Time is running out to present objections to National Register of Historic Places nomination

July 16, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

The Department of State cannot request the listing of the Boca Grande Residential Historic District in the National Register now due to a majority of owner objections, but they are required to submit to the Florida National Register Review Board the proposal for a determination of eligibility. That board will determine whether to forward the request for approved eligibility to the National Park Service. The Keeper of the National Register at the National Park Service makes final decisions.

“We are required to provide all documentation received in association with a request for a determination of Eligibility to the National Park Service, including all correspondence, reports, appeals, etc.,” Acosta said. “If the Florida National Register Review Board decides to recommend forwarding the nomination (or in this case, the determination of eligibility) to the National Park Service, we will notify the appellant and local board of the decision.”

The Florida National Register Review Board consists of five professionals from across the state with backgrounds in architecture, architectural history, history, historic archaeology and prehistoric archaeology, who serve on a volunteer basis. The board members are drawn from the Florida Historical Commission, are appointed by the governor, and have a demonstrated interest in historic preservation.

Whether or not the determination of eligibility is passed on the Park Service is based on the National Register Criteria for Eligibility. A property or district must meet at least one of the significance criteria found in 36 CFR 60.4 to be eligible for listing.

National Register criteria for evaluation. The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association and,

(a) that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

(b) that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or

(c) that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or (d) that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

Criteria regulations state that normally “structures that have been moved from their original locations, reconstructed historic buildings, properties primarily commemorative in nature, and properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years shall not be considered eligible for the National Register.”

However, it goes on to read that such properties will qualify if they are “integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria of if they fall within the categories that include (but are not limited to):

 A building or structure removed from its original location, but which is significant primarily for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most importantly associated with a historic person or event; a reconstructed building when accurately executed in a suitable environment and presented in a dignified manner as part of a restoration master plan, and when no other building or structure with the same association has survived; or a property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance; or a property achieving significance within the past 50 years if it is of exceptional importance.

The board will make a recommendation either to forward the determination of eligibility to the National Park Service based upon a determination that the proposal meets the eligibility criteria, or not to forward the request because the district does not meet the National Register Criteria, as presented in the proposal.

 There is a booklet on the web that explains in excruciating detail how to apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. The web page to find it is nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/upload/NRB-15_web508.pdf.

We will get you more details about the August 5 meeting as they become available.