National Register of Historic Places - Discussion
What are the benefits of listing my property to the National Register?
National Register listings identify historically significant buildings, districts, structures, sites, and objects and document their significance. Listings can help build community pride in the history of that community and its built environment. Historic districts can be centers of heritage tourism that help spur economic vitality. Such listings and the related documentation can serve as educational tools to help the community understand why these properties are important and as planning tools to help guide future work in their rehabilitation and stewardship. Listed properties are also identified early in the planning process for Federally funded and permitted projects as well as some state involved projects. Finally, listing to the National Register make applicable property owners eligible for grants. Commercial rehabilitation that meets the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings” of properties listed on the National Register are potentially eligible for a 20% tax credit (www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/). More information on the benefits of listing a property to the National Register can be found at www.nps.gov/nr/national_register_fundamentals.htm.
Do restrictions come with listing on the National Register?
Listing on the National Register alone does not place restrictions on the property owner, nor does it necessarily preserve a property in the future. Contrary to popular belief, listing a property on the National Register will not stop any private, local or federally funded projects or require review for any privately funded projects with no federal or state involvement. Listing does not require the owner to provide public access to the property. Listing will not restrict the rights of private property owners in the use, development, or sale of their property, nor will it lead automatically to the creation of a regulated historic district.
Can I make changes to my property after it is listed?
National Register listing is an honorific and does not come with any restrictions as to what can be done to the property but its owners. Listing on the National Register does not overlay any regulations on a property including but not limited to the property’s color and or the removal and or replacement of features like siding and windows unless Federal licenses, funding, or permits are needed that elicit Review & Compliance/Section 106. Benton County does have local regulated historic resources that are created through local legislation and are independent of listing to the National Register. Listed properties within the local Historic Register must abide by the procedures and regulations established in Benton County's Code. Please note that a property’s integrity is part of the evaluation process for listing to the National Register. Properties that lose substantial integrity through changes and additions may lose their listing to the National Register if evaluated in the future.
Am I exempt from code compliance if I am listed on the National Register?
Listing on the National Register does not necessarily exempt a property owner from the code. Access, building, and safety codes generally include special provisions for historic properties, to take their particular circumstances and/or construction methods and materials into account; but not all building officials are aware of these specific considerations for historic properties.
If my property is listed, future owners have to preserve it, right?
Wrong! Listing on the National Register is an honorific and does not overlay restrictions on a property owner nor does it mandate the preservation of that property in the future. While listing to the register speaks to the importance of the property, if the property’s history and attributes are not valued by its current owner the listing will not stop insensitive changes or demolition. While Review & Compliance/Section 106 will call for the consideration of historic resources in Federally funded, permitted, or licensed plans and may determine that the final plans present an adverse effect, the process will not stop the project from going forward but will work with the community to develop a mitigation plan for the loss of the resource.
Property owners interested in the long term preservation of their historic resource are encouraged to explore preservation easements. Preservation easements are a tool often used to insure the preservation of the character defining features of a property for the public’s benefit. The extent of the protection of the property is dependent on the strength of the easement. Some easements protect just the façade of a building. Other easements protect the larger preservation values including but not limited to the exterior and interior architectural features, materials, landscape features, outbuildings, fences, and archeological resources of a property. There are possible tax benefits to donating a preservation easement on a National Register listed property. To learn more please take a look at www.preservationnation.org/resources/legal-resources/easements/ .