Chapter 13-20. H Historic Overlay District

Sec. 13-20.100 Purposes.

The purposes of the H historic overlay district are to identify the areas and buildings of the City which possess a unique historical character, and to preserve, enhance, promote and expand the cultural and historical identities, characters and environments of such areas and buildings through the process of review of exterior architectural and other significant features of buildings and other structures proposed to be erected, relocated, improved or demolished. The historic overlay district includes lands designated HTC historic town center by the General Plan, lands presently zoned historic overlay district, and additional lands that may be zoned for the overlay district as outlined in Section 13-20.200. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.100.]

Sec. 13-20.200 Establishment—Findings Required.

1. The establishment of an H district may be initiated by an application or consent of all of the owners of the property within the proposed H district, by motion of the Planning Commission or by motion of the City Council. An H district shall be established only in conjunction with other districts. An H designation shall overlay whatever other district designation is applicable to the area or buildings for which an H district is established; the boundaries of an H district may or may not coincide with other district boundaries.

2. The provisions of this Division shall apply in an H district, which district shall also be subject to other provisions of this Chapter, including the provisions applicable to the particular district or districts which the H district designation overlays; provided, that where a conflict between the regulations in this Chapter and those in other provisions of the Zoning Ordinance occurs, the regulations in this Chapter shall prevail.

3. No H district shall be established unless the City Council makes the following findings:

A. That the area of buildings for which an H district designation is proposed has a unique historical character and identity.

B. That the historical character, identity and environment of the area or buildings for which an H district designation is proposed would be preserved and enhanced to the benefit of such area or buildings and the City as a whole by the application of the regulations and review procedures set forth in this Division.

4. Whenever an H district is established, any subsequent application to change any district which the H district overlays shall not be construed to be an application to eliminate the H district designation for the area covered by the application unless such intent to eliminate the H district designation is expressly stated to be part of the application. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.200.]

Sec. 13-20.300 Regulations Applicable to Buildings.

Buildings of similar historical and cultural significance as the buildings existing in the H district may be erected therein or relocated to the H district from another site: no other buildings shall be erected in or relocated to an H district. No building erected or existing in or relocated to an H district shall be altered, enlarged or rebuilt so as to affect the exterior of such building (except to the extent construction work is required to make relocated buildings usable) nor demolished without prior approval of the City Council or the Historical Architectural Review Board. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.300.]

Sec. 13-20.400 Historical Architectural Review Board.

The Planning Commission shall serve as the Historical Architectural Review Board. As such Board, it is authorized to review for approval proposed alterations, enlargements or rebuilding affecting the exterior of buildings in the H district, whether newly erected, existing or relocated, the landscaping associated with such buildings, site plans and the proposed erection, relocation or demolition of buildings in the H district. The homeowners association in which the property is located shall review proposed site development standards and projects and shall make a recommendation in writing to be submitted as part of the project application prior to review by the Historical Architectural Review Board.

The Historical Architectural Review Board shall consider the recommendation of the homeowners association and the appropriateness of the proposed standards for the exterior architectural features of proposed buildings and structures such as building materials, color schemes, historical styles, signs, landscaping and other exterior fixtures prior to making a recommendation on a project. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.400.]

Sec. 13-20.500 Standards and Guides to Applicants.*

The City shall prepare standards for site development, signs, landscaping and exterior architectural features including, but not limited to, building materials, color schemes and historical styles. In addition to written standards, photographs and/or drawings illustrating acceptable features, bibliographies listing standard reference works, and such other reference materials as may be suitable may be included as part of such standards. The standards shall provide adequate guidance for evaluating subsequent development applications and construction submittals. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; Ord. 396 § 1, 2004; ZO § 20.500.]

*    The standards referenced in this section, the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines, are available at:

Sec. 13-20.600 Applications and Submittals.

Applications shall be filed with the Community Development Department on the appropriate City form. In any proceeding for the designation of additional H district areas, whether upon the Commission’s or Council’s own motion or by application of property owners, photos and drawings to scale shall be submitted to indicate the following:

1. The siting of all structures on the subject site.

2. Use of walls or fencing for screening purposes.

3. The proposed appearance including colors and building materials of all exterior elevations of the buildings, structures or signs under consideration.

4. Landscaping and/or fencing of yards and setback areas and use of landscaping and/or walls for screening purposes.

5. The character of the buildings on either side of the subject site. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.600.]

Sec. 13-20.700 Planning Commission Hearing, Notice and Action.

Whenever an application is received for the designation of an H district or the Commission or Council proposes the establishment of an H district on their own motion, the Planning Commission shall hold a public hearing thereon not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days after all supporting material as required by Section 13-20.600 is on file with the secretary of the Planning Commission and is available for public inspection.

Not less than 10 days nor more than 20 days prior to the date of the public hearing, the secretary of the Planning Commission shall give written notice thereof by mailing, postage prepaid, a notice of the time and place of the hearing to each person whose name appears in the last equalized assessment roll of Contra Costa County, or as known to the secretary of the Planning Commission, as owning property within the proposed H district or as owning property within 300 feet of the exterior boundaries of the proposed H district at the address shown on said assessment roll or as known to said secretary of the Planning Commission. Notice of the public hearing shall also be given by posting 3 or more copies, appropriately spaced, of such notice of hearing on or adjacent to the property proposed to be included in the H district not less than 10 days prior to the date of the hearing and by publication of such notice of hearing at least once in a newspaper of general circulation circulated in the City of Hercules not less than 10 days prior to the date of the hearing. Failure of any person to receive such notice shall not invalidate any proceedings taken with respect to the establishment of the H district.

At the public hearing the Commission shall review and consider the proposal for establishment of the H district and all supporting material therefor and shall receive all pertinent evidence. Each hearing shall be open to the public and all persons present shall be given an opportunity to be heard. Any hearing may be continued from time to time.

Within 30 days following the conclusion of the public hearing, the Planning Commission shall transmit a report and recommendation to the City Council. Such report and recommendation shall include a statement of its reasons why such district should or should not be established, 1 copy of the application or motion of the Commission or Council proposing establishment of the district, the scale drawing of the site and all other data filed therewith, the minutes of the public hearing and the report of the Community Development Director. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.700.]

Sec. 13-20.800 Council Hearing, Notice and Action.

The City Council shall set the matter for public hearing within 30 days after receipt of the report and recommendation of the Planning Commission. The time, notice and conduct of the hearing shall be the same as for the hearing by the Planning Commission as provided in Section 13-20.700.

The Council may approve, deny or condition its approval, based on specific findings as to whether the proposal conforms to the adopted standards; in order to approve or conditionally approve, the Council must also make the findings required by Section 13-20.200. Any conditions of approval imposed by the Council shall be specific and shall set forth the manner in which the conditions achieve conformity with the standards. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.800.]

Sec. 13-20.900 Change of Zoning Map.

If the H district is established, an appropriate change shall be made on the Zoning Map, with a notation of the date and number of the ordinance amending the map. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 20.900.]