top of page


§510.1 Purpose and Intent.


This Ordinance is adopted in accordance with S.C. Code 6-29-870 et seq. (1976 as amended) to provide for the preservation and protection of historic and architecturally valuable districts and sites in the City of Spartanburg. Its purpose is to encourage the identification, protection, preservation and enhancement of· the unique and special character of defined districts and sites by means of restrictions and conditions governing of right erect, demolish in whole or in part, or alter the exterior appearance of structures 'within such areas.


§510.2 Definitions.


The following definitions shall apply in all parts of this Ordinance:


SPARTANBURG HISTORIC REGISTER: The listing of all districts and sites designated as historic under this Ordinance.


ALTERATION: Any act or process that changes one or more of the exterior architectural features of a structure including, but not limited to, the erection, construction, reconstruction, relocation, or removal of any structures. Not a repair.


CONSTRUCTION: The act of putting an addition on an existing structure or the erection of a new primary or accessory structure on a lot or site.


DEMOLITION: Any act or process that destroys in part or in whole a structure within a Historic District or on a Historic Site.


DEPARTMENT: The Department of Development Services for the City of Spartanburg.


EXTERIOR ARCITECTURAL APPEARANCE: The architectural character and general composition of the exterior of a structure visible from a public street, including, but not limited to, the kind and texture of the building material and the type, design, and character of all windows, doors, light fixtures, signs, and appurtenant elements.


HISTORIC DISTRICT OR DISTRICT: A geographically definable area possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, structures, or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development and designated as historic by City Council. A District may also comprise individual elements separated geographically but linked by association or history.


HISTORIC SITE OR SITE: A single site, either improved or unimproved, which has been designated by City Council as historic, either by itself, or as part of a Historic District.


* (Amended by Council 2/27/95)



NOTICE TO THE OWNER: Whenever this Ordinance requires that notice be given to an owner, the notice shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the Owner personally or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner's current address, or if the current address is unknown to the owner's last known address as shown on the tax records for Spartanburg County. By written request the owner may require that notice be sent to an agent designated by the owner.


ORDINANCE: The Spartanburg Historic Preservation Ordinance.


MINOR WORKS: Small projects which alter a site but not its visual charac1er and which pursuant to regulations adopted by the Board do not require a public hearing before the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness.


ORDINARY MAINTENANCE OR REPAIR: Any change that is not construction, relocation, removal, demolition, or alteration. Example:  painting or replacing a portion of a structure using the same material in such a manner so as not to change the exterior architectural appearance.


STRUCTURE: Anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires permanent or temporary location on or in the ground; for example, buildings, gazebos, signs, light fixtures, walls fences, radio and television antennae, satellite dishes (including supporting towers) or other communication devices.


§510.3  The Board of Architectural Design and Historic Review.


A.  There is hereby created the Board of Architectural Design and Historic Review of the City of Spartanburg (hereafter the                     "Board"), composed of nine (9) members who shall be responsible for administering and enforcing the provisions of this                    ordinance. The members shall serve without compensation except for reimbursement of authorized expenses attendant to the        performances of their duties.(*)


B.  The members of the board shall be residents of the City of Spartanburg appointed by the City Council and shall consist of                  persons who have demonstrated civic interest, have general knowledge of and interest  in history and historic preservation,              and are available to prepare for and attend meetings.   At least four (4) members shall be citizens who are knowledgeable in            one of the following disciplines:  archaeology, architecture, landscape architecture, American history, urban planning,                        engineering, environmental science, law, banking, or real estate. A historian and a professional architect shall serve at all                times. None of the voting members may hold any other public office or position in the City.


* (Amended by Council 5/13/96)


C.  The member of the Board shall serve for terms of three years. Initially three members shall be appointed for a tenn of one                year, three members for a tenn of two years, and three members for a term of three years. If any place on the Board becomes          vacant due to removal, resignation. or any other cause, the City Council shall appoint a replacement within 60 days for the                remainder of the unexpired tenn. No member shall serve for more than two consecutive terms.  Former members may be                reappointed after the expiration of two years. (*)


D.  The Board shall elect from its membership a chair and vice-chair who shall serve for one year or until successors are elected.          A staff member of the Department of Development Services shall serve as secretary but shall not be a voting member of the            Board. A member of the Planning Commission of the City of Spartanburg selected by the Planning Commission shall serve ex-          officio as a non-voting member of the Board.


E.  The Board shall adopt rules of procedure for the orderly conduct of business. A quorum consisting of a majority of the voting           membership of the Board shall be required for the transaction of business. All decisions or actions by the Board shall be by             majority vote of the voting membership of the Board. Meetings of the Board shall be held at regular intervals with such                     frequency as the Board may determine, but in no event less than once every four months.                                      ·


F.  The Board shall keep minutes of each meeting, which shall include the vote of each member on each question and a record of         its recommendations, decisions, findings, approvals, and denials, and the reasons for same. Each month a copy of the minutes         shall be made available to the members of City Council. The Board shall submit an annual report to the City Council at the end         of the City's fiscal year which shall include the number of cases reviewed, the disposition of cases, new designations,                         attendance records, National Register nominations, and documentation of educational meetings attended by Board Members.


§510.4  Power and Duties of the Board


The Board of Architectural Design and Historical Review shall administer and enforce the provisions of this Ordinance and shall:


A.  Maintain a current inventory of historic structures and sites and conduct surveys in an ongoing research effort in the City to             identify neighborhoods, areas, sites, structures, and objects in the City that have historic, community, architectural, or aesthetic       importance, interest, or value;


B.  Conduct public hearings and make recommendations to City Council in connection with designating Historic Sites or Districts;


* (Further Amended by Council 10/14/96)  


C.  Review application for and, where appropriate, issue Certificates of Appropriateness permitting the rehabilitation, alteration,           reconstruction. or demolition of structures on or changes to Historic Sites:


D.  Advise and assist property owners on the physical and financial aspects of preservation; renovation, rehabilitation, and reuse           and on procedures for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places;


E.  Review and make recommendations in connection with the nomination f structures or places for designation on the National           Historic Register;


F.  Adopt regulations regarding projects involving Minor Work and delegating authority for the issuance of Certificates of                         Appropriateness for such Minor Work projects to an appropriate person;


G.  Hear appeals from decisions of the building official or zoning administrator in matters within the purview of this Ordinance;


H.  Confer recognition on persons who have rendered service to the community in the cause of historic preservation; and


I.   Educate the public in regard to local history, historical resources in the community, and preservation issues; exhibits,                         brochures, and special events may be used for this purpose.


§51O.S Nomination, Designation, and Expansion of the Historic Sites and Historic Districts


A.  Consideration by the Board


     1.  The process of designating sites or districts as historic may be initiated by the Board as a whole, the City Council, any ten                  residents of the City, or the owner of the property to be considered or the owner's authorized agent. Request for designation            shall be made on an appropriate form provided by the Board.


     2.  If the Board determines that an area or site, based on the standards of this Ordinance, may be an appropriate candidate for              designation as historic, the Board may add it to a list of areas and sites considered appropriate for further investigation,                    deliberation, and possible recommendation to City Council. The addition  of any site or area to this list shall constitute its                    designation as a Pending Historic Site. effective when the Board reports such designation to the Department of Development            Services. The Department shall maintain a record in map and list form of all Pending Historic Sites together with effective                date designation known as the Pending List.


     3.  A site or area shall  continue to as a Pending Historic  Site until either the Board determines not to recommend designation              as historic, or City Council designates or rejects the site or area as historic or until the expiration of one year. A site or area              remove from the Pending list may be redesignated as a Pending Historic site after a one year waiting period from the date of            the removal.


     4.  The Development Services Department shall send a Notice to the Owner of any site or district designated as a Pending                      Historic Site within five business days after designation by the Board. (*)


     5.  If the owner of a site on the Pending List has a present need to alter ,or demolish existing structures or erect new                              structures, the process through which the site is designated or rejected as historic may be accelerated by using one of two              options:


               a)  The owner may treat the site as if it has already been designated as historic and apply for a Certificate of                                              Appropriateness; or,


               b)  The owner may request an accelerated decision. In that event, the site under question will automatically be removed                          from the list of Pending Historic Sites, unless the Board acts within 60 days after the request.


B.  Nominations to City Council


     1.  Prior to nominating a site or area as historic, the Board shall hold a public hearing to receive comments from interested                    members of the public concerning the proposed designation.


     2.  Notice of the public hearing shall be given identifying the site or area under consideration, and the time, place, and date of                the hearing as follows:


               a)  by posting on the property at least 30 days prior to the hearing; the Director of Development Services shall determine                        the appropriate location and number of signs when a district has been proposed as historic;


               b)  by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Spartanburg no more than 15 days prior to the                                hearing; and,


               c)  by Notice to the Owner at least 15 days prior to the hearing.


     3.  Within 30 days after the hearing, the Board shall nominate to City Council those sites from the Pending List it considers                      appropriate for designation as a Historic Site or a part of a rationale for the recommendation. A copy of the nomination shall            be filed with the Department.


     4.  City Council may accept the proposed designation by the adoption of an ordinance designation a site or district as historic.


*(Amended by Council 11/9/98)



     5.  Within IO days after City Council approves a designation, the owner of the site shall be so notified by certified mail. The                      Development Services Department shall maintain a record in map and list form of all Historic Sites and Districts. This list                  shall be called the Spartanburg Historic Register.


C.  Specific Guidelines: A site or district may be designated as historic if it:

     1.  Has significant inherent character, interest, or value as a part of the development of heritage of the community, state, or                    nation;


     2.  Is the site of a significant historical event;


     3.  Is associated with a person or persons who contributed significantly to the culture and development of the community, state,            or nation;


     4.  Exemplified the cultural, political, economic, social, ethnic, or historical heritage of the community;


     5.  Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of a type, style, period, or specimen in engineering or architecture or contains                elements of design, detail, or craftsmanship which represent a significant innovation;


     6.  Represents an established an familiar visual feature of the neighborhood or community; or                                                            

     7.  Has yielded or is likely to yield information important in pre-history or history.


§510.6  Certificates of Appropriateness


     A.  General


          A Certificate of Appropriateness (or "Certificate") shall be required for all alteration, construction, demolition, or removal                    requiring a building or demolition permit by the Inspections Division or for any alteration, construction, demolition,                              relocation, or removal not requiring a building or demolition permit which changes the exterior architectural appearance of              a site on the Pending List or on the Spartanburg Historic Register. The Inspections Division shall not issue s building or                      demolition permit for such work until a Certificate has been issued by the Board. An application form and a fon_n for the                    Certificate shall be created for the Board's use. The Certificate shall be signed by either the chair or vice-chair of the Board.

          The Certificate shall expire after six months if the work is not commenced and diligently pursued within that time. The                        Building Inspector shall from time to time inspect the construction and report any non-conformity to the Board.




     B.  Exceptions


          Interior modifications, alterations to exterior features not visible from a public street, and ordinary maintenance and repairs            are exempted from the Ordinance and need not be approved by the Board.


     C.  Standards


          1.  In reviewing applications for Certificates of Appropriateness, the Board shall base its decisions upon the standards in this                 Ordinance and shall make no requirements_ other than for the purpose of preventing construction or alterations which                     are not in harmony with the prevailing character of the Historic District or Historic site.


          2.  In reviewing applications for new construction or alteration, the Board shall consider the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's                     Standards for Rehabilitation and the following criteria:


               a)  the character and appropriateness of the design;


               b)  the scale of the buildings;


               c)  the texture and materials;


               d)  the relationship of such elements to similar features of structures in the immediate surroundings;


               e)  if the property is in a Historic District, the extent to which the alteration ot construction would be harmonious with the                        Historic District.


          3.  Upon completion of a historical survey of the buildings, structures, and sites in the City of Spartanburg, the Board may                       adopt guidelines specific to a particular Site or District.


     D.  Procedures.


          1.  The application for a Certificate shall be signed by the owner of authorized agent to the Site and shall be delivered to the                   Department at least 2·1 calendar days before a public hearing.


          2.  All applications for a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be reviewed at a public hearing held by the Board, except for                       Minor Work projects. At least 15 days notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be give in a newspaper of general                   circulation in the City of Spartanburg. In addition, a sign shall be posted on the property within three working days of                         receipt of the application and written notice by certified mail return receipt requested to all abutting property owners of                     record advising them of the nature of the proposed alterations and the date, time and place of the hearing at least 15                         calendar days prior to the hearing. 


          3.  Except as otherwise provided herein, the Board shall rule on any application for a Certificate of Appropriateness within 30                 business days after the application in received as follows:


               a)  If an application is approved, the Board shall issue a Certificate to the owner;


               b)  If an application is denied, notice of such denial and the reasons therefore shall be given by notice to the Owner and to                      the Building Inspector;


               c)  The Board may determine that the purposes of this Ordinance will best be served by postponing final action on the
                    application for a period not to exceed 75 days from the date of the application. If  action is postponed, written notice to
                    the Owner of such postponement citing reasons for the postponement shall be given within 7 days after the hearing;


               d)  If the Department does not receive a response to an Application within 30 days after the hearing before the Board, it                          shall proceed as if the Board had granted the Certificate.


          4.  Applications for Certificate shall be accompanied by one or more of the following as appropriate:


               a)  drawings, including plans and exterior elevations, drawn to scale, with sufficient detail to show the exterior                                          architectural appearance of the structure;


               b)  specifications or other information describing proposed materials and textures; inclusion of samples and materials                            may be required by the Board;


               c)  site plan or layout showing all improvements affecting appearances such as walls, walks, terraces, accessory                                    buildings, signs, lights, plantings, and other elements;


               d)  photographs of the site location, showing contiguous properties and streetscapes.


          5.  Prior to the preparation of working drawings and specifications or calling for proposals or bids from contractors,
               prospective developers, owners, or their agents may prepare preliminary scale drawings and outline specifications and
               overall dimensions (height, width, length, and a comparison with all adjacent structures) for review and discussion with a
               sub-committee of the Board composed of two members of the Board and a representative from the Development Services
               Department. This review meeting is at the option of the owner, and its purpose shall be to acquaint the owner or agent
               with standards of appropriateness of design that are required for the proposed construction. The request for such a
               meeting shall be made through the Development Services Department.


          6.  If, in accordance with criteria established by the Board, a proposed alteration involves only Minor Work,  the owner  (or
               agent) shall, , meet with the person or persons designated by the Board, and if it is determined that the scope of the
               proposed project will not impair the historical character of the site, a Certificate shall be issued without a public hearing.
               The applicant  shall  provided  such data as is reasonably required to make a decision.


§510.7  Economic Hardship


When applying for a Certificate of Appropriateness, the owner may request the Board to consider any economic hardship affecting the request.


          A.  Before making a decision on the request, the Board may solicit expert testimony or require that the applicant submit any
                information relevant to the decision such as:


               1.  Estimates of the cost of the proposed alteration, demolition, or removal, and an estimate of any additional cost that
                    would be incurred to comply with the requirements for the issuance of a Certificate;


               2.  A report from a licensed engineer or architect with experience in rehabilitation as to the structural soundness of any
                    structures on the Site and their suitability for rehabilitation;


               3.  Estimated market value of the Site under the following conditions: in its current condition; after any changes
                    recommended by the Board; and, in case of a proposed demolition, after renovation of the existing structure for
                    continued use;


               4.  Amount paid for the property, the date purchase, and the party from whdm purchased, including a description of the
                    relationship, if any, between the owner of record or application and the person from whom the property was
                    purchased, and any terms of financing between the seller and the buyer;


               5.  In the case of a proposed demolition, an estimate from an architect, developer, real estate consultant, appraiser, or
                    other real estate professional experienced in rehabilitation as the economic feasibility of rehabilitation or reuse of the
                    existing structure on the Site;


               6.  If the Site is income producing, the annual gross income for the previous two years, itemized operating and
                    maintenance expenses for the previous two years, and any depreciation, deduction. and annual cash flow before and
                    after debt service, if any, during the same period;


               7.  Any other information considered necessary by the Board to reach a determination as to whether the Site yields or
                    may yield a reasonable return to the owner.

          B.  After the hearing, the Board shall review all of the evidence and determine within 30 days whether the denial of a
               Certificate will deprive the owner of reasonable use of, or economic return from the site. If the Board determines that
               economic hardship has not been proven by the owner, the application  for a Certificate shall be denied. If the Board
               determines that unreasonable economic hardship will occur to the owner, the Board may delay its decision for 90 days in
               order to investigate and make recommendations regarding alternatives. If at the end of the 90 day period the Board has
               found that, without approval of the Certificate, an unreasonable economic hardship still will occur, then the Board shall
               issue a Certificate.


          C.  If demolition or removal is requested, the Board may delay granting the Certificate for a period of up to 180 days from the
               time of the filing of the application after a finding by the Board that the structure is of exceptional importance to the
               people of the City of Spartanburg. During such postponement, the Board shall take steps to ascertain what can be done to
               preserve the structure, including bµt not limited to consultation with civic groups, interested citizens, and public boards
               and agencies. If during the postponement period the Board has not been able to determine an adequate alternative to
               demolition, the Certificate shall be granted.


§510.8  Removal of Historic Designation


Any Site or District previously designated as historic under the provisions of this Ordinance may be removed from the Spartanburg Historic Register. The process of removing Sites or Districts from the Historic Register may be initiated by the Board as a whole or by the City Council.


          A.  Consideration by the Board


               1)  Prior to making any recommendation that a site or District be removed from the Historic Register, the Board shall hold
                    a public hearing to receive comments from interested members of the public concerning the proposed removal.


               2)  Notice of the public hearing shall be given identifying the site or area under consideration, and the time, place, and date
                    of the hearing as follows:


                    a)  by posting on the property at least 30 days prior to the hearing; the Director of the Development Services
                         Department shall determine the appropriate location and number of signs when a District has been proposed for                               removal;


                    b)  by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Spartanburg no more than 15 days but at least 7
                         days prior to the hearing; and


                    c)  by giving Notice to the Owner at least 15 days prior to the hearing.


               3.  Within 30 days after the hearing, the Board shall submit its recommendation to City Council together with the Board's


               4.  City Council may remove the District or Site from the Historic Register by adopting an ordinance.


               5.  Upon the adopting of such an ordinance, the regulations of this Ordinance shall no longer apply to the designated
                    District or site and the District or Site shall removed from the Spartanburg Historic Register. Within 10 days after final
                    City Council action, Notice to the Owner shall be given.


§510.9  Maintenance Requirements


          A.  Structures on Site designated as historic shall be maintained to meet all minimum requirements of the Housing Code, the
               Standard Building Code, and any other regulatory codes.


          B.  If the Board discovers that any Site subject to the jurisdiction of this Ordinance is being allowed to deteriorate due to
               neglect, the Board shall encourage the owner of the Site to make sufficient repairs to arrest the deterioration, thereby
               maintaining appearances and protecting property values.


          C.  The Board on its own initiative may petition the City Building Official to proceed under regulatory codes of the City to
               require the correction of defects or repairs to any structure, so that such structure shall be preserved or protected in
               accordance with the purposes of this Ordinance.


          C.  Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to prevent any measures of construction or alteration necessary to correct or
               abate the unsafe or dangerous condition of any structure designated as historic or that has been placed on the Pending
               List, provided however that only such work as is reasonably necessary to correct an unsafe or dangerous condition, may
               be performed without a Certificate of Appropriateness. (*)

* (Amended by Council 11/9/98)


§510.10  Effect on Municipal and Public Utilities


All City departments and public utility companies shall be required to obtain approval from the Board in accordance with this Ordinance prior to widening or constructing streets or initiating any changes within the Historic Districts with regard to the character of street paving, sidewalks, parkways, trees, utility installation, lighting, walls, fences, structures, and buildings on property or easements owned or franchised by the City of Spartanburg or public utility companies.


§510.11  Relationship of Historic Preservation Ordinance to Zoning Ordinance


In all zoning districts lying within the boundaries of a Historic District or Site, the regulations for both the zoning district and this Ordinance shall apply.  Whenever there is conflict between the regulations of the Zoning Ordinance and regulations of this Ordinance, the more restrictive shall apply.


§510.12  Violations and Penalties


Any person violating the provisions of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, punished in accordance with Section 1-11 of the Code of the City of Spartanburg, 1988.


§510.13  Enforcement


If any work is being done or is in progress for which a Certificate of Appropriateness is required and no Certificate has been issued, the Building Inspector shall issue a cease and desist order notifying the violator or by personal delivery or certified mail, return receipt requested, that the work must be stopped immediately until a Certificate of Appropriateness has been issued. If necessary, the Board may petition for injunctive relief in the Court of Common Pleas to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance.


§510.14  Appeals.


          A.  Appeals to the Board. Appeals to the Board may be taken by any person aggrieved pursuant to the following procedure.


               1.  Within ten days after notice of the decision, a notice of appeal, specifying the grounds therefore, shall be filed with the
                    officer from whom the appeal is taken and with the Board. The officer from whom the appeal is taken shall transmit all
                    papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed was taken.


               2.  An appeal stays all legal proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the officer from the appeal is
                    taken, after the notice of appeal is filed, certifies to the Board that by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay                            would in the officer's opinion, cause imminent peril to life and property.  In that case, proceedings may be stayed only
                    by a restraining order granted by the Board or by a court of record.


               3.  The Board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal and give public notice of it, as well as notice to the
                    parties in interest. The Board shall decide the appeal within a reasonable time. At the hearing any party may appear in
                    person or by agent or by attorney.


          B.  Appeals to the Court of Common Pleas.      Any person having a substancial interest in a decision of the Board may appeal
               such decision to the Court of Common Pleas by filing a notice of appeal with the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas within
               thirty days after notice of the decision pursuant to S.C. Code 8 6-29-900 et seq.

§510.16  Severability


If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Ordinance is, for any reason, declared invalid, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this Ordinance.


bottom of page