Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)

Bennington Historic Preservation Commission
Bennington’s Ordinance and Town Plan
Historic Preservation Commission Members
Interested in Getting Involved?
Historic Central Bennington Design Review District & the Design Review Process
The Design Review Process
Certified Local Government
Bennington Then & Now – Photo Gallery
Historic Preservation Commission Meeting Agenda and Minutes

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)

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 Preservation Commission Members
Currently there are five 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.

Anne Bugbee
Joann Erenhouse
Joseph Hall
Jeff Goldstone
Michael Harrington (Town Designee and HPC Secretary)

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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 Harrington
Economic and Community Development Director
Town of Bennington
Bennington, VT 05201

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Historic Central Bennington Design Review District & the Design Review Process
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. For more information, please visit www.BenningtonPlanningandPermits.com

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. For more information, please visit www.BenningtonPlanningandPermits.com

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. For more information, please visit www.BenningtonPlanningandPermits.com

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The Design Review Process

For more information, please visit www.BenningtonPlanningandPermits.com

View “Time and Place in Bennington” (A Handbook for the Central Bennington Historic 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.

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 Adobe Reader pdf document. 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.

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.

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 & 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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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
Please enjoy our photo gallery prototype. We hope to offer a more comprehensive gallery in the future.

Mount Anthony
Bennington Monument/Mount Anthony

Bennington Monument

Old First Church
Old First Church

Energizer Building

Winslow Home Elks
Winslow Home – Elks

Bennington Station
Bennington Station

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