121-9.  Historic properties.

(a)        Administration of Properties Acquired by State. - Historic or archaeological properties acquired by the State for administration by the State of North Carolina shall be under the control and administration of the Department of Cultural Resources. Upon approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission and the Secretary of Cultural Resources, the Department of Cultural Resources may, in its discretion, make a contract with any county or municipality within the State or with any nonprofit corporation or organization for the administration of any portion of such property.

(b)        Acquisition of Historic Properties. - For the purpose of protecting or preserving any property of historical, architectural, archaeological, or other cultural importance to the people of North Carolina, and subject to the provisions of Subchapter II of Chapter 146 of the General Statutes, the Department may, with the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission and after consultation with the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, acquire, preserve, restore, hold, maintain, operate, and dispose of such properties, together with such adjacent lands as may be necessary for their protection, preservation, maintenance, and operation. Such property may be real or personal in nature, and in the case of real property, the acquisition may include the fee or any lesser interest therein. Property may be acquired by gift, grant, devise, lease, purchase, or condemnation pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes, or otherwise. Property may be acquired by the Department, using such funds as may be appropriated for the purpose or monies available to it from any other source.

(b1)      In the case of real property, the North Carolina Historical Commission shall report the following information to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations before acquiring the property:

(1)        The statewide historical significance of the site.

(2)        The potential uses of the site.

(3)        The capital requirements of the site over a 20-year period of time.

(4)        The annual operating costs of the site.

(5)        The expected levels of visitation at the site.

(6)        Any other information that would assist in determining the full cost of maintaining, operating, and administering the site as State property.

(c)        Interests Which May Be Acquired. - In the case of real property, the interest acquired shall be limited to that estate, interest, or term deemed by the Department to be reasonably necessary for the continued protection or preservation of the property. The Department may acquire the fee simple title, but where it finds that a lesser interest, including any development right, negative or affirmative easement in gross or appurtenant, covenant, lease, or other contractual right of or to any real property to be the most practical and economical method of protecting and preserving historic property, the lesser interest may be acquired.

(d)       Conveyance of Property for Preservation Purposes. - In appropriate cases, the Department may acquire or dispose of the fee or lesser interest to any such property for the specific purpose of conveying or leasing the property back to its original owner or of conveying or leasing it to such other person, firm, association, corporation, or other organization under such covenants, deed restrictions, lease, or other contractual arrangements as will limit the future use of the property in such a way as to insure its preservation. Where such action is taken, the property may be conveyed or leased by private sale. In all cases where property is conveyed, it shall be subjected by covenant or otherwise to such rights of access, public visitation, and other conditions or restrictions of operation, maintenance, restoration, and repair as the Department may prescribe, or to such conditions as may be agreed upon between the Department and the grantee or lessee to accomplish the purposes of this section.

(e)        Use of Property so Acquired. - Any historic property acquired, whether in fee or otherwise, may be used, maintained, improved, restored, or operated by the Department for any public purpose within its powers and not inconsistent with the purpose of the continued preservation of the property. The property shall not be subject to condemnation by the State of North Carolina or any of its agencies or political subdivisions at any time, unless such method of acquisition is first approved by the Governor and Council of State.

(f)        Emergency Acquisition Where Funds Not Immediately Available. - If funds or contributions for the acquisition of needed historic property are not available, the Governor and Council of State may, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Cultural Resources and approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission, allocate from the Contingency and Emergency Fund an amount sufficient to acquire an option on the property or properties, which option shall continue until 90 days after the adjournment sine die of the next General Assembly. Upon recommendation of the Secretary and approval of the Historical Commission, the Governor and Council of State may allocate funds from the Contingency and Emergency Fund for the immediate acquisition, preservation, restoration, or operation of historically, archaeologically, architecturally, or culturally important properties. All funds hereinafter appropriated to purchase, restore, maintain, develop, or operate historic or archaeological or other important property shall be administered subject to the provisions of Chapter 143C and G.S. 143B-53.1 of the General Statutes unless the statute making the appropriation shall in specific and express terms provide otherwise.

(g)        Power to Acquire Property by Condemnation. - In the event that a property which has been found by the Department of Cultural Resources to be important for public ownership or assistance is in danger of being sold, used, or neglected to such an extent that its historical or cultural importance will be destroyed or seriously impaired, or that the property is otherwise in danger of destruction or serious impairment, the Department of Cultural Resources, after receiving the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission and of the Governor and Council of State, may acquire the historic property or any interest therein by condemnation under the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes. The Department of Cultural Resources, upon finding that destruction or serious impairment of the value of the property is imminent, shall file with the Governor and Council of State a report on the importance of the property and the desirability of ownership of the property, or the ownership of an interest therein, by the State of North Carolina. Upon giving their approval, the Governor and Council of State shall cause to have filed such approval with the clerk of the superior court in the county or counties where the property is situated. Until the approval is filed, the power of condemnation may not be exercised. All condemnation proceedings shall be instituted and prosecuted in the name of the State of North Carolina.

(h)        Preservation and Custodial Care of State Capitol. - The rotunda, corridors, and stairways of the first floor of the State Capitol and all portions of the second, third, and loft floors of the said building shall be placed in the custody of the Department of Cultural Resources; and the Department shall, subject to the availability of funds for the purpose, care for and administer these areas for the edification of present and future generations. The aforesaid areas shall be preserved as historic shrines and shall be maintained insofar as practicable as they shall appear following the restoration of the Capitol. The Department of Cultural Resources is authorized to deny the use of the legislative chambers for meetings in order that they, with their historic furnishings, may be better preserved for posterity; provided, however, that the General Assembly may hold therein such sessions as it may by resolution deem proper.

The Department of Cultural Resources is hereby entrusted with the responsibilities herein specified as being the agency with the experience best qualified to preserve and administer historic properties in a suitable manner. However, for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this section, it is hereby directed that such cooperation and assistance shall be made available to the said Department of Cultural Resources and such labor supplied, as may be feasible, by the Department of Administration.

The offices and working areas of the first floor as well as all washrooms and the exterior of the Capitol shall remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of Administration: Provided, however, that the Department of Administration shall seek the advice of the Department of Cultural Resources in matters relating to any alteration, renovation, and furnishing of said offices and areas.  (1955, c. 543, s. 1; 1961, c. 724; 1963, c. 210, s. 1; 1965, c. 1129; 1971, c. 480, ss. 1-3, 5; 1973, c. 476, s. 48; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1030, s. 34; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 682, s. 2; 1995, c. 507, s. 12(b); 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 7.7(a); 2006-203, s. 64; 2011-284, s. 87.)