More about the Historic District Commission

  • Membership Qualifications and Terms

    Sec. 2-1085. - Establishment of historic district commission.

    There is herein established an historic district commission with the functions and duties as set forth in this article, RSA: 674:46a, and as may be needed to carry out the purposes of this article.

    (1)  Organization. The historic district commission shall consist of seven regular members and up to five alternate members, all of whom must be residents of the city and, consistent with RSA 673:4, must show interest and ability to understand, appreciate and promote the purposes of the historic district commission.

    (2)  Membership. One member of the historic district commission shall be a member of the city council and one member shall be a member of the heritage commission. The appointing authority should also consider the following types of individuals for membership on the commission (including alternate membership) to the extent practicable:

    a.  A member of the planning board;

    b.  A member of another land use board;

    c.  A member of the Historical Society of Cheshire County or the Foundation for the Preservation of Historic Keene;

    d.  A licensed real estate broker;

    e.  A registered architect, professional engineer, or builder;

    f.  An owner of property within the historic district; and,

    g.  An owner of a firm or business within the historic district.

    (3)  Term. Members shall be appointed for three-year terms. However, the initial appointment shall be staggered so that three members shall be appointed for one year, two members for two years, and two members for three years. In the event of a vacancy, interim appointments may be made by the appointing authority to complete the unexpired term.

    (4)  Meetings. The commission shall hold regular meetings at the call of the chairperson and at such other times as the commission may determine.

  • Purpose, Powers and Duties

    Sec. 2-1086. - Purposes of historic district commission.

    It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the recognition, preservation, enhancement, and perpetuation of buildings, structures, and sites within the city having historic, architectural, cultural or design significance is required in the interest of the economic prosperity, cultural enrichment, and general welfare of the community. This purpose will be safeguarded by:

    (1)  Preserving the heritage of the city by providing for the protection of buildings, structures, and sites representing significant elements of its history;

    (2)  Enhancing the visual character of the city by encouraging and regulating the compatibility of new construction and alterations to existing buildings, structures, and sites within the historic district to reflect the unique and established architectural traditions;

    (3)  Fostering public appreciation of and civic pride in the beauty of the city and the accomplishments of its past;

    (4)  Strengthening the economy of the city by protecting and enhancing the attractiveness of the community to residents, tourists and visitors;

    (5)  Stabilizing and improving property values within the city; and

    (6)  Promoting the use of historic districts for the education, prosperity and general welfare of the community.

    Sec. 2-1087. - Powers and duties.

    The historic district commission shall have the following powers and duties:

    (1)  Adopt rules of procedure to govern the conduct of business which are consistent with the purposes of this article, the City of Keene Code of Ordinances, and the City Charter;

    (2)  Establish, adopt, and amend historic district regulations consistent with the intent of this article, the City of Keene Master Plan, City of Keene Zoning Ordinance, and United States Department of Interior Rehabilitation Standards (36 C.F.R. 67). Said regulations shall be adopted in a manner provided in RSA 675:2;

    a.  As part of its regulations, the historic district commission shall adopt a resource ranking list, which shall designate each building, structure or site in the district according to its contribution to the value and integrity of the historic district. Such designation shall be made in consideration of the review criteria in section 18-362. Each building, structure or site shall be designated according to the following resource ranking system: Primary resource, contributing resource, non-contributing resource, or incompatible resource. The historic district commission shall also adopt regulations specific to the process of adoption of the resource ranking list, which, at a minimum shall require that adoption occur at a regular meeting of the historic district commission and that all owners of property within the historic district shall be notified of the meeting. The resource ranking list shall be updated by the historic district commission at five-year intervals.

    (3)  Administer this article and historic district regulations within the historic district by:

    a.  Reviewing and approving, conditionally approving, or disapproving applications for certificates of appropriateness for activities specified in section 18-360 within the historic district;

    b.  Requesting reports and recommendations from city departments and agencies and seeking advice from other organizations and sources, including expert consultants, who may have information or can provide advice pertinent to an application and its impact on the historic district. The cost of any expert consultant services shall be paid for by the applicant; and

    c.  Filing with the code enforcement department a certificate of appropriateness, conditional certificate of appropriateness or disapproval of certificate of appropriateness following the review of an application.

    (4)  Act in an advisory role to other officials, agencies, departments, boards, commissions, and committees of the city, regarding the identification, protection, and preservation of historic resources within the historic district; and

    (5)  Keep or cause to be kept, accurate and complete records and minutes of meetings, findings of the commission, and records of each application, all of which shall be part of the public record unless otherwise protected from disclosure pursuant to state law, federal law and common law.

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