eLearning Tool for FEMA Grant Applicants

Main Content

A-1: Determining if your project will affect or is in close proximity to buildings or structures greater than 50 years old
A-2: How to Gather Other Important Information
A-3: How to Address Adverse Effects
A-4: How to provide relevant and helpful support Documentation

How to Gather Other Important Information

If it has been determined that there are any buildings or structures over 50 years of age in close proximity to your project, FEMA will need to determine if any of these properties are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). To facilitate this, you should collect additional information on those buildings and structures and include it with your application. The first information source you should utilize is the database of NRHP listed structures on the website maintained by the National Park Service www.nr.nps.gov/. From this site you can identify if there are any NRHP listed structures in your county or your project area.

If you are unsure as to whether the buildings or structures are NRHP listed or eligible, you can initiate contact with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) (www.cr.nps.gov/nr/shpolist.htm), the local planning office of the city or town where the project is located, a local historic preservation organization, or a local historical society. If the applicant is a Tribal government, if the project will be on Tribal land, or if the project may be near properties of religious or cultural significance to a tribal group, contact the relevant Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO), or other appropriate cultural resource contact in the tribe. These offices can be found on the web (www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tribal/thpo.htm).

In your communication with the SHPO, THPO, or local agency/organization, you should:

  • Indicate you are applying for federal aid, and you are requesting information about the presence of historic properties in your project area [example SHPO letter].
  • Include the name of the nearest city and the name of the county where the project will occur.
  • Include a detailed description of the proposed project
  • Include a 1:24,000 USGS map [example SHPO map] showing the project area and the location of all buildings and structures over 50 years in age that are visible from the project site.
  • Include photographs showing each of the buildings and structures that are over 50 years in age, and context photographs of the project site.

You should also make clear in your communication with the SHPO, THPO, or local agency/organization that you are NOT initiating consultation with their agency; the formal consultation process must be initiated by FEMA. Instead, indicate that you are only collecting information about the project site, and that formal consultation will be initiated by FEMA if the project is selected for award.

SHPOs and THPOs typically take at least 30 days to respond, so it is important to initiate this correspondence early. If you have not received an agency response as you are finalizing your application, it is a good idea to follow up with them to find out when you might expect a response. Indicate the status of this correspondence with the SHPO or THPO in your project application, and scan and attach any letters, faxes, or emails you receive in response to your contact.

Read the responses from the SHPO, THPO, or local agency/organization carefully. Many times these responses can contain: important requests for information or clarification of project location or scope of work; information about nearby structures that may be affected by the project; or suggestions about how to modify your project to reduce impacts to nearby structures or a district. If the SHPO, THPO, or local historical society have comments, or expresses an interest or concern about the structure that you are working on or a nearby structure, check "yes" to Section A, Question 1. You should only check "no" to Section A, Question 1 if the SHPO, THPO, or other interest groups indicate they have no comments about the proposed project. If no information has been gathered about historic structures in your project area, check the "Not known" box in Section A, Question 1.

In addition to requesting information from the SHPO, THPO, or local agency/organization, you should also consider involving nearby residents and business if your project may affect a historic structure. Historic structures and districts are sometimes important community resources that the general public appreciates and identifies with. If any work is going to occur on or near an historic structure of local importance, it may be a good idea to get the general reaction from the community during the planning stages of the project design.

If your project involves the demolition of any historic structure, alternatives to its demolition must be considered and included in your application. At a minimum, your application should contain a feasibility analysis for retrofitting, elevating, or relocating the structure away from the hazard, and other treatment measures that could reduce the impact of the hazard. In the analysis, give a description of the alternatives considered and make a statement about why the proposed demolition of the structure is more feasible than other alternatives.

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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