[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of East Hampton 5-11-1977 (Ord. No. 14.00); amended in its entirety by the Town Council 2-23-2010. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
To promote the educational, cultural, economic, and general welfare and to preserve and protect the distinctive characteristics of buildings and places associated with the history of the Town or indicative of a period or style of architecture, there is hereby established an historic district in the Town, to be known as "Middle Haddam Historic District," and the boundaries of the historic district are shown on a map delineating the area involved, which map is incorporated herein by reference and entitled “Middle Haddam Historic District Town of East Hampton Connecticut” dated August 2009 and prepared by Applied Geographics, Inc.
This Historic District Commission established under the provisions of this chapter shall consist of five regular and three alternate members, who shall be electors of the Town in which the district is situated holding no salaried municipal office. At least three members and two alternates of the Historic District Commission shall reside in the Historic District. Such alternate members shall, when seated as provided in this section, have all powers and duties of a member of the Commission. If a regular member of said Commission is absent or has a conflict of interest, the Chairman of the Commission shall designate an alternate to so act, choosing alternates in rotation so that they shall act as nearly equal a number of times as possible. If any alternate is not available in accordance with such rotation, such fact shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
The Board of Selectmen shall make appointments to the Commission as follows: one member to be appointed for a term expiring January 1, 1982, one for a term expiring January 1, 1983, one for a term expiring January 1, 1984, one for a term expiring January 1, 1985, and one for a term expiring January 1, 1986; and one alternate member for a term expiring January 1, 1983, one alternate member for a term expiring January 1, 1984, and one alternate member for a term expiring January 1, 1985. All subsequent appointments shall be made by the Town Council and shall be for a term of five years, except that an appointment to fill an unexpired term shall be for the duration of said unexpired term only. The Commission shall elect annually a Chairman, a Vice Chairman, and a Clerk from its own number. Each member and alternate shall continue in office until his successor is duly appointed. All members and alternates shall serve without compensation. Any member or alternate may be appointed for an additional term or terms.
The Historic District Commission shall keep a permanent record of its resolutions, transactions, and determinations and of the vote of each member participating therein.
The Commission shall have such powers, shall perform such functions and shall be subject to such limitations as shall from time to time be prescribed by the applicable General Statutes of Connecticut. The Commission shall fix the time and place of its regular meetings and provide a method for calling special meetings, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, § 1-210 et. seq. of the General Statutes of Connecticut. It shall adopt rules of procedures not inconsistent with the provisions of § 7-147a et. seq. of the General Statutes of Connecticut. The presence of four members or alternate members shall constitute a quorum, and no resolution or vote except a vote to adjourn or to fix the time and place of its next meeting shall be adopted by fewer than three affirmative votes. The Commission may adopt regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of § 7-147a et. seq. of the General Statutes of Connecticut to provide guidance to property owners as to factors to be considered in preparing an application for a certificate of appropriateness.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The provisions of §§ 7-147a through 7-147k of the Connecticut General Statutes, as the same may be amended from time to time.
- Changed, modified, rebuilt, removed, demolished, restored, razed, moved, or reconstructed.
- Not incongruous with those aspects of the historic district which the Historic District Commission determines to be historically or architecturally significant.
- A combination of materials forming a shelter for persons, animals, or property.
- Constructed, built, installed or enlarged.
- EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES
- Such portions of the exterior of a structure or buildings as are open to view from a public street, way or place.
- The Town of East Hampton.
- Any combination of materials, other than a building, which is affixed to the land, and shall include, but not be limited to, signs, fences, and walls.
No building or structure shall be erected or altered within an historic district until after an application for a certificate of appropriateness as to exterior architectural features has been submitted to the Historic District Commission and approved by said Commission.
No building permit for erection of a building or structure or for alteration of an exterior architectural feature within an historic district and no demolition permit for demolition or removal of a building or structure within an historic district shall be issued by a municipality 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 Historic District 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 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 bill posters within an historic district 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.
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 the Commission. 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 Town of East Hampton not more than 15 days nor less than five days before such hearing.
Within not more than 65 days after the filing of an application, 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 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. The Commission shall keep a record of all applications for certificates of appropriateness and of all its doings.
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 features involved and the relationship thereof to the exterior architectural style and pertinent features of other buildings and structures in the immediate neighborhood. 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. 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.
No area within an historic district 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.
In its deliberations, the Historic District Commission shall act only for the purpose of controlling the erection or alteration of buildings, structures, or parking which is 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 provisions of this chapter would result in exceptional practical difficulty or undue hardship upon the owner of any specific property, the Commission, in passing upon applications, shall have power to vary or modify strict adherence to this chapter or to interpret the meaning of this chapter so as to relieve such difficulty or hardship; provided such variance, modifications or interpretation shall remain in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter so that the general character of the district shall be conserved and substantial justice done. In granting variances, the Commission may impose such reasonable and additional stipulations and conditions as will, in its judgment, better fulfill the purpose of this chapter. In addition to the filing required under the Act, the Commission shall, for each variance granted, place upon its records and in the notice to the applicant the reasons for its determination.
If any provision of this chapter or any action taken or ruling made by the provisions of this chapter or of any regulation or ordinance adopted under this chapter 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 this chapter or any bylaw or ordinance adopted under this chapter or the substantial restoration of any building, structure, or exterior architectural feature altered or demolished in violation of this chapter or any regulation or ordinance adopted under this chapter. Regulations and orders of the Commission issued pursuant to this chapter, or to any regulation or ordinance adopted under this chapter, shall be enforced by the Building Inspector, who may be authorized to inspect and examine any building, structure, place or premises and to require in writing the remedying of any provision of the regulations or orders made under the authority of this chapter or of any regulation or orders made under the authority of this chapter or of any regulation or ordinance adopted under this chapter.
The owner or agent of any building, structure, or place where a violation of any provision of this chapter has been committed or exists, or the lessee or tenant 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 or assists in any such violation 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. Any excess shall be paid to the municipality in which the district is situated.
Any person or persons severally or jointly aggrieved by any decision of the Commission or of any officer thereof may, within 15 days from the date when such decision was rendered, take an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas for Middlesex County, which appeal shall be made returnable to such court in the same manner as that prescribed for 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 would be the same as that defined in § 8-8 of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in the historic district which does not involve a change in the appearance or design thereof; nor to prevent the erection or alteration of any such feature which the Building Inspector or a similar agent certifies is required by the public safety because of a condition which is unsafe or dangerous due to deterioration; nor to prevent the erection or alteration of any such feature under a permit issued by a Building Inspector or similar agent prior to the effective date of establishment of such district.
The boundaries of the Middle Haddam Historic District are shown on a map entitled "Middle Haddam Historic District Town of East Hampton Connecticut," dated August 2009 and prepared by Applied Geographics, Inc. The following properties, identified by Assessor's Map Block and Lot Numbers, form the boundaries of Middle Haddam Historic District and are included within the District, as are all the properties within said boundaries: