News Releases

June 01, 2009

State Seeks Input On Proposed Archeology Protection Changes

Looks To Update Rules On Archeological Sites; Fund To Protect Them

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The state is asking for feedback from archeological experts, developers, and the public on a proposed new method to pay for protecting archeological sites and new rules for historic preservation.

Officials with the Agency of Commerce and Community Developments’ Division for Historic Preservation are planning a series of meetings this summer to discuss a new funding system to pay for archeological studies undertaken as part of Act 250, as well as other protection activities.

“We’re looking for feedback as we move forward with proposed rule changes,” said Betsy Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. “We want to make sure that the Division for Historic Preservation’s practices are consistent with the law, and that all applicants have clear expectations that everyone agrees upon.”

Under Act 250, the state’s environmental protection and development control law, the Division for Historic Preservation makes recommendations to the district environmental commissions on whether a proposed development would impact “historic sites,” including archeological sites.

“We don’t issue permits,” Bishop said. “The division recommends whether a project should get a permit, and how much field study should be done to determine whether an area is archeologically significant and should be protected. The District Commission makes those decisions.”

The new rules the state is considering, Bishop said, would clarify that district commissions have the decision-making authority about such questions as whether to require additional field studies and the cost of paying for them.

How applicants would pay for the costs associated with deciding what sites are historically significant and protecting them is the other part of the equation.

“The recently enacted fee bill directed the Division for Historic Preservation and the Natural Resources Board to collaborate on developing a fee schedule to fund these operations,” Bishop said. “We’re asking for feedback from developers and other stakeholders on that and the rules changes.”

The Division for Historic Preservation plans to hold public meetings to gather feedback from stakeholders and the public on June 23 in Williston; on June 25 in Rutland; on June 30 in St. Johnsbury; and in Rockingham on July 14.

Additional details and the draft proposed rules are available at www.HistoricVermont.org

Source: Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Last Updated at: June 01, 2009 16:17:30