[Adopted 7-18-1983 by L.L. No. 2-1983 as Ch. I, Art. II, Div. 4, of the 1983 Code; amended in its entirety 3-15-2004 by L.L. No. 4-2004]
The Common Council, in order to preserve and protect places, sites, buildings, structures, works of art and other objects having a special character or special historic or aesthetic interest or value, does deem it in the best interest of the City of Albany that there hereby be established an Historic Resources Commission, with the powers and duties described herein.
The Historic Resources Commission shall administer the provisions of this article so as to:
Regulate the appearance, style and components of new construction in historic districts and of additions or alterations to landmarks or to existing structures which are visible from the public right-of-way within designated historic districts and adjacent areas.
Protect, preserve and enhance those places, sites, buildings, structures, objects and significant public interiors which are of special character or interest to the City of Albany.
Foster civic beauty.
Foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past.
Protect and enhance the attractiveness of the City of Albany to visitors and the support and stimulus to the economy thereby provided.
Foster harmonious, orderly and compatible physical development within the City of Albany.
Safeguard and preserve the historic, cultural, architectural and archaeological heritage of the City of Albany.
Membership; organization; meetings; vacancies.
The Historic Resources Commission shall consist of nine members, who shall be appointed by the Mayor of the City of Albany with the advice and consent of the Common Council. All Commission members shall have a demonstrated interest, competence or knowledge of historic preservation and archaeology, at least two of whom shall be professional archaeologists. To the extent that such professionals are available in the community, Commission members shall be drawn from among the disciplines of history, architectural history, architecture, historic architecture, planning, archaeology, historic preservation or closely related fields.
Three of the initial members shall be appointed for one year, two for two years and two for three years. Subsequently, members shall be appointed for terms of three years as terms expire. Members of the Commission may be reappointed for succeeding terms.
The Mayor shall designate one member as Chairman of the Commission and one member as Vice Chairman. The Vice Chairman shall act in the absence of the Chairman.
The presence of five members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. The concurring vote of five members shall be required to carry out an action of the Commission.
A vacancy occurring in the membership of the Commission for any cause shall be filled by a person appointed by the Mayor for the unexpired term.
The Commission shall meet as often as is necessary to discharge its duties in a timely fashion, but at least eight times per year.
The powers of the Commission shall include:
Delegation of administrative and procedural matters to staff and professional consultants as necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission.
[Amended 5-15-2017 by Ord. No. 26.31.17]
Consultation with individuals or groups in the carrying out of its duties.
Adoption of rules and regulations necessary to establish criteria and standards for the conduct of its business or necessary to carry out the provisions of this article.
Adoption of criteria for the identification of significant historic, architectural, archaeological and cultural landmarks and for delineation of historic districts.
Conduct of surveys of significant historic, architectural, archaeological and cultural landmarks and historic districts within the City.
Recommending to the Common Council the designation of identified structures or sites as landmarks or historic districts and making recommendations regarding nominations for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Approval, approval with modifications or denial of certificates of appropriateness pursuant to this article.
Regulation of development within areas adjacent to historic districts. The Commission shall limit its review of such development to new construction, signage and site improvements.
Increasing public awareness of the value of historic, cultural, archaeological and architectural preservation by developing and participating in public education programs.
Making recommendations to City government concerning the utilization of state, federal or private funds to promote the preservation of landmarks and historic districts within the City.
Maintenance of central files for the City on all historic surveys and designations prepared for City, state or federal programs.
Review development plans which involve potential archaeological sites, cause to be conducted preliminary assessments of the potential archaeological significance of any site plan area and of the impact of any proposed ground-disturbing activities on such area, and make recommendations as to the necessity of cultural resource investigations.
[Added 5-15-2017 by Ord. No. 26.31.17]
Making recommendations to the Mayor and Common Council concerning emergency actions relating to landmarks or property within historic districts.
[Added 3-1-2021 by L.L. No. 6-2021]
Editor’s Note: Former § 42-86, Areas and structures designated as having special historic and aesthetic interest or value, as amended, former § 42-87, Designation of landmarks or historic districts, as amended, and former § 42-88, Areas designated as archaeologically sensitive, were repealed 5-15-2017 by Ord. No. 26.31.17.
In the event that the Commission is not the lead agency for the environmental review process, the opinion of the Commission, as an involved agency, shall be sought for all applications under this article.
Certificate of appropriateness and building permit required. No person shall carry out any exterior alteration, restoration, reconstruction, demolition, new construction or moving of a landmark or a property within an historic district, nor shall any person make any material change in the appearance of such a property or its windows, light fixtures, signs or awnings, sidewalks, fences, steps, paving or other exterior elements visible from a public street or alley, nor shall any person carry out any subsurface excavation in any area of archaeological sensitivity or potential archaeological sensitivity without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness and a building permit. No person shall carry out any grading or roadwork without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness and grading or roadwork permit.
Building, grading, and roadwork permit requirements.
No permit for signage, new construction, repair, alteration, a sidewalk barricade, demolition or any other work that will affect the exterior of a landmark or a property within an historic district, and no permit for subsurface excavation in any area of archaeological sensitivity or potential archaeological sensitivity shall be issued by the Commissioner of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance until the applicant has obtained a certificate of appropriateness. No permit for grading or roadwork shall be issued by the City Engineer until the applicant has obtained a certificate of appropriateness. Any application for a permit for such work shall be referred to the City Planning Office.
[Amended 12-2-2013 by L.L. No. 5-2013]
Additional requirements. In addition to the documentation normally required as part of a building, grading, or roadwork permit application, an application for work that will affect the exterior of a landmark or a property included in an historic district also shall include the following:
One copy of photographs of the property showing all sides that are visible from the public right-of-way.
For major changes on facades or new construction, three copies of frontal elevations, including the relationship with adjacent properties. Perspective drawings may be recommended or required.
Two samples of each color and type of material to be used.
For proposed work, including signs, awnings or lettering, three copies of a scale drawing showing the type of lettering to be used, all dimensions and colors, a description of materials to be used and the method of illumination. two copies of an elevation or photo showing the location of the sign, awning or lettering on the property also shall be submitted.
Any other information which the Commission may deem necessary in order to visualize the proposed work.
For proposed new construction in an historic district, the submission requirements established under § 42-91C(3)(j) shall apply.
[Added 3-1-2021 by L.L. No. 6-2021]
The Commission shall review orders for emergency actions relating to landmarks or property within historic districts after receiving notification pursuant to § 133-55 of this Code.
The Commission, in consultation with the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance, shall prepare and submit an annual report to the Mayor and Common Council on or before April 1 of each year concerning emergency actions pursuant to § 133-55 of this Code relating to landmarks or property within historic districts. Such report shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:
The number and locations of emergency actions undertaken in the previous calendar year, including maps depicting locations within each historic district and the City as a whole;
A description of the architectural and historic merit of landmarks or property within an historic district subject to an emergency action in the previous calendar year, the causes or factors contributing to such actions, and the effects of such action on surrounding buildings or structures;
Recommendations, if any, to identify and encourage the stabilization of landmarks and property within historic districts, in order to prevent emergency actions.
Editor’s Note: Former § 42-91, Criteria in consideration of appropriateness, former § 42-92, Enforcement, as amended, former § 42-92.1, Maintenance and repair of structures and improvements, added 10-6-2005 by Ord. No. 56.81.05, former § 42-93, Complaints of violations; penalties for offenses, as amended, former § 42-94, Waivers or modifications; demolition requirements, and former § 42-95, Reports and recommendations; referral of related information to Commission, were repealed 5-15-2017 by Ord. No. 26.31.17. Former § 42-96, Limitation of powers, was repealed 12-2-2013 by L.L. No. 5-2013.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this article shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.