To promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of the distinctive characteristics of buildings and places associated with the history of or indicative of a period of style of architecture of the Unionville section of the Town of Farmington, State of Connecticut and the United States of America and through the development of appropriate settings for such buildings and places, there is hereby established a set of historic districts in Unionville as well as a number of historic properties both of which are more particularly bounded and described as follows:
The Cottage Street Historic District runs along Cottage Street, encompassing contiguous buildings numbered 42, 43, 45, and 48. At the north end of the street, the district encompasses Lion's Park (lot #8A) and north and south of that, Suburban Park (lot #45), the canal bed (lot #62) and Brook's Common (lot #6C). From the western boundaries of Lion's Park and Suburban Park, the district runs further west to encompass Hillside Cemetery (lot #99), Tunxis Hose Firehouse (lot #3), and the lot at the corner of Farmington Avenue and Lovely Street (lot #2). The district ends at Route 177 (Lovely Street).
The Avenue Historic District encompasses the northern property line of 1774 Farmington Avenue, the western property lines of 1774 and 1773 Farmington Avenue, along the northern bank of the Farmington River and the eastern property lines of 1773 and 1774 Farmington Avenue.
The Merriman Street Historic District runs along Merriman Street, the eastern property line of 38 Merriman Street, the southern property lines of 38 and 30 Merriman Street and the western property line of 30 Merriman Street.
The Lovely-Main Historic District runs along Lovely Street, the northern property line of 99 Lovely Street, the western property line of 120 Main Street, along Main Street, the eastern property line of 120 Main Street and the southerly property line of 99 Lovely Street.
The Main Street West Historic District runs along Main Street, the western property line of 206 Main Street, the northern property lines of 206 and 198 Main Street and then along Bidwell Square.
The Clover Pinney Park Historic District runs along Elm Street, the northern property line of 20-22 Maple Avenue, the eastern property line of 20-22 Maple Avenue, the eastern and southern property lines of Clover Pinney Park, the southern and western property lines of 28 Elm Street, the western property line of 52-56 Maple Avenue, the northern property line of 52-56 Maple Avenue, the northern property line of 42-44 Maple Avenue, the eastern property line of 42-44 Maple Avenue, the southern property line of 38 Maple Avenue, the western property line of 20 Elm Street, the northern property line of 20 Elm Street and closing on Elm Street.
[Amended 2-10-2015; 9-11-2018]
The School Street Historic District runs along the eastern, northern and western property lines of 10 School Street, the westerly property line of 23 School Street, the southerly property line of 23, and 15 School Street, and the easterly property line of 15 School Street.
The Farmington River Historic District runs along the northern property line of 1761 Farmington Avenue, 1755 Farmington Avenue and Yodkins-Morin Park, the eastern property line of Yodkins-Morin Park, the southern property line of Yodkins-Morin Park, 1755 Farmington Avenue and 1761 Farmington Avenue, bordering the Farmington River, and the western property line of 1761 Farmington Avenue.
[Added 2-10-2015; 9-11-2018]
1685 Farmington Avenue.
1781 Farmington Avenue.
54-56 Maple Avenue.
11 Progress Avenue.
71 Lovely Street.
60 Main Street.
169 Lovely Street.
10 Walnut Street.
230 Main Street.
Terms within this chapter are to be defined in accordance with General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, § 7-147a et seq.
The Unionville Historic District and Properties Commission is hereby established, which shall consist of five (5) members and three (3) alternate members, all of whom shall be electors of the Second District of the Town of Farmington holding no salaried town office. The members of said Commission shall be appointed by the Town Council. The regular members shall be appointed in such a manner that the term of at least one (1) member shall expire each year, with their successors to be appointed in like manner for terms of five (5) years. Alternate members shall be appointed for terms of three (3) years. The Town Council members are further empowered to make appointments to fill vacancies, which appointments shall be for the duration of the vacated unexpired term. At least one member of the Commission shall be a resident within the Historic District, if any persons residing in the Historic District are willing to serve.
Within a period of thirty (30) days after the appointment of the original members of the Commission and annually thereafter, the regular members shall meet and elect a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Clerk from among the membership. Alternate members shall not participate in any election of officers of the Commission. In all other matters, in case of an inability to act because of absence, sickness or disqualification on the part of any member of the Commission, that Commissioner's place shall be taken by an alternate member designated by the Chairman, choosing alternates in rotation so that they shall act as nearly an equal number of times as possible. All members shall serve without compensation. The Commission shall adopt rules of procedure not inconsistent with the provisions of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut and may, subject to appropriation, employ clerical or technical assistance or consultants and may accept money gifts and expend the same for such purposes.
The Unionville Historic District and Properties Commission shall have powers and perform such functions and shall be subject to such limitations as shall, from time to time, be provided by General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, § 7-147a et seq.
The Commission shall fix the time and place of its regular meetings and provide a method for calling special meetings. The presence of four members shall constitute a quorum, and no resolution or vote, except a vote to adjourn or fix the time and place of its next meeting, shall be adopted by less than three affirmative votes.
No building or structure shall be erected or altered within the Historic District or within the boundaries of an historic property until after an application for a certificate of appropriateness as to exterior architectural features has been submitted to and approved by the Commission.
No building permit for erection of a building or structure or for alteration of an exterior architectural feature within the Historic District or within the boundaries of an historic property and no demolition permit for demolition or removal of a building or structure within the Historic District or within the boundaries of an historic property shall be issued by the Town or any department, agency or official thereof until a certificate of appropriateness has been issued. A certificate of appropriateness shall be required whether or not a building permit is required.
The Commission may request such plans, elevations, specifications, material and other information, including, in the case of demolition or removal, a statement of the proposed condition and appearance of the property after such demolition or removal, as may be reasonably deemed necessary by the Commission to enable it to make a determination on the application. The style, material, size and location of outdoor advertising signs and billposters within the Historic District or within the boundaries of an historic property shall also be under the control of such Commission. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to extend to the color of paint used on the exterior of any building or structure.
No area within the Historic District or within the boundaries of an historic property shall be used for industrial, commercial, business, home industry or occupational parking, whether or not such area is zoned for such use, until after an application for a certificate of appropriateness as to parking has been submitted to the Commission and approved by said Commission. The provisions of this section shall apply to the enlargement or alteration of any such parking area in existence on October 1, 1973.
The Commission shall hold a public hearing upon each application for a certificate of appropriateness, unless the Commission determines that such application involves items not subject to approval by it. The Commission shall fix a reasonable time and place for such hearing. Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be given by publication in the form of a legal advertisement appearing in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality not more than fifteen (15) days nor less than five (5) days before such hearing. For all applications, the Planning Department shall mail notice of the public hearing no later than ten (10) days before such hearing by certified mail, return receipt, to all owners of property abutting any boundary of the property which is the subject of the application. The names and addresses used shall be those as recorded in the office of the Town Assessor on the date the application is filed. In the case where a property requiring notice has been submitted to common-interest ownership, such as a condominium, the required notice need only be sent to the homeowners' association. In addition, the applicant shall post a notification sign provided by the Planning Department on the property at least seven days prior to the date of the public hearing.
Within not more than 65 days after the filing of an application as required by C.G.S. § 7-147d or 7-147s, as amended, the Commission shall pass upon such application and shall give written notice of its decision to the applicant. When a certificate of appropriateness is denied, the Commission shall place upon its records and in the notice to the applicant the reasons for its determination. In the notice to the applicant, the Commission may make recommendations relative to design, arrangement, texture, material and similar features. The Commission may issue a certificate of appropriateness with stipulations. Evidence of approval, as referred to in C.G.S. § 7-147d or 7-147s, shall be by certificate of appropriateness issued by the Commission. Failure of the Commission to act within said 65 days shall constitute approval, and no other evidence of approval shall be needed.
If the Commission determines that the proposed erection, alteration or parking will be appropriate, it shall issue a certificate of appropriateness. In passing on appropriateness as to exterior architectural features, buildings or structures, the Commission shall consider, in addition to other pertinent factors, the type and style of exterior windows, doors, light fixtures, signs, aboveground utility structures, mechanical appurtenances and the type and texture of building materials. In passing upon appropriateness as to exterior architectural features, the Commission shall also consider, in addition to any other pertinent factors, the historical and architectural value and significance, architectural style and pertinent features of other buildings and structures in the immediate neighborhood. No application for a certificate of appropriateness for an exterior architectural feature, such as a solar energy system, designed for the utilization of renewable resources shall be denied, unless the Commission finds that the feature cannot be installed without substantially impairing the historic character and appearance of the district. A certificate of appropriateness for such a feature may include stipulations requiring design modifications and limitations on the location of the feature, which do not significantly impair its effectiveness. In passing upon appropriateness as to parking, the Commission shall take into consideration the size of such parking area, the visibility of cars parked therein, the closeness of such area to adjacent buildings and other similar factors. In passing upon the appropriateness of alterations to earthworks or sites of historic or archaeological importance, the Commission shall consider, in addition to any other pertinent factors, their value and significance, size, design, arrangement, texture and materials.
In its deliberations, the Commission shall act only for the purpose of controlling the erection or alteration of buildings, structures or parking which are incongruous with the historic or architectural aspects of the district. The Commission shall not consider interior arrangement or use. However, the Commission may recommend adaptive reuse of any buildings or structures within the district compatible with the historic architectural aspects of the district.
Where, by reason of topographical conditions, district borderline situations or because of other unusual circumstances solely with respect to a certain parcel of land and not affecting generally the district in which it is situated, the strict application of any provision of C.G.S. §§ 7-147a to 7-147y, inclusive, as amended, would result in exceptional practical difficulty or undue hardship upon the owner of any specific property, the Commission, in passing upon applications, shall have the power to vary or modify strict adherence to said sections or to interpret the meaning of said sections so as to relieve such difficulty or hardship, provided that such variance, modification or interpretation shall remain in harmony with the general purpose and intent of said sections so that the general character of the district shall be conserved and substantial justice done or, as to an historic property, the historic and architectural aspects of the historic property conserved. In granting variations, the Commission may impose such reasonable and additional stipulations and conditions as will, in its judgment, better fulfill the purposes of said sections. In addition to the filing required by Subsection (b) of C.G.S. § 7-147e or 7-147v, the Commission shall, for each variation granted, place upon its records and in the notice to the applicant the reason for its determinations.
If any provision of C.G.S. §§ 7-147a to 7-147y, inclusive, as amended, or any action taken or ruling made by the Historic District Commission pursuant to the provisions of said sections or of any regulation or ordinance adopted under said sections has been violated, the Commission may, in addition to other remedies, institute an action in the Superior Court for the judicial district wherein such violation exists, which Court shall have jurisdiction to restrain such violation and to issue orders directing that the violation be corrected or removed. Such order may direct the removal of any building, structure or exterior architectural feature erected in violation of said sections or any bylaw or ordinance adopted under said sections or the substantial restoration of any building, structure or exterior architectural feature altered or demolished in violation of said sections or any regulation or ordinance adopted under said sections. Regulations and orders of the Commission issued pursuant to said sections or to any regulation or ordinance adopted under said sections shall be enforced by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or Building Official or by such other person as may be designated by ordinance who may be authorized to inspect and examine any building, structure, place or premises and to require, in writing, the remedying of any condition found to exist therein or thereon in violation of any provision of the regulations or orders made under the authority of said sections or of any regulation or ordinance adopted under said sections.
The owner or agency of any building, structure or place where a violation of any provision of C.G.S. §§ 7-147a to 7-147y, inclusive, or of any regulation or ordinance adopted under said sections has been committed or exists or the lessees or tenants of an entire building, entire structure or place where such violation has been committed or exists or the owner, agent, lessee or tenant of any part of the building, structure or place in which such violation has been committed or exists or the agent, architect, builder, contractor or any other person who commits, takes part in or assists in any such violation or who maintains any building, structure or place in which any such violation exists shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $100 for each day that such violation continues, but if the offense is willful, the person convicted thereof shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $250 for each day that such violation continues. The Superior Court for the judicial district wherein such violation continues or exists shall have jurisdiction of all such offenses, subject to appeal as in other cases. Each day that a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense. All costs, fees and expenses in connection with actions under this section may, in the discretion of the Court, be assessed as damages against the violator, which, together with reasonable attorney's fees, may be awarded to the Historic District Commission, which brought such action. Any funds collected as fines pursuant to this section shall be used by the Commission to restore the affected buildings, structures or places to their condition prior to the violation wherever possible, and any excess shall be paid to the municipality in which the district or historic property is situated.
Any person or persons severally or jointly aggrieved by any decision of the Historic District Commission or of any officer thereof may, within 15 days from the date when such decision was rendered, take an appeal to the Superior Court for the judicial district of Hartford/New Britain at Hartford, which appeal shall be made returnable to such Court in the same manner as that prescribed for other civil actions brought to such Court. Notice of such appeal shall be given by leaving a true and attested copy thereof in the hands of or at the usual place of abode of the Chairman or Clerk of the Commission within 12 days before the return day to which such appeal has been taken. Procedure upon such appeal shall be the same as that defined in C.G.S. § 8-8, as amended.
Nothing in C.G.S. §§ 7-147a to 7-147y, inclusive, as amended, shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in the Historic District or on an historic property which does not involve a change in the appearance or design thereof or to prevent the erection or alteration of any such feature which the Building Official or a similar agent certifies is required by the public safety because of a condition which is unsafe or dangerous due to deterioration or to prevent the erection or alteration of any such feature under a permit issued by a Building Official or similar agent prior to the effective date of establishment of such district.
If a building in the Historic District or on an historic property is to be demolished, no demolition shall occur for 90 days from the issuance of a demolition permit if during such time the Historic District Commission or the Connecticut Historical Commission is attempting to find a purchaser who will retain or remove such building or who will present some other reasonable alternative to demolition. During such ninety-day period, the Town may abate all real property taxes. At the conclusion of such ninety-day period, the demolition permit shall become effective, and the demolition may occur. Nothing in this section shall be construed to mandate that the owner of such property sell such property or building.
[Amended 10-12-2010; 2-10-2015; 9-11-2018]
The boundaries of the Unionville Historic Districts and historic properties shall be shown on a map captioned "Proposed Unionville Historic Districts and Historic Properties, Farmington, Connecticut," dated April, 2018.