The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 002 : Division of Fire Safety(Cite as: 20 V.S.A. § 2732)
§ 2732. Historic variance appeals board; variances; exemptions
(a) An historic variance appeals board is created. The board shall consist of the following three members: the commissioner of public safety or designee, who shall be chair; the state historic preservation officer or designee; and a representative of the Vermont historic preservation community appointed by the governor. A board member who is not a state employee shall be entitled to compensation and expenses as provided by 32 V.S.A. § 1010.
(b) The board shall hear and determine all requests for variances or exemptions from the rules adopted by the commissioner under this subchapter for historic buildings and structures. A request for a variance or exemption may be granted where an applicant has demonstrated that strict compliance would entail practical difficulty, or unnecessary hardship, or would damage or destroy the historic architectural integrity of the historic building or structure, or is otherwise found unwarranted, provided that:
(1) any such variance or exemption secures the public safety and health;
(2) any petitioner for such a variance or exemption can demonstrate that the methods, means, or practices proposed to be taken in lieu of compliance with the rule or rules provide, in the opinion of the board, equal protection of the public safety and health as provided by rule or rules;
(3) the rule or rules from which the variance or exemption is sought have not also been adopted as a rule or standard under subchapters 4 and 5 of chapter 3 of Title 21; and
(4) any such variance or exemption does not violate any of the provisions of chapters 3 and 20 of Title 26 or any rules adopted thereunder.
(c) The board may permit a person seeking a variance or exemption to phase in compliance with the rules adopted under this subchapter in lieu of or in addition to granting the variance or exemption requested. The period of phased in compliance shall be reasonable but shall state a date by which compliance shall be achieved.
(d) Any person seeking a variance or exemption for work involving an historic building shall file a written request with the commissioner. The request shall describe the rule or rules from which the variance or exemption is sought, the reasons why a variance or exemption is sought, and a description as to how any alternative means of protecting the public safety and health is to be provided. The board shall meet and consider such requests within 15 working days of the request being filed with the commissioner. In deciding whether to grant or deny the request, the board shall take testimony or receive information from the applicant or his or her representatives, and from fire safety division staff. A decision of the board based on a majority vote of those members present shall be binding. The board shall issue a written determination granting or denying, in whole or in part, any variance or exemption request, or permission to phase in compliance, within 60 days of hearing the request. If a grant is conditional, the condition shall be clearly stated in writing. Failure to act on a request within 60 days shall be deemed approval of the request, provided that the public safety and health is not imminently threatened.
(e) The board may adopt, amend, or repeal procedural rules to carry out the provisions of this section.
(f) The board is attached to the department of public safety for administrative purposes.
(g) The board shall be subject to the requirements of subchapters 2 and 3 of chapter 5 of Title 1. (Added 2003, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 1, 2005.)