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Title 22: Libraries, History, and Information Technology

Chapter 014: HISTORIC PRESERVATION

  • Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • § 701. Definitions

    For the purposes of this chapter:

    (1) "Council" means the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

    (2) [Repealed.]

    (3) "Division" means the Division for Historic Preservation.

    (4) "Field investigations" means the study of the traces of human culture at any land or water site by means of surveying, digging, sampling, excavating, or removing surface or subsurface objects or going on a site with that intent.

    (5) "Historic preservation" means the research, protection, restoration, and rehabilitation of buildings, structures, objects, districts, areas, and sites significant in the history, architecture, archaeology, or culture of this State, its communities, or the nation.

    (6) "Historic property" or "resource" means any building, structure, object, district, area, or site that is significant in the history, architecture, archaeology, or culture of this State, its communities, or the nation.

    (7) "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

    (8) "Site" means any aboriginal mound, fort, earthwork, village location, burial ground, historic or prehistoric ruin, mine, cave, or other location which is or may be source of important archaeological data.

    (9) "Specimen" means a relic, artifact, remain, object, or any other evidence of a historical, prehistorical, archaeological, or anthropological nature, which may be found on or below the surface of the earth, and which has scientific or historical value as an object of antiquity, as an aboriginal relic, or as an archaeological sample.

    (10) "Underwater historic property" means any shipwreck, vessel, cargo, tackle, or underwater archaeological specimen, including and found at refuse sites or submerged sites of former habitation, that has remained unclaimed for more than 10 years on the bottoms of any waters. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1995, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 1(a); 2001, No. 35, § 8.)


  • Subchapter 003: DIVISION FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
  • § 721. Creation of Division

    The Division for Historic Preservation is created under 3 V.S.A. § 2473 to coordinate historic preservation activities on behalf of the State. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1995, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)

  • § 722. State Historic Preservation Officer

    The Secretary shall nominate and the Governor shall appoint a State Historic Preservation Officer, with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall fulfill the obligations and requirements of a State Historic Preservation Officer as required under federal law, and shall have demonstrated interest, knowledge, and experience in applying the principles of historic preservation to his or her professional work. The State Historic Preservation Officer shall supervise and direct the Division for Historic Preservation, subject to the general supervision and direction of the Secretary. (Amended 1995, No. 46, § 42; 2001, No. 35, § 2.)

  • § 723. Duties and powers of Division and State Historic Preservation Officer

    (a) The State Historic Preservation Officer shall, through the administration of the Division, and where required by section 742 of this title, with the approval of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation:

    (1) Undertake a statewide survey to identify and document historic properties and sites yielding or likely to yield archaeological and anthropological information.

    (2) Adopt standards for the listing of an historic property on the State Register consistent with the standards of the National Register and the relevant federal standards of preservation and care.

    (3) Prepare and maintain a State Register of Historic Properties and maintain a nonpublic electronic archaeological inventory database. The Division shall take all measures necessary to assure the security and protection of archaeological site locations that are accessible through the database, and to assure that electronic access to this database is limited to authorized persons for authorized activities.

    (4) Prepare a State Historic Preservation Plan and review and revise that Plan annually.

    (5) Cooperate with federal, State, and local government agencies in the planning and conduct of specific undertakings affecting historic properties and preservation objectives and in the implementation of federal and State laws pertaining to local and regional planning and development, land use planning, and environmental protection.

    (6) Establish standards and criteria for the acquisition of historic properties and for the preservation, restoration, maintenance, and operation of properties under the control of the Division.

    (7) Provide technical and financial assistance to others involved in historic preservation activities in accord with the preservation criteria of the Division and preservation priorities outlined in the Historic Preservation Plan.

    (8) Develop a continuing program of historical, architectural, and archaeological research and development to include surveys, excavation, scientific recording, interpretation, and publication of the historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources of the State.

    (9) Maintain, develop, and interpret State-owned historic properties.

    (10) Adopt rules under the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

    (11) Adopt and implement by June 30, 1990, a policy for notifying the property owners and the legislative body of a municipality in which is located an archaeological or historic resource which is being considered for inclusion in the State Register of Historic Properties. This policy shall provide that the Division shall hold a public hearing if the affected municipality requests a hearing.

    (b) The Division may:

    (1) For the purpose of protecting or preserving any historic property, acquire, preserve, restore, hold, maintain, operate, or dispose of such properties, together with such adjacent or associated lands as may be necessary for their protection, preservation, maintenance, or operation. The property may be real or personal in nature, and in the case of real property, the acquisition may include the fee or any lesser interest therein. Property may be acquired by gift, grant, bequest, devise, lease, purchase, or otherwise. Property may be acquired by the Division using such funds as may be appropriated for the purpose or monies available to it from any other source.

    (2) In the case of real property, the interest acquired shall be limited to that estate, agency, interest, or term deemed by the Division to be necessary for the continued protection or preservation of the property. The Division may acquire the fee simple title, but where it finds that a lesser interest, including any development right, negative or affirmative easement in gross or appurtenant covenant, lease, or other contractual right of or to any real property to be the most practical and economical method of protecting and preserving historical property, the lesser interest may be acquired. Any historic property acquired, whether in fee or otherwise, may be used, maintained, improved, restored, or operated by the Division consistent with the purpose of the continued preservation of the property.

    (3) Acquire or dispose of the fee or lesser interest to any historic property, including adjacent and associated lands, for the specific purpose of conveying or leasing the property back to its original owner or to any other person under covenants, deed restrictions, lease, or other contractual arrangements that limit the future use of the property to ensure its preservation. In all cases where property is conveyed, it shall be subject to rights of access, public visitation, and other conditions or restrictions of operation, maintenance, restoration, and repair that the Division may prescribe or may be agreed upon between the Division and the grantee or lessee to accomplish the purposes of this section. In the event that the Division intends to dispose of any historic property in fee, the transaction shall first be approved by the General Assembly.

    (4) Enter into and carry out contracts with the federal government or any agency thereof under which the government or agency grants financial or other assistance to the Division to further the purposes of this chapter. The Division may agree to and comply with any reasonable conditions not inconsistent with State law which are imposed on those grants. The grant funds or other assistance may be accepted from a federal government or agency and expended whether or not pursuant to a contract. The Division may further enter into and carry out contracts with municipalities and with any other person to further the purposes of this chapter.

    (c) The State Historic Preservation Officer and the Division shall adopt a procedure for the efficient review in accordance with this chapter and the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. chapter 1A, subchapter II, of undertakings related to the provision of broadband services, and shall take all feasible steps to effect such efficient review. Unless contrary to federal requirements, any review of pole attachments shall be conducted using a systemic approach. As used in this subsection, "broadband" means high-speed Internet access that meets the minimum technical objectives adopted by the Department of Public Service pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 8077(a). (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1979, No. 61, § 1; 1989, No. 194 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 21, 1990; 1995, No. 46, §§ 43, 44; 2001, No. 35, § 3; 2009, No. 47, § 3; 2011, No. 53, § 7, eff. May 27, 2011.)

  • § 724. Historic Preservation Special Funds

    (a) Historic Sites Operations Special Fund. The Historic Sites Operations Special Fund is established pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5 to be used by the Division for Historic Preservation to carry out the provisions of subdivisions 723(a)(9) and (b)(1) of this title. Revenues to the Fund shall be from the following sources:

    (1) Receipts from ticket sales at and fees for rental of State-owned historic sites. Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 603(2), fees for admission to and rentals of historic sites shall be set by the State Historic Preservation Officer, with the approval of the Commissioner of Housing and Community Development, in a manner that both maximizes revenues and promotes the tourism purposes of historic sites, but not to exceed $12.00 for a single admission. This not-to-exceed amount shall not apply to the rental of an historic site or admission to an historic site for a special event. These fees shall be reported in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 605.

    (2) Transfers from the accounts of gift shops operated at State-owned historic sites.

    (3) Appropriations by the General Assembly, gifts, grants, and other donations and monies from any other source received for historic sites.

    (4) Income from trust funds held by the Treasurer.

    (5) Revenues from the sale of publications.

    (b) Archaeology Operations Special Fund. The Archaeology Operations Special Fund is established pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5 to be used by the Division for Historic Preservation for cost recovery related to activities undertaken by the Division to carry out the provisions of sections 723, 761, and 762 of this title. Revenues to the Fund shall be from the following sources:

    (1) Fees paid for electronic access to the nonpublic archaeological inventory database. The fee shall be $250.00 per year for each authorized person unless the State Historic Preservation Officer determines that the fee may be paid on a pro rata basis.

    (2) A $500.00 one-time fee for each archival box (standard banker box size) of archaeological collection for the care and maintenance of such materials at the Vermont Archaeological Heritage Center in perpetuity paid by any person involved in a federally or State funded, licensed, permitted, or approved project. This fee shall be paid on a pro rata basis for one-half and one-quarter boxes.

    (3) Appropriations by the General Assembly, gifts, grants, and other donations and monies from any other source received for archaeology activities and services performed by the Division for Historic Preservation.

    (c) The Division for Historic Preservation shall ensure that donations and gifts are used for the purposes intended. (Added 1987, No. 89, § 306; amended 1997, No. 59, § 27, eff. June 30, 1997; 2007, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.006, eff. June 7, 2008; 2009, No. 47, § 4; 2013, No. 191 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)

  • § 725. Acceptance of funds or gifts for historic sites and Vermont Archaeology Heritage Center

    With the approval of the Secretary of Administration, the State Historic Preservation Officer may accept grants, gifts, donations, loans, or other things of value on behalf of the Division for Historic Preservation for use by the Division for Historic Preservation in establishing and maintaining displays and exhibits at any historic site and at the Vermont Archaeology Heritage Center, or restoring any historic site maintained and developed under section 723 of this chapter. (Added 1995, No. 46, § 51; amended 2001, No. 35, § 4; 2007, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.007, eff. June 7, 2008.)


  • Subchapter 005: ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION
  • § 741. Creation of Advisory Council

    (a) There is established a Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Council shall consist of seven members, appointed by the Governor, at least four of whom shall fulfill the professional requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act.

    (b) The members shall serve for terms of three years or until their successors are appointed. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1979, No. 61, § 2.)

  • § 742. Duties and powers of the Council

    (a) The Council shall:

    (1) Approve nominations to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

    (2) Review and approve the State survey of historic properties undertaken in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

    (3) Review and approve the content of the State Preservation Plan developed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

    (4) Approve the removal of properties from the State register.

    (5) Recommend the removal of properties from the National Register.

    (6) Review and approve projects to receive federal and State grants-in-aid for historic preservation.

    (7) Provide an advisory and coordinative mechanism by which State undertakings of every kind which are potentially deleterious to historic preservation may be discussed, and, where possible, resolved, giving due consideration to the competing public interests which may be involved. The head of any State agency or department having direct or indirect jurisdiction over a proposed State or State-assisted undertaking, or independent agency having authority to build, construct, license, permit, authorize, or approve any undertaking, shall, prior to the approval of the State funds for the undertaking, or prior to any approval, license, permit, or authorization as the case may be, take into account the effect of the undertaking on any historic property that is included in the State Register of Historic Places. Where, in the judgment of the Council such undertaking will have an adverse effect upon any listed district, area, site, building, structure, or object, the head of the State agency or department shall afford the Council reasonable opportunity to comment with regard to the undertaking.

    (8) Advise on any participation in the review of federal, federally assisted, and federally licensed undertakings that may affect historic properties and sites and approve any participation in the review of nonfederal undertakings, including proceedings under the State land use and development act (10 V.S.A. chapter 151).

    (b) The Council may provide testimony relating to the historical, architectural, and archaeological significance of State register and national register sites. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1979, No. 61,§§ 3, 4.)

  • § 743. Cooperation of agencies

    An agency, department, division, or commission shall:

    (1) Consult the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation before demolishing, altering, or transferring any property that is potentially of historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural significance, including any property listed on the State register. An agency, department, division, or commission shall submit its annual capital improvement plan to the Council.

    (2) Initiate measures and procedures to provide for the maintenance, through preservation, rehabilitation, or restoration, of properties under its ownership that are listed on the State or National Register; the measures and procedures shall comply with applicable standards prescribed by the State Historic Preservation Division.

    (3) Develop plans for the maintenance, through preservation, rehabilitation, or restoration, of historic properties under their ownership in a manner compatible with preservation objectives and which does not result in an unreasonable economic burden to public interest.

    (4) Institute procedures to assure that its plans, programs, codes and regulations contribute to the preservation and enhancement of sites, structures and objects of historical, architectural, archaeological or cultural significance. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4.)


  • Subchapter 007: PROTECTION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL INFORMATION
  • § 761. State archaeologist; survey; protection of archaeological sites

    (a) The State Historic Preservation Officer shall employ a State Archaeologist through the classified service who shall conduct and maintain a survey of sites of archaeological and anthropological specimens located within the State. The State archaeologist shall make the survey available to agencies of the State government that, in his or her opinion, may conduct activities which may affect these archaeological or anthropological sites.

    (b) All information regarding the location of archaeological sites and underwater historic properties shall be confidential except that the State archaeologist shall provide this information to qualified individuals or organizations, public agencies and nonprofit organizations for archaeological and scientific research or for preservation and planning purposes when the State Archaeologist determines that the preservation of these properties is not endangered. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1989, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1995, No. 46, § 45.)

  • § 762. Field investigation

    The State reserves to itself the exclusive right of field investigation on sites owned or controlled by the State in order to protect and preserve archaeological and scientific information, matter, and objects. All information and objects deriving from State lands shall remain the property of the State and be utilized for scientific or public educational purposes. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4.)

  • § 763. Designation of archaeological sites

    The State Archaeologist, with the approval of the State Historic Preservation Officer, may publicly designate an archaeological site of significance to the scientific study or public representation of the State's historical, prehistorical, or aboriginal past as a "State archaeological landmark." All State agencies administering State-owned lands containing State archaeological landmarks shall cooperate to ensure the protection of these landmarks. State archaeological landmarks located on privately owned land shall not be designated without the written consent of the owner. Upon designation of an archaeological site the private owner or affected State agency shall be given written notice of the designation by the State Archaeologist. Once so designated, no person may conduct field activities without first securing a permit from the State Historic Preservation Officer and complying with the provisions of section 762 of this title. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1995, No. 46, § 46.)

  • § 764. Permits for exploration

    The State Historic Preservation Officer, with the advice of the State Archaeologist, may issue permits for exploration and field investigations to be undertaken on State lands or within the boundaries of designated State archaeological landmarks to an amateur or professional whom the State Historic Preservation Officer deems properly qualified to conduct the activity, subject to such rules and regulations as the Division may prescribe, with a view toward disseminating the knowledge gained through his or her activities; and, provided that a summary report of the undertakings, containing relevant maps, documents, drawings, and photographs be submitted to the Division; and, provided further, that all specimens so collected under permit shall be the permanent property of the State and that the State Archaeologist shall make prior arrangements for the disposition of specimens derived from the activities in an appropriate institution of the State or for the loan of the specimens to qualified institutions in or out of the State. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 2001, No. 35, § 5.)

  • § 765. Transfer of State property

    When transferring real property under its jurisdiction that contains significant archaeological, aboriginal, or other anthropological resources, the State, may, upon the recommendation of the State Historic Preservation Officer, with the advice of the State Archaeologist, condition the transfer upon such covenants, deed restrictions or other contractual arrangements as will limit the future use of the property in such a way as will protect those resources. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1995, No. 46, § 47.)

  • § 766. Reservation of lands to be sold

    Upon written notice to the head of a State agency administering State lands, given by the State Historic Preservation Officer, with the advice of the State Archaeologist, the agency head shall reserve from sale any State lands, including lands forfeited to the State for nonpayment of taxes, on which sites or artifacts are located or may be found, as designated by the State Archaeologist under section 763 of this title, provided, however, that the reservation of the lands from sale may be confined to the actual location of the site or artifacts. When the sites or artifacts have been explored, excavated or otherwise examined to the extent desired by the State Archaeologist, he or she shall then file with the agency head a statement releasing the lands and permitting their sale. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 1995, No. 46, § 48.)

  • § 767. Cooperation between agencies

    All State agencies, departments, institutions, and commissions, as well as all municipalities, shall cooperate fully with the State Archaeologist in the preservation, protection, excavation, and evaluation of specimens and sites; and to that end:

    (1) When any State, regional, or municipal agency finds or is made aware by an appropriate historical or archaeological authority that its operation in connection with any State, State-assisted, State-licensed, or contracted project, activity, or program adversely affects or may adversely affect scientific, historical, or archaeological data, the agency shall notify the State Archaeologist and shall provide him or her with information concerning the project, program, or activity. The provisions of this chapter shall be made known to contractors by the State agencies doing the contracting.

    (2) The State Archaeologist, upon notification or determination that scientific, historical, or archaeological data, including specimens, is or may be adversely affected, shall, after reasonable notice to the responsible agency, conduct or cause to be conducted a survey and other investigations to recover and preserve or otherwise protect such data, including analysis and publication, which in its opinion should be recovered in the public interest.

    (3) The Division shall initiate actions within 60 days of notification under subdivision (1) of this subsection and within such time as agreed upon in other cases. The responsible agency is authorized and directed to expend agency funds for the purpose of recovering the data, including analysis and publications, and the costs shall be included as part of the contractor's costs if the adverse effect is caused by work being done under contract to a State agency. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4.)


  • Subchapter 009: UNDERWATER HISTORIC PROPERTIES
  • § 781. Rules and regulations

    The custodian of underwater historic properties shall be the Division which shall administer the preservation and protection of these properties in accordance with this chapter. The Division may prescribe such rules and regulations as are necessary to preserve, protect, and recover any or all underwater historic properties. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4.)

  • § 782. Issuance of permits

    Any qualified person desiring to conduct any type of exploration or recovery operations, in the course of which any underwater historic property or part thereof may be removed, displaced, or destroyed, shall first make application to the State Historic Preservation Officer for a permit to conduct the operations. The State Historic Preservation Officer, with the advice of the State Archaeologist, may grant the applicant a permit for such a period of time and under such conditions as he or she may deem to be in the best interest of the State. The permit may provide for the fair compensation to the permittee in terms of a percentage of the reasonable cash value of the objects recovered or a fair share of the objects recovered, the fair compensation or share to be determined by the State Archaeologist. Superior title to all objects recovered shall be retained by the State unless or until they are released to the permittee by the State Archaeologist. All exploration and recovery operations undertaken under a permit issued under this section shall be carried out under the general supervision of the State Archaeologist and in such manner that the maximum amount of historic, scientific, archaeological, and educational information may be recovered and preserved in addition to the physical recovery of items. Permits may be renewed upon or prior to expiration. Holders of permits shall be responsible for obtaining permission of any federal agencies having jurisdiction prior to conducting any recovery operations. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 2001, No. 35, § 6.)


  • Subchapter 011: PROHIBITED ACTS
  • § 791. Penalty

    A person who conducts field investigation activities on or under any land owned or controlled by the State or within the boundaries of any designated State archaeological landmark, without first obtaining a permit therefor from the State Historic Preservation Officer or any person who appropriates, defaces, destroys, or otherwise alters any archaeological site or specimen located on or under State lands or within the boundaries of a designated State archaeological landmark, except in the course of activities pursued under the authority of a permit granted by the State Historic Preservation Officer, shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months or both, and in addition, shall forfeit to the State all specimens, objects, and materials collected or excavated, together with all photographs and records relating to that material. (Added 1975, No. 109, § 4; amended 2001, No. 35, § 7.)