City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

Title 17D
Chapter 17D.040
Section 17D.040.230

Title 17D City-wide Standards

Chapter 17D.040 Historic Preservation

Section 17D.040.230 Demolition Permits for Historic Structures in the Downtown Boundary Area and National Register Historic Districts

  1. Demolition Permits.
    No demolition permits for structures that are listed or eligible to be listed on the National or Local Register of Historic Places located in the area shown on Map 17D.040.230-M1, Downtown Boundary Area, and in all National Register Historic Districts shall be issued unless the structure to be demolished is to be replaced with a replacement structure that meets the following criteria:

    1. The replacement structure shall have a footprint square footage equal to or greater than the footprint square footage of the landmark structure to be demolished. The square footage of the footprint may be reduced:

      1. to accommodate parking serving the replacement structure or for public benefit, such as public green space and/or public art; or

      2. if the owner submits plans in lieu for review and approval by the City’s design review board subject to applicable zoning and design guidelines.

    2. The replacement structure satisfies all applicable zoning and design guidelines.

    3. A building permit has been issued for the replacement structure prior to the issuance of the demolition permit. In the alternative, the owner may obtain a demolition permit prior to the issuance of the building permit if the owner either:

      1. submits to the City a performance and surety bond in the amount of the full cost of the replacement structure; or

      2. demonstrates to the satisfaction of the director of building services, in consultation with the City’s historic preservation officer, that the owner has a valid and binding commitment or commitments for financing sufficient for the replacement use subject only to unsatisfied contingencies that are beyond the control of the owner other than another commitment for financing; or has other financial resources that are sufficient (together with any valid and binding commitments for financing) and available for such purpose.
  2. Eligibility.
    Eligibility shall be determined by the historic landmarks commission within fourteen days of the submission of the application for a demolition permit. The applicant shall be responsible to submit a determination of eligibility demonstrating the ineligibility of the structure based upon the National Register Criteria for Evaluation (36 CFR 60). Applications for structures that are determined not to be listed or eligible to be listed on a National or Local Register of Historic Places shall be processed pursuant to existing regulations.
  3. Economic Hardship.
    The requirements of SMC 17D.040.230 shall not apply and the owner may obtain a demolition permit without the requirement of constructing a replacement structure if the owner can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the ad hoc committee on economic hardship that maintaining the historic structure would impose an economic hardship on the property owner that was created beyond the owner’s control.

    1. The ad hoc committee on economic hardship shall be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council, and will consist of at least seven members as follows:

      1. one member of the real estate development community or association such as CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, the Society of Office and Industrial Realtors, and Building Owners and Managers Association;

      2. one member from a banking or financial institution;

      3. one licensed architect registered in Washington State;

      4. one member from the property management industry;

      5. one member representative of property developers;

      6. one member of the landmarks commission; and

      7. one member representing the neighborhood council where the historic structure is located.

    2. The ad hoc committee’s decision shall be made by majority vote and within thirty days of the submission of the material demonstrating an economic hardship by the property owners.

      1. The property owner has the burden of demonstrating the economic hardship.

      2. Evidence of economic hardship is limited to instances when preservation will deprive the owner of reasonable economic use of the property.

      3. An owner's financial status is not evidence of economic hardship.

      4. The decision of the ad hoc committee may be appealed to the hearing examiner within thirty days of the committee’s decision.

    3. The ad hoc committee will be a standing committee with one revolving member representing the specified neighborhood in which the property resides.

      1. There is a preference for developer and architects who participate on the ad hoc committee to have both new building construction and historic renovation experience.

      2. There is a preference for the neighborhood representative who participates on the ad hoc committee to have experience in development, appraising, construction, and/or related skills.

      3. Members of the ad hoc committee shall serve for two-year terms and may be reappointed for additional two-year terms.
  4. Factors to Determine Reasonable Economic Use.
    A reasonable economic use would be one that provides a greater return on the underlying land value (land with improvements) than the land alone could generate. The following four steps will be taken to determine reasonable economic use:

    1. The market value of the land, as vacant, is to be estimated.

      1. The sales comparison approach to value is an approved method.

      2. The land residual technique is an approved method, but only allowable when accompanied by and reconciled with the sales comparison approach method.

    2. The first year market rate of return on leased land is to be estimated. Market data supporting this rate of return must be provided.

    3. Based on applying the rate of return to the land value estimate, an annual market return on the underlying land results. This is the base figure or threshold for the analysis.

    4. Provide an estimate of the annual market net operating income for the property as is, and under any reasonable modifications thereof. Note that any required capital investment in the property would increase the basis from which the return is estimated.

      1. The sales comparison approach, income approach, cost approach, and development approach to value are all approved techniques.

      2. Under valuation scenarios where an additional capital investment is required, the expected market return on the capital investment will be subtracted from the annual return, with the residual income being the return on the land.
  5. Request by Owner for Advance Determination of Status.
    An owner may request an advance determination of economic hardship exemption qualification by the City as to whether a property subject to this ordinance may be demolished without the constraints of this SMC 17D.040.230, so that the owner may market for sale or refinance the property knowing its status. Upon receipt of a written request from a property owner, the owner shall be entitled to an economic hardship hearing at the owner’s expense, pursuant to SMC 17D.040.230(D) and represent the findings as binding upon the property owner and City to third parties including but not limited to prospective purchasers and lenders.
  6. Building Official or Fire Marshal Orders.
    The requirements of this section shall not apply to orders of the building official or fire marshal regarding orders that a structure be demolished due to public health, safety, or welfare concerns.
  7. Additional Parking.
    This section shall not apply if the owner demonstrates to the satisfaction of the building official, in consultation with the historic preservation officer, that the property will be used as parking associated with the renovation of an adjacent structure listed or eligible to be listed on the National or Local Register of Historic Places.

Date Passed: Monday, December 14, 2009

Effective Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ordinance C34530 Section 23