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City of Franklin, WI
Milwaukee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Franklin 8-5-1997 by Ord. No. 97-1461 as Ch. 28 of the 1997 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Code of Ethics — See Ch. 36.
It is the purpose of this chapter to:
A. 
Protect, enhance and perpetuate sites, structures and districts which represent or reflect elements of the city's, state's or nation's cultural, social, economic, political or architectural history.
B. 
Stabilize and improve property values around and in historic districts.
C. 
Foster civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of the past.
D. 
Promote historic sites, structures and districts for the education, pleasure and welfare of the people of the city.
Unless otherwise indicated, the below words, terms or phrases used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:
ALTERATION
Any act or process which changes one or more of the exterior features of a structure, including but not limited to the erection, construction, reconstruction or moving of any improvement.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
A statement verifying that the Commission has reviewed an application to allow the alteration or demolition of any improvement upon a landmark site or within an historic district; that the Commission has found the requested action to be appropriate to the general character of the landmark site or historic district; and that the requested action may be taken subject to applicable building and zoning codes.
COMMISSION
The Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission.
DEMOLITION
Any act or process which destroys in part or in whole an improvement.
HISTORIC DISTRICT
A place or area designated as an historic district by ordinance of the City Council under this chapter. In order to be designated, the following requirements shall be met: The historic district may contain, within definable geographic boundaries, one or more landmarks along with such other buildings, places or areas which, while not of such historic significance to be designated as landmarks, nevertheless contribute to the overall visual characters of the landmark or landmarks located within the District.
HISTORIC STRUCTURE
Any structure or building designated as a landmark or located in an historic district.
IMPROVEMENT
Any building, structure, wall, fence, steps, paving, gate, sign, light, general arrangement of place or area, the kind, texture or quality of building material, landscaping or landscape architecture or work of art which may be erected upon or proposed to be erected upon any specific real estate.
LANDMARK
Any improvement designated as a landmark by ordinance of the City Council under this chapter which merits rehabilitation, restoration and preservation because of its significance to the city by meeting the standards for designation set forth in this chapter.
LANDMARK SITE
A parcel of land or part thereof which has historic or prehistoric significance, such as an event or place in the history of the community.
PRESERVATION RESTRICTION
A right, whether or not stated in the form of a restriction, easement, covenant or condition in any deed, will or other instrument executed by or on behalf of the owner of the land or in any order of taking, appropriate to the preservation of areas, places, buildings or structures to forbid or limit acts of demolition, alteration, use or other acts detrimental to the preservation of the buildings, places or areas designated as a landmark or within an historic district.
The Landmark and Historic Preservation Commission is hereby created. Commission members shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 36, Code of Ethics.
The Landmark and Historic Preservation Commission shall have and exercise the following powers, duties and responsibilities:
A. 
Recommend to the City Council that the city accept such gifts, grants and money as may be appropriate for the purposes of this chapter.
B. 
Conduct a survey of city buildings, places or areas for the purpose of identifying those of historic, architectural and cultural significance and prepare an inventory of those buildings, places or areas identified.
C. 
Recommend that the City Council designate by ordinance certain places and areas as landmark sites or historic districts.
D. 
Determine an appropriate system of markers for designated landmarks or historic districts.
E. 
Prepare and publish maps and other descriptive material about the city's landmarks and historic districts.
F. 
Cooperate with and enlist the assistance of persons, organizations, corporations, foundations, public agencies, City Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Officer in matters involving historic preservation, renovation, rehabilitation and reuse.
G. 
Advise owners of landmarks or historic structures on physical and financial aspects of preservation, renovation, rehabilitation and reuse.
H. 
Review and make decisions on applications for certificates of appropriateness and require the presentation of such plans, drawings, elevations and other information as may be necessary to make decisions.
I. 
Make recommendations to the City Council about the acquisition of conservation easements.
J. 
Evaluate and comment on decisions by the Architectural Review Board, Board of Public Works, Board of Zoning and Building Appeals and the Plan Commission affecting sites, structures or areas of historic significance.
K. 
Seek and maintain certification of this chapter by the state and federal governments under 36 CFR 67; 16 USC 470a(c); § 44.44, Wis. Stats.; and the Wisconsin Administrative Code so that property owners are eligible for federal income tax credits for rehabilitation expenses, property owners are eligible to use the State Historic Building Code, the city can participate in decision making for inclusion in the State and Federal Registers of Historic Places and the Certified Landmark Program and so that the city can be eligible to apply for grants.
L. 
Promulgate standards for architectural and site review for certificates of appropriateness.
A. 
The Commission shall consist of seven people selected by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. If reasonably possible, one Commissioner shall be an historian; one shall be an architect; one shall be the President of the City Historical Society or the President's designee; one shall be either an architectural historian, a landscape architect, urban planner, archaeologist, anthropologist, art historian or closely related field; one shall be a realtor or broker; and the remaining two shall be persons with an interest in historic preservation.
B. 
Commissioners shall serve terms of three years. Initially, Commissioners shall serve staggered terms of three persons for three years, two persons for two years and two persons for one year.
C. 
The Mayor shall designate one Commissioner as the chairperson and, in the chairperson's absence, the Commission shall choose an Acting Chairperson to preside over the meeting.
D. 
When the Commission lacks the professional expertise set forth in Subsection A, the Commission shall obtain the missing expertise by consulting with appropriate professionals.
A. 
The Commission shall hold monthly meetings scheduled by the Chair, and special meetings may be called at the request of any Commissioner. Notice and conduct of meetings shall comply with § 19.81 et seq., Wis. Stats. A quorum shall consist of four Commissioners.
B. 
Records shall be kept and made available to the public pursuant to § 19.31 et seq., Wis. Stats.
C. 
Commission decisions shall be by majority vote of those Commissioners present and voting. No action shall be taken by the Commission which directs a private owner to do or refrain from doing any specific thing or which refuses to permit a private owner to do some specific thing, unless written notice is given to such owner and unless such owner shall have the opportunity to be heard at a public hearing.
A structure, site or district may be designated for preservation as a landmark or historic district if it:
A. 
Historic, cultural importance.
(1) 
Has significant character, interest or value as part of the community's development or heritage;
(2) 
Is the site of an historic event with a significant effect upon society; or
(3) 
Exemplifies the cultural, political, economic, social or historic heritage of the community.
B. 
Architectural, engineering importance.
(1) 
Portrays the environment in an era of history characterized by a distinctive architectural style;
(2) 
Embodies distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type or engineering specimen;
(3) 
Is the type of a designer whose individual work has significantly influenced the community's development; or
(4) 
Contains elements of design, detail, materials or craftsmanship which represents a significant innovation.
C. 
Geographic importance.
(1) 
By being part of or related to a square, park or other distinctive area, should be developed or preserved according to a plan based on an historic, cultural or architectural character; or
(2) 
Owing to its unique location or singular physical characteristic, represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood or community.
D. 
Archaeological importance. Has yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.
A. 
Landmark application. Any person or association may request by application to the Commission that a structure or site be designated as a landmark. The application shall contain such information, plans and photos as requested by the Commission. Whenever possible, the Commission shall secure the written consent of the owner or owners before proceeding to secure designation.
B. 
Notice. The Commission shall schedule a public hearing on the question of the proposed designation, setting a date, time and place and causing written notice to be given to the person listed as taxpayer in the Assessor's office. The date, time, place and subject of the schedule hearing shall also be published as a Class 1 notice.
C. 
Public comment. At the public hearing, the Commission shall afford all persons the opportunity to present their views orally and in writing pertinent to the proposed designation. The Commission may make reasonable rules limiting the length of public comment and curtailing nonmaterial comments.
D. 
Designation.
(1) 
The Commission shall review all information presented to it pertinent to designation and shall present a written report containing its findings and conclusions whether the proposal meets the criteria set forth in § 151-7 of this chapter. A copy of the report shall be sent to every person making a written request for a report and to the City Council.
(2) 
If the Commission recommends designation, the Chairperson shall send a letter from the Commission requesting designation to the City Council. Upon designation by ordinance of the Council, such structure, place or area shall be a landmark afforded the protection of this chapter as administered by the Commission.
E. 
Landmark status recorded. A certified copy of the ordinance designating the structure or site as a landmark shall be recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds.
A. 
Application. Any person or association may petition the Commission requesting that a defined geographic area be designated as an historic district. The geographic area shall be definable by natural or existing improved boundaries and shall constitute a visual sense of history within the boundaries. The petition shall be accompanied by an application containing such information, plans and photos as requested by the Commission. The Commission may itself initiate the designation for a defined geographic area as an historic district.
B. 
Plan Commission review.
(1) 
The Plan Commission shall initially review the proposed designation for an assessment of the proposed designation's impact on development within the city, conformity of the proposed designation with the master or neighborhood plan and assessment of the economic effects which the proposed designation may have upon the city.
(2) 
The Plan Commission shall submit to the Landmark and Historic Preservation Commission and to the representative of the petitioners its recommendations concerning designation.
C. 
Public hearing.
(1) 
The Commission shall cause written notice to be given to all those listed by the Assessor as property owners within the proposed district and shall publish a Class 1 notice of the time, date, place and subject of the public hearing. The hearing shall be held no sooner than 15 days nor later than 45 days from receipt of the Plan Commission's recommendations.
(2) 
At the public hearing the Commission shall view and hear all information presented to it pertaining to whether the proposed designation is appropriate. The Commission shall afford all persons the opportunity to present their views orally and in writing pertinent to the proposed designation. The Commission may make reasonable rules regulating the length and materiality of comments.
D. 
Designation.
(1) 
The Commission shall review information presented to it pertinent to designation and shall present a written report containing its findings and conclusions whether the proposal meets the criteria in § 151-7 of this chapter. A copy of the report shall be sent to every person making a written request for it and to the City Council.
(2) 
If the Commission recommends designation, the Chairperson shall send a letter from the Commission requesting designation to the Council. The matter of designation shall be presented to the Council for decision. Upon designation by ordinance of the Council, such geographic area shall be an historic district afforded the protection of this chapter as administered by the Commission.
E. 
Pending designation. After the date of submission of the petition to create an historic district or initiation of designation by the Commission, no permits shall be issued for property within the area of contemplated designation, and no person shall alter or demolish any building or site until the Council determines whether to designate the area as an historic district.
F. 
Notice of designation and recording.
(1) 
After designation, the office of the City Clerk shall notify all property owners within the boundaries of the historic district that the area has been designated as such and that an owner must possess a certificate of appropriateness before obtaining a building permit or otherwise materially affecting the exterior appearance by structural changes, changes of exterior surfaces or any exterior change requiring a building permit.
(2) 
A certified copy of the ordinance designating the district as historic shall be recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds.
A. 
Prohibition. No alteration or improvement which is visible on the outside or demolition shall be done or allowed within a designated historic district or upon a landmark unless a certificate of appropriateness has been issued by the Historic Preservation Commission. Further, no building permit or demolition permit shall be issued for any landmark or any historic structure until the Building Inspector is satisfied that a certificate of appropriateness has been issued.
B. 
Criteria in granting a certificate of appropriateness. In reviewing an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Commission shall consider the following factors:
(1) 
The appropriateness to the Historic District or to the landmark of the proposed alteration or demolition.
(2) 
Whether such proposed alteration or demolition will further the purposes of this chapter.
(3) 
Proposed alteration or demolition for any historic structure from the visual perspective of the street, public way or public buildings.
(4) 
Reference to The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, as published in § 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 67, and as revised from time to time.
(5) 
By further reference to such specific design standards as the Commission may require for the designation of the landmark or historic district. Such specific standards shall relate to the historical significance; the architectural value; the unique design, arrangement, texture, material or color of the building, place or area in question; the relation of such improvement to similar improvements in the immediate surroundings; and the position of such improvement in relation to the street or public way and to other improvements.
(6) 
The Commission shall not deny a certificate of appropriateness whenever the applicant shows that the alteration or demolition will enhance or is not inconsistent with the inherent historic value of the landmark or of the historic district.
C. 
Application. Certificate of appropriateness may be applied for from the office of the Building Inspector. The application shall contain such information as requested by the Commission and shall be accompanied by plans and renderings.
D. 
Issuance of certificate of appropriateness.
(1) 
The Commission shall review completed applications presented to it for certificates of appropriateness at its regular monthly meetings and shall grant or deny the certificate. The denial of a certificate shall be accompanied by a written statement indicating the reasons for denial. Upon granting a certificate, the office of the Building Inspector shall issue to the applicant a certificate of appropriateness.
(2) 
A certificate of appropriateness shall expire six months after the date of issuance. Building, demolition or sign permits are separate from the certificate, and the applicant shall also secure such permits prior to commencing the work.
E. 
Hardship.
(1) 
Even if a proposed alteration or demolition may be inappropriate owing to conditions especially affecting the structure involved, but not affecting the historic district generally, failure to issue a certificate of appropriateness will involve a substantial hardship which is not self-created, financial or otherwise to the applicant, and such certificate may be issued without substantial detriment to the public welfare and without substantial derogation from the purposes of this chapter, then the Commission may grant a certificate of appropriateness.
(2) 
If, however, a proposed alteration or demolition is inappropriate and issuance of a certificate of appropriateness would cause substantial detriment to the public welfare or substantial derogation from the purposes of this chapter, but failure to issue would nonetheless involve a substantial hardship which is not self-created, financial or otherwise to the applicant, then the Commission may order a postponement of any alteration or demolition while it investigates alternatives to granting a certificate.
(3) 
If after a reasonable period of time, not to exceed one year from the date of first denial of the certificate of appropriateness, no alternative agreement has been reached with the applicant, the Commission may issue a certificate of appropriateness for alteration or demolition of the building, place or area in question.
(4) 
In granting a certificate of appropriateness in such circumstances, the Commission may prescribe any conditions or limitations that may minimize the adverse impact of the requested alteration or demolition.
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in the historic district or landmark which does not involve a change in design, material, color or outward appearance; prevent any alteration or demolition which the Building Inspector shall certify is required by public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition; nor prevent any alteration or demolition under a permit issued by the Building Inspector prior to the date of petitioning for the creation of an historic district or prior to the date of designation of a landmark.
When neither a building or demolition permit is required, if a proposed alteration or demolition constitutes a material change in the exterior appearance of a landmark or of property within an historic district, then a certificate of appropriateness shall be required. Failure to receive a certificate prior to effecting such material change shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
Whenever an application for a Zoning Map amendment, variation or special use permit, including a modification or renewal, is submitted to the city for property within a designated historic district or which is a landmark, a notice of any public hearing to be held on the application by the Plan Commission or Board of Zoning and Building Appeals shall be sent to the Historic Preservation Commission. Such notice shall be the same as that sent to owners of property for which the application was filed. The Historic Preservation Commission may submit its comments to the Plan Commission or Board of Zoning and Building Appeals, which shall consider such comments, decisions or recommendation on the application. However, nothing contained in this chapter shall supersede or invalidate other ordinances of zoning controls.
No person who owns a structure or site proposed to be designated or designated as a landmark or within an historic district shall personally or by another alter, demolish or construct a structure or site without complying with this chapter. All persons who violate this chapter shall be required to restore the structure or site to its condition prior to the violation and, in addition, be subject to the penalties contained in Chapter 1, General Provisions, § 1-19.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).