[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Smithfield 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-17. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Council finds that the historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the Town should be preserved to enrich the experience of present and future generations and that the continued expansion of urban and suburban development threatens the existence of historical sites and structures.
There is hereby established an Historic Preservation Commission to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
The Commission shall consist of seven members, residents of the Town, to be appointed by the Town Council. Members shall be appointed for a term of three years, except that the initial appointment of two members shall be for one year, two members for two years and three members for three years. Members shall be eligible for reappointment.
In the event of a vacancy on the Commission, the Town Council shall make an interim appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term. In the event that a Commission member shall have missed three consecutive meetings without consent of said Commission, then his or her membership shall expire forthwith, and the Town Council shall make an interim appointment to fill the unexpired term of the vacancy.
In making appointments to the Commission, the Town Council may consult with any duly organized historic or preservation society which may submit a list of qualified citizens for the Town Council's consideration.
The Commission shall organize annually and, by election, shall select from its membership a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary and may adopt any rules of procedure deemed necessary in discharging its duties.
Four members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, and no vacancy in the membership shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all of the duties of the Commission.
[Amended 4-18-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-03]
The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
Establish criteria for evaluating historical, architectural or cultural sites, buildings, places, landmarks or areas so as to determine their value in terms of the national, state or local importance;
Conduct and maintain a comprehensive inventory of historic resources within the boundaries of the Town of Smithfield which shall be known as the "Smithfield Historic Inventory," and publicize and periodically update said inventory. Properties listed on the inventory shall be recorded on official zoning records with an "HI" (for "historic inventory" designation). This designation shall not change or modify the underlying zoning classification;
Initiate and maintain the Smithfield Register of Historic Places. This official register shall be compiled of buildings, structures, sites, and objects which are included on the Smithfield Historic Inventory and which are identified by the Commission as having historic significance worthy of recognition and protection by the Town of Smithfield. The Commission shall encourage and assist, where possible, efforts by owners to maintain, rehabilitate, and preserve such properties;
Review nominations to the Smithfield Register of Historic Places according to criteria and standards which the Commission shall adopt as part of its rules;
Review proposals to demolish historic structures as defined herein;
Participate in, promote and conduct public information, educational and interpretive programs pertaining to Smithfield's historic resources;
Establish liaison support, communication and cooperation with federal, state, and other local government entities which will further historic preservation objectives, including public education within the Town of Smithfield;
Advise the Town Council and the Town's boards, commissions and officials on matters of Smithfield history and historic preservation. All Town boards, commissions, departments, agencies, officials, and employees shall seek an advisory opinion from the Commission and shall give consideration to any such advisory opinion before rendering a decision or taking any action which might impact or disturb an historic resource that is listed on the Smithfield Historic Inventory or which has been found by the Commission to have important historical significance. Should the Commission, or its Chair or designee, not render such advisory opinion within five business days after receipt of the request, the Town board, commission, department, agency, official or employee may thereafter decide or act upon the matter without the Commission's advisory opinion.
Perform other related functions assigned to the Commission by the Town Council; and
Review nominations of Smithfield properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
No permit shall be issued by the Smithfield Building Official or shall be valid for the demolition of part or all of any historic structure, as defined herein, prior to its referral to and consideration by the Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission shall have 60 days after receipt to review and/or recommend modifications to the permit proposal. The purpose of such review shall be to determine if the demolition of the historic structure is consistent with the historical, architectural or cultural preservation goals of the Town. If at the expiration of said sixty-day period the Commission has not approved the permit or agreed upon modifications to it with the owner, the permit shall be issued if it complies with all other applicable laws and regulations.
For purposes of this section, "an historic structure" means a building or structure which is included in the Smithfield Historic Inventory.
[Added 5-15-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-03; amended 4-18-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-03]
The Smithfield Fire Department shall seek an advisory opinion from the Commission and shall give consideration to any such advisory opinion prior to participating in or assisting with the demolition of any structure in the Town of Smithfield or conducting live fire training exercises in any structure in the Town of Smithfield. Should the Commission, or its Chair or designee, not render such advisory opinion within five business days after receipt of such request, the Fire Department may thereafter undertake the proposed demolition or training exercise without the Commission's advisory opinion unless the structure is described in Subsections B(1), (2) or (3) below.
The Smithfield Department shall not participate in or assist with the demolition of an historic structure or conduct live fire training exercises in any of the following circumstances:
If said structure is listed on the Smithfield Register of Historic Places or the Smithfield Historic Inventory; or
If said structure is listed on the National Register or the State Register of Historic Places pursuant to R.I.G.L., § 42-45; or
If the Smithfield Historic Preservation Commission finds that said structure has important historical significance, in which case the Commission shall cause written notice of this finding to be delivered to the Smithfield Fire Chief prior to any live fire training exercise or demolition of said structure.