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About Historic Preservation Commission





The Historic Preservation Commission consists of nine members which are appointed by the Board of Alderman, each for a three (3) year term.  Members may serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms, but are eligible to serve again after having been off the commission for at least two years.

Attendance at regular meetings is required by each commissioner unless notice is given to the chairman and the Commission administrator, preferably 48 hours prior to any meeting.  Failure to attend three (3) consecutive meetings without an excused absence is sufficient reason for dismissal.  By majority vote, the Commission can recommend to the Board of Aldermen to remove a commissioner for failure to attend regular meetings.

The Commission is responsible for:  (1) defining the rules of procedure for how it conducts business; (2) determining the form used for the certificate of appropriateness application; (3) ultimately deciding if an application for certificate of appropriateness is complete; (4) ultimately deciding if the required data necessary to determine the nature of the application has been submitted; (5) reviewing and acting on a certificate of appropriateness application through a quasi-judicial hearing; (6) negotiating with property owners who propose to demolish or relocate contributing properties in a historic district; (7) prevention of demolition by neglect; and (8) following accepted best practices and rules of procedure and conduct for a quasi-judicial hearing.

Individual Commission members are responsible for:  (1) being knowledgeable of all relevant state statutes and city ordinances related to preservation, historic guidelines, and HPC policies and rules of procedure; (2) reviewing each certificate of appropriateness application and relevant historic guideline sections before a hearing; (3) being familiar with any design reviews that have taken place for the application; and (4) disclosing any potential conflicts of interest or ex parte communication before a public hearing.

The Commission meets for design review at 5:30 p.m. and holds regular, official meetings at 5:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month, unless is the date is changed due to an observed holiday.  The design review meetings are held in the Development Services Department conference room located at 303 First Street.  The regular meetings are held in the second floor courtroom in City Hall.

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A historic district is a special type of zoning district. Historic guidelines are part of the city’s zoning ordinances. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is a public commission of the City of New Bern that is responsible for developing and administering the historic guidelines. “A preservation commission’s primary responsibility is to prevent changes in a historic district that would be incongruous (not in keeping) with the special character of the district.” (Handbook for Historic Preservation Commissions in North Carolina).
 

The HPC has three major preservation tasks.
  1. Review and approve all exterior changes to contributing historic structures in addition to infill development in the locally designated historic districts. 
  2. Review and approve demolition of contributing structures and subsequent site redevelopment. 
  3. Monitor demolition by neglect of contributing historic structures in the locally designated historic districts and take actions to prevent demolition by neglect. 
This document provides the policies and rules of procedure for defining how the Historic Preservation Commission functions. Procedures for processing a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) and rules of procedure for meetings need to be followed as closely as possible since many decisions are made through a quasi-judicial hearing. Appeals of HPC decisions are evaluated on whether rules of procedure were properly followed during a hearing. There will occasionally be exceptions in steps and actions that vary from these rules of procedure, but in general, these rules should be followed as consistently as possible.
 
The policies and rules of procedure in this document supersede any rules of procedure that may be referenced in the City of New Bern Historic Guidelines and Handbook