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City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The application review procedure is as follows:
A. 
Upon receipt of a completed application for a building permit(s) or a certificate of appropriateness for work to be done in the district, the Code Administrator shall act in accordance with the procedures being followed in that office, except those procedures that are modified by the following requirements:
(1) 
The Code Administrator shall determine whether the work proposed needs to be forwarded to the HDC staff for administrative approval review. If not, he shall forward copies of the completed application for a building permit(s) together with copies of any plot plan and building plans and specifications filed by the applicant to the HDC.
(2) 
The Code Administrator shall not issue a building permit(s) for any erection, alteration, reconstruction, repair, restoration or demolition of all or part of any building in the district until Easton City Council has issued a certificate of appropriateness (COA). If the Code Administrator or his or her representative issues a building permit(s) without a COA due to an administrative or clerical error, said building permit(s) shall be voided.
(3) 
The Code Administrator shall require applicants to submit a sufficient number of additional copies of material require18d to be attached to a completed application for a building permit(s) or certificate of appropriateness so that the information needed to make the determination set forth in Subsection G(1) through (8) will be available.
(4) 
The Code Administrator shall maintain in his office a record of all such applications and final dispositions of the same.
B. 
Board review of applications. Upon receipt of a completed building permit(s) or certificate of appropriateness application under the jurisdiction of this chapter, the HDC shall consider such at its next regularly scheduled meeting or special meeting. The Board may require an applicant to produce supportive materials as it sees fit to render its decisions.
C. 
Notification of applicant of the HDC meeting. The owner of record or his or her representative(s) applying for a certificate of appropriateness and/or building permit(s) shall be advised of the time and place of said meeting and be invited to appear to explain his or her reasons at least 10 days before the HDC meeting. The HDC may invite such other persons as it desires to attend its meeting.
D. 
Design guidelines. In determining both oral and written recommendations to be presented to Easton City Council concerning the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness authorizing a permit for the erection, alteration, reconstruction, repair, restoration, demolition, or demolition by neglect of all or part of any building within the Historic District, the HDC shall consider the design guidelines set forth in Article V and such design guidelines developed by the HDC pursuant to and congruent with the objectives of this chapter.
E. 
Time frame for Board decision. The HDC shall render a decision and recommendation on any application for a building permit(s) under its review no later than 20 working days after the hearing/meeting provided for in Section 401 of the Ordinance and shall submit, in writing, to Easton City Council recommendations concerning the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness.
F. 
Application disapproval by the HDC.
(1) 
If the HDC decides to advise against the granting of a certificate of appropriateness, it shall so indicate to the applicant for a building permit(s). The disapproval shall indicate to the applicant the changes in plans and specifications, if any, which would protect:
(a) 
The distinctive historical character of the Historic District; and
(b) 
The architectural integrity of the building or structure.
(2) 
The HDC shall withhold its report for five days to allow the applicant to decide whether or not to make the suggested changes in his plans and specifications. If the applicant determines that he or she will make the necessary changes, he or she shall so advise the HDC, which shall in turn advise Easton City Council accordingly.
G. 
Contents of written report. The written report to Easton City Council concerning the HDC's recommendation on the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness shall set out the findings of fact that shall include but not be limited to the following matters:
(1) 
The exact location of the area in which the work is to be done.
(2) 
The exterior changes to be made or the exterior character of the structure to be erected.
(3) 
A list of the surrounding structures with their general exterior characteristics.
(4) 
The effect of the proposed change upon the general historic and architectural nature of the district.
(5) 
The appropriateness of exterior architectural features of the building which can be seen from a public street or way.
(6) 
The general design, arrangement, texture, and material of the building and the structure, and the relation of such factors to similar features of building or structures in the district.
(7) 
The opinion of the HDC (including any dissent) as to the appropriateness of the work or project proposed as it will preserve or destroy the historic character and nature of the district.
(8) 
The specific recommendations of the HDC based on findings of fact as to the issuance by Easton City Council or its refusal to issue a certificate of appropriateness.
H. 
Notification of applicant by Easton City Council of its consideration. Upon receipt of the written report from the HDC as provided in Subsection G hereof, the Easton City Council shall consider at the next regular scheduled or special meeting the question of issuing to the Code Administrator a certificate of appropriateness authorizing a permit for work covered by the application. The applicant shall be advised by the City of Easton of the time and place of the meeting at which his application shall be considered. The applicant shall have the right to attend this meeting and be heard as to the reasons for filing this application.
I. 
Design guidelines. In determining whether or not to certify to the appropriateness of the proposed erection, alteration, reconstruction, repair, restoration or demolition of all or a part of any building within the Historic District, Easton City Council shall consider the same factors as the HDC set forth in Article V above. In all cases the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation should be followed.
J. 
Approval by Easton City Council. If City Council approves the application, it shall issue a certificate of appropriateness authorizing the Code Administrator to issue a building permit(s) for the work covered.
K. 
Disapproval by Easton City Council.
(1) 
If City Council disapproves, a written reason(s) shall be given to the Code Administrator, the applicant and to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The disapproval shall indicate what changes in the plans and specifications would meet the conditions for protecting:
(a) 
The distinctive historical character of the district; and
(b) 
The architectural integrity of the building or structure.
(2) 
Upon receipt of a written disapproval of Easton City Council, the Code Administrator shall disapprove the application for a building permit(s) and advise the applicant. The applicant may appeal this disapproval to the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas within the time specified by law.
L. 
Final notification by Easton City Council. In either case of approval or disapproval the City of Easton shall notify the applicant of its decision within five days of its meeting at which the application was considered.