City of New Berlin, WI
Waukesha County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of New Berlin 10-10-2000 by Ord. No. 2124 as Secs. 14.50 through 14.60 and 14.90 of the Municipal Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 80.
Zoning — See Ch. 275.

§ 141-1 Purpose and intent.

It is hereby declared a matter of public policy that the protection, enhancement, perpetuation and use of improvements of special character or special historical interest is a public benefit and is advisable in the interest of health, prosperity, safety and welfare of the people. The purpose of this chapter is to:
A. 
Effect and accomplish the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of such improvements and of districts which represent or reflect elements of the City's cultural, social, economic, political and architectural history.
B. 
Safeguard the City's historic and cultural heritage as embodied and reflected in such landmarks and historic districts.
C. 
Stabilize and improve property values.
D. 
Foster civic pride in the beauty and noble accomplishments of the past.
E. 
Protect and enhance the City's attraction to residents, tourists and visitors and serve as a support and stimulus to business and industry.
F. 
Strengthen the economy of the City.
G. 
Promote the use of historic districts and landmarks for the education, pleasure and welfare of the people of the City.

§ 141-2 Definitions.

In this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMISSION
The Landmarks Commission created under this chapter.
[Amended 6-19-2001 by Ord. No. 2142]
HISTORIC DISTRICT
An area designated by the Commission which contains one or more landmarks or landmark sites, as well as those abutting improvements and parcels which the Commission determines should fall under the provisions of this chapter to assure that their appearance and development is harmonious with such landmarks or landmark sites.
IMPROVEMENT
Any building, structure, place, work of art or other object constituting a physical betterment of real property or any part of such betterment.
IMPROVEMENT PARCEL
The unit of property which includes a physical betterment constituting an improvement and the land embracing the site thereof and is treated as a single entity for the purpose of levying real estate taxes. However, the term "improvement parcel" shall also include any unimproved area of land which is treated as a single entity for such tax purposes.
INFORMATIONAL LANDMARK REGISTRATION
Any improvement or unit of property for which the City wishes to acknowledge its historical, cultural or architectural significance through registration with the Landmark Commission but which the City does not wish to designate as a landmark or landmark site under this chapter.
[Added 1-27-2004 by Ord. No. 2220]
LANDMARK
Any improvement which has a special character of special historic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the City, state or nation and which has been designated as a landmark pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
LANDMARK SITE
Any parcel of land of historic significance due to a substantial value in tracing the history of aboriginal man or upon which an historic event has occurred and which has been designated as a landmark site under this chapter, or an improvement parcel or part thereof on which is situated a landmark and any abutting improvement parcel or part thereof used as and constituting part of the premises on which the landmark is situated.

§ 141-3 Appointment of Landmarks Commission; qualifications; terms; compensation.

The Commission shall be composed of nine members who are residents of the City. Such persons shall be competent and informed in the historical, architectural and cultural traditions of the community. Eight members shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by the Common Council. The ninth Commissioner shall be appointed by the Common Council President, and shall be a member of the Common Council. Two of the initial members shall be appointed for a term of one year, two for two years and three for three years and subsequently members shall be appointed for terms of three years as terms expire, except the Common Council member shall be for one year. Members of the Commission shall be appointed for succeeding terms. A vacancy occurring in the membership for any cause shall be filled by a person appointed by the appointing authority and confirmed by the Common Council for the unexpired term. The members of such Commission shall receive no compensation except for necessary expenses sustained in carrying out their duties, which expenses shall be paid by the City as may be authorized by the Common Council. The Commission may appoint up to four nonvoting consultants familiar with matters of historical significance, whose qualifications to serve as consultants shall be determined by the Commission.

§ 141-4 Landmarks and landmark site designation criteria.

A. 
For purposes of this chapter, a landmark or landmark site designation may be placed on any site, natural or improved, including any building, improvement or structure located thereon, or any area of particular historic, architectural or cultural significance to the City, such as historic structures or sites which:
(1) 
Exemplify or reflect the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state or community;
(2) 
Are identified with historic personages or with important events in national, state or local history;
(3) 
Embody the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type of specimen, inherently valuable for a study of a period, style, method of construction of indigenous materials or craftsmanship; or
(4) 
Are representative of the notable work of a master builder, designer or architect whose individual genius influenced his age.
B. 
The Commission may adopt specific operating guidelines for landmark site designation, providing such are in conformance with the provisions of this section.

§ 141-5 Powers and duties of Commission.

A. 
The Commission shall have the power, subject to § 141-6, to designate historic landmarks, landmark sites and historic districts within the City limits. Such designations shall be made based upon the criteria established under § 141-4. Once designated by the Commission, such landmark, landmark site and historical district shall be subject to the provisions of this Chapter.
[Amended 12-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2582]
B. 
Regulation of construction and alteration.
(1) 
Any application for a permit from the Chief Building Inspector involving a designated landmark, landmark site or improvement in an historic district shall contemporaneously be filed with the Commission.
(2) 
No owner or person in charge of a landmark, landmark site or improvement in an historic district shall alter or reconstruct all or any part of the exterior of such property, construct any improvement upon any such designated property or cause or permit any such work to be performed upon such property, unless the written approval of the Commission has been granted. Unless such approval has been granted by the Commission or Common Council, the Chief Building Inspector shall not issue any permit for any such work.
(3) 
Upon the filing of an application with the Commission, the Commission shall determine:
(a) 
Whether, in the case of a landmark, the proposed work would change, destroy or affect any exterior architectural feature of the improvement upon which such work is to be done.
(b) 
Whether, in the case of construction of a new improvement, the exterior of such improvement would affect or not harmonize with the external appearance of other neighboring improvements on such site or in such district.
(4) 
If the Commission determines both Subsections B(3)(a) and (b) in the negative, it shall approve the permit; otherwise, it shall deny the request for approval. The Commission shall make this decision within 90 days after the filing of the application. If, at the end of the ninety-day period, the Commission has not made its decision, the application shall be deemed approved by the Landmarks Commission. Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to prevent the appeal of any denial hereunder to the Common Council after the Landmarks Commission has denied an application.
(5) 
If the Commission denies the request for approval, the Commission and the applicant shall cooperate and work together for a period of 90 days following the date of denial to find a suitable method of completing the proposed work. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be deemed to prevent the appeal of an earlier denial by the Commission, whether such appeal might occur during or after the ninety-day period described immediately above.
(6) 
By mutual consent, the applicant and the Commission may extend any of the time periods set forth above.
C. 
Regulation of demolition. No permit to demolish all or part of a landmark or improvement in a historic district shall be granted by the Chief Building Inspector, except as follows:
[Amended 1-27-2004 by Ord. No. 2220]
(1) 
No person in charge of a landmark or improvement in a historic district shall be granted a permit to demolish such property without written approval of the City Council.
(2) 
At such time as such person applies for a permit to demolish such property, such application shall contemporaneously be filed with the Landmarks Commission. The Commission shall review the application and shall, within 90 days of the filing of that application, make a recommendation to the City Council with respect to that demolition.
(3) 
Upon receipt of the recommendation from the Landmarks Commission or, if no recommendation is made, 90 days after the filing of the original application, the request for demolition shall be submitted for review and consideration by the Common Council. The Council shall make its decision respecting demolition within 120 days of the Council’s receipt of the recommendation from the Landmarks Commission or the expiration of the time period allowed for Landmark Commission review.
(4) 
Upon approval of the petition of demolition by the Common Council, the Chief Building Inspector shall issue the permit to demolish the subject property, provided all other codes and City ordinances are met.
(5) 
By mutual consent, the applicant and the City may extend any of the time periods set forth above.
(6) 
In evaluating the petition for demolition, the Common Council may consider the following:
(a) 
The age and physical condition of the landmark.
(b) 
The attempts made by the applicant to preserve the landmark and move it elsewhere.
(c) 
The cost of repairs of the landmark as compared to the fair market value of that improvement.
(d) 
The historic significance of the landmark and its value to the City and its residents.
D. 
Recognition of landmarks and landmark sites. At such time as a landmark or landmark site has been properly designated in accordance with §§ 141-4 and 141-6, the Commission shall cause to be prepared and erected on such property at City expense, provided funds have been authorized by the City Council, a suitable plaque declaring that such property is a landmark or landmark site. Such plaque shall be so placed as to be easily visible to passing pedestrians. In the case of a landmark, the plaque shall state the accepted name of the landmark, the date of its construction and other information deemed proper by the Commission. In the case of a landmark site which is not the site of a landmark building, such plaque shall state the common name of the site and such other information deemed appropriate by the Commission.
E. 
Other duties. In addition to those duties already specified in this chapter, the Commission shall:
(1) 
Work closely with the state liaison officer and the Governor's liaison committee for the National Register of Historic Places of the United States National Park Service in attempting to include such properties hereunder designated as landmarks or landmark sites on the Federal Register.
(2) 
Work for the continuing education of the citizens of the City about the historic heritage of this City and the landmarks and landmark sites designated under the provisions of this chapter.
F. 
The Landmark Commission shall have the authority to register informational landmark registrations where the Commission wishes to acknowledge the historical, cultural or architectural significance of the property or improvement thereon but does not wish to designate said property or improvement as a landmark or landmark site under this chapter. The Commission shall maintain a register of informational landmark registrations. A plaque or other marker identifying the informational landmark registration shall be prepared and erected on such property at the City’s expense, provided funds have been authorized by the Common Council for said plaque. In determining whether to register a property or improvement for purposes of informational landmark registrations, the Commission shall consider whether registration of the landmark for informational purposes will be of informational value to the public or whether formal registration as a landmark or landmark site will be more appropriate.
[Added 1-27-2004 by Ord. No. 2220]

§ 141-6 Designation procedure; amendments.

A. 
Designation of landmarks, landmark sites and historic districts and informational landmark registrations. The Commission may establish landmarks, landmark sites and informational landmark registrations after notice and a public hearing thereon and after application of the criteria in § 141-4 and, with respect to informational landmark registrations, as provided in § 141-5. At least 10 days notice of such hearing shall be given by first class mail to the owners of the premises as well as the owners of all lands located within 200 feet of the boundaries of the property affected. Such notice shall include the time and place of the public hearing as well as the place, structure or object to be designated as a historic landmark, informational landmark or historic district. Notice of the hearing shall be published as a Class 1 legal notice pursuant to Chapter 985 of the Wisconsin Statutes, and the Commission shall also notify the Parks, Buildings and Grounds Commission, the Board of Public Works and the Chief Building Inspector of the hearing. Each such board or officer shall respond to the Commission by filing its or his comments on the proposed designation or registration. The Commission shall conduct such public hearing. In addition, the notified persons and board may hear expert witnesses and shall have the power to subpoena such witnesses and records as it deems necessary or advisable. The Commission shall likewise conduct an independent investigation into the proposed designation or registration. At any time after the closing of the public hearing, the Commission may designate the site or property as either a landmark or a landmark site, or include it in the historic district or may register the property as an Informational Landmark Registration. After such designation or registration has been made by the Landmark Commission, notification thereof shall be sent to the property owner(s). Notification shall also be given to the City Clerk, Chief Building Inspector and City Assessor. The Commission shall cause such designation in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Waukesha County and, in the case of a registration, shall keep that registration on the list for that purpose in the Clerk's office. Any owner of property that is affected by the designation of a historic landmark, informational landmark or an historic district may appeal said decision to the Common Council. The Common Council may overturn a decision of the Landmark Commission by a simple majority vote of the Common Council.
[Amended 6-22-2004 by Ord. No. 2238; 11-10-2015 by Ord. No. 2555; 12-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2582]
B. 
Amendment. A property owner or the City may seek an amendment of the designation of a property as a landmark site or its inclusion in an historic district and may also seek to amend an informational landmark registration. Consideration of an amendment to the landmark designation or informational landmark registration shall be commenced by written request filed with the Landmarks Commission stating the specific amendment sought, the basis for the amendment and specifically, whether the amendment meets the criteria for the designation of a landmark/landmark site or improvement within an historic district or informational landmark registration. The notice and public hearing requirements for the establishment of a landmark shall be followed with respect to consideration of the amendment. Following any public hearing, the Landmarks Commission shall make a determination on the application for amendment of the designation of a landmark/landmark site or improvement in a historic district. If any person is aggrieved by decision of the Landmarks Commission with respect to an informational landmark registration, they may appeal that decision to the Common Council.
[Amended 12-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2582]
C. 
Voluntary restrictive covenants. The owner of any landmark or landmark site may at any time following such designation of this property enter into a restrictive covenant on the subject party after negotiating such covenant in the interest of preserving the landmark or landmark site and shall record such covenant in the office of the Waukesha County Register of Deeds and also shall notify the City Assessor of such covenant and the conditions thereof.

§ 141-7 Conformance with regulations.

[Amended 12-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2582]
Every person in charge of any landmark, landmark site or improvement in an historic district shall maintain the same, or cause or permit to be maintained in a condition consistent with the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the maintenance of the architectural style of the structure, as well as the materials used within said structure. Notwithstanding the foregoing, limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and other work required by the applicable building codes, to make the property functional, is permitted. Material or structural modifications to the structure shall require the approval of the City of New Berlin Landmarks Commission. Maintenance consistent with the structural features of the structure may be performed without approval.

§ 141-8 Maintenance of landmarks, landmark sites and historic districts.

Every person in charge of an improvement on a landmark site or in an historic district shall keep in good repair all of the exterior portions of such improvement and all interior portions thereof which, if not so maintained, may cause or tend to cause the exterior portions of such improvements to deteriorate, decay or become damaged or otherwise fall into a state of disrepair. This provision shall be in addition to all other provisions of law requiring such improvement to be kept in good repair.

§ 141-9 Conditions dangerous to life, health or property.

Nothing contained in this chapter at all shall prohibit the making of necessary construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition of any improvement on a landmark site or in an historic district pursuant to order of any government agency or pursuant to any court judgment for the purpose of remedying conditions determined to be dangerous to life, health or property. In such case, no approval from the Commission shall be required.

§ 141-10 Restoration of landmarks.

Any damaged structure which has been designated as a landmark pursuant hereto may be restored in its present location upon recommendation by the Commission and approval by the City Council.

§ 141-11 Adoption of Historic Building Code.

The provisions of Ch. ILHR 70, Wis. Adm. Code, are hereby adopted and incorporated herein by reference.

§ 141-12 Violations and penalties.

Except as otherwise provided, any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter, or any rule, regulation or order made hereunder, upon conviction of same shall be subject to a penalty as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, § 1-18 of this Code.