The Texas Historical Commission (THC) administers a variety of federal and state reviews for undertakings that affect historic property. The Project Review pages of this website provide an overview of the role of THC staff within regulatory processes. These webpages address highly technical aspects of regulatory review, so THC staff created a Review Guidance Flyer to provide specifc comments on how CHC appointees and other local preservationists can participate in regulatory processes.
What CHCs Should Know
While it is important to learn about the laws and policies that impact historic property, CHCs are not expected to have a ready recollection of these matters. Contact THC regional reviewers to discuss issues associated with regulatory concerns or to discuss particular situations within your county. Regional reviewers are listed on the Contact Us webpage; scroll down that webpage to find the "Contacts by County" listing of staff.
CHCs should contact the THC if historic properties are at risk or could be affected by potential development. THC staff can provide guidance on your role, as a CHC appointee or as a public citizen, and explain how to become involved in the process. They can also explain any limitations that may exist with state review authority. Photo at right shows THC Historian, Linda Henderson, explaining the federal Section 106 project to CHCs at a regional workshop in Eastland.
CHC State Statutes
The Texas Legislature authorized counties to establish County Historical Commissions (CHC) to assist county commissioners courts and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) in the preservation of each county’s historic and cultural resources. CHC duties are set forth in detail in Texas’ Local Government Code, Chapter 318. We also post the statute on the Role of a CHC Appointee webpage, along with hyperlinks to related reference material.
These statutes are the first line of defense when navigating challenges for CHCs. The statutes set CHCs apart from preservation nonprofits by establishing a CHC's connection to local and state government. Distinguished Service Awards, given by the THC to CHCs, use this statute as a foundation for standards of CHC performance and award criteria. By embracing the variety of work approved within the statutes, CHCs can become a substantial force to save Texas history.
Above referenced statute directs county commissioners courts to make CHC appointments in January of odd-numbered years, securing a two-year term commitment from each appointee. A minimum of seven county residents should be appointed; after this minimum is met there is no size limit or residency requirement mentioned in the statute. The THC recommends that counties appoint a number appropriate to handle effectively the work assigned to the CHC. CHC reporting results show the statewide average range to be 19-22 appointees per CHC.
You can find more information by reading the state statute and the Submitting CHC Appointee Updates web page.
More about CHC appointments here.