2017 Mississippi Code
Title 39 - Libraries, Arts, Archives and History
Chapter 13 - Historic Preservation Districts and Landmarks
§ 39-13-5. Historic preservation commissions; powers and duties; composition; terms of office; officers; minutes of meetings

Universal Citation: MS Code § 39-13-5 (2017)
  • Before it may designate one or more historic districts, or simultaneously with such designation, the governing body of any county or municipality, individually or jointly, shall establish a historic preservation commission to preserve, promote and develop the historical resources of such county or municipality in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The historic preservation commission shall have the following powers:
    • (a) The commission shall conduct or cause to be conducted a continuing study and survey of resources within the county or municipality or combination thereof.
    • (b) The commission shall recommend to the county or municipality or combination thereof the adoption of ordinances designating historic districts, landmarks and landmark sites.
    • (c) The commission may recommend that the county or municipality or combination thereof recognize subdistricts within any historic district in order that the commission may adopt specific guidelines for the regulation of properties within such a subdistrict.
    • (d) The commission shall review applications proposing construction, alteration, demolition or relocation of any resource or subdivision of tax parcels designated as landmarks or landmark sites contained within a historic district. The document granting such an application shall be known as a certificate of appropriateness. No commission may deny a certificate of appropriateness for demolition if denial of such a certificate would cause unreasonable economic hardship to an owner.
    • (e) The commission shall use as a basis for its decisions on applications for certificates of appropriateness the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings as well as any more specific design review guidelines adopted by the commission or the governing authority of the county or municipality or combination thereof.
    • (f) The commission, at the discretion of the governing authority, may grant or deny the certificates of appropriateness in whole or in part and may grant certificates of appropriateness contingent upon the acceptance by the applicant of specified conditions.
    • (g) The commission shall not consider interior arrangements of buildings and structures except that it may when requested by the Department of Archives and History to advise the department on questions relating to the interiors of publicly owned historic buildings. Interior arrangements not to be considered by the commission shall include floor plans, architectural details and finishes, but the commission may consider interior structural elements visible through doors or windows if they become deteriorated because of demolition by neglect. Such interior structural elements may include walls, floors and ceilings, as well as other supporting elements of a composite structure.
    • (h) The commission may, by local ordinance, review proposed governmental actions affecting governmentally owned structures included within local historic districts, located on landmark sites or designated as landmarks.
    • (i) The commission, subject to the consent of and requirements of the county or municipality or combination thereof, may apply for, receive, hold and spend funds from private and public sources in addition to appropriations made by the county or municipality or combination thereof for the purpose of carrying out the duties of the commission.
    • (j) The commission, subject to the consent of and the requirements of the county or municipality or combination thereof, may employ such staff or contract with technical experts or other persons as may be required for the performance of its duties and may obtain the equipment, supplies and other materials necessary for its effective operation.
    • (k) The commission, solely in the performance of its official duties and only at reasonable times, may enter upon private land for the examination or survey thereof. No member, employee or agent of the commission shall enter any private dwelling or structure without the express consent of the owner of record or occupant thereof.
    • (l) A municipality, by ordinance, may specify that color changes are outside the jurisdiction of the commission.
  • Such commission shall consist of not fewer than five (5) nor more than nine (9) residents of the county or municipality, or combination thereof, establishing the commission who shall be appointed by the governing authority with due regard to proper representation in such fields as history, architecture, urban planning, archaeology and law. All members of the commission shall serve at the will and pleasure of the governing authority appointing them and shall serve staggered terms. The precise method of appointment, and general terms of appointment, shall be specified in a local ordinance. If a documented good faith effort has been made unsuccessfully by the governing authority to locate residents of the county or municipality to serve on the commission, the governing authority may appoint individuals who own property within the boundary of the county or municipality, or both, or are in the service of an employer located within the boundary of the county or municipality, or both. The commission annually shall elect from its membership a chairman and a vice chairman and may employ such qualified staff personnel and counsel as it deems necessary. The commission shall retain as evidence of its discussions and decisions a complete set of minutes and may additionally create tape recordings or transcripts of its meetings. In addition, the commission shall retain copies of all applications filed with it including supporting documentation that may be added during open public meetings to supplement an original application or comment thereon. The commission shall advise the governing authority as to the designation of historic districts and the designation of historic landmarks and landmark sites. If any governing authority, in its discretion, chooses to divide the duties and responsibilities of the commission into no more than two (2) commissions or boards, each commission or board shall be established as directed in this section.
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