Part 5: Georgia National Register Review Board
The Georgia National Register Review Board meets twice a year—in the spring and fall. As defined in the federal regulations governing the National Register (36 CFR 60), the review board is "a body whose members represent the professional fields of American history, architectural history, historic architecture, prehistoric and historic archaeology, and other professional disciplines and may include citizen members." The review board is responsible for reviewing and commenting on the National Register eligibility of all proposed National Register nominations before the nominations are submitted by HPD to the National Park Service.
HPD takes several actions before a review board meeting:
- Summaries of each proposed nomination are prepared
- Formal notifications of the proposed nominations are sent
- Final draft National Register Registration forms and prepared for review by the board
HPD National Register staff compile summaries of each proposed nomination for distribution as part of the formal notification (see below). The summary is a one-page synopsis based on the research and documentation submitted to our office in the individual resource or historic district packets. The summary includes a description and location of the property as well as the applicable National Register Criteria and a summary of the significance of the property. A map indicating the National Register boundary is also included.
The formal notification process is outlined in the federal regulations governing the National Register (36 CFR 60). HPD sends a notification packet by U.S. mail, 30 to 75 days before a review board meeting, to those property owners and government officials directly associated with the property or district. A property owner is defined as the property owner(s) on record with the official land recordation or tax records. The packet includes a notification cover letter, National Register Fact Sheet (pdf), National Register Criteria for Evaluation, and the summary. The notification cover letter provides instructions on how private property owners can concur with or object to the proposed nomination, if they wish to do so. The letter also solicits written comments regarding the significance of the property or district from property owners, local government officials, and interested parties prior to the review board meeting.
For districts with less than 50 property owners, a notification packet is sent to each property owner listed in official property tax records. For districts with more than 50 property owners, a legal advertisement is placed by HPD in the local legal organ (newspaper) 30 to 75 days prior to the review board meeting.
The notification process provides the opportunity for private property owner(s) to concur with or object to the listing. If a property owner wishes to object to the listing, the property owner must send a notarized letter to HPD that certifies:
- They are the sole or partial owner of private property and
- They officially object to the nomination. If a majority of private property owners object, the property proposed for nomination will not be officially listed in the National Register.
For district nominations, HPD staff usually arranges a public information meeting with the local sponsor of the nomination prior to its scheduled review board meeting. An informal public meeting is held at a public place in or near the district (i.e. city hall, community center, local historical society, or other public meeting space) for residents of the district and other interested citizens. HPD staff presents a PowerPoint presentation about the National Register and the proposed district nomination, answers questions, and solicits comments. The meeting also provides an educational opportunity for the public to learn more about HPD’s preservation programs and to get answers to questions about the National Register process.
Review board meetings are open to the public. During the meeting, each nomination’s sponsor formally presents a 10-15 minute PowerPoint presentation on each proposed nomination to the board. The board has an opportunity to comment or ask questions about the proposed nomination. Property owners and other interested parties in attendance are given an opportunity to speak before the board. The board then formally votes on whether or not the proposed nomination appears to meet the National Register Criteria, and has been documented to the National Register standards. For most proposed nominations, the board votes in favor and the nomination goes to the next step in the process. The board can also vote to table a proposed nomination (usually to request additional research or analysis) or to recommend that the proposed nomination does not meet the National Register Criteria. The board’s role is advisory and the decision to forward a proposed nomination to the National Register rests with the state historic preservation officer or his/her designated authority. In Georgia, these decisions are made by HPD’s Division Director.