TOWN COUNCIL OF NEW CANAAN

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 

 

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT the Town Council of the Town of New Canaan will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at 8:30 pm in the Auditorium of Town Hall to hear the Ordinance printed in its entirety below, and to invite public comment thereon:

 

 

                                                                                          

PROPOSED ORDINANCE FOR THE TEMPORARY

PRESERVATION OF CERTAIN HISTORICAL STRUCTURES

SUBJECT TO PROPOSED DEMOLITION (draft 3-28-06)

 

Purpose:  The purpose of this ordinance is to authorize the Town of New Canaan, as allowed by Section 29-406(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, to impose a waiting period of not more than ninety days before granting a demolition permit for certain structures of architectural, historical, or cultural importance.  The objective of this process is to promote the cultural, economic, educational and general welfare of the Town of New Canaan by establishing a process whereby the owners of buildings with significant historic characteristics will be informed of the economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits of historic preservation and to encourage the preservation, rehabilitation and reuse of such structures.  The waiting period will provide time for all interested parties to consider and put forth alternatives to demolition, and to preserve historically significant records, photographs, artifacts, and other items of continuing historical interest.  This ordinance is limited to, and will provide greater public notice of, permits to demolish a building, structure, or part thereof that is more than fifty years old and five hundred square feet or more in area.

§ 1.  Permit required, generally.

No person shall demolish any building, structure or part thereof without first obtaining a permit for the particular demolition undertaking from the Town Building Official.  Such permit shall be issued except as otherwise provided in this ordinance pursuant to Section 29-406 of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended. 

§ 2.  Permit requirements for certain structures.

When the building, structure or part thereof to be demolished is 500 square feet or more in size and at least 50 years old (hereinafter referred to as the “Structure”) then no permit shall be issued except upon compliance with the provisions of this ordinance in addition to Section 29-406 of the Connecticut General Statutes and the State Demolition Code, as amended.

§ 3.  Application contents.

Any person wishing to obtain a permit to demolish a Structure shall file an Application (hereinafter referred to as the “Application”) verified under oath in the office of the Town Building Official on a form approved by the Town Building Official which Application shall include the following information:

            A.        The name, if any, and address of the Structure to be demolished;

            B.         The name and address of the owner(s) of the Structure to be demolished;

            C.         The age of the Structure to be demolished;

            D.        The square footage of the Structure to be demolished; and

E.         The names and addresses of the owners of all properties adjoining (and across the street from) the property on which the Structure to be demolished is located, according to an attached copy of a pertinent portion of the current Assessor’s map.

§ 4.  Notice of intent to demolish – publication and posting.

Within ten (10) days after the filing of an Application for a permit to demolish a Structure, the applicant shall:

A.        Publish in a local newspaper having substantial circulation in the Town of New Canaan a “Notice of Intent to Demolish” (hereinafter referred to as the “Notice”).  Such Notice is defined and described in Section 5 below;

B.         Mail copies of such Notice by certified mail to the owners of all properties adjoining (and across the street from) the property on which the Structure to be demolished is situated;

C.         Mail copies of the Notice by certified mail to the New Canaan Historical Society, the New Canaan Historic District Commission, and any individual, firm, corporation, organization or other entity, which has requested, in writing, from the Town Building Official copies of any such Notices filed pursuant to this Ordinance.  The Town Building Official shall maintain the list of those requesting to be so notified, and shall delete from the list those who do not annually renew in January, in writing, the request to be notified; and           

D.        Post in a conspicuous location of the property on which the Structure is situated a sign at least 24" x 36" in size visible from the nearest public street or other access way adjoining the property.  Such sign shall include a copy of the Notice and shall contain the word “DEMOLITION” in capital letters no less that 2" in height.  If there is more than one Structure proposed for demolition, one sign shall be posted in respect to each such Structure.  All signs required hereunder shall remain posted on the property, if the Permit is issued, until the completion of all demolition activities authorized by the Permit.

§ 5.  Notice contents.

The Notice required by Section 4 shall be on a form approved by the Town Building Official, shall be entitled “Notice of Intent to Demolish,” and shall include the following information:

A.        The information required in Section 3A through 3D of this Ordinance inclusive; and

B.         A statement that an Application for a Permit to demolish has been filed in the office of the Town Building Official and is currently pending and is available for public inspection.   

§ 6.  Notice filing.

Within fourteen (14) days after publication of the Notice, the applicant shall file in the office of the Town Building Official a statement verified under oath on a form approved by the Town Building Official certifying that all of the requirements of this Ordinance have been complied with and attaching thereto a copy of the Notice, evidence of publication, a photograph of the posted sign, and all certified mail receipts.

§ 7.  Historical Review Committee.

There shall be a standing committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen consisting of at least three and not more than five persons with appropriate credentials or experience in architecture, design, construction, engineering, archeology, history, or historical preservation.  The committee shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

(a)  To prepare and update the Historic Resource Inventory listing structures in the Town of New Canaan with historical significance;

(b)  To prepare and update written criteria for the analysis of historical, architectural, and other characteristics relevant to this ordinance;

(c)   To reach out pro-actively to owners of significant structures and inform them of the tax benefits, grants, and economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits of historic preservation, and to encourage the preservation, rehabilitation and reuse of such structures;

(d)  To develop policies and procedures consistent with this ordinance;

(e)  To review and decide upon objections to demolition filed in accordance with the following section.

§ 8.  Objections and issuance of permit.

(a)              If the Town Building Official has received no pertinent written objection to the Application within fifteen (15) days following publication of the Notice in the newspaper, then the Building Official shall issue the demolition permit, provided all other requirements of the State Demolition Code have been satisfied.  Pertinent written objections shall state the architectural, historical or cultural importance of the Structure.  Impertinent objections may be rejected by the Building Official.

(b)              If the Town Building Official receives a pertinent written objection to the Application within fifteen (15) days following publication of the Notice, then the Building Official shall promptly refer such objection to the Historical Review Committee.  The Committee shall review and decide all pertinent objections within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the objection by the Building Official.  If the Committee fails to notify the Building Official of its decision within such fifteen day period, or if the Committee makes a written finding that the Structure is not of an age, style, condition or character that is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan, then the Building Official shall issue the demolition permit, provided the time for filing objections has passed, and provided that all other requirements of the State Demolition Code have been satisfied.  If the Committee makes a timely written finding that the Structure is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan, then the Building Official shall not issue the demolition permit until ninety (90) days after the date the Application was filed.  In the event, however, that all pertinent written objections are withdrawn before the expiration of such ninety day period, or the Committee, having considered the steps that have been taken to accomplish the purpose of this ordinance, makes a finding that no further delay is appropriate, the Building Official may issue the demolition permit, provided that all other requirements of the State Demolition Code have been satisfied.

§ 9.  Factors for Consideration.

In carrying out the purposes of this ordinance, the Building Official and the Committee shall consider, in addition to other criteria developed by the Committee, the Structure’s significance in national, state, or local history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.  A Structure may be considered significant for any of the following reasons:  

(a)  The Structure is associated with events that have made a noted contribution to national, state, or local history;

(b)  The Structure is associated with the lives of persons noted in national, state or local history;

(c)   The Structure embodies distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction that is rare or disappearing and worthy of preservation; or represents the work of a noted architect, builder, or craftsman; or possesses high artistic values or distinctive design features or craftsmanship.

§ 10.  Provisions supplemental.

This Ordinance is intended to supplement and not to limit any requirements now or hereinafter imposed on any applicant for or recipient of a Permit and to supplement and not to limit any authority now or hereafter granted to the Town Building Official by the Connecticut Basic Building Code and the State Demolition Code.  The provisions of this ordinance shall not apply to any demolition ordered by the Town Building Official because of an emergency or threat to public health or safety.

§ 11.  Pre-clearance of property.

Property owners or their agents may apply to the Historical Review Committee, prior to filing an application for a demolition permit, for an advance determination of whether the Structure is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan.   The application shall be on a form provided by the Building Official, and the application fee shall be established by the Board of Selectmen.  The Historical Review Committee shall hold a public hearing on the application, and shall cause notice of the public hearing to be mailed to the owners of all properties adjoining (and across the street from) the property on which the Structure is situated, and to the New Canaan Historical Society, the New Canaan Historic District Commission, and any individual, firm, corporation, organization or other entity, which has requested, in writing, from the Town Building Official copies of any such Notices filed pursuant to this Ordinance.  The Committee shall cause notice of the public hearing to be published in a newspaper having substantial circulation in New Canaan, at least six days prior to the date of the public hearing.  The legal notice shall specify the date, time and location of the public hearing, and shall identify the property on which the Structure is located.  If the Committee determines that the Structure is not of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan, then the notice and objection provisions of §§ 4, 5, 6, and 8 of this ordinance shall not be applicable.  Any such determination shall be valid for three years.  If the Committee determines that the Structure is of historical, architectural or cultural significance to the Town of New Canaan, then such notice and objection provisions shall be applicable.