QA or­di­nance would add arche­o­log­i­cal sur­veys to projects

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

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.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_ kibay­times.com.

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