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Arizona State Historic Preservation Office
From: Matthew Bilsbarrow
December 19, 2005
Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary
RE: Proposed Statement of Policy Regarding the National Historic Preservation Act, Federal Register 70(200):60523-60524
Dear Mr. Feldman:
Thank you for the opportunity to comments on the above-mentioned policy statement. Since 2000, your agencys applicants initiated consultation with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for 93 undertakings or roughly 15 a year. During this time, your agency did not consult directly with our office, according to our records. In most cases, a finding of no historic properties affected was warranted in our opinion. In many cases, applicants made little effort to identify historic properties or consult with consulting parties besides the SHPO.
1) We encourage FDIC to pursue efforts to streamline consultation through a nationwide programmatic agreement or alternate procedures developed in consultation with the National Council of State Historic Preservation Officers and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Based on our experience with FDIC undertakings, we agree with the statement that examples under which [consultation] may be unnecessary are those applications for messenger services or in which financial institutions offices would be located in supermarkets, existing shopping centers, mobile or seasonal facilities or properties that have been newly constructed and in which the applicant had no ownership interest prior to or during construction (pg 60524, Section B).
2) In Arizona, private consultants regularly perform literature reviews and other identification studies for applicants and agencies to use in making decisions in the Section 106 process. In contrast, the proposal instructs applicants to obtain these types of services from the SHPO. The Arizona SHPO does not usually have staff time available to perform literature reviews and other identification studies for your agencys applicants. We suggest that your agency direct applicants to contact consultants, who meet the Secretary of the Interiors professional qualification standards, to perform identification activities.
3) The proposed procedure is inefficient from our perspective, because SHPOs would be contacted three times for one FDIC undertaking. According to the proposal, SHPOs would first be contacted by applicants seeking information of historic properties. Second, SHPOs would be contacted by applicants seeking clearance. Third, SHPOs would be officially consulted by the FDIC. The proposed process should be streamlined by having the FDIC consult with the SHPOs directly and eliminating the first two contacts with SHPO. We do not have the resources to respond to three separate contacts for an undertaking.
4) We recognize that FDIC applicants are consulting parties in the Section 106 process, and may initiate consultation. However, the policy should explicitly state that applicants cannot make decisions, such as determinations of National Register-eligibility and findings of effect, on behalf of the agency. We expect to receive such decisions from FDIC, preferably on FDIC letterhead.
5) The FDIC might consider ways, such a grants and incentives, to encourage applicants to reuse National Register-eligible or listed historic-period bank buildings or locate in Register-eligible or listed commercial historic districts. In Arizona, five bank buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, yet none remain operating as banks. For example, the 1909 Beaux Arts-style Gila Valley Bank and Trust Building located in the Globe Downtown Historic District is currently vacant. When we see a new application situated outside of a historic district, we worry about undercutting the economic viability of our historically designated downtowns. In addition, Arizona has a number of architecturally distinctive bank branches, many of which are no longer banks, which are now approaching 50 years in age, and are likely historic properties. Agencies are directed to give priority to the use of historic properties in carrying out agency missions according to Standard 7 of the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Federal Agency Historic Preservation Programs. Please add a statement to the policy encouraging applicants to reuse historic properties.
6) The dramatic growth in our state, which has some of the fastest growing counties in the country, makes it challenging to review FDIC undertakings. Locational information such as a map, township, range, and quarter-quarter-quarter section, and parcel number would be helpful, as would photographs and a discussion of prior land use (e.g., raw land, empty graded, partially developed, existing building). Being provided with these types of information about an undertakings setting and location would make evaluation would aid our evaluation.
We appreciate your agencys cooperation with this office in considering impacts to important cultural resources situated in Arizona pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act. If you have any questions, please contact our office (602) 542-4009.
Matthew H. Bilsbarrow
|Last Updated 12/20/2005||Regs@fdic.gov|