Purpose of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)

 


HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – An appointed position with a term of three years and requires expertise or qualifications in the fields of architecture, historic preservation, etc. Meetings are held twice per month. The Historic Preservation Commission is empowered by ordinance to act in the preservation and identification of Bennington’s historic sites and structures; oversee the survey and review of historic sites eligible for the National Register, educate and advise other boards and commissions as well as the general public with regard to historic preservation matters.

(appointed to 3-year term)

  • Kelly Clarke Harrington – 6/2023
  • Jeffrey Goldstone – 6/2023
  • Joseph H. Hall – 6/2023
  • Anne G. Bugbee – 6/2024
  • Michael P. McDonough – 6/2024
  • Neil Ritter – 6/2024
  • Robert Tegard – 6/2024

Commission Duties

  • Planning and advocating for the protection and appreciation of Bennington’s historic and architecturally significant resources
  • Reviewing applications for signage and facade changes within the Downtown Historic District / Design Review District
  • Technical assistance, education and guidance as needed in planning and preserving all historic resources within Bennington
  • Advisory commission to the Development Review Board, Planning Commission and Select Board

Historic Preservation Commission Meeting Agenda and Minutes

 

What is the Design Review District?

Two views of downtown Bennington
Two views of Bennington’s historic downtown district.

Bennington has a Historic Downtown that has many original buildings and details intact. The Town of Bennington decided that this is an asset worth protecting, and passed an ordinance creating an overlay district called the Design Review District, which requires exterior changes to be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Historic Central Bennington Design Review District Map

Historic Central Bennington Design Review District Map

Use this linked flow chart to help you determine if your project requires review by the Historic Preservation Commission.

When the HPC reviews a project, they use “Time and Place in Bennington” to determine if the project is in compliance with the design standards for the district.

Bennington Historic Preservation Commission
The Bennington Vermont Historic Preservation Commission’s main role is planning and advocating for the protection and appreciation of Bennington’s historic and architecturally significant resources. Our primary tasks involve reviewing applications for signage and facade changes within the Downtown Historic District. We also provide technical assistance, education and guidance as needed in planning and preserving all historic resources within Bennington. The HPC serves as an advisory commission to the Development Review Board, Planning Commission and Select Board.

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Bennington’s Ordinances and Town Plan


View Town Plan & Policies Documents
View Town Zoning & Ordinances
Time and Place in Bennington

Time and Place in Bennington is both an education resource about the historic assets of Downtown Bennington and a guidebook for renovations within the District. This is the document that the Historic Preservation uses to determine if the proposed changes to buildings are appropriate.

Both the Bennington Town Plan and the Bennington Land Use and Development Regulations support the preservation ethic of Bennington.

Section 4.4 of the Bennington Town Plan lays out Bennington’s commitment to managing Bennington’s historic resources. Section 4.5 details Bennington’s Historic Preservation Policies.

Sections 3.1-3.4 of Town of Bennington Land Use and Development Regulations (2004) establishes the Historic Bennington Design Review District (page 26-28). The purpose of the district is to “protect historic resources within a defined area of downtown Bennington, and to encourage new construction which will reinforce the best qualities of the existing character within Bennington’s core through both traditions and innovative design approaches.” (page 64) Details of the Historic Central Bennington Design Review District are spelled out in Table 3.19 (Pages 64-67)

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Historic Central Bennington Design Review District

The Historic Preservation Commission reviews applications for projects within the Historic Central Bennington Design Review District including new construction, additions to existing buildings, alterations to exterior facades, and alterations to or new signage on buildings or properties. Comments will be forwarded to the Development Review Board for their consideration in issuing a permit.

The Historic Central Bennington Design Review District
The Bennington Historic District is roughly 12 city blocks and represents the core of Bennington’s urban history from the 1700’s through the present day. The diverse building types found in the district are living evidence of the residential, commercial, institutional and industrial patterns which have given rise to Bennington’s industrial history. The district boundaries reflect Bennington’s location at the intersection of the main north-south and east-west through the state as well as the importance of the Walloomsac River, the source of water power which fueled the textile and other mills found within the district. Some streets within the district, like Pleasant Street, include factory buildings from several periods. Other streets, like Union Street, include houses for worked. Much of Main Street and north and South Streets are comericial with stores and public buildings. Architectural detail, building mass, siting and other factors make the district a prime example of past and present history that sets Bennington apart from other Vermont towns.

Overseen by the Design Review Board, the established historic district ensures that central Bennington’s buildings and streetscapes will keep their integrity well into the future. The historic preservation guidelines developed for the district protect its character and at the same time promote growth and new construction that meld into the character of the area. The guidelines allow informed decisions to be made in repairing and altering existing buildings, in demolishing buildings which do not contribute to the character of the district and designing new buildings within the district. The Historic Preservation Commission acts in an advisory capacity to the Design Review Board. Together, with the Planning Commissions, these groups reinforce the historic character of the district and ensure wise future growth for Bennington’s valuable core.

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The Design Review Process

How do I know if my project needs to be reviewed by the HPC?

Download the flow chart to assist you in determining if your project requires review

Submission Guidelines

Guidelines for facade renovations and new construction in the Design Review District
Guidelines for new exterior signs in the Design Review District

Paint Color Changes
If you are located within the Historic District and you wish to change the paint color of your building, please contact the Town Zoning Administrator at 442-1037. The Town will help you through an informal process to find an appropriate color from the approved color palette for the Historic District.

Façade Changes
If you wish to make any changes to the exterior facade of your building located within the Historic District, you will need to complete an Application for Building and Zoning Permit Adobe Reader pdf document. If it is a complex change, we recommend meeting with the Zoning Administrator (442-1037) prior to submitting your application. In designing your exterior facade changes, we strongly encourage you to review the design guidelines. We also encourage you to include as much of the supplemental information Adobe Reader pdf document as possible in your application to help the HPC and DRB understand your project.

Signage
If you would like to install a new sign or change an existing sign, you will need to complete a Town of Bennington Sign Permit Application. We encourage you to review the Design Guidelines for Signs and include as much supplemental information Adobe Reader pdf document as possible in your application to help the HPC and DRB understand your project.

Demolition
If you would like to demolish a building anywhere in Bennington and that building is listed on the Vermont Sites and Structures Survey for the Town of Bennington or is in the Central Bennington Historic District, the demolition is prohibited unless you are able to meet several requirements laid out in Section 4.2 of the Land Use and Development Regulations Adobe Reader pdf document Please contact Bennington’s Zoning Administrator for more information at 442-1037.

Guidelines
The role of the HPC is to ascertain that your project meets the preservation guidelines for work within the historic district.

In order to help you understand how the guidelines work, the Town of Bennington has produced Time and Place in Bennington: A Handbook for the Central Bennington Historic District.

Since the Historic Preservation Commission is an advisory commission only, we will make a recommendation to the Development Review Board to either approve or deny your application. In certain cases, we may ask for more information before we can make a complete recommendation.

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Historic Preservation Commission Members

Currently there are nine historic preservation commissioners. All positions are appointed by the Select Board with the exception of the Ex Officio position held by Director of Economic and Community Development for the Town of Bennington. All commissioners serve four year terms.

Shannon Barsotti, Community Development Director
(HPC Secretary and Town Designee)
Anne Bugbee
Jeff Goldstone
Joseph Hall
Kelly Clarke Harrington
Sarah J. Krinsky
Michael McDonough (Chair)
Neil Ritter
Robert Tegart

 

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Interested in Getting Involved?
We welcome volunteer contributions. If you are interested in getting involved with historic preservation in Bennington, please contact:

Michael McDonough (Chair)
Shannon Barsotti, Community Development Director
(HPC Secretary and Town Designee)
Town of Bennington
Bennington, VT 05201
802-442-1037
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Certified Local Government

What is a Certified Local Government?
Bennington is a Certified Local Government (CLG) which is a partnership with the State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation that enables local communities to actively and effectively participate in preservation planning for their communities.

In order to be a CLG, the Town of Bennington has to meet several minimum requirements, among them the creation of a local preservation ordinance; the creation of an adequate and qualified Historic Preservation Commission with local legislation; maintain a system for surveying and inventorying historic properties; and provide for adequate public participation in the local historic preservation program.

As a CLG, the Town of Bennington is able to take advantage of federal historic preservation grant money. The Town of Bennington also participates directly in the National Register of Historic Places program by reviewing local nominations prior to their consideration by the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and participates in technical assistance and training programs in historic preservation. For more information about the Certified Local Government Program, please visit: http://www.historicvermont.org/programs/clg.html

Past CLG Grants in Bennington
1987: Bennington Historic Sites & Structures Survey, Part I
1988: Bennington Historic Sites & Structures Survey, Part II
1989: Handbook for Central Bennington Historic District
1990: Reprint Handbook for Central Bennington Historic District
1991: Downtown Design Plan, Archaeological Sensitivity Plan, School Library Teaching Resources
1992: Bennington Historic Sites & Structures Survey, Part III
1994: Statewide Certified Local Government Training, Sponsor
1995: Bennington Historic Sites & Structures Survey, Part IV
1996: Bennington Downtown Planning Forum Process
1997: Bennington Downtown Kiosk Historic Preservation Information Panels, Historic Sites & Structures Survey to Public Libraries, Training
1998: Training for Commission, Municipal Staff & Officials
1999: Training for Commission, Municipal Staff & Officials, Downtown Design Assistance
2000: History at Bennington.com
2001: Downtown Design Assistance, Training
2002: Historic District Boundary Analysis, Training
2003: Information and Education, Design Assistance/Marker Program
2004: Design Guidelines Update, Training
2005: Design Guidelines Photographic Updates, Training
2006: Design Guidelines Printing and Distribution
2007: National Register District Expansion
2008: HPC Website

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Bennington Then & Now

Mount Anthony
Bennington Monument/Mount Anthony

Monument
Bennington Monument

Old First Church
Old First Church

Energizer
Energizer Building

Winslow Home Elks
Winslow Home – Elks

Bennington Station
Bennington Station

Blacksmith
Blacksmith Shop

Putnam Awning
Putnam Hotel Awning

Putnam Porch
Putnam Hotel Porch

Putnam Wide
Putnam Hotel – Wide View

East Main Street Looking East
Downtown East Main Street Looking East

Main Street Looking West
Downtown Main Street Looking West