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Re: [ARSCLIST] Public's rights....was offlist archival question from ARSC list member

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Miller" <karl.miller@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>   Governments can keep buildings from being destroyed...In the US they can be
marked as being a bit of history that needs to remain in the public trust. I
wonder then what might be the basis, from the perspective of the law,  that
supports such action...and why we do not carry those notions to other forms of
human expression...or do we?
Here, I can speak with both knowledge and interest!

A building that has been "designated"...i.e. officially identified
as a part of a community's history (both architecturally and otherwise)...
becomes much harder to demolish (which requires a "demolition permit"
to be issued by the local authority)...and, as well, is added to an
"official inventory" of historically significant structures.

For the most part, we (the local Heritage Committee, of which I am
a member) designate buildings ONLY when the owner allows this to be
done. However, this is not always the case...in some cases, we have
designated buildings which are/were in danger of demolition...or,
more importantly, proposed designation, which often inspires the
owner to meet with us so we can suggest an approach which both
preserves the historic structure (at least in part) but also
meets the needs of the owner. For example, we had a case in the
recent past where a group proposed the demolition of an attractive
building...built in the twenties as a "childrens' home" but now in
use as a rehabilitation clinic for alcoholics and other addicts...
to replace it with a new building more adaptaed to its current
use. We proposed the building for designation, and advised the
owners (as required by law) of our action. The group conferred
with us, and the result was the preservation of the exterior of
the building and its landscaped grounds...with a new interior
which met their needs.

And, sadly...it is only with regards to architecture, and even
then only selected items within that greater group, that the
option exists! For example, if you run across the notes of a
famous author, and decide you would rather use the papers as
grocery lists (or in your privy, for the obvious purpose...)
there is NO legal way of preventing this! All we can do is
suggest they might bring a better reward on eBay...

Steven C. Barr

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