Chapter 2.88


2.88.010    Acquisition.

2.88.020    Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission.

2.88.025    Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission – Appointments and Terms of Service.

2.88.026    Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission Meetings.

2.88.030    Local Designation of Properties – Procedures.

2.88.035    National Designation of Properties – Procedures.

2.88.040    Demolition or Alteration of Historic Structures.

2.88.045    Removal of Landmark Designations.

2.88.050    Local Review Board – Special Tax Valuation.

2.88.055    Property Eligible for Special Tax Valuation.

2.88.060    Intergovernmental Agreements.

Cross-references:    Chapters 27.34, 27.44, 27.60, 27.53, 84.26 RCW and RCW 19.27.120

2.88.010 Acquisition.

The Pierce County Executive, with the approval of the Council, may acquire buildings, structures, places, or districts of historic or architectural significance by purchase, gift, devise, bequest, grant, or exchange when it is deemed necessary by the Executive and the Council, to preserve, protect or enhance said building, structure, place, or district, and when funds are available or other means of acquisition are deemed acceptable to the Executive, and approved by the Council. (Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 14.04.010)

2.88.020 Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission.

A Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission is hereby established. The Commission shall consist of eleven members, one from each of seven Council districts and four at-large members. The membership of such Commission shall include at least one historian, one architect, one archeologist, one archivist, and individuals who have a professional or a vocational interest in historic preservation.

A.    The Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission shall periodically review, investigate, and make recommendations to the Executive on buildings, structures, places, or districts of historic or architectural significance which should be preserved or protected in Pierce County. The Commission may investigate whether there is federal, state, or other financial assistance for the acquisition and preservation of the site.

Furthermore, the Commission shall establish a list of buildings, structures, places, or districts of historic or architectural significance in Pierce County which should be preserved, protected, or enhanced in a hierarchy order of its value to the community and State based on the criteria provided below in this Section.

This list shall be referred to as the Pierce County Register of Historic Places and distributed to all County departments.

B.    The criteria used to evaluate historic properties for possible inclusion in the Pierce County Register are based on those used for the National and Washington State Registers. These criteria are designed to serve as guidelines for all persons or organizations preparing a designation request to the Pierce County Commission.

1.    The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects of State and local importance that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:

a.    that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

b.    that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or

c.    that embody the distinctive characteristics or a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

d.    that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in pre-history or history.

2.    Cemeteries, birthplaces, or graves of historical figures, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes, structures that have been moved from their original location, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature and properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years can also be considered eligible for the Pierce County Register. However, greater priority will be given to those which fall within the following categories.

a.    A religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance.

b.    A building or structure removed from its original location but which is significant primarily for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event.

c.    A birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is not appropriate site or building directly associated with his or her productive life.

d.    A cemetery which derived its primary significance from graves or persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events.

e.    A reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived.

f.    A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own historical significance.

g.    A property achieving significance within the past 50 years if it is of exceptional importance.

3.    Below are categories of properties eligible for the Pierce County Register.

a.    Historic structures or sites in which the cultural, political, economic, or social history of the nation, state, or local community is best exemplified and from which the visitor may understand the patterns of American and Pierce County heritage. Integrity is an essential basis for deserving recording.

b.    Sites and groupings representing historic community developments and patterns. (One room schools, county seats, crossroads, stores, agricultural settlements, seaports, railroad, and water transportation.)

c.    Early or abandoned transportation facilities. (Lighthouses, covered bridges, ships, ferries, railroad stations, milestones, trails.)

d.    Old commercial structures and sites. (Warehouses, brick factories of the 19th century, iron furnaces, shipyards, logging, and mining camps.)

e.    Structures related to the civic life of a community. (Town hall, jail, bank, tavern.)

f.    Buildings of great architects or master builders and important works of minor ones. Noteworthy examples of various architectural styles, periods, or methods of construction. Architectural curiosities or very rare survivors of its style or period.

g.    Homes of notable persons during their active years, or associated with important events in national, state, or local history.

h.    Structures or sites of pre-historic or historic archaeological significance.

4.    Archaeological properties do not have to be large, impressive, or rich in artifacts or categories of date to qualify for the Pierce County Register. They do not have to be suitable for public interpretation. Any archaeological resource is potentially eligible if it can be legitimately argued that it is associated with a cultural pattern, process, or activity important to the history or pre-history of its locality, the United States or humanity as a whole.

Some properties that have little significance as individual entities may be eligible as segments or archaeological districts. In some cases, an archaeological property or district may also qualify because of an association with a particular event or person, or on the basis of its intrinsic historicity or utility as an interpretive location. Properties that have lost their integrity by being completely excavated or otherwise totally disturbed do not normally qualify, unless they are of particularly noteworthy historical significance for the data they have yielded.

C.    The Commission will make recommendations on funding and monitoring projects and programs that receive funding from the County's one dollar portion of the five dollar per instrument surcharge charged by the Auditor for each document recorded under the provisions of RCW 36.22.170. The priorities for funding of these projects and programs include:

a.    Promote public awareness and education of the historical and cultural heritage of the people and area of Pierce County and its communities;

b.    Identify, preserve, and store documents and public records of historic significance, including conversion to electronic and other media;

c.    Collect, acquire, catalog, interpret and exhibit historically significant artifacts and documents, including manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, maps, engineering and architectural drawings, art works, music, book reports, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, oral histories, and electronic media in all areas (social and cultural, artistic, scientific and technical, political, commercial and industrial, and natural history);

d.    Identify, protect, rehabilitate, restore, excavate, and reconstruct districts, sites, buildings, and other structures, gardens, landscapes and other objects of significance to heritage, history, architecture, archeology, or culture;

e.    Provide capital funds for capacity building projects to nonprofit historic and historic preservation groups that encourage cultural and historical studies and interpretive efforts.

D.    The Planning and Public Works Department shall provide funding and administrative support to the Commission.

E.    The duties of the Commission shall include the establishment of definitions, criteria, and procedures required to carry out this legislation.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2007-103s § 1 (part), 2007; Ord. 89-127 § 1, 1989; Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 14.04.020)

2.88.025 Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission – Appointments and Terms of Service.

A.    Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council in accordance with the County Charter and established rules.

B.    All members of the Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission shall serve 3-year terms, provided that of those members first taking office upon the passage of this Chapter, three shall be appointed for one year, three for two years and three for three years. Each member shall serve until appointment of a successor. The terms of members first taking office shall commence on the date of their initial appointment.

C.    The Executive may remove any appointed member of the Board for inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance, or three unexcused absences in one year, subject to confirmation by a majority of the Council. The member will be so notified in writing by the Chairperson.

D.    Vacancies on the Commission shall be filled by the appointing authority for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment.

E.    At the time of appointing the initial Commission, the appointing authority shall designate one of its members as temporary chairperson.

(Ord. 2011-16s § 1 (part), 2011; Ord. 2007-103s § 1 (part), 2007; Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 14.04.025)

2.88.026 Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission Meetings.

The first meeting of the Commission shall be called by the temporary Chairperson, at which time the Commission shall select a permanent chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, and such other offices as it deems appropriate. It shall also establish a regular time and place for meetings and shall hold at least four meetings per year. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by a majority of the current membership of the Commission upon proper notice. A majority of the current membership of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. (Ord. 2010-21 § 5, 2010; Ord. 2007-103s § 1 (part), 2007; Ord. 2005-28s § 1, 2005; Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 14.04.026)

2.88.030 Local Designation of Properties – Procedures.

If the Commission determines that a building, structure, place, or district may be eligible for inclusion in the Pierce County Register of Historic Places, it shall:

A.    Schedule a public hearing on the question of designation at a specified time, date, and place;

B.    Give written notice of the time, date, and place, and subject of the hearing by mail not less than 30 days nor more than 40 days prior to the hearing to all owners of record of the subject property or properties and publish in a local newspaper a notice at least 10 days in advance of the hearing;

C.    Hold a hearing in accordance with the notice given, at which time the owner or owners of the property or properties involved, the owners of all abutting property, and other interested citizens or public officials shall be entitled to be heard;

D.    Within 45 days of the hearing, the Commission may, by a vote of 6 Commission members, approve, reject, or modify the proposed designation, but no proposed designation may be extended beyond the boundaries of the land described in the original proposal unless procedures set forth above are repeated for the enlarged boundaries. The Commission shall, in addition, set forth its findings of fact which constitute the basis for its decision.

E.    Within 15 days after reaching its decision to designate the proposed property or properties as a historic property, the Commission shall transmit such decision to the County Council for its consideration. Upon receipt of the decision of the Commission, the Council may adopt an ordinance, approve the same, and place it on the Pierce County Register of Historic Places, or it may reject the same, or refer it back to the Commission for further consideration as may be deemed appropriate. Upon placement of the property in the Pierce County Register of Historic Places, such designation shall be placed on official County maps, and all appropriate County departments shall be notified. A copy of the ordinance designating the property shall be sent to the owner or owners of record and shall be filed with the County Auditor together with a legal description of the designated property and notification that the design review provisions of this Chapter apply.

(Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 14.04.030)

2.88.035 National Designation of Properties – Procedures.

Upon notification by the State Historic Preservation Officer that a property within the jurisdiction of Pierce County may be nominated to the Secretary of the Interior for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, the Commission shall review such nominations in a manner consistent with regulations adopted for certified local government historic preservation programs. (Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 14.04.035)

2.88.040 Demolition or Alteration of Historic Structures.

No permit shall be issued by the Building Inspection Department or shall be valid for the demolition or alteration of part or all of any building, structure, place, or district which has been designated as historic by the County Council, prior to its referral to the Commission. The Commission shall have 60 days to review and/or recommend modifications to the permit proposal. The purpose of such review will be to determine whether the changes set forth in the proposal permit application are compatible with the reasons for including the structure, building, or place on the Register. If at the end of 60 days the Commission has not approved or agreed upon modification of the proposal with the owner, the permit shall be issued if it complies with all other applicable laws and regulations.

This requirement shall apply whether or not the proposed change or alteration also requires a building or other permit, provided the requirements of this Section shall not apply to any historic property located within incorporated municipalities in Pierce County.

(Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 184; prior Code § 14.04.040)

2.88.045 Removal of Landmark Designations.

In the event that a designated property is no longer deemed appropriate as a historic landmark, the designation may be removed by the same procedures as provided in establishing the designation. (Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 84-23 § 1 (part), 1984; prior Code § 14.04.045)

2.88.050 Local Review Board – Special Tax Valuation of Historic Property.

The Pierce County Landmarks Commission is hereby designated as the Local Review Board to exercise the functions and duties of a local review board as defined and authorized pursuant to RCW 84.26 (hereinafter referred to as the "State Act") until such time as the County Council may either amend or repeal this provision or designate some other local body or committee as the Local Review Board to carry out such functions and duties. (Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987)

2.88.055 Property Eligible for Special Tax Valuation.

The class of historic property which shall be eligible for special valuation in accordance with the State Act shall be property which is a historic property meeting the criteria or requirement as set forth and defined in the State Act, and which is listed on the Pierce County Register of Historic Places by Ordinance of the County Council in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter. The Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission shall act as the Local Review Board and enter into agreements referred to in WAC 254-20. (Ord. 2012-79 § 1, 2012; Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987)

2.88.060 Intergovernmental Agreements.

Upon the recommendation of the Landmarks Commission or as otherwise authorized by law, the Pierce County Executive is authorized in accord with State laws to enter into and carry out the provisions of agreements between Pierce County and incorporated municipalities for the purpose of preserving historic properties in Pierce County. (Ord. 87-59S § 1 (part), 1987)