Historic Preservation


Council Liaison:  Carolyn Zinner

Current Members:

Ronald Browning 8/6/2018 8/6/2021
Kathleen Lee 08/06/2018 8/6/2021
Ellen Eltgroth 7/16/2019 7/16/2022
Kathy Keen 8/6/2018 8/6/2021
Judy Plitt 8/6/2018 8/6/2021
Robert Greene 3/19/2018 3/19/2021
Carol Nemeth 3/19/2018 3/19/2021
Darlene Perry 2/6/2017 2/6/2020
Marita O’Connell 8/6/2018 8/6/2021
Tyler Buck 8/6/2019 8/6/2022
Jean Johnson 7/16/2019 7/16/2022


§ 97-1. Statutory authority.

The Mayor and City Council of the City of Havre de Grace derives authority for this chapter by virtue of its conformance with provisions of the State of Maryland Enabling Act for Historic Area Zoning (Article 66B, § 8.01-8.17, Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended).

§ 97-2. Purpose.

A. The preservation of sites, structures and districts of historical or architectural significance, together with their appurtenances and environmental settings, is a public policy in the City of Havre de Grace.
B. It is the further purpose of this chapter to:
(1) Preserve and enhance the quality of life and to safeguard the historical and cultural heritage of Havre de Grace by preserving sites, structures, and districts which reflect elements of cultural, social, economic, political, or architectural history;
(2) Strengthen the local economy;
(3) Stabilize and improve property values of such sites, structures, and districts;
(4) Foster civic beauty; and
(5) Promote the preservation and appreciation of such sites, structures, and districts for the education and welfare of the residents of Havre de Grace.

§ 97-3. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them:
ALTERATION — Any exterior change that would affect the historic or architectural significance of a designated site or structure, any portion of which is visible or intended to be visible from a public way, including, but not limited to, construction, reconstruction, moving, or demolition.
APPURTENANCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL SETTINGS — All that
space of grounds and structures thereon which surrounds a designated site or structure and to which it relates physically or visually. Appurtenances and environmental settings shall include but not be limited to walkways and driveways (whether paved or not),

fences, freestanding signs, trees, landscaping, pastures, croplands, waterways, open space, setbacks, parks, public spaces, and rocks.
DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT — Any willful neglect in the maintenance and repair of an individually designated landmark, site, or structure, or a site or structure within a designated preservation district, not including any appurtenances and environmental settings, that does not result from an owner’s financial inability to maintain and repair such landmark, site, or structure, and which results in any of the following conditions:

A. The deterioration of the foundations, exterior walls, roofs, chimneys, doors, or windows, so as to create or permit a hazardous or unsafe condition to exist; or

B. The deterioration of the foundations, exterior walls, roofs, chimneys, doors, windows, or the lack of adequate waterproofing which would or could result in permanent damage, injury, or loss of or loss to foundations, exterior walls, roofs, chimneys, doors, or windows.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION DISTRICT — A significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, structures, or objects united historically, architecturally, or culturally by plan or physical development. An historic preservation district shall include all property within its boundaries as defined and designated by the Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace.

EXTERIOR FEATURES — The architectural style, design, and general arrangement of the exterior of an historic structure, including the nature and texture of building material, and type and style of all roofs, windows, doors, light fixtures, signs, or similar items found on or related to the exterior of an historic structure.

LANDMARK — Any designated site or structure outside the boundaries of an historic preservation district that is of exceptional historic or architectural significance.

RECONSTRUCTION — The process of reproducing by new construction the exact form and detail of a vanished structure, or part thereof, as it appeared at a specific period of time.

RESTORATION — The process of accurately recovering the form and details of a property as it appeared at a specific period of time by means of removal of later work and the replacement of work missing from that specific period.

SITE — The location of an event of historic significance or a structure, whether standing or ruined, which possesses historic, architectural, or cultural significance.

STRUCTURE — A combination of material to form a construction that is stable, including but not limited to buildings, stadiums, reviewing stands, platforms, stagings, observation towers, radio towers, water tanks and towers, trestles, bridges, piers, paving, bulkheads, wharves, sheds, coal bins, shelters, fences, and display signs visible or intended to be visible from a public way. The term “structure” shall be construed as if followed by the words “or part thereof.”

§ 97-4. Historic Preservation Commission.

A. Creation of Historic Preservation Commission. The Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace hereby creates a commission to be called the “Havre de Grace Historic Preservation Commission.”
B. Membership. The Historic Preservation Commission shall consist of nine members and two alternates appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council. A majority of the members of the Commission shall be residents of the City of Havre de Grace. Each member shall possess a demonstrated special interest, specific knowledge, or professional or academic training in such fields as history, architecture, architectural history, planning, archaeology, anthropology, curation, conservation, landscape architecture, historic preservation, urban design, or related disciplines. Nonresident appointees to the Commission must possess professional or academic qualifications as further defined in Subsection C of this section. At least two members of the Commission shall possess professional or academic training in one or more of the above-listed fields in accordance with the minimum professional requirements of the United States Department of the Interior for certifying local governments under 36 CFR Part 61. [Amended 5-7-2007 by Ord. No. 888] C. Commission membership qualification criteria. The requirement for Commission membership under the category of “demonstrated special interest” may be satisfied either by formal training in one or more of the fields listed in Subsection B of this section or active membership in a preservation-related organization. The requirement for membership under the category of “specific knowledge” may be satisfied by formal post- secondary education, employment, or practical experience in one or more of the above-related fields. The requirement for Commission membership under the category of “profession or academic training” may be satisfied by, at a minimum, two years’ experience as a professional or a bachelor’s degree in one or more of the above-related fields.
D. Terms. Commission members shall be appointed for terms of three years. Commission members may be reappointed for an indefinite number of terms. Members shall serve until a successor has been appointed.
E. Commission officers. The Commission shall elect from its membership a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson, and a Secretary. They shall serve for one-year terms and shall be eligible for reelection.
F. Vacancy. Any vacancy in the membership of the Commission caused by the expiration of a term, resignation, death, incapacity to discharge duties, removal for cause, or any other reason, shall be filled for a new term, or for the remainder of the term for which there is a vacancy, as the case may be, in the same manner as provided herein for the appointment of the initial members of the Commission. Any vacancy on the Commission shall be filled by one of the two alternate members. Unexcused absence at three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings shall constitute resignation by the member and shall create a vacancy. [Amended 5-7-2007 by Ord. No. 888] G. Removal for cause. A member may be removed from the Commission for cause, upon written charges, and after a public hearing, by the Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace.
H. Compensation. Commission members shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, provided said expenses are permitted by the budget and approved in advance by the Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace.
I. Meetings. The Commission shall hold such regular meetings and hearings as necessary to discharge its duties. The Chairperson may call special meetings as needed. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. If a quorum is unable to be attained due to a vacancy of one or two members, any alternate in attendance may act as a substitute for the absent member. All regular meetings shall be announced in City Hall and open to the public. Minutes of the proceedings shall be kept preserved by the Commission. [Amended 5-7-2007 by Ord. No. 888]

J. Staff. Consistent with the City of Havre de Grace’s policies and procedures, City employees may be assigned to the Commission, and such services and facilities shall be made available as the City deems necessary or appropriate for the proper performance of the Commission.

§ 97-5. Powers and duties of Historic Preservation Commission.

The Historic Preservation Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
A. To conduct or direct studies, reports, and surveys to identify historical or culturally significant site(s), structure(s), and district(s) that exemplify the cultural, social, economic, political, or architectural history of Havre de Grace, the state, or the nation;
B. Consistent with the City’s charter, ordinances, resolutions, policies, and procedures regarding the acceptance and use of gifts by public officials, to accept and use gifts for the exercise of its duties;
C. To prescribe appropriate rules and regulations for transaction of its business;
D. To propose for adoption by the Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace rehabilitation and new construction design guidelines and criteria for construction, alteration, reconstruction, moving, and demolition of designated landmarks, sites, structures, and districts which are consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Guidelines may include design characteristics intended to meet the needs of particular types of designated landmarks, sites, structures, and districts, and also may identify categories of changes that do not require review by the Commission, because the changes are minimal in nature and do not affect historic or architectural significance. Where a conflict occurs between the City Building Code1 and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation will prevail.
E. Consistent with the City’s charter, ordinances, resolutions, policies, and procedures governing the acquisition of easements, to accept or otherwise acquire historic preservation easements on designated landmarks, sites, or structures and, when deemed

1. Editor’s Note: See Ch. 31, Building Construction.

appropriate by the Commission, sites or structures located in, or adjacent to, a designated district; and
F. To undertake any other action or activity necessary or appropriate to the implementation of its powers and duties or the implementation of this chapter.
G. The Historic Preservation Commission shall appear before the Mayor and City Council at a regular City Council meeting at least once each year and report on the Commission’s activities, present copies of the prior year’s meeting minutes, and account for any funds raised, including funding received from the City and expenses paid, and any other information requested by the Mayor and City Council related to its operations. In addition, the Commission by its chairman or designee shall attend at least one annual joint public work session with the Mayor and City Council along with all of the other City boards, commissions and committees to facilitate the coordination of activities and other goals or concerns of the Mayor and City Council. [Added 3-17-2014 by Ord. No. 954] H. Photo documentation. [Added 3-17-2014 by Ord. No. 954] (1) The Commission in conjunction with the Director of Planning shall use photo documentation to make a record of and preserve photo street scapes of the City of Havre de Grace in not less than ten-year intervals beginning in 2015. Photo documentation shall also take place upon any annexation or upon significant renovations; demolitions or new construction that alters the street scape.
(2) The Department of Planning shall store, preserve and make available for public display the photo documentation of the street scapes.

§ 97-6. Designation of site boundaries.

A. Designation. The Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace may designate boundaries for landmarks, sites, structures, or districts of historic or architectural significance consistent with adopted criteria for such designation.
B. Designation procedure. The Historic Preservation Commission may, after making full and proper study and receiving property owner(s) concurrence(s), recommend any area within the limits of the City for designation as a landmark, site, structure, or district of historic or architectural significance. The Commission may also

recommend boundaries for such landmarks, sites, structures, or districts. The recommendations shall be submitted to the Mayor and City Council for approval, amendment, or disapproval.
C. Declaration of historic designation. Upon approval of historic designation by the Mayor and City Council, a declaration of historic designation shall be prepared by the City administration, signed by the owners of the property and the Mayor and City Council, and recorded among the land records of Harford County for the purpose of notifying all current and future interested parties that such designation has been placed on the property, and said property shall comply with the provisions of this chapter in perpetuity.

§ 97-7. Application for certificate of appropriateness and Commission Review.

A. Application for certificate of appropriateness. Before the construction, alteration, reconstruction, moving, or demolition is undertaken of a designated landmark, site, or structure, or site or structure within a designated district, if an exterior change is involved which would affect the historic or architectural significance of a designated landmark, site, or structure, or site or structure within a designated district, any portion of which is visible or intended to be visible from a public way, the person, individual, firm, or corporation proposing to make the construction or change shall file an application for certificate of appropriateness with the Commission for approval to proceed with the construction, alteration, reconstruction, moving, or demolition of the landmark, site, or structure. Every application shall be referred to and considered by the Commission and accepted or rejected by the Commission. An application, which is identical to a rejected application, may not be resubmitted within a period of one year after the rejection. No certificate of appropriateness shall be granted until the Commission has acted thereon as hereinafter provided.
B. Application review.
(1) In reviewing applications, the Commission shall give consideration to:
(a) The historic or architectural significance of the landmark, site, or structure and its relationship to the historic or architectural significance of the surrounding area;

(b) The relationship of the exterior architectural features of a landmark or structure to the remainder of the landmark or structure and to the surrounding area;
(c) The general compatibility of proposed exterior design, scale, proportion, arrangement, texture, and materials to the landmark, site, or structure and to the surrounding area; and
(d) Any other factors including aesthetic factors which the Commission deems to be pertinent.
(2) The Commission shall consider only exterior features of a landmark or structure and shall not consider any interior arrangements.
(3) The Commission shall not disapprove an application except with respect to the several factors specified in § 97-7B(1) above.
(4) The Commission shall be strict in its judgment of plans for sites or structures determined by research to be of historic or architectural significance. The Commission shall be lenient in its judgment of plans for sites or structures of little historic or architectural significance, or of plans involving new construction, unless in the Commission’s judgment such plans would seriously impair the historic or architectural significance of surrounding sites or structure. The Commission is not required to limit construction, reconstruction, or alteration to the architectural style of any one period.
(5) Special considerations.
(a) If an application is submitted for construction, reconstruction, or alteration affecting a site or the exterior of a structure or for the moving or demolition of a structure, the preservation of which the Commission considers to be of unusual importance to the City of Havre de Grace or of unusual importance to the state or the nation, the Commission shall attempt to formulate an economically feasible plan with the owner(s) of the site or structure for the preservation of the site or structure. Unless the Commission is satisfied that the proposed construction, alteration, or reconstruction will not materially impair the historic or architectural significance of the site or structure, the Commission shall reject the

application, filing a copy of its rejection with the Director of Economic Development and Planning of the City of Havre de Grace.
(b) If an application is submitted for construction, reconstruction, or alteration, or for the moving or demolition of a site or structure that the Commission considers to be of unusual importance and no economically feasible plan can be formulated, the Commission shall have 90 days, from the time it concludes that no economically feasible plan can be formulated, to negotiate with the owner(s) and other parties in an effort to find a means of preserving the site or structure.
(c) In the case of a site or structure considered to be valuable for its historic or architectural significance, the Commission may approve the proposed construction, reconstruction, alteration, moving, or demolition despite the provisions of § 97-7B(5) of this chapter if:
[1] The site or structure is a deterrent to a major improvement program which will be of substantial benefit to the City of Havre de Grace; or
[2] Retention of the site or structure would cause undue financial hardship to the owner(s).
C. Commission decision. The Commission shall file with the Director of Economic Development and Planning of the City of Havre de Grace a certificate of appropriateness certifying its approval, modification, or rejection of each application and plans submitted to it for review. Work shall not be commenced on any project until such a certificate of approval has been filed, and the Director of Economic Development and Planning shall not issue a building permit or historic work permit for such change or construction unless it has received such a certificate of appropriateness. The failure of the Commission to act upon a completed application within 45 days from the date the completed application was filed shall be deemed to constitute automatic approval of the proposed changes unless an extension of this forty-five-day period is agreed upon mutually by the applicant and the Commission or the application has been withdrawn.
D. Expiration. A certificate of appropriateness shall expire automatically, unless extended by the Commission, if:

(1) In the case of an application for the demolition, moving, or alteration of a structure, the work has not commenced within six months and has not been completed within one year from the date of issuance of the certificate; or
(2) In the case of an application for the construction of a new structure, the work has not commenced within one year from the date of issuance of the certificate and has not been completed within three years.
E. Routine maintenance. Nothing in this chapter shall be taken or construed to prevent maintenance that does not alter the exterior fabric or features of a designated landmark, site, or structure, or landscaping and which will have no material effect on the historic or architectural significance of a designated landmark, site, structure, or district.

§ 97-8. Demolition by neglect.

A. In the event of demolition by neglect, the Commission may request the Director of Economic Development and Planning to notify, in writing, the property owner of record, any person having a right, title, or interest therein, and the occupant or other person responsible for the maintenance of the property, of the deterioration. The notice shall specify the minimum items of repair or maintenance necessary to correct the deterioration or prevent further deterioration.
B. Prior to the issuance of a written notice, the Commission may request the Director of Economic Development and Planning to establish a record of demolition by neglect. Such record may include dated materials such as photographs and written reports of the condition of the property so as to record or measure the deterioration.
C. The notice shall provide that corrective action shall commence within 30 days of the receipt of said notice and be complete within a reasonable time thereafter. The notice shall state that the owner(s) of record of the property, or any person of record, title, or interest therein, may, within 10 days after the receipt of the notice, request a hearing on the necessity of the items and conditions contained in the notice. In the event a public hearing is requested, it shall be held by the Commission upon 30 days’ written notice being mailed to all persons of record with any right, title, or interest in the property and to all citizens and

organizations which the Commission determines may have an interest in the proceedings.
D. If, after the public hearing, the Commission determines that the corrective actions remain necessary, the Commission may request the Director of Economic Development and Planning to issue a second and final notice to the property owner or other responsible person to have corrective action taken to comply with the Commission’s determination within 30 days of the receipt of the final notice.
E. Upon failure, neglect, or refusal of the property owner or other responsible person, duly notified to take corrective action specified in the final notice within the time required, the Commission may request that the Director of Economic Development and Planning institute any of the remedies and penalties provided by law for such violations.

§ 97-9. Assistance on behalf of Commission.

The Commission may designate any other organizations or individuals qualified by interest, training, or experience to make an analysis of and report recommending the preservation of sites, structures, or districts of historical, architectural, or cultural significance within the City of Havre de Grace. The report may include proposed boundaries of sites, structures, or districts, as well as recommendations for the identification and designation of particular sites, structures, or districts to be preserved. The Commission may designate any other organizations or individuals qualified by interest, training, or experience to assist in achieving the purposes of this chapter.

§ 97-10. Appeals.

In the event that any party is aggrieved by a decision of the Commission, the party has the right of appeal to the Board of Appeals of the City of Havre de Grace, in accordance with the terms of Article III, Board of Appeals, of Chapter 25, Boards, Committees and Commissions, of the Code of the City of Havre de Grace, within 30 days from the date of the Commission’s decision.

§ 97-11. Violations and penalties.

Any willful violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a municipal infraction punishable by a fine of $100. Each and every day that the violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation.