Prior to designation of an historic landmark or historic district, the commission shall make or cause to be made a report on the historical, cultural, architectural significance of each building, structure, site and district proposed for designation, based upon the following standards:
No building, structure, site or district shall be deemed to be an historic one unless it has been prominently identified with or best represents, some major aspect of the cultural, political, economic, military or social history of the locality, region, state or nation, or has had a major relationship with the life of an historic personage or event representing some major aspect of, or ideals related to, the history of the locality, region, state or nation. In the case of buildings or structures which are to be so designated, they shall embody the principal or unique features of an architectural type or demonstrate the style of a period of our history or method of construction, or serve as an illustration of the work of a master builder, designer or architect whose genius influenced the period in which he worked or has significance in current times.
The commission shall submit such report, including maps and photographs as necessary, to the West Virginia department of culture and history. In the case of a report for a proposed historic district, the commission shall submit with the report a map showing boundaries of the proposed district. The West Virginia department of culture and history may prepare written comments within forty-five days on the report.
In the event that any such ordinance or order establishing the commission has authorized the commission to issue certificates of appropriateness, the local governing body shall hold a public hearing on the proposed designation of the historic property or historic district, and any proposed regulations and requirements for the historic district. Notice of the hearing shall be published at least two times in the principal newspaper of general circulation within the municipality or county in which the property or properties to be designated are located; and written notice of the hearing shall be mailed by certified mail with signed return receipt required by the commission to all owners and occupants of such properties. All the notices shall be published or mailed not less than ten nor more than twenty days prior to the date set for the public hearing. Following the public hearing, unless the owner of a proposed property or fifty percent of the ownership interest in a proposed district objects to such designation or regulations and requirements within thirty days following the public hearing, the local governing body may designate the property or properties as historic, and approve, amend or reject the proposed regulations or requirements. Within thirty days following such designation or approval, the owners and occupants of each designated historic property shall be given written notification of such designation or approval by the local governing body, which notice shall apprise said owners and occupants of the necessity of obtaining a certificate of appropriateness prior to undertaking any material change in the appearance of the historic landmark designated or within an historic district.
In the event any such order or ordinance establishing a commission does not authorize the commission to regulate historic properties through issuance of a certificate of appropriateness, the survey report may be adopted by the commission, with any recommended amendments or changes by the state agency, and the historic landmark or historic district shall be designated as historic.
Any such designated historic landmark or district designated by this article shall be shown on the official zoning map of the county or municipality or, that in the absence of an official zoning map, the designated property be shown on a map of the county or municipality and kept by the county or municipality as a public record to provide notice of such designation in addition to other such notification requirements of this section.