Commission Membership

A.    Commission Membership

The HDC or HPC is composed of five regular members and three alternate members, all of whom must be residents or property owners who are qualified to vote in the municipality. At least one of the members must be a resident of HDC or HPC if such a representative can be found. All regular members and alternates serve as volunteers in an unpaid capacity.

1.      Appointment

The method for the appointment of members is determined by local ordinance.Members are appointed usually by the chief elected official of the municipality.

2.      Term Length

The term length for an HDC or HPC member is five years. While a member may be appointed to more than one term, the individual should be prepared to step down at the end of five years. One member’s term should expire each year so as to promote both turnover and continuity.

3.      Alternates

When seated, alternate members have all the powers and duties of a regular member. If a regular member is absent or cannot serve due to a conflict of interest, the chairman should appoint one of the alternates in rotation to serve instead.

4.      Officers

At the start of every year the HDC or HPC should elect a chairman, vice-chairman, and clerk, whose responsibilities will be defined in the local ordinance and the rules ofprocedure. The chairman will preside at all meetings, with the vice-chairman serving in the chairman’s absence. The clerk will be responsible for keeping the minutes and submitting them to the municipal clerk.  In some cases, a municipal employee may be enlisted to take the minutes.  In that case, the HDC or HPC clerk verifies that the minutes have been accurately recorded and submitted to the municipal clerk.

5.      Qualifications

Beyond a knowledge of the enabling statute, there are no explicit requirements for being a member of the HDC or HPC. Whenever possible, members should have some expertise in one or more of the following areas: architecture, architectural history, construction, design, historic preservation, law, local history, planning and zoning , or real estate. Regardless of their background, all members should be prepared to learn the duties and responsibilities of their position, to attend regular meetings, and to make legally binding decisions in accordance with state and local law.

6.      Conflict of Interest

All municipalities are required by law to adopt a conflict of interest policy.  The members of the HDC or HPC should receive copies of the conflict of interest policy specific to the municipality and be familiar with its requirements.