Chapter 17.36
HISTORIC SITES AND OVERLAY DISTRICT

Sections:

17.36.005    Purpose.

17.36.010    Definitions.

17.36.015    Applicability of provisions and initiation.

17.36.020    Historic landmark commission.

17.36.025    Inventory of historic resources.

17.36.030    Designated Landmarks Register.

17.36.035    General administration and approval process.

17.36.040    Criteria for alteration.

17.36.050    Additional criteria and conditions for relocation or demolition.

17.36.055    Prevention of demolition by neglect.

17.36.060    Application submission requirements.

17.36.065    Expiration of approval – Standards for extension of time.

17.36.070    The site plan.

17.36.080    Architectural drawings.

17.36.090    Landscape plan.

17.36.100    Sign drawings.

17.36.110    Additional information required and waiver of requirements.

17.36.120    Exceptions to nonconforming situations.

17.36.005 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to implement the comprehensive plan. Implementation may be accomplished as follows:

(1) Effect and accomplish the protection, enhancement, and perpetuation of such improvements and of districts which represent or reflect elements of the city’s cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history;

(2) Safeguard the city’s historic, aesthetic, and cultural heritage as embodied and reflected in such improvements and districts;

(3) Complement any registered historic or cultural areas designated in the city;

(4) Stabilize and improve property values in such districts;

(5) Foster civic pride in the beauty and noble accomplishments of the past;

(6) Protect and enhance the city’s attractions to tourists and visitors and the support and stimulus to business and industry thereby provided;

(7) Strengthen the economy of the city; and

(8) Promote the use of historic districts and landmarks for the education, pleasure, energy conservation, housing, and public welfare of the city. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.010 Definitions.

The following definitions apply to terms used in this chapter and supplement the definitions in Chapter 17.16 SHMC. In the event of conflict, the definitions in this chapter shall control.

“Alteration” means an addition, removal, or reconfiguration which significantly changes the character of a historic resource. Painting is not an alteration.

“Demolition” means the razing, destruction, or dismantling of a historic resource to the degree that its historic character is substantially obliterated.

“Demolition by neglect” means a situation in which the owner or other person(s) or entities who may have legal possession, custody and control of a building, structure or object allows the condition of the building, structure or object to suffer such deterioration, potentially beyond the point of repair, as to threaten the structural integrity of the building, structure or object or its relevant architectural detail such that the building, structure or object and its character may be lost to current and future generations.

“Designated landmark” means a historic resource officially recognized by the city of St. Helens as important in its history.

“Designated Landmarks Register” means the list of and record of information about historic resources, designated landmarks specifically, officially recognized by the city of St. Helens as important in its history.

“Extraordinary historic importance” means the quality of historic significance achieved outside the usual norms of age, association, or rarity.

“Historic integrity” means the quality of wholeness of historic location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and/or association of a resource, as opposed to its physical condition.

“Historic resource” means a building, structure, object, site, or district that is or has the potential to be, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, a designated landmark for inclusion onto the Designated Landmarks Register. Historic resource types are further described as follows:

(a) “Building” means a construction made for purposes of shelter or habitation (e.g., house, barn, store, theater, train station, garage, school, etc.).

(b) “Structure” means a construction made for functions other than shelter or habitation (e.g., bridge, windmill, dam, highway, boat, kiln, etc.).

(c) “Object” means a construction which is primarily artistic or commemorative in nature and not normally movable or part of a building or structure (e.g., statue, fountain, milepost, monument, sign, etc.).

(d) “Site” means the location of a significant event, use, or occupation which may include associated standing, ruined, or underground features (e.g., battlefield, shipwreck, campsite, cemetery, natural feature, garden, food-gathering area, etc.).

(e) “District” means a geographically defined area possessing a significant concentration of buildings, structures, objects, and/or sites which are unified historically by plan or physical development (e.g., downtown, residential neighborhood, military reservation, ranch complex, etc.).

“Historic resources of statewide significance” means specific buildings, structures, objects and sites which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Inventory of historic resources” means the record of information about historic resources potentially significant in the history of the city of St. Helens.

“Relocation” means the removal of a historic resource from its historic context. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.015 Applicability of provisions and initiation.

(1) Historic sites and overlay district shall apply to the following:

(a) Historic resources listed in the comprehensive plan and/or included in the Designated Landmarks Register; and

(b) Cultural resources listed in the comprehensive plan and/or included in the Designated Landmarks Register.

(2) The provisions of this chapter apply to:

(a) The alteration of designated landmarks and historic resources of statewide significance; and

(b) The demolition of designated landmarks and historic resources of statewide significance. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.020 Historic landmark commission.

(1) The mayor with council concurrence shall appoint a historic landmark commission, hereinafter the commission, of at least three but no to exceed five members with a demonstrated positive interest, knowledge, or competence in historic preservation to carry out the provisions of this chapter. A majority of the members shall reside within the corporate boundaries of the city of St. Helens. Members shall serve without compensation, but are eligible for reimbursement of expenses related to their service.

(2) Initial appointments to the commission (originally three members) shall be for terms of one, two, and three years. Subsequent or new terms of appointment shall be for three years or, in the case of a replacement, for the remainder of the unexpired term. Members shall be eligible for reappointment.

(3) A simple majority of the seated members shall constitute a quorum to conduct official business.

(4) A chair and vice-chair shall be elected annually by and from the seated membership. Officers are eligible for reelection.

(5) The commission shall meet at least twice a year, and as required to conduct business in a timely fashion. Notice of the meetings shall be in accordance with applicable state law. Minutes, applications, staff reports, findings, and decisions of the commission shall be maintained as public records in accordance with applicable state law.

(6) The commission has the following powers and duties:

(a) The commission may adopt and amend by-laws, subject to approval by the city of St. Helens council, to regulate its internal operations.

(b) For purposes consistent with this chapter and subject to the approval of the city council, the commission may seek, accept, and expend public appropriations; seek, accept, and expend grant and gift funds; cooperate with public and private entities; and employ clerical and expert assistance.

(c) The commission may undertake to inform the citizens of, and visitors to, the city of St. Helens regarding the community’s history and prehistory; promote research into its history and prehistory; collect and make available materials on the preservation of historic resources; provide information on state and federal preservation programs; document historic resources prior to their alteration, demolition, or relocation and archive that documentation; assist the owners of historic resources in securing funding for the preservation of their properties; and recommend public incentives and code amendments to the city council.

(d) The commission may develop and publish, or adopt, written and graphic guideline and example materials to clarify the criteria in this chapter and to assist applicants in developing complete and viable applications.

(e) Employing the procedures and criteria in SHMC 17.36.025, the commission shall periodically identify and evaluate the historic resources of the city of St. Helens and maintain an inventory of historic resources. At such time as surveys are being conducted, owners of the subject properties shall be notified and invited to provide comment and input.

(f) Employing the procedures and criteria in SHMC 17.36.030, the commission shall recommend to the city council revisions (i.e., adding or deleting properties) to the Designated Landmarks Register and/or comprehensive plan as needed.

(g) Employing the applicable procedures and criteria of this chapter, the commission shall review and act upon applications for the alteration, relocation, or demolition of designated landmarks and historic resources of statewide significance.

(h) The commission shall advise and make policy recommendations to the city council and the planning commission on matters relating to historic preservation; and shall make an annual report, in writing, to the city council on its activities and expenditures during the preceding 12 months, and its projected activities and expenditures for the following 12 months.

(i) The commission shall make recommendations for architecture character review pursuant to SHMC 17.32.170(7). (Ord. 3168 § 1, 2013; Ord. 3144 § 2 (Att. A), 2011; Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.025 Inventory of historic resources.

(1) The commission shall determine and periodically revise priorities for the identification and evaluation of historic resources.

(2) Unless the commission finds “extraordinary historic importance” (as defined by SHMC 17.36.010), only properties over 50 years of age shall be considered for inclusion in the inventory of historic resources.

(3) The commission shall develop or adopt a system, based on historic integrity and significance, for evaluating historic resources. The system shall rank surveyed historic resources as eligible, potentially eligible, or ineligible for listing on the Designated Landmarks Register. Owners of surveyed properties shall be notified of these findings.

(4) Documentation of properties in the inventory of historic resources shall be on forms compatible with the Statewide Inventory of Historic Properties, and upon completion, copies of the forms shall be supplied to the State Historic Preservation Office.

(5) Records concerning archaeological sites shall not be made available to the public. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.030 Designated Landmarks Register.

(1) Properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including all properties within National Register Historic District boundaries, are eligible for automatic listing on the Designated Landmarks Register. However, only properties listed on the Designated Landmarks Register shall be eligible for public incentives and code considerations pursuant to this chapter.

(2) Any individual or group, including the commission acting on its own initiative, may nominate a historic resource for inclusion on or removal from the Designated Landmarks Register by submitting a complete application to the planning director. The burden of proof lies with the applicant. No property shall be so designated without the written consent of the owner or, in the case of multiple ownership, all of the owners.

(3) The planning director shall establish standards for a complete application. Upon acceptance of a complete application the planning director shall schedule a public hearing pursuant to the applicable state laws and provisions of the St. Helens Development Code.

(4) In order to be included or maintained on the Designated Landmarks Register the city council (based on recommendation of the commission), pursuant to comprehensive plan amendment procedures, must find that the historic resource is over 50 years of age or of “extraordinary historic importance” (as defined by SHMC 17.36.010), and possesses sufficient “historic integrity” (as defined by SHMC 17.36.010), and:

(a) Is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local, state, or national history; or

(b) Is associated with the lives of persons, or groups of people, significant in local, state, or national history; or

(c) Embodies the distinctive characteristics of an architectural type, style, period, or method of construction or that represents the work of a master (e.g., builder, designer or architect), or that possesses high artistic values, or that represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

(d) Has yielded or is likely to yield information which is important in local, state, or national history.

(5) The commission and city council shall develop findings to support their decisions. These findings shall indicate those elements of a property, including archaeological features, that are included in the designation and subject to regulation under the provisions of this chapter.

(6) The age of a specific building or structure is not sufficient in itself to warrant listing on the Designated Landmarks Register.

(7) Procedure for removal from the Designated Landmarks Register shall be the same as inclusion to the register and may also include the following as a basis for the decision:

(a) Inclusion on the Designated Landmarks Register was done in error; or

(b) Inclusion on the Designated Landmarks Register is causing the property owner to bear an unfair economic burden to maintain the property as an historic resource or cultural resource.

(8) Any historic resource or cultural resource listed in the comprehensive plan shall be included in the Designated Landmarks Register. Addition or removal of historic resources or cultural resources in the comprehensive plan shall be based on the same criteria and procedure as the Designated Landmarks Register. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.035 General administration and approval process.

(1) The application for an historic site or overlay district designation shall be as provided by SHMC 17.24.020; however, application for a demolition permit, or for new construction, or for alteration shall be submitted by the record owner of the property or an agent authorized in writing by the owner.

(2) A preapplication conference with city staff is required. (See SHMC 17.24.040.)

(3) Due to possible changes in state statutes, or regional or local policy, information given by staff to the applicant during the preapplication conference is valid not more than six months:

(a) Another preapplication conference is required if any application is submitted more than six months after the preapplication conference; and

(b) Failure of the director to provide any of the information required by this chapter shall not constitute a waiver of the standards, criteria or requirements of the applications.

(4) The historic landmark commission shall approve, approve with conditions, or deny any application filed under the provisions of this chapter. The historic landmark commission shall apply the standards herein set forth in this chapter.

(a) Decisions of the historic landmark commission shall be made in a public meeting, notice of which has been posted in a conspicuous place on, at or near the affected historic resource or cultural resource at least five days prior to the meeting.

(5) The decision of the historic landmark commission may be reviewed by the city council in accordance with SHMC 17.24.310(2).

(6) The director shall mail notice of any application to the persons who have a right to receive notice of a hearing before the historic landmark commission in accordance with SHMC 17.24.130. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.040 Criteria for alteration.

(1) Except as provided elsewhere in this chapter, no exterior alteration, relocation, or demolition of a designated landmark or historic resource of statewide significance shall be allowed without a permit issued pursuant to this chapter.

(2) Exterior remodeling, as governed by this chapter, shall include any change or alteration in design or other exterior treatment excluding painting.

(3) In order to approve an application for the alteration of a designated landmark or historic resource of statewide significance, the commission must find that the proposal meets the following standards:

(a) The purpose of the historic overlay district as set forth in SHMC 17.36.005.

(b) The provisions of the comprehensive plan.

(c) A property shall be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships.

(d) The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal or relocation of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize a property shall be avoided.

(e) A property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, shall not be undertaken.

(f) Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.

(g) Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property shall be preserved.

(h) Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible (including environmental considerations), materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.

(i) Chemical and physical treatments, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used.

(j) Archeological resources shall be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.

(k) New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible in appearance with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.

(l) New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.

(4) If alteration of the historic resource is intended, a condition of approval shall be that, insofar as feasible and as funds are available, the Columbia County Museum shall obtain:

(a) A pictorial and graphic history of the resource; and

(b) Artifacts from the resource it deems worthy of preservation.

(5) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary repair or maintenance of a designated landmark or historic resource of statewide significance, when such action does not involve a change in design, materials, or appearance.

(6) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the alteration, demolition, or relocation of a designated landmark or historic resource of statewide significance, when the building official certifies that such action is required for the public safety because of its unsafe or dangerous condition. (Ord. 3144 § 2 (Att. A), 2011; Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.050 Additional criteria and conditions for relocation or demolition.

(1) In addition to the criteria of SHMC 17.36.040, in order to approve an application for the relocation or demolition of a designated landmark or historic resource of statewide significance, the commission must find that:

(a) No prudent and feasible alternative exists; or

(b) The designated property is deteriorated beyond repair; or

(c) The value to the community of the proposed use of the property outweighs the value of retaining the designated landmark or historic resource of statewide significance.

(2) When considering an application involving relocation or demolition, the commission may also consider whether denial of the permit will subject the city to potential liability, involve substantial hardship to the applicant, and whether issuance of the permit would act to the substantial detriment of the public welfare and would be contrary to the intent and purposes of this code.

(3) In approving an application for the demolition of a designated landmark or historic resource of statewide significance, the commission may impose the following conditions:

(a) Photographic, video, or drawn recordation of the property to be demolished; and/or

(b) Salvage and curation of significant elements; and/or

(c) Other reasonable mitigation measures. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.055 Prevention of demolition by neglect.

(1) All designated landmarks and historic resources of statewide significance shall be preserved against decay and deterioration, and kept free of structural defects by the owner or other person(s) or entities who may have legal possession, custody and control thereof.

(2) Demolition by neglect shall be prohibited. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.060 Application submission requirements.

(1) All applications shall be made on forms provided by the director and shall be accompanied by:

(a) Five copies of the historic overlay district, exterior alteration, new construction or demolition site plan(s) and necessary data or narrative which explains how the proposal conforms to the standards:

(i) Sheet size for the proposed site plan and required drawings shall preferably not exceed 18 inches by 24 inches; and

(ii) The scale of the site plan shall be an engineering scale; and

(iii) All drawings of structure elevations shall be a standard architectural scale, being one-fourth-inch or one-eighth-inch; and

(b) The required fee.

(2) The required information may be combined and does not have to be placed on separate maps. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.065 Expiration of approval – Standards for extension of time.

(1) Approval of any alteration, relocation or demolition of designated landmarks or historic resources of statewide significance by the historic landmark commission shall be void if:

(a) Substantial progress in accordance with the approved application materials has not begun within a one-year or greater period; or

(b) The actual work done is a departure from the approved application materials.

(2) The director shall, upon written request by the applicant and payment of the required fee, grant an extension of the approval period not to exceed one year; provided, that:

(a) No changes are made to the original application materials as approved by the historic landmark commission;

(b) The applicant can show intent of initiating the proposal within the extension period.

(3) Notice of the decision shall be provided to the applicant. The director’s decision may be appealed by the applicant as provided by SHMC 17.24.310. (Ord. 3144 § 2 (Att. A), 2011)

17.36.070 The site plan.

The proposed historic site or overlay district plan shall include the following information:

(1) The proposed site and surrounding properties;

(2) The location, dimensions, and names of all existing streets;

(3) The location and dimension of:

(a) Entrances and exits on the site;

(b) Parking and circulation areas;

(c) Loading and services areas;

(d) Pedestrian and bicycle circulation;

(e) Outdoor common areas;

(f) Above ground utilities; and

(g) Existing landscaping;

(4) The location, dimensions, and setback distances of all:

(a) Existing structures, improvements, and utilities which are located within 25 feet of the sites and are on adjoining property; and

(b) Proposed structures, improvements, landscaping and utilities on the site. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.080 Architectural drawings.

The historic site or overlay district plan proposal shall include:

(1) Floor plans indicating the square footage of all structures existing and proposed for use on site; and

(2) Elevation drawings of each proposed structure and elevation drawings or photographs of each existing structure. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.090 Landscape plan.

The landscape plan shall be drawn at the same scale as the site plan or a larger scale if necessary and shall indicate:

(1) Location and height of fences, buffers, and screenings;

(2) Location of terraces, decks, shelters, and common open spaces; and

(3) Location, type, size and species of existing and proposed plant materials. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.100 Sign drawings.

Sign drawings shall be submitted in accordance with Chapter 17.88 SHMC. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.110 Additional information required and waiver of requirements.

(1) The director may require information in addition to that required by this chapter in accordance with SHMC 17.24.080(1).

(2) The director may waive a specific requirement for information in accordance with SHMC 17.24.080(2) and (3). (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)

17.36.120 Exceptions to nonconforming situations.

Notwithstanding Chapter 17.104 SHMC, if a designated landmark is a lawfully existing nonconforming building or structure which could not be built under the terms of this code by reason of restrictions on lot area, lot coverage, height, yard, equipment, its location on the lot, or other requirements concerning the building or structure, and that building or structure is destroyed by fire or natural disaster, whether partially or wholly, it may be rebuilt; provided, that:

(1) The building or structure will be identical in appearance to the original building or structure as much as possible, as approved by the commission; and

(2) The building or structure is built on the same size or smaller footprint as the original, except right-of-way encroachment shall not be allowed; and

(3) A permit from the city is obtained for the replacement building or structure within six months from the date of damage or destruction; and

(4) The replacement building or structure remains on the Designated Landmarks Register as if the damage/destruction had not occurred. (Ord. 3084 § 3, 2008)