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Protection of Archaeological Resources

In this article:

Archaeological resources means any material remains of past human life or activities which are at least fifty (50) years old and of historic or pre-historic significance. Such materials include, but are not limited to petroglyphs, pictographs, paintings, ornaments, jewelry, textiles, ceremonial objects, armaments, vessels, ships, vehicles, human skeletal remains, rock art, pottery, basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures or portions of structures, water-control devices, pit houses, rock paintings, rock carvings, intaglios, graves, personal items and clothing, household or business refuse, printed matter, manufactured items, or any piece of any of the forgoing items.

Archaeological Site means a concentration of archaeological resources inferred to be locations used for past specific human activities.

Archaeological Site, Recorded, means an archaeological site in Arizona that has been identified by a qualified archaeologist and has been recorded in a database at the Arizona State Museum and/or the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) so that the location is mapped and documentation on the archaeological resources found at the location or collected from the location is available for research use.

Archaeological Site, Significant, shall mean archaeological resources determined by the Historic Preservation Officer, Historic Preservation Commission, or a Committee of the Commission, to be significant in the City of Scottsdale when one or more of the city’s nine criteria for significance are contained in the archaeological resources on a property, or designated HP District by City Council. Archaeologist, City, shall mean the Qualified Archaeologist appointed by the City Manager to administer the sections of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Scottsdale relating to archaeological resources.

Archaeologist, Qualified, shall mean an individual or firm meeting the Arizona State Museum’s standards and professional qualifications. Certificate of Approval shall mean an official form issued by the City stating that the applicant has satisfactorily implemented the approved mitigation plan for a significant archaeological resource.

Certificate of No Effect shall mean an official form issued by the City stating that no archaeological resources were identified in the archaeological survey and report, or that the archaeological resources that may be impacted by the proposed work have been determined not to be significant, or that proposed work involving one or more significant archaeological resources or sites will have no detrimental effect on the character of the resources or sites and, therefore, work may proceed as specified in the Certificate without obtaining further authorization under this ordinance, and authorizing the issuance of any permits for said proposed work.

Certificate of Economic Hardship shall mean an official form issued by the city whereby the City grants an exemption from the requirement to implement a mitigation plan for reasons of economic hardship.

Development shall mean the performance of any building or mining operation, the making of any material change in the use or appearance of any structure or land, the division of land into two (2) or more parcels, and the creation or termination of access rights. "Development” includes, but is not limited to, such activities as the construction, reconstruction, or alteration of the size, or material change in the external appearance of a structure or land; commencement of mining excavation, trenching, or grading; demolition of a structure or removal of vegetation; deposit of refuse, solid waste or fill; alteration of a floodplain, or bank of a watercourse.

Development Project shall mean any development resulting from the approval of a building permit, lot split, preliminary or final plat, rezoning application, grading permit, public or private infrastructure improvement, development review, master plans, native plant removal, relocation or re-vegetation, or use permit.

Historic Preservation Officer shall mean the person appointed by the City Manager to administer the City’s Historic Preservation program and maintain the Scottsdale Historic Register.

Preservation Easement shall mean a non-possessory interest in real property, granted to the City pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes Title 33, Chapter 2, Article 4, Conservation Easements, which imposes limitations or affirmative obligations on the property to preserve the historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural aspects of the real property.

Mitigation Plan shall mean a plan for the preservation, recovery, excavation, archiving, monitoring and/or documentation of one or more significant archaeological resources or sites.

Sec. 46-131. Purposes.

The purposes of these regulations on archaeological resources are to:

A. Assure the identification and preservation of archaeological sites in place, and the recovery of cultural remains when appropriate by requiring surveys and test excavations, and provide methods for emergency treatment of archaeological resources found through unexpected discovery; and

B. Promote the preservation of the information provided by archaeological resources, within public or private development where appropriate, through procedures to evaluate sites and mitigate unavoidable information loss by providing for the treatment of those resources and with recovery of those resources where applicable.

Sec. 46-132. Surveys of Archaeological Sites and Exemptions.

An archaeology survey and report by a qualified archaeologist pursuant to guidelines adopted by the Historic Preservation Commission shall be required for all public or private development projects, unless the development project is included in the exemptions in Section 46-132.A. through D. below. Applicants should complete the survey and report early in the application process so the information can be used to evaluate the impacts of the proposed development on any significant archaeological sites, and so the review of the survey and report does not delay the processing of the application.

A. An archaeology survey and report is not required for the following exempt development projects:

1. A private single family residence on a single family lot.

2. A non-residential development with one (1) acre or less ground disturbance activity by the project. This exemption does not apply to a linear project, such as an underground utility installation, greater than one thousand feet (1000’) in length, and with above ground or below ground disturbance of greater than two feet (2’) in width or depth.

3. Any development project within a land area that has been mapped by the Historic Preservation Commission to be exempt based upon recent research. The Historic Preservation Commission can establish and modify exempt areas based upon available data.

4. Any approved master planned development with a previously completed and approved archaeological survey and report within the last five (5) years. Development Review Board applications in a master planned development can still be required to complete a mitigation plan if a significant archaeological site is impacted by the development.

5. Any existing development project subject to a development or redevelopment agreement that contains specific provisions requiring the identification of archaeological resources in a report and the consideration of archaeological resources. The terms of the agreement shall control the requirements for archaeological resources.

B. Section 46-134 on discoveries during construction still applies to any development project exempt from completing an archaeology survey and report.

C. An archaeology survey is not required for a development project on previously disturbed land where fifty percent (50%) or more of the land was built upon prior to the current development project. Section 46-134 on discoveries during construction still applies to a development project on previously disturbed land.

D. The following approved and pending applications, as of the effective date of Ordinance 3243, and subsequent applications relying on the prior approvals listed are exempt from the archaeology survey and report requirement. Section 46-134 on discoveries during construction still applies to any development project exempt from completing an archaeology survey and report.

1. Building permits.

2. Single family residential lot splits into two or three lots.

3. Development Review Board cases including preliminary plats. This exemption does not apply to requests for extensions beyond the one (1) year time period the Development Review Board approval is valid.

4. Final plats.

Sec. 46-133. Review Procedures for Archaeological Resources

A. Applicants for development projects are encouraged to pursue HP District designation for archaeological resources determined to be significant.

B. No development or ground disturbance shall occur, nor shall any structure or building be built upon land containing archaeological resources until the City issues a Certificate of No Effect or a Certificate of Approval. Certificates are required for property at all development projects whether or not these sites have been designated as HP District or are listed on the Scottsdale Historic Register.

C. Archaeological resources are significant in the City of Scottsdale when one or more of the following criteria are present on the property or are contained in the archaeological resources collected from the property:

1. The property represents a period or periods of prehistory or history in Scottsdale more than fifty (50) years old. The property can be evaluated in comparison to similar known sites and compared to what is currently known of Scottsdale and the region’s prehistory and history, and/or

2. Important information is present on the property, or from artifacts collected from the property, and/or

3. The property has research potential and research questions can be addressed through artifacts found on or collected from the property. The property has contributed important information regarding past human life and culture in Scottsdale and the desert, and/or

4. The property contains a high frequency, density, diversity, or substantial number of archaeological resources, and/or

5. The property’s archaeological resources possess integrity that positively affects their significance and the potential for the resources to yield important information, and/or

6. If artifacts have been excavated from the property, the information yielded from the artifacts and excavation has contributed to the knowledge of past cultures or archaeological techniques, and/or

7. The property possesses resources, such as buildings or structures, which can be documented to be architecturally or historically significant in their own right, and/or

8. The archaeological resources on or from the property have been acknowledged by the Historic Preservation Commission or the City Council as resources of particular importance in the history of human activities or settlement in the City of Scottsdale, and/or

9. In cooperation with any Native American community, the Historic Preservation Commission or City Council has identified the types of resources on the property as important and significant to the prehistory or history of Native Americans.

D. City staff and the Historic Preservation Commission shall use the archaeological survey and report prepared by a qualified archaeologist, and the criteria for significance in this section and section 6.113.A of the Zoning Code of the City of Scottsdale to identify significant archaeological resources.

E. Within seven (7) days of submission of an archaeological survey and report the City Archaeologist and/or Historic Preservation Officer shall review the survey and report and shall approve or disapprove the recommendation on the resource’s significance, and shall approve a Certificate of No Effect if:

1. No archaeological resources are located on the property according to the archaeological survey and report and based upon the City’s review of the report, or

2. The archaeological resources that may be impacted by the proposed work have been determined not to be significant, or

3. The proposed development is assessed by staff to have no impact on significant archaeological resources and/or sites, and the applicant has documented that any significant resources will be protected through the use of preservation techniques acceptable to the City staff, such as, but not limited to, a preservation easement, dedication, site planning or zoning. The Certificate of No Effect means that the project can proceed without obtaining further authorization under this ordinance when other applicable City permits have been approved.

F. If a Certificate of No Effect is not approved, a Certificate of Approval shall be required for archaeological resources according to the following procedures:

1. The City Archaeologist and/or Historic Preservation Officer shall review the survey and report and shall approve or disapprove of the recommended significance of archaeological resources impacted by the proposed development. The survey and report can also be returned to the applicant for modifications by a qualified archaeologist if it is found to be incomplete and/or inaccurate by the City Archaeologist and/or Historic Preservation Officer.

2. The Historic Preservation Officer shall require the applicant to have a mitigation plan prepared by a qualified archaeologist and submitted for review when it has been determined that a significant archaeological site exists on the property that is proposed to be impacted by development.

3. The applicant may apply for a Certificate of Economic Hardship if the time and cost of implementing the mitigation plan causes an economic hardship. A Certificate of Economic Hardship may be granted if it is determined that the cost of implementing the mitigation plan is unreasonably disproportionate to the other project costs and/or the time involved in its implementation significantly interferes with the ability to undertake the proposed development project. The Historic Preservation Commission shall review the Certificate of Economic Hardship application for the mitigation plan and shall approve or disapprove the Certificate for Economic Hardship.

4. Review of mitigation plan:

a. The City Archaeologist and/or Historic Preservation Officer shall review the mitigation plan and shall approve or disapprove of the recommended mitigation plan within ten (10) days after it is submitted. If the plan is not approved as submitted, staff shall advise the applicant on the changes needed in the mitigation plan for it to be  approved.

b. The City Archaeologist and Historic Preservation Officer in making a decision on the mitigation plan shall consider methods to avoid, reduce, or mitigate effects on historic and cultural resources, such as a preservation easement, while taking into consideration the current needs of the property owner and reasonable methods for carrying out the recommended plan.

c. A Certificate of Approval shall be approved by the City Archaeologist and/or Historic Preservation Officer upon the satisfactory implementation of an approved Mitigation Plan.

d. The City Archaeologist and/or Historic Preservation Officer may, at their discretion, send any application for a Certificate of Approval or mitigation plan to the Historic Preservation Commission for a hearing and decision. 

e. Construction activity on the site can proceed once all the necessary excavation and collecting of archaeological resources is complete. A final report describing the collection and summarizing the finding is due within one year after receiving a Certificate of Approval.

 

G. Appeals:

1. All appeals of staff determinations of the significance of archaeological sites, Certificates of No Effect, Certificates of Approval and disapproval of mitigation plans shall be made by the applicant within ten (10) days of the decision and shall be appealed to the Historic Preservation Commission.

2. A hearing on appeals regarding archaeological resources and procedures shall be scheduled for the Historic Preservation Commission within fifteen (15) days of the request. The Commission shall hold a hearing and can approve, disapprove, approve with stipulations or remand to the applicant for modifications the significance of archaeological sites, the Certificate of No Effect, the Certificate of Approval or the mitigation plan.

3. The owner or applicant may appeal the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision, including a decision on a Certificate of Economic Hardship, in writing to the City Council within twenty (20) days of the Commission’s decision. The City Council shall have the right to initiate its own review of any decision of the Historic Preservation Commission by a majority vote of the City Council made within twenty (20) days of the Commission’s decision.

4. The City Clerk shall schedule the appeal for a City Council agenda not more than forty (40) nor less than fifteen (15) days following submittal of the appeal. Notice of the hearing shall be mailed by first class mail to the applicant(s) and property owner(s) at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing and shall be posted on the property at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing.

Sec. 46-134. Discoveries of Archaeological Resources During Construction.

When a previously unidentified archaeological site is discovered in the course of construction, the property owner immediately shall notify the City Archaeologist or Historic Preservation Officer. The property owner shall have a preliminary study made by a qualified archaeologist to determine the effect that the proposed development project may have on the site. The City Archaeologist and/or Historic Preservation Officer, with concurrence from the qualified archaeologist hired by the property owner, shall evaluate on-site the significance of the archaeological finding as soon as possible. When the Historic Preservation Officer, the qualified archaeologist hired by the property owner and the City Archaeologist concur that no adverse effect on the archaeological site will take place, the project may proceed immediately. Where an adverse effect on a significant archaeological site will take place, the project shall be referred to the Historic Preservation Commission at the commission’s next regular meeting or a called meeting for review following the same procedure set forth for identified significant archaeological sites.

Section 46-135. Cemeteries and Human Remains

If human remains, funerary objects, sacred ceremonial objects or objects of national or tribal patrimony are discovered, the state laws established for this purpose will be followed.

Section 46-136. Fee Schedule

No fee is required for an application for a Certificate of No Effect, a Mitigation Plan, a Certificate of Economic Hardship, or a Certificate of Approval.