§ 121‑8.  Historic preservation program.

(a) Historic Preservation Agency Designated. – The historic preservation agency of the State of North Carolina shall be the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

(b) Surveys of Historic Properties. – The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall conduct a continuing statewide survey to identify, document, and record properties having historical, architectural, archaeological, or other cultural significance to the State, its communities, and the nation. Upon approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission, the Deputy Secretary of Archives and History or his designee as the State Historic Preservation Officer, may nominate appropriate properties for entry in the National Register of Historic Places as established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Public Law 89‑665, 16 U.S.C. section 470. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall maintain a permanent file containing research reports, descriptions, photographs, and other appropriate documentation relating to properties deemed worthy of inclusion in the statewide survey.

(c) Statewide Historic Preservation Plan. – The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall prepare and revise as needed a State plan for historic preservation, which plan, when approved by the North Carolina Historical Commission, shall constitute official State policy for the preservation, or the encouragement of the preservation, of important historic, architectural, archaeological, and other cultural properties in North Carolina.

(d) Cooperation with Federal Government. – The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and/or the Department of Administration may enter into and carry out contracts with the federal government or any agency thereof under which said government or agency grants financial or other assistance to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to further the purposes of this Chapter. Either of the Departments may agree to and comply with any reasonable conditions not inconsistent with State law which are imposed on such grants. Such grants or other assistance may be accepted from the federal government or an agency thereof and expended whether or not pursuant to a contract.

(e) Cooperation with Local Governments. – The Department shall, within the limits of staff and available funds, cooperate with and assist counties, cities, municipalities, and other subdivisions of government, and, where appropriate, private individuals and organizations, in promoting historic preservation to the end that important properties which are not owned by the State may be preserved or encouraged to be preserved. Such cooperation and assistance may include but not be limited to reviewing historic preservation plans, evaluating historic properties, and providing technical, financial and professional assistance. The Department may further enter into and carry out contracts with local governments or their agencies and with any private party to further the purposes of this Article.

(f) Continuing Programs. – The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall develop a continuing program of historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural research and development to include surveys, excavation, salvage, preservation, scientific recording, interpretation, and publication of the State's historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources. A reasonable charge may be made for publications resulting therefrom and the income from such sales may be devoted to the work of the Department.

(g) Abandoned Cemeteries. – The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is authorized to take appropriate measures to record and permanently preserve information of significant historical genealogical or archaeological value when, in the opinion of the Department, any such information located within an abandoned cemetery is in imminent danger of loss or destruction because of the condition or circumstances of the cemetery. The Department may obtain access to any abandoned cemetery for the purpose of recording and preserving information of significant historical, genealogical or archaeological value pursuant to Chapter 15, Article 4A of the General Statutes: Provided, that prior to the requesting of the administrative warrant, the Department shall contact the affected landowners and request their consent for access to their lands for the purpose of gathering such information. If consent is not granted, the Department shall give reasonable notice of the time, place and before whom the administrative warrant will be requested so that the owner or owners may have an opportunity to be heard. Service of this notice may be in any manner prescribed by N.C.G.S. 1A‑1 Rule 4(j). Any measures taken by the Department pursuant to this subsection shall be effected in such a manner as to cause as little inconvenience or disruption as possible to the owners of the land upon which the abandoned cemetery is located and of land necessary to obtain access to the cemetery. (1973, c. 476, s. 48; 1981, c. 215; 1989, c. 65; 2002‑159, s. 35(h); 2015‑241, s. 14.30(s).)