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Historic Preservation

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					              Statutory Authorization: 22 V.S.A. Chapter 14 (Vermont Historic Preservation Act), 24 V.S.A. §§4414(F), 4433(3), &
              the National Historic Preservation Act / Type: NONREGULATORY & REGULATORY
              Related Topic Areas: Community & Economic Development; Design Review; Downtown Revitalization; Open
              Space & Resource Protection Programs; Open Space & Resource Protection Regulations

                               Historic Preservation                                                                         11
Overview
V     ermonters have been practicing
      historic preservation—the active,
continued use of old buildings and
traditional downtown and village
centers—for generations. We often
live in, work in, worship in, do busi-
ness in, and even shop in historic
buildings. It is the Vermont way. A
homeowner fixing his or her roof or
windows or a developer converting an
old brick mill to affordable housing
units is practicing historic preserva-
tion. An entrepreneur choosing to
locate a new business in an old down-
town building or a community decid-
ing to use a historic village school
instead of constructing a new build-         Historic mill building, barns, and other older structures have a unique character
                                             and have the potential for public uses, such as schools and libraries, as well as
ing is also practicing historic              for private development. But reuse can be more expensive than building new.
preservation.                                Municipalities can promote restoration by documenting and celebrating historic
   Historic preservation is based on         resources and by establishing local regulations and incentives that reward those
recognizing the historic, architectural,     willing to reuse historic buildings.
and/or archeological significance of         tural detail and high-quality materials.            tures and materials, replace them
buildings, sites, and places. It provides    Other times, the value may be less                  with features and materials that
continuity with the past, while not          readily apparent. A row of houses                   match.
freezing history in time. Maintaining a      built by a railroad company for its               • When building an addition, distin-
connection with the past helps people        employees may be architecturally                    guish it slightly from the old part of
to feel grounded in the present. Main-       undistinguished but valuable for the                the building and construct it so that
taining the physical aspects of a com-       history it embodies of the growth and               the original building can still be
munity—the village school, the               development of a town. Archeological                easily seen.
general store, the local post office, the    resources are less visible than historic          • Preserve the information in a poten-
town hall, the church, the fraternal         buildings and structures but provide                tial archeological site by protecting
hall, or the downtown center—con-            powerful links to a community’s                     rather than disturbing it.
nects people to each other and               history and sense of place. Archeo-
strengthens community. It reinforces         logical sites are tangible clues to               Application
the idea that over time and through          Vermont’s distant, and not-so-distant,
common experience we connect with                                                                 In Vermont, municipal plans are
                                             past and serve as important educa-
others and create a community, a                                                               required to include “a statement of
                                             tional, recreational, and spiritual assets
place where we belong.                                                                         policies on the preservation of rare
                                             to a community and region.
   Historic preservation often begins                                                          and irreplaceable natural areas, scenic
                                                 Work on historic buildings gener-
with a survey, or inventory, of historic                                                       and historic features and resources.”
                                             ally follows some simple guidelines to
resources that identifies what is                                                              This statement is an opportunity to
                                             maximize their continued value.
worthy of preservation. Sometimes                                                              summarize the history and develop-
                                             • Preserve and retain the historic fea-
you can easily see the value of a his-                                                         ment of a community, to highlight its
                                               tures and materials of a building
toric building or place: for instance,                                                         historic areas and important buildings
                                               whenever possible.
when a building has intricate architec-                                                        (perhaps with a map of state-
                                             • If it is not possible to preserve fea-

                                      Implementation Manual Historic Preservation 2007 www.vpic.info
                                                        •                      •     •



                                   VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE

                                                                  11-1
registered sites and/or an archeologi-
cal sensitivity map), and to state the       Criteria for Historic                             bution to the broad patterns of our
                                             Register Evaluation                               history; or
community’s goals for preserving
                                                                                            B. That are associated with the lives
those resources. It is a place to de-        The National Register of Historic                 of persons significant in our past;
scribe what needs to be done to pre-         Places and the State Register of His-             or
serve historic resources and to outline      toric Places use the following criteria.       C. That embody the distinctive charac-
ways to implement those goals.                  The quality of significance in Ameri-          teristics of a type, period, or
Perhaps a community wants to                 can history, architecture, archeology,            method of construction, or that rep-
expand or update its inventory of his-       engineering, and culture is present in            resent the work of a master, or that
toric buildings, or to work with the         districts, sites, buildings, structures,          possess high artistic values, or that
                                             and objects that possess integrity of             represent a significant and distin-
Division for Historic Preservation to                                                          guishable entity whose components
                                             location, design, setting, materials,
develop an archeological sensitivity         workmanship, feeling, and associa-                may lack individual distinction; or
map of the town. Maybe the town              tion, and:                                     D. That have yielded or may be likely
wants to explore the possibility of be-      A. That are associated with events                to yield, information important in
coming a Certified Local Govern-                that have made a significant contri-           prehistory or history.
ment. The following implementation
tools include the most common
actions municipalities can take to        Valley Planning District (a planning               groups; these areas are identified as
further historic preservation goals.      municipality for the towns of                      historic districts, with additional infor-
                                          Fayston, Waitsfield, and Warren).                  mation about a district’s overall char-
Local Historic                               Municipalities may also authorize               acter and development provided.
                                          local historic preservation commis-                Extensive statewide historic contexts
Preservation                              sions to review changes to historic                about various themes in Vermont
Commissions                               buildings in a designated area. Some-
                                          times the CLG commission takes on
                                                                                             history and various types of historic
                                                                                             buildings are also available. The
   Some Vermont municipalities have       that added responsibility. (See the                survey, organized by town, is available
created local historic preservation       section Historic Districts and Design              at the division’s office in Montpelier
commissions to encourage preserva-        Control Districts in Local Zoning on               and on CDs, which can be purchased
tion activities in their communities.     page 11-3, as well as the topic paper,             for a nominal amount. Rutland and
They can be educational, advisory,        Design Review.)                                    Addison counties have published
regulatory, or some combination, de-                                                         survey volumes, and libraries and
pending on what the community             Historic Building                                  town clerks often have photocopies
needs. One type is the Certified Local                                                       of local surveys. The division is cur-
Government (CLG) commission. Set          Survey and                                         rently working on a project to make
up as a partnership with the state’s      Registration                                       the information available on the Inter-
Division for Historic Preservation, a                                                        net by the end of 2008. The Division
CLG is created by a municipal gov-            Identifying and evaluating the con-
                                                                                             for Historic Preservation supports
ernment following federal guidelines,     dition of the historic resources in a
                                                                                             towns that want to expand or update
and it may apply for matching grants      community is a major component of
                                                                                             survey coverage by providing techni-
to carry out local preservation activi-   local historic preservation. The fol-
                                                                                             cal assistance and sharing GIS-based
ties. Up to about $50,000 is allocated    lowing sources of information about
                                                                                             survey software and equipment for
each year from a National Park            historic resources can provide a start-
                                                                                             new survey projects.
Service grant to the state, and most of   ing place for making a local inventory.
                                                                                                 About 30,000 of buildings in the
the grants are for small, phased proj-        The state’s Division for Historic
                                                                                             survey are also listed on the State
ects. The CLG commission sets its         Preservation has been inventorying
                                                                                             Register of Historic Places, a designa-
own priorities, which may include ed-     historic buildings in Vermont since
                                                                                             tion given after review by the
ucation, survey of buildings or arche-    the 1970s, and the results are gathered
                                                                                             Vermont Advisory Council on His-
ological sites, and registration of       in the Vermont Historic Sites and
                                                                                             toric Preservation. The state register
historic buildings, planning, and/or      Structures Survey. Each entry includes
                                                                                             designation is mainly an honorific
restoration/rehabilitation projects. In   a photograph, architectural and his-
                                                                                             status, although under Act 250 review,
2006, Vermont CLGs included Ben-          toric information, and a map location.
                                                                                             listed sites are presumed to meet the
nington, Brandon, Burlington, Calais,     In areas of concentrated develop-
                                                                                             definition of “historic site” under Cri-
Hartford, Montpelier, Rockingham,         ment, such as village centers, residen-
                                                                                             terion 8 for review of development
Shelburne, Stowe, Waterville, Willis-     tial neighborhoods, and downtowns,
                                                                                             applications and are thus considered
ton, Windsor, and the Mad River           resources are generally recorded in
                                                                                             in the decision of whether to issue a

                                   Implementation Manual Historic Preservation 2007 www.vpic.info
                                                     •                      •     •



                                VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE

                                                               11-2
permit. Many towns have highlighted         them, economic and technical feasibil-
their historic resources by including a     ity need to be taken into account.                    Division for Historic
map or list of local state register sites   Each building and situation is unique.                Preservation
in their municipal plan.                    Historic preservation professionals                       Contact information for the
    The Division for Historic Preserva-     can help interpret the standards as                   Vermont Division for Historic Preser-
tion also administers the National          part of a planning or design team on                  vation, including access to the publi-
                                                                                                  cations listed in this paper and web
Register of Historic Places in              major projects.                                       links to more information, can be
Vermont. The national register is the                                                             found at www.historicvermont.org or
nation’s list of historic and archeologi-   Historic Districts and                                by calling the division at the
cal properties worthy of preservation.
These properties can be significant at
                                            Design Control                                        Department of Housing and Com-
                                                                                                  munity Affairs at 800-622-0501 or
the national, state, or local level. The    Districts                                             www.historicvermont.org.
vast majority have state or local signif-
                                                Vermont law authorizes two types               of Euro-Americans who lived,
icance, with the understanding that
                                            of districts that can protect historic             hunted, fished, gathered foods,
the history of the nation is made up
                                            buildings and areas through local land             farmed, homesteaded, fought, traded,
of the history of its states and local
                                            use regulations. A Design Control                  manufactured, mined, and died on
communities.
                                            District is a zoning overlay district              this land. Many of these places repre-
    The national and state registers use
                                            that creates planning and design crite-            sent aspects of Vermont history that
the same criteria for inclusion, al-
                                            ria to protect historic or other valued            have no counterparts in modern life.
though more documentation (usually
                                            resources in a designated area. A                  While the Vermont Archeological In-
prepared by a consultant) is required
                                            Local Historic District, also known as             ventory currently records over 5,000
for national register designation, as
                                            a Design Review District, is an ordi-              archeological sites, most sites have yet
well as approval by the National Park
                                            nance that specifies certain design                to be discovered and documented.
Service. About 10,000 properties in
                                            review criteria and a commission to                   Inventorying archeological re-
Vermont are currently listed on the
                                            review projects. Local regulations of              sources requires different strategies
national register. National register des-
                                            this kind are by far the best way to               than survey of historic structures.
ignation makes properties eligible for
                                            ensure protection of historic re-
federal and state tax credits and offers
                                            sources in a community. (For more in-
some protection from federally
                                            formation, see topic paper, Design
funded, licensed, or permitted proj-
                                            Review. See also Making Defensible De-
ects that would harm them. However,
                                            cisions: A Manual for Local Historic
it does not restrict what an owner
                                            Preservation Commissions and Design
may do to his or her property, includ-
                                            Review Boards [2002], available
ing tearing it down. When sites are
                                            from the Division for Historic
listed on the national register they are
                                            Preservation.)
automatically listed on the state
register.
                                            Archeological
Preservation                                Information
Standards                                   and Maps
   There are ten professional stan-            Evidence of human settlement in
dards that offer guidance on how to         Vermont reaches back 12,000 years to
appropriately treat historic buildings.     the end of the last ice age. The only
They are known as the Secretary of          way to learn more about the ways
the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilita-    people lived in and adapted to the en-
tion, and they are used as guidelines       vironment over the whole period of                 General information about the poten-
in many federal, state, and local pro-      human settlement is through the                    tial locations of prehistoric Native
grams. The standards promote the re-        fragile archeological remains in and               American archeological sites any-
tention of historic features and                                                               where in Vermont are available
                                            over the landscape—and sometimes
                                                                                               through the Division for Historic
materials, including later historic         under water.                                       Preservation’s interactive GIS-based
layers of a building’s history, and en-        These sites represent places occu-              information system, available at
courage new construction that defers        pied and used by 500 generations of                www.historicvermont.org. Map from
to and respects the old. In applying        Native Americans and 16 generations                Division for Historic Preservation.




                                     Implementation Manual Historic Preservation 2007 www.vpic.info
                                                       •                      •     •



                                  VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE

                                                                 11-3
Community members can compile                 ment projects that are subject to Act                           historic buildings are eligible for sig-
preliminary site inventories, docu-           250 or recipients of federal funding                            nificant tax benefits, and designated
menting and mapping sites based on            are required to address the develop-                            municipalities are given priority in a
historic maps, oral histories, and doc-       ment project’s impacts on archeologi-                           number of state grant programs. (For
umentation of artifact collections and        cal resources.                                                  more information, see topic paper,
“find spots.” Archeological surveys                                                                           Downtown Revitalization.)
conducted by professional archeolo-           Financial Assistance
gists result in yet more detailed levels
                                                 Every spring, the Division for His-                             Ancient Roads Offer Clues
of information.
                                              toric Preservation produces a compre-                              to Archeological Sites
   The Division for Historic
                                              hensive funding directory for Historic                                Ancient roads from the eigh-
Preservation has created GIS-based
                                              Preservation Projects in Vermont. It                               teenth and nineteenth century offer
maps, available through the website,
                                              includes public and private grant                                  clues to many archeological sites
www.historicvermont.org, that display                                                                            from these time periods since
                                              sources and tax credits, with informa-
preliminary information about the po-                                                                            former settlements, cemeteries,
                                              tion on personnel to contact, applica-
tential locations of prehistoric Native                                                                          taverns, military camps, animal
                                              tion deadlines, amounts awarded,
American archeological sites across                                                                              pounds, and other sites are located
                                              criteria, and so on. (Links are available                          adjacent to these abandoned road-
the state. The resulting maps from
                                              at www.vpic.info; or go directly to                                ways. In some cases, the roads
this powerful new tool can be in-
                                              www.historicvermont.org; or call the                               themselves are significant archeo-
cluded in municipal plans and can
                                              division for a copy.)                                              logical resources, such as the
provide early notification of potential                                                                          Crown Point Military Road. Archeol-
                                                 In addition to the historic preserva-
archeological sites on parcels pro-                                                                              ogy professionals can offer expert-
                                              tion programs described above, eligi-
posed for development. With early                                                                                ise in researching and mapping
                                              ble municipalities can seek downtown
planning, developers may avoid site                                                                              ancient roads and associated
                                              district or village center designation to                          archeological sites. (See topic
disturbance and preserve important
                                              further boost opportunities for his-                               paper, Roads & Highways, for more
archeological resources by staying
                                              toric preservation. Through these des-                             information.)
clear of archeologically sensitive
                                              ignation programs, owners renovating
locations in a project area. Develop-


  Archeological Resources:                     field, Burlington, and elsewhere
  Windows to Vermont’s Long                   Seventeenth- and eighteenth-
  and Unrecorded Past                          century French military and settle-
                                               ment sites in Isle La Motte, Panton,
     Archeological sites are the most
                                               Addison, Bridport, and elsewhere in
  important means of understanding the
                                               the Champlain Valley
  12,000 years of Vermont history that
                                              Revolutionary War sites in Orwell,
  predated Euro-American settlement.
                                               Shoreham, West Haven, Poultney,
  These resources also inform us about
                                               Castleton, and elsewhere
  many segments of Vermont history
                                              Nineteenth-century blast furnaces
  since 1609 since much was un-
                                               in Bennington, Brandon, Dorset,
  recorded: most people did not write
                                               Troy, and statewide
  about their lives, and most historians
                                              Nineteenth-century shipwrecks of
  were selective about what they wrote.
                                               horse ferries, canal boats, and
  Some examples include:                       steamboats in Burlington, Colch-
  10,000- to 12,000-year-old Paleo-            ester, Shelburne, and elsewhere in
   Indian sites in Highgate, Milton,           Lake Champlain and other inland
   Williston, Ludlow, Derby, and else-         lakes and ponds
   where                                      Nineteenth-century glass factories
  6,000-year-old Native American               in Burlington, Salisbury, and else-
   campsites (statewide)                       where
  Ancient Native American stone               Twentieth-century Civilian Conser-
   quarry sites used for thousands             vation Corps camps in Waterbury,
   of years in St. Albans, Wallingford,        Groton, Burke, and elsewhere
   Orwell, and elsewhere                      Abandoned mining settlements and
  Native American farming and                  industrial complexes in Vershire,
   village sites in Winooski, Spring-          Strafford, Corinth, Plymouth, and
                                               elsewhere




                                    Implementation Manual   •   Historic Preservation   •   2007   •   www.vpic.info
                                  VERMONT LAND USE EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLABORATIVE

                                                                         11-4

				
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