A. Historic Sign Inventory. The inventory of historically significant signs shall be established by resolution of the City Council.
B. Criteria for Designation of Historic Signs. All signs for which designation as a Historic Sign are requested shall be substantially in existence at the time of the application; shall be displayed in their original location; shall be in association with an important event, person, group, or business in the history of Ashland; shall follow a guideline of being in existence for approximately 40 years; and shall meet one of the following criteria.
1. The sign is exemplary of technology, craftsmanship, or design of the period when it was constructed, uses historic sign materials or means of illumination, and is not significantly altered from its historic period. If the sign has been altered, it must be restorable to its historic appearance.
2. The sign is integrated into the architecture of the building and is exemplary of a historically significant architectural style.
C. Procedure for Designating Historic Signs. The owner of any sign may request that said sign be reviewed for significance in the Historic Sign Inventory upon written application to the City Council. Application fees shall be the same as for Type II applications. Applications shall include written findings addressing the criteria for designation of historic signs, and current and historic photographs of the sign, if available.
1. The City Council shall refer all requests for inclusion on the Historic Sign Inventory to the Historic Commission for review and recommendation to the Council within 30 days of the request. Notice of the Historic Commission meeting shall be mailed to all affected property owners within 100 feet of the subject property. If a recommendation is not made within 30 days, the request shall be forwarded to the Council without a recommendation.
2. The City Council shall, after receiving the recommendation of the Historic Commission or after 30 days, provide notice to all affected property owners within 100 feet of the subject property of a public hearing before the Council.
3. The City Council shall decide, based on the criteria above and the recommendation of the Historic Commission, whether to approve the request to include the sign on the inventory.
4. Inclusion on the Historic Sign Inventory shall be by resolution of the City Council.
5. The burden of proof shall be on the applicant.
D. Historic Signs Exempt from Certain Requirements. Signs on the Historic Sign Inventory in any zone shall be exempt from the requirements of chapter 18.4.7, except subsections 18.4.7.030.E and 126.96.36.199.C. Also, that the sign area of the historic sign is exempted from the total allowable sign area, as defined in this section, except as modified by City Council conditions in E. below.
E. Conditions on Historic Signs. The City Council shall have the authority to impose conditions regulating area, maintenance, etc. on the signs included in the Historic Sign Inventory to further the purpose and intent of chapter 18.4.7.
F. Removal or Demolition. Removal or demolition of a Historic Sign shall be done under permit and approval of the Staff Advisor. The Historic Commission shall review the permit at their next regularly scheduled meeting and shall have the authority to delay issuance for 30 days from the date of their review meeting. Such delay shall be to allow the Commission the opportunity to discuss alternate plans for the sign with the applicant.
G. Involuntary Damage or Destruction. Signs on the Historic Sign Inventory, which have been destroyed or damaged by fire or other calamity, by act of God or by public enemy to an extent greater than 50 percent, may be reconstructed in an historically accurate manner. Such reconstruction shall be authorized by the City Council, only after determination that the reconstruction will be an accurate duplication of the historic sign, based on review of photographic or other documentary evidence specifying the historic design. The Historic Commission shall review and make recommendations to the Council on all such reconstructions.
H. Maintenance and Modification of Historic Signs.
1. All parts of the historic sign, including but not limited to neon tubes, incandescent lights and shields, and sign faces, shall be maintained in a functioning condition as historically intended for the sign. Replacement of original visible components with substitutes to retain the original appearance shall be permitted provided such replacements accurately reproduce the size, shape, color, and finish of the original. Failure to maintain the sign in accord with this section shall be grounds for review of the historic sign designation by the City Council.
2. Modifications of a historic sign may be allowed, after review by the Historic Commission and approval by the City Council, only if such modifications do not substantially change the historic style, scale, height, type of material, or dimensions of the historic sign, and does not result in a sign which does not meet the criteria for designation as a historic sign.
3. Changes in the location of a historic sign may be allowed, after review by the Historic Commission and approval by the City Council, only if such locational change does not result in the sign no longer meeting the criteria for designation as a historic sign.