Certified Local Government FAQ


Q: What is the Local Government's Responsibility?

A: Local governments are responsible for establishing and supporting a local preservation program. The requirements include adopting a historic preservation ordinance, designating local properties for preservation, developing educational programs for the community and assisting the Texas Historical Commission and National Park Service in implemeting state and federal historic preservation programs.

Q: Who May Apply for the Grants?

A: Cities and counties designated by the THC and the National Park Service as Certified Local Governments are eligible to apply for grants. The local government must be certified prior to the beginning of the grant cycle to be eligible for grants.

Q: What can CLG grant money be used for?

A: CLG Grant funds are used to develop projects benefitting the local government’s preservation program. See examples of previous grants.

Q: What is the purpose of CLG Grants?

A: The grants are to assist local governments in documenting and promoting the preservation of historic and archaeological sites. Examples of eligible projects include conducting architectural and archaeological surveys, nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places, printing walking tour booklets, and preparing historic preservation plans.

Q: What are federal preservation tax incentives?

A: Federal preservation tax incentives are available for any qualified project that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure. A certified historic structure is any building that is listed individually in the National Register or located in a registered historic district and certified as being of historic significance to the district. A certified rehabilitation is any rehabilitation of a certified historic structure that is certified as being consistent with the historic character of the property and the district in which it is located. Property owners are eligible for a 20 percent tax credit on rehabilitation costs if all criteria are met.

To be eligible for tax incentives for rehabilitation, a project must meet the basic tax requirements of the Internal Revenue Codes as well as the certification requirements.

Q: What does "Section 106 Review" mean?

A: Section 106 refers to a particular part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that requires every Federal agency to "take into account" how each of its undertakings could affect historic properties.

Section 106 Review refers to the federal review process designed to ensure that historic properties are considered during federal project planning. The review process is administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent agency, in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer. The Council must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to comment on such projects. Any project involving federal funds is subject to Section 106 Review.

It is important to note that Section 106 Review extends to properties that possess significance and are determined eligible for listing on the National Register, but have not yet been listed.

Learn more about the Section 106 Review process.

Q: To which laws must CLGs and landmark commissions or architectural review boards pay specific attention?

A: The Certified Local Government Program is governed by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended, National Park Service Regulations 36 CFR 61, the Historic Preservation Fund Grants Manual, 2007 edition, Texas Administrative Code Section 13, Chapter 15.6, and the CLG Handbook. All requirements for CLGs are listed in the CLG Certification Agreement.

In addition, historic preservation commissions are governed by the responsibilities and regulations established in the local historic preservation ordinance.

Q: What role does a CLG play in the National Register of Historic Places process?

A: One of the minimum duties of a landmark commission is to review all proposed National Registration nominations for properties within the boundaries of the CLG's jurisdiction (CLGs can be administered by a city or county).

Q: What can I, an average citizen, do to help establish a historic district in my area?

A: To begin with, you will need to gain the support of both your elected officials and the citizens of your potential historic district. Take time to speak to the citizens, hold a public meeting, and explain the advantages of historic districts.

Remember, a historic district is established to benefit the public. The public is always welcome at meetings and should be encouraged to attend and participate.

Q: How often must a landmark commission or architectural review board meet?

A: The THC requires the landmark commission or architectural review board of a CLG community to meet once a month unless no business is at hand. Meeting dates and times are set by the local government and must be conducted in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Q: What are the duties of a landmark commission or architectural review board?

A: The duties of a landmark commission or architectural review board are established through adoption of a local historic preservation ordinance. The minimum requirements to obtain CLG Certification are:
• Conducting a continuing survey of cultural resources in the community according to guidelines established by the THC
• Establishing written guidelines for the preservation of structures designated as historic under local or state legislation. Also judging compatibility of requests for permits of alteration or demolition of designated historic properties. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation shall be the basic guidelines for review
• Acting in an advisory role to other officials and departments of local government regarding the protection of local cultural resources
• Acting as liaison on behalf of the local government to individuals and organizations concerned with historic preservation
• Working toward the continuing education of citizens within the CLG's jurisdiction regarding historic preservation issues and concerns
• Reviewing all proposed National Registration nominations for properties within the boundaries of the CLG's jurisdiction.
• Reporting any modifications or alterations to National Register properties, State Antiquities Landmarks and Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks to the THC.

Q: What if my community does not have the requisite number of preservation related professionals?

A: In this case, the local government must demonstrate that it has made a reasonable effort to fill these positions with a preservation-related professional. In addition, preservation professionals may need to be consulted on specific cases.

Q: Who can be a member of a landmark commission or architectural review board?

A: Specific membership requirements for serving on city boards and commissions are established by each city. The historic preservation ordinance may identify specific professions or requirements for membership on the Historic Preservation Commission.

Required professions may include:
• Architect
• Lawyer
• Real Estate Agent
• Historian
• Archeologist

Other required members may include:
• A person who owns property within a local historic district
• An owner of a business located in the local historic district

In addition, all members of the local commission or board must have demonstrated interest, competence or knowledge in historic preservation.

Q: What must be included in a historic preservation ordinance?

A: At a minimum, a local ordinance must include:
• A statement of purpose substantially similar to the language in the purpose clause of the state enabling legislation, Chapter 211 of the Texas Local Government Code Sections 211.001, 211.003, 211.005.
• A clear delineation of any designated historic district boundaries
• Definitions of appropriate terms used in the ordinance, i.e., alteration, area of influence, ordinary maintenance, etc.
• Specific membership and duties of the historic district commission and the historic preservation officer
• Mandatory review of exterior alterations and demolitions of designated historic properties and districts
• Adoption of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation to be used by the Commission in reviewing applications for Certificates of Appropriateness
• Provision for procedural due process including public hearings and public notification
• Minimum sixty (60) day stay of demolition for all demolition permit requests
• Provisions for noncompliance
• Provision for preventing Demolition by Neglect
• Recognition of all National Register properties, State Antiquities Landmarks and Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks as locally designated landmarks

Q: Once the application to become a CLG is submitted, how long does it take to become certified?

A: The Texas Historical Commission (THC) will respond to the request for certification within sixty (60) days of receipt of an adequately documented request for certification. If approved by the THC, Certification Agreements are sent to the local government for signature. Once signed agreements are returned to the THC, the application is forwarded to the National Park Service, who issues the final certification. Notification of Certification will be sent to the THC and the Local Government.