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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the National Register of Historic Places?

The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. Properties eligible for listing in the National Register contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation. The National Register includes: all prehistoric and historic properties within the National Park Service System, National Historic Landmarks, and properties significant in national, state, or local prehistory and history.

2. How are National Historic Landmarks different from other National Register properties?

National Historic Landmarks are properties recognized by the Secretary of the Interior as possessing extraordinary national significance. The National Historic Landmark Program was established as a result of the Historic Site Act of 1935 (Public Law 74-292). The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-665) authorized the National Register of Historic Places. This Act expanded federal recognition to properties of local and state significance. The U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service administers both programs. State Historic Preservation Offices in each state are authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act to nominate properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

3. What qualifies a property for listing on the National Register of Historic Places?

Properties eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places generally must be fifty years or older and must meet the following criteria of significance and integrity.

Criteria of Significance: Properties are evaluated in relationship to major historic and prehistoric themes in a community, state, or the nation. A property may be significant if it relates to any one or more of the following four aspects of American history:

(A) Association with historic events or activities,
(B) Association with an important person in history,
(C) Distinctive design or physical character, or
(D) Potential to provide important information about prehistory or history.

Criteria of Integrity: A property must also maintain enough of the original qualities that make it significant. These qualities of integrity include: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

4. What is the Washington Heritage Register?

The Arizona Register of Historic Places is the state's list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects worthy of preservation. Arizona has adopted the National Register criteria for evaluating eligibility for the State Register.

5. How do I nominate a property to the National Register of Historic Places and/or Washington Heritage Register ?

Any individual, organization, government office, consultant, or public entity may prepare and submit a National Register Nomination. A vareity of nomination forms and instruction booklets have been prepared by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service and DAHP.

The National Register Coordinator and other staff at DAHP are available to provide technical assistance. Completed forms are submitted to DAHP for review and referral to the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (WA ACHP).

The WA ACHP is Washington's official State and National Register of Historic Places review board as mandated by state law and federal regulations. Its nine members represent the fields of history, archaeology, architecture and related fields. The committee typically holds public meetings three times a year to review nominations and advise the State Historic Preservation Officer on properties that should be placed in the National and Washington State Registers of Historic Places. Once a NR nomination has been reviewed and approved by the WA ACHP, the property is placed in the Washington Heritage Register and forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for a final review and listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

6. What are the benefits of having a property listed?

Local communities, states and the nation benefit from having tangible links to the past events, people, and artistic expressions that have molded the character of our nation.

Listing is recognition of a properties importance in local, regional, or national history.

Property owners are eligible for a number of grant and tax incentives as well as technical assistance in rehabilitation and maintenance of their historic property.
Listing properties has financial benefits for communities by contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods and business districts and by promoting tourism.

7. How does listing on the National or State Register of Historic Places protect and preserve a property?

Recognition and appreciation of historic properties and their importance.
Consideration in state or federal project planning and in state or federally assisted projects.
Eligibility for federal and state tax benefits.
Consideration in decisions to issue federal permits.
Qualification for federal and state grant assistance.

8. If my home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will I be prohibited from making changes to my property?

No, you are not prohibited from making changes to your home. In order to ensure that the changes you make do not negatively affect the historic integrity of your property and cause your property to lose its eligibility for the Register, the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office recommend that you follow the Secretary of Interior's Standards. Contact the State Historic Preservation Office for technical assistance and to request a copy of the Standards.

9. What are the sources of assistance available to assist me with my National Register property?

Grants Programs:

Certified Local Government (CLG) grants: Ten percent of the Historic Preservation Fund Grant allocated annually to the states by Congress is passed through to Certified Local Governments (CLG) for matching grant-in-aid projects. Grants are awarded through a competitive process administered through the State Historic Preservation Office for activities such as: survey, inventory, stabilization, documentation, National Register nomination, rehabilitation, and planning. Depending on the availability of federal funds allocated, survey and planning grants may also be available. Funding for the Historic Preservation Fund Grant Program does not come from taxpayer's money but from fees for offshore mineral leases.

Historic Preservation Heritage Fund grants: An initiative passed by Arizona voters in 1990 established the Arizona Heritage Fund with profits from the Arizona Lottery. Approximately $1.7 million of Heritage Fund money is allocated for historic preservation projects. Eligible applicants include incorporated municipalities, counties, state agencies, tribal governments, public educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations.DUE TO BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION HERITAGE FUND GRANT PROGRAM WILL NOT BE FUNDED.

Tax Incentive Programs:

The State Historic Property Tax Reclassification Program is designed to aid residential and commercial entities that seek to maintain and/or rehabilitate National Register-certified properties. The non-income producing portion of the program offered a reclassification of property effectively reducing up to 50 percent the tax assessment for owners of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The owner of the property enters into a 15-year agreement with the state under which the property must be maintained according to the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and must be used for non-income producing purposes. The non-income producing component aids property owners who are rehabilitating commercial properties by freezing their tax base for 10 years. This allows property owners to make improvements that will increase the usage and value of the building without significant property tax increases. Again the owner must maintain the property according to the Secretary of Interior's Standards.

The Federal Investment Tax Credit Program authorizes a 20 percent investment tax credit for substantial rehabilitation of commercial historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rehabilitation plans and specifications are reviewed and approved by the State Historic Preservation Office and then are forwarded to the National Park Service for final certification.

10. How are properties worthy of nomination to the National and State Registers identified?

Surveys to identify National Register Properties and the documentation of these properties for the inventory is accomplished in a number of ways including: By the SHPO staff, through grants, by consultants, by Certified Local Governments, by state and federal agencies complying with state and federal legislation, and by neighborhood associations and private property owners. DAHP provides inventory forms (thourgh our on-line Wisaard system) that are used to document pertinent information about the property. DAHP reviews documentation provided and makes a determination of eligibility for the National and/or State Registers of Historic Places.

11. Who maintains the list of eligible properties and those listed in the National and State Registers of Historic Places?

The Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation Preservation (DAHP) maintains an inventory and documentation for properties listed on the Washington and National Registers of Historic Places. Our office also maintains a listing of properties that have been determined Register-eligible.  These can be found using our on-line Wisaard tool.