Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. PURPOSE
The purpose of this act is to promote the cultural, economic and general welfare of the inhabitants of the town of Chatham through the appropriate development of commercial and business districts by (1) protecting and preserving the distinctive characteristics of building and places significant in the history and development of Chatham; (2) maintaining and improving the settings of these buildings and places; and (3) encouraging designs which are compatible with buildings existing in the area, so as to continue to maintain the rural, fishing and residential character and other qualities which distinguish the town as a desirable community for permanent and summer residence.
SECTION 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF AN HISTORIC BUSINESS DISTRICT COMMISSION
There is hereby established in the town of Chatham an historic business district commission consisting of five unpaid members who shall be appointed by the board of selectmen. Said board, in making such appointments, shall use reasonable efforts to include one architect, one realtor and one historian. The original appointment of the members of the historic business district commission shall be one for one year, one for two years, one for three years, one for four years and one for five years from the date of the annual town elections following such appointment, and thereafter there shall be appointed immediately following the annual town elections in each year one member to such commission to serve for the term of five years. Said board shall also appoint two alternate commissioners annually, each to serve for a one year term. Vacancies occurring in the commission, other than by expiration of term of office, shall be filled by appointment by said board, but such appointment shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term of the member replaced. `t+99
SECTION 3. DISTRICTS
There is hereby established in the town of Chatham an historic business district, which shall include all the land within the following commercially zoned districts in effect on September ninth, nineteen hundred and eighty-five: General Business- (GB-1), General Business -2 (GB-2), General Business -3 (GB-3), Limited Business - 1 (LB-1) and Residential Business (RB).
SECTION 4. CONSTRUCTION OF BUILDINGS OR STRUCTURES
No building or structure shall hereafter be erected, reconstructed, altered or restored within the historic business district nor shall any building permit be issued by the building inspector unless and until an application for a certificate of appropriateness has been approved or a certificate of nonapplicability issued. Evidence of such required approval shall be a certificate of appropriateness or certificate on nonapplicability issued by the historic business district commission.
SECTION 5. RAZING OR MOVING OF BUILDING OR STRUCTURES
No building or structure within the historic business district shall be razed or moved without first obtaining a permit approved by the historic business district commission. Said commission shall be empowered to refuse such a permit for the removal or razing of any building or structure of such architectural or historic interest, which in the opinion of said commission would be detrimental to the public interest. Any building or structure which, in the opinion of the building inspector, is unsafe or dangerous may be razed if so ordered by the building inspector without a permit being issued by the historic business district commission.
SECTION 6. SIGNS
The erection or display of any sign exceeding two feet in length and six inches in height or the erection or display of more than one such sign, irrespective of size, on any lot, building or structure located within the historic business district must be approved by the historic business commission. Evidence of such approval shall be a certificate of appropriateness or a certificate of nonapplicability issued by said commission. Preexisting signs may remain for a period of twenty-four months following the effective date of this act. Upon expiration of said twenty-four month period, any preexisting sign not approved as set forth in this section shall be removed. `t+99
SECTION 7. ORGANIZATION
The historic business district commission shall elect a chairman and secretary. The commission shall meet within twenty-one days after notification by the secretary of the receipt of an application for a certificate of appropriateness, permit for removal or certificate of nonapplicability and at such other times as the commission may determine necessary. The commission shall hold public meetings and keep permanent records of its resolutions, transactions and determinations. The commission may make such rules and regulations consistent with this act as may appear desirable and necessary. The commission shall have the power and authority to perform all the duties as herein enumerated and provided. The commission may incur expenses necessary to the carrying on of its work within the amount of its annual appropriation. The commission is also empowered to charge reasonable application fees to defray its expenses. The commission is empowered to receive and use gifts, bequests and donations for the purposes set forth herein and defray its expenses.
SECTION 8. RULES AND REGULATIONS
The commission shall adopt rules and regulations after a public hearing on the same. Notice of such public hearing shall be advertised in a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks prior to said public hearing. The rules and regulations shall become effective when filed with the town clerk.
SECTION 9. FUNCTION AND DUTY
It shall be the function and duty of the historic business district commission to pass judgment upon the appropriateness of exterior architectural features of buildings and structures hereafter to be erected, reconstructed, altered or restored in the historic business district, wherever such exterior features are subject to public view from a way, public or private. All plans, elevations and other information deemed necessary by the commission to determine the appropriateness of the exterior features shall be made available to the Commission by the applicant. It shall also be the duty of the Commission to pass judgment upon the razing or moving of any building within said district as set forth in section five and the erection or display of any sign set forth in section six.
SECTION 10. CONSIDERATIONS
The historic business district commission, in passing judgment upon the appropriateness of exterior architectural features, shall keep in mind the purposes set forth in section one and shall consider, among other things, the general design, scale, color, location on the lot, arrangement, texture, material of the building or structure, setting, topography, and landscaping, and the comparison of such features to similar features of buildings and structures in the surrounding area, and the position of such buildings or structures in relation to the streets or ways and to other buildings or structures.
SECTION 11. EXEMPT FEATURES
The historic business district commission shall not consider interior arrangement or building features, not subject to public view.
SECTION 12. DISAPPROVAL
In the case of disapproval, the commission shall state its reasons therefor in writing. The commission may make recommendations to the applicant with respect to appropriateness of design scale, location on lot, arrangement, texture and material, of the building or structure involved, and other features referred to in section ten.
SECTION 13. APPROVAL
Upon approval of the plans by a majority of the commission, the commission shall cause a certificate of appropriateness or permit for removal, dated and signed by the chairman, to be issued to the applicant.
SECTION 14. CONSTRUCTIVE APPROVAL
If the commission fails to take a final vote on any application within sixty days after receipt of an application for a certificate of appropriateness or a permit for removal, the application shall be deemed to be approved except where the applicant has assented to an extension of time.
SECTION 15. VIOLATIONS
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined two hundred dollars, which shall be forfeited to the use of the town. Each day that a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense.
SECTION 16. APPEALS TO BOARD OF SELECTMEN
Appeals may be taken to the board of selectmen within fourteen calendar days of the date appearing on the commission's written decision on appropriateness, by any person aggrieved by the ruling of the historic business district commission. The board of selectmen shall hear and act upon such appeals promptly and the decision of the board shall be as determined by a majority vote of the members of the board.
SECTION 17. APPEALS TO SUPERIOR COURT
Any person or the historic business district commission, aggrieved by the decision of the board of selectmen, may appeal to the superior court sitting in equity for Barnstable county; provided, that such appeal is filed in said court within twenty days after such decision has been mailing to all parties concerned. The court shall hear all pertinent evidence and determine the facts, and upon the facts so determined annul such decision of found to exceed the authority of such Board, or make such other decree as justice and equity may require. The foregoing remedy shall be exclusive, but the parties shall have all rights of appeal and exception as in other equity cases.
SECTION 18. APPEAL AGAINST COMMISSION
Costs shall not be allowed against the historic business district commission or the board of selectmen unless it shall appear to the court that the Commission or the board, in making the appealed decision, acted in bad faith or with malice.
SECTION 19. APPEAL AGAINST APPELLANT
Costs shall not be allowed against the party appealing the decision of the historic business district commission or the board of selectmen unless it shall appear to the court that said appellant or appellants acted in bad faith or with malice in making the appeal to the court.
SECTION 20. SUPERIOR COURT JURISDICTION
The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to enforce the provisions of this act and the rulings issued thereunder and may restrain by injunction violations thereof.