Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Interpretation on local vs National Register historic district

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    meh.
    Posts
    8,520

    Interpretation on local vs National Register historic district

    Let me start by saying I know our ordinance is effed up and unclear. I'm trying to clarify what the actual process is so that we can thereby make it clearer.

    In our city we have 3 local historic districts which are also on the National Register.

    Recently another section of the city was listed on the National Register. However, this new historic district has not been locally adopted. It is not clear whether or not the residents of this district want it to be a local historic district and subject to reveiw by our HP Board.

    In the meantime, our ordinance states that during site plan review the Planning Commission shall refer any application for a project "in any designated historic district" to the HP Board for review.

    My question is would you consider the new National Register District a "designated historic district" even though it is not a locally adopted historic district?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    9,910
    I would assume the intent of the language refers to the local districts. It is certainly gray, but since national landmarking generally has no teeth locally, I don't see how you could interpret it to mean national registered properties can be sent to HP by the Plan Commission.

    I would do some research into the history of your historic preservation legislation. May be there is something in the discussion/minutes during the creation of the district that could be helpful regarding intent.

    Do you have a definition of "designated historic district" or just "historic district?
    Moderator note:
    By the way, this thread is more appropriate in the Land Use and Zoning subforum, so I moved it there.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC area
    Posts
    872
    We are dealing with a similar ambiguity here. We have two National Register districts but only one of these is recognized in the code. It's a gray area, but our process is to put applicants who intend on making exterior alterations to structures within the non-locally recognized district before the Historic Commission even though it's not an official district. The Commission is, of course, an advisory board that does not adopt resolutions, so that's our out - the Board of Architectural Review is merely calling upon them for their technical advice, which is rendered via a memo from the chair of the Historic Commission once the project has been reviewed. The ARB then conducts its review while keeping the Commission's advice in mind. We're going to adopt a CLG law sometime next year and the new language will reference both districts.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    more West now
    Posts
    3,400
    Dandy-

    As far as I know, the National Register designation is only meaningful to sites that want to apply for Tax Credits (have to go by Secretary of the Interior renovation standards, etc). National Register designation provides no protection, unless its a federal government project and in that case a Section 106 review in required. Your state may have some additional requirements also.

    The National Register districts have be adopted as part of the local historic district in order for a local Historic Preservation Commission to have power over them and the review process. In my fair town we have a large National Register District and not one bit of it is part of a local historic district. How does that work, you say? We have a zoning overlay over the NR district and surrounding area, most commonly referred to as a Neighborhood Conservation District. NCDs are a great tool that some call 'historic preservation lite' so basically they don't have quite as many restrictions, but still work to maintain the character of the area. How our ordinance works is staff has to review any building permits in the distict and we have setbacks, architectural standards, special signage that are unique to the district. We also have a HP consultant that does the heavy lifting on large architectural renovations, since our state also offers tax credits.

    Sounds like you need to fix that ordinance though!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2005
    Location
    In the Peach State
    Posts
    921
    I think you may need to look at your Historic Preservation Commission code and take a look at their jurisdiction. In most cases, at least here in GA, a national register historic district is a status symbol and a local designated historic district provides protection. An HPC should only have authority over locally designated districts, that is the point of the designation, is it not?
    Satellite City Enabler

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    meh.
    Posts
    8,520
    Thanks for the responses!

    The definition is just "Historic District." The Board was formed back in the 70s so I'm not hopeful for minutes or discussion notes.

    I realize the National Register districts are mostly just for show and for tax credits. Our current board has an inferiority complex and is over-compensating by stating they should be reviewing everything, even items in the National Register districts.

    Our current code is overly defined in some areas and extremely vague in others, the historic districts for example. The idea of historic districts is mentioned but nowhere in the current code are they identified either in a narrative or graphically represented.

    I'm trying to work with the board to adopt some new language to help clarify what they actual want/should be reviewing and how to facilitate that process. The board has been around a long time but due to inadequate staffing they've fallen by the wayside in the past few years.



    MJ, we were designated a CLG in 1991 and the staff as the state has been very helpful.
    Last edited by dandy_warhol; 27 Oct 2008 at 2:52 PM.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    West Valley, AZ
    Posts
    3,895
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    I would assume the intent of the language refers to the local districts. It is certainly gray, but since national landmarking generally has no teeth locally, I don't see how you could interpret it to mean national registered properties can be sent to HP by the Plan Commission.

    I would do some research into the history of your historic preservation legislation. May be there is something in the discussion/minutes during the creation of the district that could be helpful regarding intent.

    Do you have a definition of "designated historic district" or just "historic district?

    I agree with Mendalman as the intent most likely referred to locally adopted codes. It tends to get messy when you refer out of document to federal code.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    133
    Dandy,

    An organization that might be able to provide some additional insight is the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC) http://www.uga.edu/napc/programs/napc/links.htm

    They are an organization that focuses on supporting Preservation Commissions and have a very active listserv. If you are a member of the National Trust Forum, their listserv is also very active.

    You were good to contact your SHPO - most of the SHPO folks I've met from various states are very helpful and love to answer questions. Forming a strong bond with your SHPO can be priceless when it comes time to apply for those HPF grants!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Posts
    2,580
    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    My question is would you consider the new National Register District a "designated historic district" even though it is not a locally adopted historic district?
    That depends entirely on how your ordinance defines "designated historic district."

  10. #10
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    meh.
    Posts
    8,520
    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    That depends entirely on how your ordinance defines "designated historic district."
    The problem is the ordinance does not define "designated historic district."
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  11. #11
    I'd re-read the state enabling legislation and be sure that the local ordinance closely (if not exactly) aligns with it.

    Here, if our city council hasn't adopted a district by ordinance, the HPC stays out of it, National Register, State Register, or not.
    Batter up!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    3,039
    We are messing with property rights here. It is not right to impose regulations on lots without the owners' input. Chat with your attorney.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2005
    Location
    In the Peach State
    Posts
    921
    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    We are messing with property rights here. It is not right to impose regulations on lots without the owners' input. Chat with your attorney.
    I agree, that is why local designation (local approval) is the only way you should be allowing an HPC to have jurisdiction over someones property for historic purposes. There is no relationship between the national register and local control.
    Satellite City Enabler

  14. #14

    Registered
    May 2007
    Location
    Athens, Georgia
    Posts
    58
    I would argue that the National Register is not - by any stretch - a useless process. For one - it is a great planning tool for local communities and their historic preservation commission's to use. A property listed on the National Register (district or individual property) has already been 'vetted' by historians and architectural historians at the state and national level. If you ever have to defend a local designation (like in court) listing is very helpful. It reinforces the locality's designation and demonstrates that it has not been arbitrary. The property has the benefit of being recognized and substantiated as having historic and/or architectural significance.

    Secondly, if anyone who has studied the devastation visited upon the historic neighborhoods by Federal Projects such as Urban Renewal / Highway projects will realize the benefit that 106 Review provides. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires consideration of historic properties (meaning listed on or eligible for the National Register) in the thousands of federal actions that take place nationwide each year.

    And - to be Ms Precise: Properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places; they don't use the term designated.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 5
    Last post: 15 Nov 2011, 4:30 PM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last post: 08 Jul 2009, 8:44 PM
  3. Historic district enforcement
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 12 Apr 2007, 12:36 PM
  4. Preservation Historic district Regulations
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 25 May 2006, 11:04 AM
  5. Historic district guidelines
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 21 Jan 2000, 12:24 PM