Chapter 18.255
HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Sections:

18.255.010    Declaration of policy.

18.255.020    Definitions.

18.255.030    Local historic landmark – Local historic district designation.

18.255.040    Historic landmark or local historic district designation criteria.

18.255.060    Local historic landmark or local historic district nomination process.

18.255.070    Local historic landmark or district denomination process.

18.255.090    Design review guidelines.

18.255.110    Certificate of appropriateness review – Minor and major projects – No demolition.

18.255.120    Certificate of appropriateness review – Demolition – Historic landmark and contributing feature.

18.255.150    Penalty.

18.255.160    Concurrent use of Topeka landmarks commission by the county commission.

18.255.170    Continuation of existing designation.

18.255.180    Severability.

18.255.190    Saving clause.

    Cross References: Planning department, TMC 2.25.090; landmarks commission, Chapter 2.130 TMC.

    Editor’s Note: Ord. No. 18420, §§ 1 – 21, adopted April 19, 2005, amended Code 1995 Chapter 80 in its entirety to read as herein set out. Formerly, said chapter pertained to similar subject matter as enacted by Ord. No. 17292, §§ 1 – 17, adopted July 28, 1998.

18.255.010 Declaration of policy.

The city council finds and declares as a matter of public policy that the identification, designation, protection, enhancement, preservation and use of historic assets is a public necessity and is required in the interest of the culture, prosperity, education and welfare of the public. Preservation of historic assets will:

(a) Protect, enhance and perpetuate historic, distinctive and important elements of the city’s cultural, social, economic, political, archaeological and architectural history;

(b) Safeguard the city’s historic and cultural heritage as embodied and reflected in such historic assets;

(c) Stabilize and improve property values in such locations of historic assets and thus strengthen the economy of the city;

(d) Promote and encourage restoration, rehabilitation, and maintenance of historic properties, neighborhoods and districts and thus combat blight and decay;

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

(f) Protect and enhance the city and its attractions to tourists and visitors and provide support and stimulus to business and industry; and

(g) Promote the use and adaptive reuse of historic assets for the culture, education, enjoyment and economic welfare of the city’s citizens and visitors. (Ord. 18420 § 1, 4-19-05; Ord. 17292 § 1, 7-28-98. Code 1995 § 80-1.)

18.255.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the meanings set out below:

“Appurtenances and environmental setting” includes, but is not limited to, walkways and driveways (whether paved or not), fences, gateways, open space and waterways. Interiors of structures are included only for local historic landmarks upon consent of the owner.

“Certificate of appropriateness” is the approval of plans for the alteration, construction, removal or demolition of historic landmarks or contributing features.

“Contributing feature” is a significant building, site, structure, or object which adds to the architectural qualities, historic association, or archaeological values of a local historic district because (1) the item was present during the district’s period of significance and (2) possesses significant historic character or is capable of yielding important information about the period of significance.

“Demolition” shall mean any and all activity that requires a demolition permit.

“Design review criteria” are standards identified in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

“Design review guidelines” are standards used in addition to the design review criteria for issuing a certificate of appropriateness for individual projects or projects located within local historic districts.

“Historic asset” is a site, land area, building, structure or object, which may also include appurtenances and environmental setting, which may have historical, cultural, aesthetic, architectural and/or archaeological significance but has not been designated as a local historic landmark.

“Historic integrity” is the authenticity of a property’s historic identity, evidenced by the survival of physical characteristics that existed during the property’s prehistoric or historic period. It is a composite of original and historic characteristics, construction, elements, qualities, design, architectural features, distinctive style, craftsmanship, composition, color, texture, and other visual characteristics.

“Local historic district” encompasses a group of historic assets, consisting of three or more buildings, structures or objects which are significant as a cohesive unit and contribute to the historical, architectural, archaeological or cultural values of the city, county, state, or nation which is so designated by the city council. The district may also include appurtenances and environmental setting with written consent from the owner(s) of record.

“Local historic landmark” is an historic asset that has been designated, with the written consent of the owner(s) of record, as having historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural importance or value which the city council determines shall be protected, enhanced and preserved in the interest of the culture, prosperity, education and welfare of the public. “Local historic landmark” may also include the interior of a structure, appurtenances and environmental setting with written consent from the owner(s) of record. “Local historic landmark” includes all state and nationally registered structures, provided the owner(s) of record consents in writing to the inclusion.

“Mothballing” means controlling the long-term deterioration of a building while it is unoccupied as well as finding methods to protect it from sudden loss by fire or vandalism. Mothballing includes, but is not limited to, securing the building from unwanted entry, providing adequate ventilation to the interior, shutting down or modifying existing utilities, surveillance monitoring and periodic maintenance to minimize deterioration.

“Overlay zoning” means any zoning that functions in addition to the existing land use zoning, as in the case of local historic landmark or local historic district zoning.

“Period of significance” is the span of time in which a local historic landmark or local historic district attained the significance for which it is designated.

“Permit” means authorization whether by administrative action or actions by the city council and includes a building, demolition, moving, zoning, sign, fence, parking lot, roofing, sidewalk, siding, or swimming pool permit.

“Preservation plan” means a document developed, adopted and implemented by the Topeka landmarks commission that identifies trends affecting and impacting historic assets and provides guidance for their preservation. The preservation plan will include a list of all local historic landmarks and local historic districts within Topeka. The preservation plan will be a component of the comprehensive plan for the city.

“Preservation program” means the program administered by the Topeka landmarks commission implementing the historic preservation ordinance, the historic preservation plan, and all activities relating to the furtherance of historic preservation in Topeka.

“Preservation staff” means personnel assigned to provide staff services for the Topeka landmarks commission.

Project Classification. For the purpose of the certificate of appropriateness review procedure, proposed work involving a local historic landmark or property within a local historic district shall be classified as major or minor.

(1) “Major projects” include:

(i) Any undertaking requiring a certificate of appropriateness for a local historic landmark or structure within a local historic district; or

(ii) Any demolition permit or moving permit for any structure listed as a local historic landmark or contributing feature.

(2) Minor Project. Any undertaking requiring a certificate of appropriateness for a local historic landmark or property within a local historic district that proposes repairing or restoring an existing exterior element, or replacing an element or material with identical material and design to that which is existing. A list of minor projects, which can be reviewed and approved by preservation staff, shall be adopted by the Topeka landmarks commission.

“Uniform Code for Building Conservation” means a national code adopted by the city that provides for more flexible code review for older and historic properties. (Ord. 19901 § 3, 5-6-14.)

    Cross References: Definitions generally, TMC 1.10.020.

18.255.030 Local historic landmark – Local historic district designation.

The governing body may designate local historic landmarks or local historic districts by adopting historic overlay zoning. An official register of all historic designations in the city shall be created and maintained by the planning department. (Ord. 19901 § 4, 5-6-14.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC.

18.255.040 Historic landmark or local historic district designation criteria.

(a) Local Historic Landmark. The governing body may designate an historic asset as a local historic landmark if the following requirements are met:

(1) The asset is at least 50 years old; and

(2) The asset possesses integrity of location, design, setting, materials and workmanship.

(3) In addition to subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section, at least one of the following requirements shall be met:

(i) Is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad pattern of history of the city, county, state or nation;

(ii) Is associated with a significant person or group of persons in the history of the city, county, state or nation;

(iii) Embodies distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction; represents the work of a master builder/architect; possesses high artistic values; or represents a distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

(iv) Yields or is likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.

(b) Local Historic District. The governing body may designate an area as a local historic district if at least 75 percent of the structures within the district boundaries are of architectural, historical, or cultural importance or value and are classified as contributing features. (Ord. 19901 § 5, 5-6-14.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC.

18.255.060 Local historic landmark or local historic district nomination process.

(a) Nomination. Any owner of an historic asset may nominate such asset as a local historic landmark. Any person may nominate an area within the city as a local historic district in accordance with this section. The applicant shall supply the following information on a form provided by the planning department:

(1) A description of the specific historic asset nominated as an historic landmark or a list of specific historic assets located within the proposed district boundaries and a description of the particular importance or value of each historic asset, such description to include the following:

(i) A brief property history, including approximate date of construction, and dates of major alterations, if known;

(ii) Builder and/or architect, if known;

(iii) Architectural style;

(iv) Primary building materials;

(v) Current owner(s) of record; and

(vi) Legal description of each property;

(2) A map showing the boundaries of the proposed local historic landmark or local historic district and the location of each asset of importance or value identified by a number or letter designation;

(3) Sufficient photographs of each historic asset proposed as a local historic landmark or listed within the proposed local historic district;

(4) Written consent to the nomination by all of the owners of record of the proposed local historic landmark. In the event of a contract sale, both the owner of record and the party or parties holding an equitable interest in the property must consent to the nomination; and

(5) For a local historic district, the owners of record of at least 60 percent of the properties within the proposed district shall submit written consents to the nomination. In the event of a contract sale of real property, both the owner of record and party or parties holding an equitable interest in the property must consent to the nomination.

(6) For a local historic district, proposed design review guidelines pursuant to TMC 18.255.090.

(b) Increasing Boundaries – Local Historic District. Applications to increase the boundaries of a local historic district may be considered if one or more of the following conditions are met:

(1) An additional historic asset which relates and is contiguous to the local historic district is requested for inclusion by its property owner; or

(2) Two or more historic assets or local historic landmarks would be included in the expanded local historic district and at least 60 percent of the owners of record of properties within the proposed expansion area submit written consents.

(c) Citizen Participation. Applicants shall comply with the citizen participation process adopted by the planning director and posted on the city’s website. The planning director shall provide a map of the notification area which shall be a 500-foot radius.

(d) Consideration by Topeka Landmarks Commission. Upon determination by the planning director that the application is sufficient, the director shall submit the application to the Topeka landmarks commission.

(e) Notification. Upon determination by the planning director that the application is sufficient, the director shall submit the application to the Topeka landmarks commission. The Topeka landmarks commission shall consider the application at a meeting; provided, that notice shall be mailed at least 20 days prior to the meeting to the owner(s) of record of any parcel upon which a proposed local historic landmark is situated or which is part of a proposed or expanded local historic district.

(f) Meeting – Landmarks Commission. The Topeka landmarks commission may solicit expert testimony regarding the historic and architectural importance of the historic asset(s) under consideration for designation. All interested persons may provide written comments and/or appear in person or by representative. The commission shall make a recommendation to the planning commission whether to adopt historic overlay zoning.

(g) Historic Overlay Zoning. The governing body, upon the recommendation of the planning commission, shall consider whether to adopt historic overlay zoning in accordance with state law and Chapter 18.245 TMC governing rezoning. (Ord. 19901 § 7, 5-6-14.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC; planning commission, Chapter 2.135 TMC.

18.255.070 Local historic landmark or district denomination process.

(a) Applications to denominate a local historic landmark or local historic district and/or reduce the district’s perimeter may be made when one or more of the following conditions have been met:

(1) A local historic landmark or building, structure, site, or object within a district has no historic, architectural, archaeological, cultural importance or value to the viability of the historic district; or

(2) The owners of record of at least 75 percent of the properties within the local historic district provide written consent to the denomination of the local historic district.

(b) The applicant shall comply with the citizen participation process adopted by the planning director and posted on the city’s website. The planning director shall provide a map of the notification area which shall be a 500-foot radius.

(c) Upon receipt of such application, the Topeka landmarks commission shall consider the application at a meeting; provided, that notice shall be mailed at least 20 days prior to the meeting to the owner(s) of record of any parcel upon which the local historic landmark is situated or which is part of the local historic district. All interested persons may provide written comments and/or appear in person or by representative. The commission shall make a recommendation to the planning commission whether to remove historic overlay zoning.

(d) Historic Overlay Zoning. The governing body, upon recommendation of the planning commission, shall consider whether to remove historic overlay zoning in accordance with state law and the ordinances governing rezoning. (Ord. 19901 § 8, 5-6-14.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC; planning commission, Chapter 2.135 TMC.

18.255.090 Design review guidelines.

(a) Design review guidelines for each local historic district shall address the following:

(1) Acceptable materials for any construction, additions, remodeling or rehabilitation activities to the exterior of the structures;

(2) Appropriate architectural character, scale, and detail for any construction, additions, remodeling or rehabilitation activities;

(3) Acceptable appurtenances to the structures;

(4) Acceptable textures and ornamentation to the exterior of the structures;

(5) Acceptable accessories on structures;

(6) Such other building regulations which would have impact on the buildings;

(7) Acceptable standards for changes to noncontributing resources within the district; and

(8) Acceptable signage.

(b) The Topeka landmarks commission shall make available the proposed design review guidelines to each owner of record in a proposed local historic district prior to consideration by the commission. (Ord. 19901 § 10, 5-6-14.)

18.255.110 Certificate of appropriateness review – Minor and major projects – No demolition.

(a) No local historic landmark, contributing feature, or a portion of either, shall be altered, removed, or moved unless a certificate of appropriateness is approved in accordance with this section. No certificate is required for maintenance and repair not requiring a permit or not restricted by design review guidelines. If an application proposes that a local historic landmark be removed or moved to a new site, the proposal shall be treated as an application for denomination or a nomination, as appropriate. If an application proposes that a contributing feature be removed or moved to a new site, the proposal may be treated as an application for denomination or a nomination, as appropriate.

(b) Preservation staff shall review the application and determine whether the project is a major or minor project, as defined in TMC 18.255.020.

(c) If the project is determined to be minor, preservation staff may approve or deny the application, based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and any approved design review guidelines, within 30 days of receipt of a complete application. If the application is denied, the applicant may request a review by the planning director within five business days from the date of denial. If the planning director affirms the denial, based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and any approved design review guidelines, the applicant may request a review by the Topeka landmarks commission which will determine, based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and any approved design review guidelines, whether to affirm, reject, or modify the planning director’s decision.

(d) If the project is determined to be major but does not involve demolition of a local historic landmark or contributing feature in a local historic district, the following procedure shall apply:

(1) The Topeka landmarks commission shall consider each application at a meeting; provided, that notice shall be mailed at least 20 days prior to the meeting to the owner(s) of record of the local historic landmark that is the subject of the application and the owners of record of properties located within any local historic district where the local historic landmark or contributing feature is located.

(2) All interested persons may provide written comments and/or appear in person or by representative.

(3) The Topeka landmarks commission may request additional information, approve, approve with conditions, or deny the certificate based upon the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and approved design review guidelines.

(4) The owner of the local historic landmark or a property owner within the local historic district may appeal the commission’s decision to the city council by submitting a notice of appeal to the planning director within 10 calendar days of the decision.

(5) The council shall affirm the commission’s decision if there is sufficient evidence to support the decision. (Ord. 19901 § 12, 5-6-14.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC.

18.255.120 Certificate of appropriateness review – Demolition – Historic landmark and contributing feature.

(a) No local historic landmark, contributing feature, or portion of either shall be demolished unless a certificate of appropriateness is approved by the city council. Additionally, no permit to demolish a local historic landmark, contributing feature, or portion of either shall be issued prior to approval of a certificate of appropriateness.

(b) Citizen Participation. The applicant shall comply with the citizen participation process adopted by the planning director and posted on the city’s website. The planning director shall provide a map of the notification area which shall be a 500-foot radius.

(c) Notification. The Topeka landmarks commission shall consider each application at a meeting; provided, that notice shall be mailed at least 20 days prior to the meeting to the owner(s) of record of the local historic landmark that is the subject of the application and the owners of record of properties located within any local historic district where the local historic landmark or contributing feature is located.

(d) Meeting – Landmarks Commission. All interested persons may provide written comments and/or appear in person or by representative. The commission shall make its determination based upon the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

(e) After review and recommendation by the Topeka landmarks commission, the city council may approve or deny the certificate of appropriateness based on the following factors:

(1) Whether feasible alternatives to demolition exist, including mothballing the structure;

(2) The state of repair of the structure;

(3) The cost of restoration or repair;

(4) Hardship to the applicant if the certificate is denied;

(5) Economic consequences to affected property owners; and

(6) The interest in preserving historical values.

(f) Notwithstanding subsection (e) of this section, if the Topeka landmarks commission determines that the demolition will destroy historic property included in the National Register of Historic Places or the State Register of Historic Places, demolition shall not proceed until the governing body makes any determination required by K.S.A. 75-2724 and amendments thereto.

(g) If a demolition is approved by the council, the planning commission shall make a recommendation to the governing body whether to remove historic overlay zoning in accordance with state law and the ordinances governing rezoning. (Ord. 19901 § 13, 5-6-14.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC; planning commission, Chapter 2.135 TMC.

18.255.150 Penalty.

It is unlawful to construct, reconstruct, structurally alter, remodel, renovate, restore, demolish, deface, move or maintain any historic landmark or asset within a historic district in violation of the provisions of this chapter. In addition to other remedies, the city may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent such unlawful construction, restoration, demolition, moving or maintenance to restrain, correct or abate such violation. (Ord. 18420 § 17, 4-19-05; Ord. 17292 § 17, 7-28-98. Code 1995 § 80-17.)

18.255.160 Concurrent use of Topeka landmarks commission by the county commission.

(a) The county commission, at its sole option, may seek the advice and assistance of the Topeka landmarks commission on designating and preserving historic assets and historic districts located in Shawnee County.

(b) In the event the county commission seeks the advice and assistance of the Topeka landmarks commission, it shall receive such county staff support as directed and supplied by the county administration.

(c) The Topeka landmarks commission may be used by the county commission to recommend designation of local historic landmarks or districts located in the county.

(d) The county commission may rely upon the Topeka landmarks commission for assistance in establishing historic preservation guidelines.

(e) The county commission may seek the recommendation of the Topeka landmarks commission on the demolition or issuance of a moving permit for a local historic landmark located in the county. (Ord. 19901 § 16, 5-6-14.)

18.255.170 Continuation of existing designation.

Nothing contained in this section shall eliminate, change, or otherwise affect the existing designation of a local historic landmark or local historic district in the city of Topeka or Shawnee County which was originally made by the Topeka-Shawnee County landmarks commission. Any such designation shall remain in force and effect. (Ord. 19901 § 17, 5-6-14.)

18.255.180 Severability.

If any part or parts of this chapter shall be held unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 18420 § 20, 4-19-05. Code 1995 § 80-20.)

18.255.190 Saving clause.

If this chapter or any part thereof shall be held or determined to be unconstitutional, illegal, ultra vires or void, the same shall not be held or construed to change or annul any provisions of this chapter which may be legal or lawful; and in the event this chapter or any part thereof shall be held unconstitutional, illegal, ultra vires or void, the same shall not affect any action theretofore taken by the Topeka landmarks commission as theretofore established and constituted. (Ord. 18420 § 21, 4-19-05. Code 1995 § 80-21.)