[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Norristown 6-5-1990 as Ord. No. 90-16. Section 125-5 added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
The Borough of Norristown recognizes that certain structures exist in the borough which have been documented for their historic associations to the community and/or for outstanding architectural values. Also, there are certain structures located in the historic districts established by the borough and approved by the National Park Service on November 23, 1984, which have historical and/or architectural values which should be preserved. Each structure merits special consideration in the event that a demolition permit is requested.
It is the intent of this chapter to provide a review period of 120 days prior to the issuance of a demolition permit for any key or landmark building and a review period of 45 days prior to the issuance of any demolition permit for any structure within the designated historic districts. The purpose of this review is to allow and encourage all parties concerned to carefully consider all options and alternatives to the partial or total demolition of historical or architectural resources.
In the event that a property owner requests a demolition permit for any structure in the Borough of Norristown, excluding ancillary garages or associated outbuildings, the Building Inspector shall identify key or landmark buildings listed in the borough's 1981 Historic/Architectural Inventory or buildings located in a designated historic district.
If the building is identified as a key or landmark building or is located in an historic district, the Building Inspector shall, within three days, notify the applicant, in writing, of this finding. No demolition permit, exterior or interior, may be issued. There shall be a review period for key or landmark structures of 120 days. The review period for buildings located in historic districts shall be 45 days.
The Building Inspector shall develop and maintain a list to provide notice of a request for a demolition permit. The list shall include the Mayor, all members of the Borough Council, the Borough Administrator, the Director of Planning and Municipal Development and the Norristown Preservation Society. Other interested persons or organizations concerned with the effects of demolition of historic properties may write to the Building Inspector to be added to the notification list.
Notification of a request for demolition shall include, at a minimum, the name of the property owner, the property address, the reason for the demolition, a list of alternatives to demolition and a statement that all alternatives to demolition have been considered.
Structures which are located within an historic district but were built after 1960 are exempt from the review period.
If a property is destroyed by fire or other natural disaster, the Building Inspector or Fire Chief may order its immediate demolition if the structure constitutes a hazard to the general public. Such demolition order must occur within one week of the disaster. The Borough Administrator may waive the procedural requirements for unsafe structures up to 45 days after a disaster upon the written recommendation of the Building Inspector, Fire Chief or other qualified inspector.
Where efforts to preserve a key or landmark building have failed, the Mayor, with the consent of the majority of the members of Borough Council, shall have the right to waive the one-hundred-twenty-day review period required by this chapter and require only a forty-five-day review period.
[Added 4-6-1999 by Ord. No. 99-4]
All structures listed as key or landmark buildings in the 1981 Historic Architectural Survey of the Borough of Norristown and all structures located in an historic district designated by the borough and approved by the National Park Service on November 23, 1984, unless otherwise exempted, are subject to the requirements of this chapter.
[Added 9-1-1992 by Ord. No. 92-19]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $600, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days.