QA ordinance would add archeological surveys to projects
CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday, July 26, that would adjust requirements for certain development applications in the county by establishing criteria for the preservation of archaeological resources as well as creating a development review process.
Ordinance 16-14 retitles Article XVI of Chapter 18:1 of the county code to “Historic Structures and Archeological Surveys” as well as creating a new section, 18:1-91.1, to further define the archaeological survey process and requirements.
Under the proposed ordinance, applicants seeking approval for major site plans, major subdivisions, concept plans for solar arrays, concept plans for major extraction permits and telecommunication towers would be required to follow the standards for documentation of archaeological resources.
“It is the policy of the Queen Anne’s County Planning Commission to require the documentation and preservation of archaeological sites in order to protect the county’s cultural heritage,” the ordinance states. “The purpose of this Section is to establish criteria for the preservation of archaeological resources and similar irreplaceable assets that shall be preserved ... through harmonious and careful design during the development review process.”
All investigations and reports must follow the Maryland Historical Trust’s publication, “The Standards and Guidelines for Archeological Investigations in Maryland.”
Archaeological resources, defined in the guideline as “any artifact, site or district that embodies physical evidence of past human activity” from at least 50 years ago, will be added to the report. The report will be reviewed by the Planning Commission.
The ordinance states all plans must identify cemeteries, burial grounds and known archaeological sites and must adhere to the county’s zoning and subdivision regulations as well as the planning commission’s archaeological resource investigation guideline, established in Resolution 16-36. The resource guideline establishes definitions and terms, the development review process, requirements for archaeological investigation and report preparation, and investigation requirements.
The ordinance states that applicants must research the Mar yland Historical Trust, the Maryland Historical Trust Library, the Maryland State Highway Administration, the National Register of Historic Places and other similar resources to see if archaeologic resources are already documented at the property.
“It’s simply to go to the resource and do an investigation through looking at documents, whether or not there’s a likely hood of an archaeological find on the property that you’re looking to develop,” Planning Director Michael Wisnosky said.
Once the applicant submits the report to the planning commission, staff will review the analysis and will make an “evaluation of archaeological potential” to find if an archaeological investigation is necessary.
If a moderate or high probability of archaeological resources are determined by staff to be on the property of the proposed project, a memorandum outlining a Phase One investigation will be determined. The planning commission can decide no further investigations are necessary or that further research needs to be completed. Phase Two and Phase Three investigations may be required if historic archaeological sites are likely to be found in the project area.
The purpose of Phase One, Phase Two and Phase Three is to identify, evaluate and then treat the proposed archaeological area, respectively.
Planning commission staff will make a recommendation about the plan to the commission as part of its Staff Technical Advisory Committee report, the ordinance states. If archaeological discoveries are made during any of the construction, work must stop immediately and the applicant must notify the planning department of the situation.
The ordinance will be reviewed by the planning commission and a recommendation will be made to the county commissioners prior to the eventual vote on the ordinance.
To read the document in its entirety, visit www.qac.org.
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