The City of Vermilion seeks to promote the economic, educational, cultural and general welfare of the public through the perpetuation, protection, enhancement and preservation of the Harbour Town Historic District. Council affirms that it is a public purpose to insure that the distinctive, historical and nautical character of this district shall not be injuriously affected, that the value to the community of those buildings and sites having architectural and historical worth shall not be impaired and that the Harbour Town Historic District be maintained and preserved for the education, pleasure and welfare of the residents of the City.
The Historic Vermilion Design and Review Board is charged with the following functions:
(1) To exercise aesthetic judgment to maintain a desirable character in the Harbour Town Historic District;
(2) To study the problems and determine the needs of the City in furthering the purpose of restoring and preserving the area known as the Harbour Town Historic District;
(3) To conduct surveys of buildings for the purpose of determining those of local historic and/or architectural significance;
(4) To formulate recommendations concerning the preparation of maps, brochures and historical markers for selected historic and/or architectural sites and buildings;
(5) To cooperate with and advise the Planning Commission, Council and other Municipal agencies, in matters involving historic sites and buildings, as to legislation necessary, if any, to preserve and develop the Harbour Town Historic District;
(6) To advise owners of historic buildings on problems of preservation and restoration;
(7) To review exterior building and site plans, including landscaping, orientation of buildings and use of materials, and to determine, in the opinion of the Board, whether the character of the improvement is in harmony with existing development in the Harbour Town District. All proposals for alterations to existing structures or construction of new buildings in the Historic District must come before the Design and Review Board for advice, prior to the Building Inspector issuing a permit. The Design and Review Board shall respond to each proposal within thirty days of first discussing said proposal, provided the Board receives all requested information.
Nothing shall be construed to prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition of any exterior architectural feature which the Building Inspector shall determine is required by public safety because of dangerous or unsafe conditions.
Nothing shall be construed as authorizing the Board, in acting with respect to district uses, or in adopting regulations in relation thereto, to regulate or limit the height and bulk of buildings, to regulate and determine the area of yards, courts and other open spaces, to regulate density of population or to regulate and restrict the location of trades and industries or the location of buildings designed for specific uses or to create districts for any such purpose.
(8) To provide for regular and special meetings to accomplish the purpose of paragraphs (b)(1) to (7) hereof.
The Board is guided by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. Should the Board choose to modify the aforesaid Standards, such modifications shall be forwarded to the Planning Commission for study and recommendation to Council.
The Board has no regulatory powers for residential property in this district. It only acts as a review and recommending advisory body. The Board has regulatory power in regard to commercial properties in the Harbour Town Historic District and the downtown target area. If the commercial application is not acceptable to the Historic Design and Review Board, the Board will work with the owner of the property to resolve the problem. Once any necessary Planning Commission review and approval is acquired and once consensus is reached by the Historic Design and Review Board, the Building Inspector shall then issue a permit. If the Design and Review Board cannot reach resolution and the permit is denied, the Board shall attempt to work out an alternative plan with the owner or his agent that is acceptable to all parties.
If the Board and owner are unable to work out an alternative plan or if the owner does not wish to take this action, the owner may take the written decision of denial from the Design and Review Board and make an appeal to Vermilion City Council.
The Board works in close harmony with the Planning Commission in the development of the Harbour Town District, and any and all regulations or changes recommended by the Board shall be submitted to the Planning Commission for study and recommendation to Council.