§20-5-21. Legislative findings relating to the historical town of Cass; powers of the director to preserve the integrity of the town and to promulgate rules therefor.

(a) The Legislature finds:

(1) That preserving heritage is essential to promoting the education, prosperity and general welfare of the people of this state;

(2) That the town of Cass, in Pocahontas County, is one of the few remaining historical logging towns in the United States and has been recognized as such by the national registry of historic places;

(3) That the town of Cass is richly endowed with numerous historic buildings, structures and sites, both public and private, which are representative of the historical and cultural heritage of the state of West Virginia;

(4) That historic buildings, structures and sites in the town of Cass should be identified, studied, preserved and protected for the general welfare of the residents of this state and this nation;

(5) That preserving and protecting the historical buildings, structures and sites in the town of Cass will aid economic development in Pocahontas County and surrounding areas, lead to the improvement of property values, enhance this state's attraction of tourists and visitors and contribute to education in this state by preserving such heritage for future generations; and

(6) That it is in the public policy and the public interest of this state to engage in a comprehensive program of historic preservation within the area designated as the town of Cass by the national registry of historic places and to promote the use and preservation of such heritage for the education and general welfare of the people of this state.

Accordingly, this section shall be broadly construed in order to accomplish the purposes herein set forth.

(b) To carry out the purposes of this section within the jurisdictional limits of the town of Cass as designated by the national registry of historic places, the director may:

(1) Make a survey of buildings, structures and sites and designate as historic landmarks those principal buildings, structures and sites that are of local, regional, statewide or national historical or architectural significance;

(2) Mark buildings, structures and sites with appropriately designated markers with the consent of the property owners;

(3) Acquire by purchase, gift or lease and administer historic landmarks, buildings, structures and sites;

(4) Review applications for certificates of appropriateness and grant or deny the same in accordance with the provisions of this section;

(5) Establish standards for the care and management of designated historic landmarks, buildings, structures and sites and, for failure of the owner to maintain the standards as prescribed, withdraw any certificate of appropriateness;

(6) Seek the advice and assistance of individuals, groups and government entities that are conducting historical preservation programs and coordinate the same insofar as possible;

(7) Seek and accept grants, gifts, bequests, endowments or other funds to accomplish the purposes of this section; and

(8) Propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code for the protection of the historic integrity of the town of Cass and to effectuate the purposes of this section with regard to the use of lands both public and private within the town of Cass.