Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 17. Libraries And Cultural Resources
Agency 5. Board of Historic Resources
Chapter 20. Regulations Governing Permits for the Archaeological Removal of Human Remains
2/20/2024

17VAC5-20-50. Public comment.

A. Upon receiving notice from the director that the permit application is complete, the applicant shall arrange for public notification as deemed appropriate by the department.

B. In all cases, the applicant shall publish, or cause to be published, written notice in the following manners: notice in at least one local newspaper of general circulation in the area where the field investigation will occur; notice posted at the site of the graveyard or burial; notice to any historic preservation or other such commission, as well as area historical and genealogical societies; and notice of at least one public hearing. Each notice shall include:

1. The name and address of applicant;

2. A brief description of proposed field investigation;

3. A statement regarding the reason for the proposed relocation;

4. A statement informing the reader that the reader can request a public meeting;

5. A contact name, address, email address, and the phone number where the reader can get more information;

6. The street address of one or more locations in the project vicinity where a copy of the complete application can be viewed by members of the general public during regular business hours;

7. A statement that the complete application can also be reviewed and copied at the department or on the department's website;

8. A statement regarding the proposed disposition of any human remains and associated funerary objects recovered during the permitted recovery process. If any disposition other than reburial is proposed, the notice must specifically request public comment on this aspect of the application; and

9. The deadline for receipt of comments.

The notice shall be of a form approved by the director and shall invite interested persons to express their views on all aspects of the proposed field investigation to the director by a date certain prior to the issuance of the permit. Such notice shall be published once each week for four consecutive weeks.

C. The public notice requirement may be waived:

1. In cases where the applicant has demonstrated that, due to the rarity of the site or its scientific or monetary value and where security is not possible, it is likely that looting or other damage to the burial or surrounding site would occur as a result of the public notice.

2. In the case of an emergency and if, in the opinion of the director, the severity of a demonstrated emergency is such that compliance with the above public notice requirements may result in vandalism, looting, or the loss of significant information, or that the publication of such notice may substantially increase the threat of such loss through vandalism, the director, in such cases, may issue a permit prior to completion of the public notice and comment requirements. The applicant shall provide for such public notice and comment as determined by the director to be appropriate under the circumstances.

D. In cases of marked burials where a permit is sought pursuant to a court order subject to § 57-38.1 or 57-39 of the Code of Virginia, and in accordance with § 10.1-2305 C of the Code of Virginia, the applicant shall provide evidence of a reasonable effort to identify and notify next of kin.

E. In addition to the notification described in subsection B of this section, in the case of both prehistoric and historic Native American burials, the department shall inform the appropriate leaders of state-recognized and federally recognized tribes.

F. The department shall maintain a list of individuals and organizations who have asked to be notified of permit actions. This list will be updated annually and notices sent to all parties currently listed. In all cases notification shall be sent to the appropriate local jurisdiction.

G. Prior to the issuance of a permit, the director may elect to hold a public meeting on the permit application. The purpose of the public meeting shall be to obtain public comment on the proposed field investigations. The director shall decide whether or not to hold a public meeting on a case-by-case basis, and will include any requests following from the public notice in such considerations.

Statutory Authority

§§ 10.1-2205 and 10.1-2305 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR390-01-02 § 5, eff. August 14, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 25, eff. September 8, 2016; Errata, 33:2 VA.R. 298 September 19, 2016.

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