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Thread: Historic preservation at the state level

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Historic preservation at the state level

    Many of us are familiar with the federal regulation where federal funds can not be used to harm historic districts, but do you know of any states that have similar legislation? Can someone in your state use State funding to tear down buildings within local, state and federally recognized historic districts?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Most states require something similar to the federal Section 106 process. I don't believe that federal preservation laws prevent the demolition of historic structures in all cases, it just stipulates that any damage must be assesed and documented. I would look more closely at Section 106 and past Section 106 cases.

    I will look further into Kansas regulations. Our state is fairly financially supportive of preservation efforts, and I would assume that they would be pretty explicit about what the state can or cannot do with historic structures.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    non-federal undertakings

    Federal funds must go through the Section 106 process to make sure that any property listed or eligible for listing on the National Register had been considered in the design of the project. It does not require that any adverse effect on the property means a re-design, so even federal funding does not offer any total assurances.
    Many state projects, especially DOT work, use a trickle down of federal monies and follow the same Section 106 process.
    Many local jurisdictions are specifically exempted from having to follow their own rules as far getting approvals for demolitions, new construction, etc. So if the local project doesn't involve any federal grants, tax relief, etc. then it will likely be a matter of the local political climate regarding preservation.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Section 106

    This comes from Historic Preservation: An introduction to its history, principles and practice by Norman Tyler, p. 50

    "Section 106 review procedures are described in the Advisory Council's [National Advistory Council on Historic Preservation] regulations, "Protection of Historic Properties." Simply stated, the process works thus:

    1. The federal agency involved with the project identifies historic properties that may be affected and consults with the SHPO or the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) to determine which properties are listed on or eligible for the National Register.

    2. The agency determines for each historic property whether the proposed project will have (a) no effect, (b) no adverse effect, or (c) an adverse effect.

    3. If an adverse outcome is anticipated, the agency consults with the SHPO and others to determine how to minimize the negative impact. This results in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which outlines the mitigating measures to be taken.

    4. If an MOA is executed, the agency can proceed with the project under its terms.

    When no agreement can be reached among the parties interested in the project, the Advistory Council may try to develop an alternative agreement. As shown in the diagram (I can scan and e-mail), the Section 106 review process does not have the power to stop work even if it will have significant negative impact on a historic property (emphasis mine). Likewise, it does not inisit that certain procetures are followed in order to proceed with proposed work. The process mandates only the impact review itself and the oportunity of interested bodies to make comment. If the review shows that serious harm would be done to a designated property, federal funding may or may not be withdrawn, but a project cannot be prevented from proceeding minus such funding. The Act also requires special consideration and planning be undertaken for properites designated as National Historic landmarks."

    I've found this Norman Tyler book to be a very useful Historic Preservation resource. I've highlighted the heck out of it and keep it at my desk always. So, Section 106 is more of an information-gathering requirement than an actual stop-work requirement. I'll get back to ya'll later with the Kansas regulations.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    This surprises me. I don’t fully understand how it all works, but in the 60’s the Heritage Hill Historic District was formed to stop urban renewal from leveling large sections of a old neighborhood in central Grand Rapids... The were able to get Historic designation for the entire neighborhood from the Federal Government just in time.

    Here is the story.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian
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    Not explicit, but still useful

    Although Section 106 doesn't explicitly prevent federal projects from damaging historic areas, it does provide an incentive for the feds to "play ball" and negotiate with state and local preservation interests. It requires the feds to notify interested parties, whom can then make it very politically unappealing for the agency to go forward with the destruction of historic buildings/sites/structures.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by anf View post
    Although Section 106 doesn't explicitly prevent federal projects from damaging historic areas, it does provide an incentive for the feds to "play ball" and negotiate with state and local preservation interests. It requires the feds to notify interested parties, whom can then make it very politically unappealing for the agency to go forward with the destruction of historic buildings/sites/structures.
    We would like the same protection from the State.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Michaelskis - I'll try to delve into Kansas Statute tomorrow or this weekend. This has been a slammer of a week. My city is actually hosting the Kansas Preservation Conference in April, so...yeah, trying to get everything set up for that is very crazy.

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    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    A little bit of information on Georgia's state law that is supposed to parallel the Section 106 process for state-funded projects is here. In my experience, while it's nice in theory, it really doesn't offer much protection (translation - state agencies tend to ignore the law or are unaware of it).
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

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