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Demolition Regulations-Historic Preservation

DoneGoneBlue

Member
Messages
18
Points
1
Can anyone recommend a city that has progressive demolition regulations or an ordinance with teeth that protects historic buildings from being razed? For instance, is there an ordinance out there that deters the demolition of historic buildings for the creation of a surface parking lot? :-}
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,952
Points
40
DoneGoneBlue said:
Can anyone recommend a city that has progressive demolition regulations or an ordinance with teeth that protects historic buildings from being razed? For instance, is there an ordinance out there that deters the demolition of historic buildings for the creation of a surface parking lot? :-}

My town is holding a public hearing on a proposed demolition delay ordinance this month.....text of the ordinance as follows:

Chapter 2 - BUILDING CODE AMENDMENTS
PART III - Demolition Delay

A. Definitions. As used in this section, the following words or phrases shall be defined as follows.
1. Building: defined as in the International Building Code 2000 Edition as recommended and maintained by the voting membership of the International Code Council, Inc.
2. Demolition Review Committee: A committee comprised of 3 members and 2 alternates appointed by the Town Council comprised of at least 2 Heritage Commission members and 1 at-large member of the public.
3. Demolition: The act of pulling down, destroying, removing, or razing a building or commencing the work of total or substantial destruction with the intent of completing the same.

B. Criteria. Any building or part of a building in the Town of Londonderry will fall under this ordinance where:
1. The proposed demolition is greater than 500 square feet of gross floor area; and
2. The building was constructed more than 50 years before the date of application for demolition permit; and
3. The building is visible from the adjacent public right of way or public lands.

C. Procedure. When an application for a demolition permit, or a building permit involving a demolition, or a site plan review involving demolition is made, or a formal written application is submitted to the Building Inspector for a determination under this ordinance, the Building Inspector will determine if the building, or section of the building, meets the above criteria. If it does meet the above criteria, the Building Inspector shall:
1. Notify the applicant in writing within 5 business days of the filing that the demolition must be reviewed before proceeding and that the delay will not exceed 45 days.
2. Within 5 business days forward the application to each member of the Demolition Review Committee.
3. If the Demolition Review Committee determines the building to be potentially significant (see Section D.1); within 5 business days of that decision the Building Inspector shall notify the applicant that a sign identifying the building as proposed for demolition and the date, time, and place of the public hearing on the proposed demolition is ready for posting in a visible location on the building. Posting of the sign within 5 business days of receiving notification from the Building Inspector shall be the responsibility of the applicant. If the sign is not posted within 5 business days, the 45 day time frame provided for above shall stop running and not resume until the sign is posted.

D. Demolition Review Committee Responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the Demolition Review Committee to:
1. Make a decision within 5 business days of receipt of the demolition application as to whether the building might be of historical or architectural significance.
2. Notify the Building Inspector in writing within 2 business days of decision if the building is found not to be significant and demolition can proceed.
3. Notify the Building Inspector in writing within 2 business days of decision if the building is found to be potentially historically or architecturally significant.
4. Establish a date and location for a public hearing to occur within 12 days of determination of potential significance. A notice of public hearing shall be submitted to the local newspaper within 2 days of decision.
5. Hold the public hearing to hear all public testimony regarding demolition of the building. The applicant (or applicant's agent) proposing the demolition shall be invited to attend the public hearing to hear the concerns or alternatives that are proposed by members of the public.
6. Notify the applicant and the Building Inspector within 2 business days following the public hearing that the demolition can proceed if the building is found not to be significant.
7. Hold a meeting between the Demolition Review Committee and the applicant (or applicant's agent) within 10 business days of the public hearing to discuss alternatives to demolition if the committee determines the building is significant and its loss potentially detrimental to the community.

E. Demolition.
1. If no alternatives to demolition have been identified and agreed to by the applicant, after the meeting provided in Section D.7, the applicant is free to proceed with demolition. Prior to demolition, and if the applicant is in agreement, the Demolition Review committee shall photographically document the building. The committee may also encourage the applicant to salvage significant architectural features.
2. Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to prevent immediate demolition where public safety is at stake and the building has been determined by the Building Inspector to be a public hazard and demolition is the only viable recourse.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
I would try the National Trust for examples.

Also, given the inappropriateness of surface parking in most downtowns, I might address that directly!
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
Here, our Historic Preservation Commission treats the demolition the same as an addition or a change in paint color. It goes through the same review. They consider the structures value to the community, it's integrity, economic feasibility, etc. and make their decision.

This normally delays demolition by 30-45 days. It [demolition] has never been applied to principal structures, only accessory structures in my community.
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
Messages
2,779
Points
24
Charleston, SC has some of the toughest HP laws I have ever seen. I am not sure if they are still as bad as they once were, but Jacksonville, Florida was really great about demolition. They loved to issue demolition permits at 4:30 on Friday afternoons.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Monterey, CA prohibits demolition. The last finding for demolition is supposed to be a "takings" finding, but is weaker than it should be. Opponents will always try to call preservatin a "taking." The seminal case (Penn Central) is a decision for preservation. Preservation ordinances have not lost any takings cases since then. Preservation wants to save buildings, which have value. If there is value, there is no taking.

Here is the Monterey provision.

b. Historic Permit for Demolition.

(1) It is the intent of the City of Monterey that historic resources in H-1 zones will not be demolished unless extraordinary circumstances exist.

(2) Application for demolition shall be made on forms provided by the Community Development Department and shall contain a provision which requires the Applicant to provide whatever detailed information is required to completely review the application.

(3) The Historic Preservation Commission shall hold noticed public hearing and recommend action to the City Council on the application for Historic Permit for demolition, and the City Council shall make the final determination to approve or deny the permit.

(4) An Historic Permit and demolition permit for demolition of an H-1 resource shall not be issued by the City Council unless one of the following two findings can be made:

(a) The resource is a hazard to public health or safety, and repairs or stabilization are not feasible. Deterioration resulting from the neglect or failure of the owner to maintain the property need not be considered in making this finding. The City Council may require the applicant to provide one or more structural reports to document that repairs or stabilization are not feasible, or

(b) Denial of the application will deprive the property owner of the economically viable use of the property, after application of financial, land use and other incentives available to the property.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Try the City of Saint John, NB. They've gone through this a few times. Plus the heritage planner there is a Board Member of Heritage Canada.
 

Bunabayashi

Cyburbian
Messages
27
Points
2
DoneGoneBlue said:
Can anyone recommend a city that has progressive demolition regulations or an ordinance with teeth that protects historic buildings from being razed? For instance, is there an ordinance out there that deters the demolition of historic buildings for the creation of a surface parking lot? :-}

The historic district of the City of Alexandria (Old Town Alexandria) Virginia has an exceptionally thorough (draconian?) architectural review system that covers demolition.
 
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