The Historic District Commission, hereafter referred to as the "HDC," is hereby established to be composed of seven members appointed by Easton City Council as follows:
At large members shall be persons with demonstrated interest, knowledge, ability, experience or expertise in restoration, historic rehabilitation, or neighborhood conservation or revitalization who have interest in the preservation of the Historic District(s) and who preferably are property owners who reside in the district.
The initial terms of the first members shall be so fixed that no more than three members shall be replaced or reappointed during any one calendar year. Vacancies on the HDC shall be filled within 90 days; however, every member shall continue in office after expiration of the term until a successor has been appointed. Their successors shall serve for terms of three years. The position of any member of the HDC appointed in his capacity, such as a registered architect, a licensed real estate broker, Code Administrator, Planning Commission member, etc., who ceases to be so engaged, shall be automatically considered vacant. An appointment to fill a vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term.
[Amended 5-24-2006 by Ord. No. 4814; 2-11-2009 by Ord. No. 5167]
It shall be the duty of each HDC member to remain conscious of and sensitive to any possible conflict of interest (including but not limited to financial considerations) that may arise by virtue of his or her membership on the Board. A member, promptly upon his determining he has a conflict himself relative to any matter brought, shall disqualify himself from participating, in any manner, publicly or privately, in the presentation, discussion, deliberation, or any voting on any such manner, including temporarily absenting himself from the room in which the discussion is being held.
In the event of a conflict of interest or absence of the member who is a registered architect, an alternate registered architect shall be appointed to serve on the Board to review certificate of appropriateness applications.
[Added 5-24-2006 by Ord. No. 4814]
In the event of a conflict of interest with any member of the Commission, the Commission shall appoint an alternate representative with the same qualifications as may be applicable to said member who has a conflict.
[Added 7-12-2006 by Ord. No. 4825]
The term of office for the appointment of the alternate member shall remain in effect until the said conflict ceases.
[Added 7-12-2006 by Ord. No. 4825]
The powers and duties of the Historic District Commission are as follows:
Advisory role. The HDC shall give recommendations to Easton City Council as to the advisability of issuing any certificate of appropriateness required to be issued in accordance with the said Act of June 13, 1961, as amended, and this chapter.
Board rule-making power. The HDC may make and alter rules and regulations for its own organization and procedure, provided that they are consistent with the laws of the commonwealth and all provisions of this chapter.
Removal of members. Any Board member may be removed for misconduct or wrongdoing, unlawful execution of this chapter, chronic absenteeism, or failure to perform his or her responsibilities pursuant to this chapter, or for other just cause by a majority vote of Council. Said member shall be given notice of when City Council plans to consider such action and be given an opportunity to be heard at such meeting, if the Board member elects, prior to action.
Annual reports. The members of the HDC shall make an annual report to Easton City Council, which shall include:
Any recommendations for changes in the chapter;
The number and types of cases reviewed;
The number of cases for which a certificate of appropriateness was either approved or denied;
Number of HDC meetings which each member attended;
Historic preservation-related training which each member attended;
A narrative summary describing the state of preservation in the City of Easton's Historic District with recommendations in policy, goals and objectives for Easton City Council; and
A summary of any comments and recommendations made relating to public improvement projects.
Compensation. The HDC may employ secretarial and professional assistance, and incur other necessary expenses with the approval of Easton City Council.
Meetings. The HDC shall meet publicly at least once a month. Further, the HDC may hold any additional meetings it considers necessary to carry out its powers and duties indicated in this chapter. Such meetings shall be opened to the public. A majority of the HDC shall constitute a quorum, and action taken at any meeting shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the members.
Training. HDC members and HDC support staff shall be encouraged to attend a minimum of eight hours annually of seminars, conferences or workshops related to historic preservation and HDC administration.
In addition to the above, the HDC shall have the following powers and duties:
To conduct a survey (in conjunction with the County Historical Society and local preservation organizations) of buildings, structures, objects and monuments for the purpose of determining those of historic and/or architectural significance and pertinent facts about them; action in coordination with the City of Easton's Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, and other appropriate groups and to maintain and periodically revise the detailed listings (resource inventories) of historic resources and data about them, appropriately classified with respect to national, state and local significance in accordance or consistent with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission's "Cultural Resource Management in Pennsylvania: Guidelines for Historic Resource Surveys."
To propose, from time to time as deemed appropriate, the establishment of additional historic districts and revisions to existing historic districts.
To formulate recommendations concerning the establishment of an appropriate system of markers for selected historic and/or architectural sites and buildings, including proposals for the installation and care of such historic markers.
To formulate recommendations concerning the preparation and publication of maps, brochures and descriptive material about the City of Easton historical and/or architectural sites and buildings.
To cooperate with and advise Easton City Council and the City's agencies in matters involving historically and/or architecturally significant sites and buildings (such as appropriate land usage, parking facilities and signs, as well as adherence to lot dimensional regulations and minimum structural standards). To formulate recommendations concerning changes to the City of Easton Comprehensive Plan as it relates to retention of historic resources.
To cooperate with and enlist assistance from the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and other agencies, public and private, from time to time, concerned with the preservation of historic sites and buildings.
To advise owners of historic buildings regarding rehabilitation, repairs, maintenance methods and technologies, adaptive use, economic and tax incentives and other historic preservation strategies.
To promote public support in the purpose of this chapter by carrying on educational and public relations programs.