. It is understood that the duties enumerated above do not include all responsibilities that might involve the Recording Consultant.
Commission Attorney – The Commission Attorney provides legal guidance to CMHLC in its investigation of, purchase and sale of, and ownership of real estate. In addition to providing general real estate advice, he or she prepares contracts, restrictive covenants, leases, and all real estate documentation needed by the Commission. The Commission Attorney handles the closing transactions, including obtaining title policies and surveys on real estate prospectively to be purchased and works with HLC Staff (primarily the Project Manager) regarding other due diligence matters involving real estate. The Commission Attorney or members of his or her firm may handle additional matters for CMHLC, but refers most other matters and any administrative matters to the Mecklenburg County Attorney. The Commission Attorney is paid an hourly fee from the HLC’s Revolving Fund or from the Professional Fee item in the HLC operation budget, whichever is appropriate. It is understood that the duties enumerated above do not include all responsibilities that might involve the Commission Attorney.
Mecklenburg County Attorney – This position provides general legal advice to CMHLC including advice regarding administrative law matters, use of bond money, relationship with Mecklenburg County, statutory authority of CMHLC, and most matters that are not real estate related. It is understood that the duties enumerated above do not include all responsibilities that might involve the Mecklenburg County Attorney.
Project Manager (Employee) – This position, assigned to the Asset Management Department of Mecklenburg County, is responsible for advising and assisting the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) with property acquisition, design & construction management, and resale of historic landmarks throughout Mecklenburg County. In coordination with the HLC Attorney, the position assists with the property evaluation, acquisition and disposition process, as well as the design and construction phases for Historic Landmarks restoration projects. The position is responsible for maintaining the financial records of the HLC Revolving Fund and providing a financial report of same at the monthly meetings of the HLC. The position assists with evaluating the feasibility of property purchases, with determining project requirements, prepares budget estimates, selects consultants & negotiates fees for architectural /engineering design, reviews & approves design and construction document phase submittals from consultants, manages the bidding phase, hires and negotiates with construction contractors, manages/monitors the construction phase of projects. The position also assists with property management of the inventory of HLC real estate. This position works with the HLC staff in making acquisition, design, and construction recommendations to the HLC to ensure a good value for the funds expended, and to ensure that procurement of design and construction services is handled in a legal manner in accordance with the North Carolina General Statutes, Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, and Historic Landmarks Commission policies. It is understood that the duties enumerated above do not include all responsibilities that might involve the Project Manager.
Administrative Assistant (Employee) – This position provides professional administrative assistance and support to the staff and Board of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. Work includes assisting and supporting the Director, Preservation Planner, and Recording Consultant with design review, historic landmark designation processes and with preparing materials for meetings of the HLC and its constituent committees. The Administrative Assistant shall maintain the HLC’s Study List of potentially eligible properties for local historic landmark designation, assist in the processing and issuance of applications for Certificates of Appropriateness, mailing notifications necessary in the design review and historic designation processes, and assist in providing information to the public, HLC Staff, and Commission. It is understood that the duties enumerated above do not include all responsibilities that might involve the Administrative Assistant.
10. SURVEY PROCESS
The Survey Committee is responsible for reviewing surveys brought before it by historic consultants, reviewing potential historic landmark applications (http://cmhpf.org/Surveys/potentiallandmark.htm) and for identifying and developing an ongoing list of buildings, structures, sites, areas and objects in Charlotte-Mecklenburg for possible designation as historic landmarks. The Survey Committee will make presentations to the Commission regarding prospective historic landmarks. These presentations will address the historical, architectural and associative significance of each prospective historic landmark and also discuss the respects in which each meets the criteria for local historic landmark designation.
11. LOCAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DESIGNATION PROCESS
1. A property being considered for designation as a historic landmark is referred to the Survey Committee of the Historic Landmarks Commission. A letter of notification is sent to the owner(s) of the property that is being considered for historic landmark designation. This letter provides the time and place of the meeting of the Survey Committee at which the property will be considered for placement on the Study List. A “Legal Consequences of Designation” (http://landmarkscommission.org/FactsConcerningLandmarkStatus.htm) sheet is also included. It is desirable to have obtained owner approval for designation in order for the property to be considered. The Survey Committee decides whether or not the property meets the criteria to be placed on the HLC’s Study List and makes a recommendation to the Commission at its regular monthly meeting for consideration. The placement of a property on the Study List does not mean that a Survey and Research Report will necessarily be prepared. The responsibility for the preparation of a Survey and Research Report rests with the owner or in some instances with the Historic Landmarks Commission. When an owner is responsible for the preparation of the Survey and Research Report, they must submit the report to the HLC Staff for review and approval as to form. The HLC prepares and pays for Survey and Research Reports when: 1) the owner demonstrates financial hardship, 2) when the HLC determines that the property is endangered or has a high level of significance and would most likely otherwise not be processed for historic landmark designation, and 3) when HLC programmatic functions, e.g. property acquisition, require historic landmark designation. In the last instances payment is usually made from the HLC Revolving Fund.
2. A Survey and Research Report may be prepared for prospective historic landmarks once they have been placed on the Study List. Completed Survey and Research Reports must be presented to the Historic Landmarks Commission for approval, disapproval, or amendment. A letter of notification is sent to the owner(s) of the property that is being considered for historic landmark designation. This letter provides the time and place of the meeting of the Historic Landmarks Commission at which the property will be considered for historic landmark designation. A “Legal Consequences of Designation” sheet is also included. If the interior of a privately-owned property is to be considered for designation, the owners are required by N.C.G.S. 160A-400 to sign the “Permission of Owner for Interior Design Review.” If the owner did not produce the Survey and Research Report, a copy of the report will be made available. The Survey and Research Report will be available to the Commissioners on the Commission’s website.
3. The Survey and Research Report, with visuals included, is considered by the Commission at its monthly meeting. The Survey and Research Report describes the portions of the property that meet the statutory requirements of special significance (e.g. interior, exterior, outbuildings, and associated land). The Commission may vote to recommend to the local governing board having zoning jurisdiction over the subject property, that the subject property be designated as a historic landmark.
4. If the potential landmark is located within the City of Charlotte or the City’s ETJ, the following departments must be given the opportunity to comment:
· Charlotte Historic Districts Commission
· Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
· Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department
· Mecklenburg Building Standards Department
· Neighborhood Development Key Business
· Charlotte Department of Transportation
5. State Statues mandate that the Division of Archives and History be given the opportunity to comment on all prospective historic landmark designations. A copy of the Survey and Research Report is sent to the Division of Archives and History. Comments, which are advisory in nature, must be made within 30 days of receipt.
6. If the N.C. Division of Archives and History comments unfavorably on the prospective designation of a historic landmark, staff will consider its comments and attempt to resolve the issues contained in the unfavorable comment. In all instances when an unfavorable comment is received, staff will advise the Historic Landmarks Commission of this fact and provide an opportunity for the Commission to amend or withdraw its recommendation regarding the prospective historic landmark.
7. If the N. C. Division of Archives and History comments favorably on the prospective designation of a historic landmark, or, if the Historic Landmarks Commission votes to proceed with the designation process despite a negative comment from the Division of Archives and History, the following procedural steps are followed:
A. A request is sent to the Mecklenburg County Tax Office, asking for the amount of taxes deferrable on the property. The request should include the portions of the property included in the designation recommendation.
B. The following materials are sent to the appropriate City or Town Clerk:
· City Clerk –A draft of a Resolution calling for public hearings to consider the designation of the property. Cover Page (facts sheet on property), Survey and Research Report, HLC Vote Summary, Tax Deferral Letter, Department Review Summary, Archives and History Comment Letter, Resolution draft and Ordinance draft.
· Town Clerk – (Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Pineville) Ordinance draft.
· County Commission –If a property located in the City of Charlotte or its ETJ is being processed for local historic landmark designation, all members of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commission are notified of the proposed designation.
8. Before a governing board can adopt an ordinance designating a property as an historic landmark, Public Hearings must be held by the governing board and the Historic Landmarks Commission to discuss the proposed designation and give the public an opportunity to comment. Public hearings must be advertised. HLC staff is responsible for drafting the advertisement. The appropriate City or Town Clerk’s office is responsible for running the advertisement.
9. Notify property owners by mail of the dates of the forthcoming public hearings at least two weeks in advance.
10. Staff attends all public hearings.
11. The appropriate local governing board may vote on the adoption of an ordinance designating a property as a local historic landmark after the completion of the public hearings. The vote can be called for during the same meeting where the public hearing was held, or the vote can be scheduled for a later meeting.
12. If the appropriate governing board votes to adopt an ordinance designating a property as a local historic landmark, a certified copy of the ordinance (complete with Town or City seal) must be produced. HLC staff is responsible for registering the ordinance with the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds.
13. Typically it takes 4-7 weeks to receive the registered ordinance back from the Register of Deeds Office. The registered ordinance will be filed in the offices of the HLC. The following parties will be supplied with a copy of the registered ordinance:
· Property Owner
· Archives and History
· Mecklenburg County Tax Office
· Building Standards Department (same for City and Towns
· City or Town Clerk Mecklenburg County Land Records/GIS
· Mecklenburg County Planning Commission
14. The property owner will also receive a letter containing contact information for the Tax Office, and a reminder about the procedures of design review process. If owner is interested, they can receive a plaque identifying their property as a historic landmark. Plaque recipients will sign a receipt acknowledging receipt of the plaque.
15. See Appendix A for NC Division of Archives and History.
12. DESIGN REVIEW PROCESS
The Historic Landmarks Commission has adopted the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation as its design review standards to determine the appropriateness or inappropriateness of intended changes to historic landmarks. Here is a video on the process of Design Review.
The Design Review Committee, except as stipulated below, formulates recommendations regarding the issuance of Certificates of Appropriateness (COA) for intended physical changes to historic landmarks. It is, therefore, the Commission's instrument of design review. Certificates of Appropriates can be one of two types.
1) Certificates of Appropriateness must be reviewed by the Design Review Committee before a recommendation can be presented to the Historic Landmarks Commission for action. After receiving an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness, staff is required to notify all property owners located within 100 feet of the property. This notification provides the time and place of the meeting of the Design Review Committee at which the prospective project will be considered.
2) A Minor Works Certificate of Appropriateness is issued for incidental changes. A Minor Works COA can be issued if the Chair of the Design Review Committee and the Consulting Director of the Commission agree that the proposed project is appropriate. Neighboring property owners of Minor Works COAs are not notified.
The links for the Certificate of Appropriateness Application is http://landmarkscommission.org/designreviewcoa.htm
The links for the Minor Works Certificate of Appropriateness Application is http://landmarkscommission.org/designreviewcoam.htm
13. GUIDELINES FOR PROJECTS AND REAL ESTATE ACQUISITIONS
The Historic Landmarks Commission is allowed by State Enabling Legislation to purchase a property in its own name. This is significant, because it absolves the Commission from the property acquisition and disposal procedures mandated for local governments, e.g. mandatory sale to the highest bidder. The Commission is not required to pay appraised price, and it may sell or lease property at any price to any entity that will advance the purposes of preserving the subject property.
1. The Commission appreciates that each property possesses a unique character that suggests a variety of potential preservation strategies (all of which, to qualify for Commission consideration, must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation, which have been adopted by the Commission as its design review standards). In selecting a preservation strategy for a given property, the Commission shall seek to balance the objectives of historic preservation and recovery of investment, in an effort to preserve and enhance the revolving fund as one of its most important preservation tools.
2. As a general rule, the Commission shall restore buildings only to the level necessary to safeguard their physical integrity and to market them effectively for sale or other appropriate disposition.
3. The Commission recognizes that in-fill (the building of new structures) and adaptive reuse are legitimate preservation strategies and in appropriate circumstances shall encourage their use either through its own actions or through the actions of developers.
4. The Commission further recognizes that circumstances can exist in which the recovery of funds invested in a given project may not be assured. In such circumstances, the Commission shall endeavor to balance the objectives of historic preservation and fund preservation by applying the general rule that the greater the risk to recovery of invested funds from a given project the higher the standard that shall be applied in assessing the merits of the project under consideration.
N.C. ARCHIVES & HISTORY’S EXPLANATION OF LOCAL HISTORIC DISTRICT AND HISTORIC LANDMARK DESIGNATION
The North Carolina Division of Archives and History provides the following information as guidance for local historic preservation commissions.
Landmark designations may apply to individual buildings, structures, sites, areas, or objects which are studied by the Commission and judged to have historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural value. Historic district designation may be either a type of overlay or special use zoning that applies to entire neighborhoods or other areas that include many historic properties. The zoning provides controls on the appearance of existing and proposed buildings.
The Designation Process: The designation process usually begins when a commission identifies a property or an area as a potential landmark or district. The commission studies the site and writes a local designation report which documents the site's significance. The commission normally contacts property owners during this stage to seek their cooperation and to explain the ramifications of local designation. Although seldom done, a landmark may be designated over the objection of its owner; however, owner consent is required for the designation of a privately-owned landmark's interior. Likewise, a district may be designated over the objection of property owners; state law does not provide for the designation of the interiors of properties within districts.
The Department of Cultural Resources, acting through the State Historic Preservation Officer, is given an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed designation. When the commission recommends designation, the commission and the local governing board hold a public hearing to consider the merits of the designation. The final step in the designation process is the passage of an ordinance designating the landmark or district by the local governing board.
The State Historic Preservation Office has prepared an overview of local landmark reports with guidelines for their preparation (http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/local/LocalLandmarkReports.pdf) and sample model reports (http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/local/modelreports.html).
The Benefits of Designation: Designation is an honor, indicating the community believes the property or district deserves recognition and protection. Owners of designated landmarks are eligible to apply for an annual 50 percent property tax deferral as long as the property's important historic features are maintained. Recapture penalties may apply if the owner destroys the property or damages its historic value. Unlike landmark designation, local historic district designation has no effect on local property taxes for property owners within the designated district. Historic district zoning can help to stabilize property values by maintaining the neighborhood's character, and it benefits property owners by protecting them from inappropriate changes made by other owners that might destroy the special qualities of the neighborhood.
The Requirements of Designation: Owners of local landmarks and of property in local historic districts are required to obtain certificates of appropriateness from their preservation commission before making significant changes or additions to a property, before beginning new construction, or before demolishing or relocating a property. The commission's review of proposed changes ensures that work on a property in a district or on landmark is appropriate to the special character of the district or landmark. Commissions adopt design guidelines as the criteria to judge what changes are appropriate. Property owners also use the design guidelines to plan possible projects, and to discuss their applications with the commission.
N. C. G. S. 160A-400