[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Troy 10-2-1975; amended 5-1-1986 (§§ 2-175 through 2-182 of Ch. 2 of the 1973 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the protection, enhancement and preservation of Troy's historic and/or architectural districts and landmarks. The City Council of the City of Troy declares that it is a public purpose to ensure that the distinctive and historical character of Troy's historic and/or architectural districts and landmarks shall not be injuriously affected, that the value to the community of those buildings, sites, monuments and districts having architectural and historical worth shall not be impaired and that such historic and/or architectural districts and landmarks be maintained and preserved to promote their use for the education, pleasure and welfare of the citizens of the City of Troy and others.
It is furthermore a purpose of this chapter to meet the state standards for participation in the statewide urban cultural park system, to implement the Riverspark management plan, and to protect the public investment in Riverspark.
The Historic District and Landmark Review Commission is hereby designated as the City of Troy Planning Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission"). The City Planning Commission, when carrying out the powers and duties of this chapter, shall operate under the same officers, staff and rules as to quorum and voting as it does when carrying out its other powers and duties.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to recommend to the City Council of the City of Troy the designations of historic buildings, spaces, objects, sites, monuments, landmarks and/or districts within any part of the City of Troy. Thereafter, the City Council of the City of Troy shall approve or disapprove such recommendation by the majority vote of the total membership. This action shall only take place after a public hearing by the City Council, notice of which shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City. For designations affecting less than 50 property owners, notice of such public hearing shall be by personal mailing to each property owner.
The Commission shall have the power to review all construction, demolition or alterations to building sites, monuments, landmarks, spaces and objects designated as historically or architecturally significant, or any construction, demolition or alteration within a district designated as an historical district, prior to issuance of permits for construction or demolition by any City offices, agencies or departments.
The Commission shall establish its own rules of procedure; provided, however, that all regular and special meetings shall be open to the public and any citizen of the City of Troy shall be entitled to appear and be heard on any matter before the Commission prior to the time at which it reaches its decision.
Furthermore, it shall be the duty of the Commission to receive and evaluate petitions requesting designation of buildings, sites, monuments or districts as historically, naturally or architecturally significant.
Each petition shall be evaluated based on criteria adopted by the Commission. The criteria adopted shall use as a guide the criteria of the National Register of Historical Places.
Petitioners shall be required to provide all necessary information requested by the Commission on forms approved by the Commission and a map depicting the building, site, monument or district to be considered.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to exercise aesthetic judgment and maintain the desirable character of the district and prevent construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition out of harmony with existing buildings insofar as mass, style, materials, line and detail are concerned, and thus, to prevent degeneration of property, safeguard public health, prevent fire, promote safety and preserve the beauty and character of the district.
In addition to the aforementioned powers, the review Commission shall have the power to:
Draw upon City personnel to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties; in particular drawing upon the advice of personnel experienced in the fields of history, historic preservation, architecture, ecology, archaeology or other related professional disciplines.
Conduct of surveys of buildings for the purpose of determining those of historic and/or architectural significance and pertinent facts about them.
Formulate recommendations concerning the preparation of maps, brochures and historical markers for selected historic and/or architectural sites and buildings.
Advise owners of historic buildings on problems of preservation and restoration.
Consult with an advisory committee of members qualified by education or experience in the field of history, historic preservation, architecture, ecology, archaeology or other related professional disciplines. This advisory committee shall consist of three members appointed by the Mayor; one designated by the Mayor, one designated from a list submitted by the Rensselaer County Historical Society, and one designated from a list submitted by the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway. This advisory committee shall be consulted and shall actively participate in the preparation of written staff reports from the Department of Planning and Community Development for any agenda item before the Commission related to any matter covered by this chapter.
Except as provided, the Commission may, in exercising or performing its powers, duties or functions under this chapter with respect to any improvement in a district, apply or impose, with respect to the construction, reconstruction, alteration, demolition of such improvement, determinations or conditions which are more restrictive than those prescribed or made by or pursuant to other provisions of law applicable to such activities or work. However, such determination shall relate only to the exterior of said improvements or modifications. However, in each case, the Commission shall document its findings and reasons for its action. These findings shall be transmitted to the Director of Code Enforcement and the applicant. The applicant, if he/she so desires, may make modifications to the plans and resubmit his/her application.
The Commission shall consult with local agencies or groups with expertise in archaeological areas before making decisions affecting those areas.
Application: This chapter shall apply to all buildings, structures, outbuildings, walls, fences, steps, topographical features, earthworks, paving and signs designated as historical landmarks or located within designated historic districts. No change in any exterior architectural feature, including but not limited to construction, alterations, restoration, removal or demolition shall be made except as hereinafter provided.
Exception: Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior architectural feature in the district which does not involve a change to design, material or the outward appearance thereof. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition of any exterior architectural feature which the Director of Code Enforcement shall determine is required by public safety because of dangerous or unsafe conditions.
Notwithstanding any inconsistent ordinance, local law, code, rule or regulation concerning the issuance of building permits, no change in any exterior architectural feature in the district shall be commenced without a certificate of appropriateness from the Commission, nor shall any building permits for such change be issued without such a certificate of appropriateness required by this section, shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any site plan, variance or building permit that may be required by any ordinance, local law, code, rule or regulation of the City of Troy.
Application for a certificate of appropriateness shall be made in writing, in duplicate, upon forms prescribed by the Commission, to the Commission and shall contain the following:
Name, address and telephone number of the applicant;
Location of building, structure or land, the exterior architectural features of which are proposed to be changed;
Elevations of proposed change;
Indication or samples of materials to be used in proposed change; and
Where proposed change includes signs or lettering, a scale drawing showing type of lettering, all dimensions and colors; a description of materials to be used and method of illumination, if any; and a plan showing location on building or property.
An applicant whose certificate of appropriateness has been denied may apply for relief from landmark designation on the grounds that designation is working a hardship upon him. In order to prove the existence of hardship, the applicant shall establish that:
The property is incapable of earning a reasonable return, regardless of whether that return represents the most profitable return possible;
The property cannot be adopted for any other use, whether by the current owner or by the purchaser, which would result in a reasonable return; and
Efforts to find a purchaser interested in acquiring the property and preserving it have failed.
After receiving written notification from the Commission of the denial of a certification of appropriateness, an applicant may commence the hardship process. No building permit or demolition permit shall be issued unless the Commission makes a finding that a hardship exists.
The Commission may hold a public hearing on the hardship application at which an opportunity will be provided for proponents and opponents of the application to present their views.
The applicant shall consult in good faith with the Commission, local preservation groups and interested parties in the diligent effort to seek an alternative that will result in preservation of the property.
All decisions of the Commission shall be in writing. A copy shall be sent to the applicant by registered mail and a copy filed with the City Clerk's office for public inspection. The Commission's decision shall state the reasons for granting or denying the hardship application.
Within a reasonable time after application is filed, but in all events within 60 calendar days after such filing or within such further time as the applicant may agree, the Commission shall determine whether the proposed construction, reconstruction or alteration of the exterior architectural feature involved will be appropriate to the preservation of the district. In passing upon appropriateness, the Commission shall consider, in addition to any other pertinent factors, the historical and architectural value and significance, mass, architectural style, general design, arrangement, texture and material of the exterior architectural feature involved and the relationship thereof to the exterior architectural features of other structures in the immediate neighborhood.
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a violation, and the violator shall be liable to a fine of not more than $250 and imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both, and each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.