In steps the Historic Landmarks Commission
This commission of 12 members is designed to designate landmarks that have historical significance and preserve them. This open ended designation can apply to skyscrapers, homes, buildings, and even moveable objects! In fact, the HLC website indicates that there are 472 entries in Charlotte, with 355 alone being in Mecklenburg County (see them mapped here).
To qualify, the commission prepares a report signifying and documenting the historical history of the landmark, which is then sent to the North Carolina Divisions of Archives and History. However, regardless of this divisions findings, the local government board also has a meeting to decide on the property in question; if they approve it, the owner receives an ordinance declaring his/her home of historical significance.
The benefit to becoming a historic landmark is the tax break-- 50% off of local property tax!
However, there are a few potential draw backs:
- Design changes to a designated landmark must be first approved by the HLC. In addition, the demolition of an HLC approved landmark can also be delayed for a year, so that the commission has time to review and exercise eminent domain.
- Commission members can enter the grounds of a historic landmark at any time to conduct inspections, but an interior inspection requires approval from the owner.
- If for some reason the commission removes a property's landmark designation, the owner would be required to pay back the taxes in full, plus a penalty.