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Frequently Asked Questions

State and Federal Requirements

If an area is eligible as a National Register Historic District, what is the possibility of actually having the district listed on the National Register?

The federal level of designation would require preparation of a National Register nomination by the neighborhood community. The nomination would be submitted to the state office of Historic Preservation for consideration by the State Historical Resources Commission. All of the owners within the district boundary would be noticed by the State prior to listing of the district on the National Register. Final approval of the National Register listing is conferred by the keeper of the National Register. If owners objected, the State would not establish the area as a National Register District. However, the area would be recorded on the State's data base as being eligible for the National Register. If the district is listed on the National Register, the additional federal incentive of a 20% tax credit for rehabilitation of income producing property applies. Listing would not add additional design review or restrictions, but would be a source of pride and enhance appreciation of our history, culture and architecture.

Are there other requirements if a project uses federal funding or a federal agency is in charge of the project?

Projects that benefit from federal funding or permitting, or are carried out by federal agencies, are required to undergo a special process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This process requires that properties be analyzed with regard to their eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. If the project may have negative impacts on a National Register eligible site, then the agency or persons in charge of the project have to consult with various historic preservation bodies including the State Office of Historic Preservation and the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The consultation process needs to take place before the project's environmental document is completed to avoid, reduce or mitigate harm to the historical resource.

Are there other criteria for historical designation at the state or federal level?

The National Parks Service, the Secretary of the Interior and the Keeper of the National Register all have authority over federally listed historical resources. In California, state law establishes the California Historical Resources Commission, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation Office of Historic Preservation provides staff to support the Commission. The primary responsibility of the Commission is to review applications for listing historical and archaeological resources on the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources (PDF), and the California Historical Landmarks and California Points of Historical Interest (PDF) registration programs.

In order for a site to be listed on the California Register of Historical Resources, it must meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  1. It is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local or regional history, or the cultural heritage of California or the United States.
  2. It is associated with the lives of persons important to local, California, or national history.
  3. It embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region, or method or construction, or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values.
  4. It has yielded, or has the potential to yield, information important to the prehistory or history of the local area, California, or the nation.

In order for a site to be significant at the federal level, it must meet at least one of the following National Register of Historic Places eligibility criteria:

  1. Is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.
  2. Is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.
  3. Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction.
  4. Has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

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