[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Prescott as Title 15, Ch. 7, of the former City Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Common Council hereby declares as a matter of public policy that the protection, preservation, perpetuation and use of places, areas, buildings, structures and other objects having special historical, community or aesthetic interest or value are a public advantage and are promoted in the interest of the people. The purpose of this chapter is to:
Safeguard the cultural resources of the City of Prescott by preserving sites, structures, landmarks and districts which reflect elements of the City's cultural, social, economic, political, visual or architectural history.
Protect and enhance the City's attractions to visitors and residents and serve as a support and stimulus to business, industry and tourism.
Foster civic pride in the beauty and notable achievements of the past.
Enhance the visual and aesthetic character, diversity and interest of the City.
Promote the use and preservation of historic sites, structures, landmarks and districts for the education and general welfare of the people of the City with respect to the cultural, civic, architectural and historic heritage of the City.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
- The Historic Preservation Committee created hereunder.
- CULTURAL RESOURCES
- Any work of man or nature that is primarily of interest for its historical, archaeological, natural, scientific or aesthetic value, including, but not limited to, historic houses and other structures such as barns, schools, kilns, archaeological sites, American Indian burial grounds and earthworks, buildings identified as the work of an architect, developer or master builder whose work has influenced the City, and structures noteworthy because of their design, detail, materials or craftsmanship, or association with historic persons or events.
- HISTORIC DISTRICT
- An area of the City which contains one or more designated sites, structures or landmarks.
- HISTORIC SITE
- Any area, place, structure, land or other object which has been duly designated by the Common Council; this includes prehistoric aboriginal sites.
- A natural or man-made feature of local or regional interest which is associated with a particular historic or prehistoric event.
- Any man-made building which has special character, historic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the City.
The Common Council shall establish a five-member Historic Preservation Committee vested with the authority and responsibility to propose action to safeguard and preserve the historic heritage of the City. In this role, the Historic Preservation Committee will act in an advisory capacity to the City Plan Commission in all matters concerning properties which are designated as historical sites, structures, landmarks and districts within the City.
Members of the Historical Preservation Committee shall be chosen and appointed with consideration of one or more of the following qualities:
The initial five-member Committee shall be appointed to serve terms as follows: position number one, one year; position number two, two years; position number three, three years; position number four, four years; and, position number five, five years. As each term expires, a new appointment or reappointment shall be made by the Common Council for a term of five years. The Historic Preservation Committee shall furnish recommendations to the Council for consideration for new appointments.
The Historic Preservation Committee shall elect a Chairperson to serve a one-year term. This Chairperson may be reelected or a new Chairperson may be elected annually.
The Plan Commission and City Building Inspector shall be fully informed of the decisions and recommendations of the Historic Preservation Committee in order to distinguish and expedite actions to promote and safeguard the City's program of historic preservation.
Inventory of cultural resources. The Common Council shall direct and empower the Historic Preservation Committee to establish and maintain a continuing inventory of cultural resources in the City for consideration for placement on the historic register of the City. Historic sites, structures, landmarks and districts shall be chosen for their eligibility as described under § 335-4 below.
Nomination of properties. Property nominated by the Historic Preservation Committee to be designated as a historic site, structure, landmark or part of a district shall require a public hearing under the direction of the Plan Commission with the approval of the Common Council. Notice of the public hearing shall be published and also mailed to the owners of the property proposed.
Notice to owners. The Historic Preservation Committee shall provide full information to the property owners of the civic advantages and responsibilities involved in accepting such designation. Approval of the property owners shall be obtained a prerequisite to official designation.
Restrictive covenant. The owner of any historic site or structure may, at any time following such designation of this property, enter into a restrictive covenant on the subject property after negotiating with the Historic Preservation Committee. The Committee may assist the owner in preparing such covenant in the interest of preserving historic property. The owner shall record such covenant in the County Register of Deeds office and shall notify the City Assessor of such covenant and the conditions thereof.
Assistance with other registrations. The Historic Preservation Committee shall provide encouragement, information and assistance to owners of City designated historic properties who show interest in seeking nomination to the National Register of Historic Places through the State Historical Society.
Promotional activities. The Historic Preservation Committee shall promote interest in the community for designation of properties as historic sites, structures, landmarks or as part of a historic district, and assist property owners in submitting qualifications of their properties as historic sites for consideration of such designation.
Subcommittees. The Historic Preservation Committee shall have the power to appoint subcommittees from the community and enlist the aid of the Prescott Area Historical Society and other organizations for assistance in promoting the policy of the City in the interest of historic preservation.
Funding. As it deems advisable, the Historic Preservation Committee is empowered to solicit and receive funds for the purpose of preservation of landmarks of the City. Funds for such purposes shall be placed in a special City account.
In determining the eligibility of any area, site, place, building, structure or district within the City as a historic landmark, the Historic Preservation Committee shall consider the following factors with respect to eligibility:
Its character, interest or value as a part of the history or cultural heritage of the City, state or United States.
Its association with the persons or events which have made a significant contribution to the cultural heritage.
Its potential to yield information important in history or prehistory.
Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type or style, or element of design, detail, materials or craftsmanship.
Its unique location or singular physical appearance representing an established and familiar feature of a neighborhood or community of the City.
The City of Prescott shall maintain a register of historic sites, structures, landmarks and districts.
The owner of designated property shall report any planned external alteration, including demolition, to the respective property to the Historic Preservation Committee for review and recommendation. The Historic Preservation Committee will base its recommendation according to the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
Notification of every application for building, zoning or demolition permits for properties on the City register shall be given by the City Building Inspector or his designee to the Historic Preservation Committee for their review. The Committee shall make a recommendation to the Plan Commission concerning the proposed permit.
Considering that time is of the essence, the Historic Preservation Committee shall act promptly in its consideration of an application for building, zoning or demolition permits in relation to designated properties. The review and recommendation shall be forwarded to the Plan Commission within 30 days. The Plan Commission shall consider this review and make their recommendations to the Common Council. The Common Council will vote to decide if the permit will be issued or denied.
The Plan Commission, in considering the recommendations of the Historic Preservation Committee, shall determine if the work to be performed adversely affects the designated historic property. In determining whether or not there is such an adverse affect, the Plan Commission shall consider the following factors:
Whether the work will significantly alter the appearance of the building or structure so as to remove features which distinguish the historic site, structure, landmark or district as a significant cultural resource.
Whether the use of the property will destroy, disturb or endanger a known or suspected archaeological feature.
The Historic Preservation Committee may also recommend to the Plan Commission variations which are comparable to the proposed changes if the Plan Commission determines that such variations are necessary to alleviate financial hardship placed upon the owner of the property. The Historic Preservation Committee will be allowed another 30 days to determine such variations. The Committee's recommendation shall be considered by the Common Council before a vote is taken to determine if a building, zoning or demolition permit will be issued.
Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the construction, alteration or demolition of any improvement on a designated historic property, or in a historic district pursuant to any court judgment to remedy conditions determined to be dangerous to life, health or property. In such case, no approval from the Committee shall be required.
The office of the Historic Preservation Committee at City Hall is designated as the repository for all studies, surveys, reports, programs and designations of all historic sites, structures, landmarks and districts.