State Historic Preservation Office
Guidelines for North Carolina's Certified Local Government Program*
III. Requirements for Certification
C. Local Review Commissions
  1. The responsibilities of the commission must be complementary to and coordinated with those of the HPO. These tasks are enumerated in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and in state and federal preservation standards, guidelines, and regulations.

  2. Each CLG shall have a commission with a minimum of five (5) members. Qualifications for commission members shall not be more stringent or comprehensive than requirements for the State Review Board as defined in 36 CFR 61. All commission members shall have a demonstrated interest, competence, or knowledge in historic preservation.

    Local governments shall make a good faith effort to appoint professional members from the disciplines of architecture, history, architectural history, planning, archaeology, or other related fields, to the extent such professionals are available in the community. A good faith effort shall include contacting professionals who are known to reside in the community, and contacting universities or professional organizations to locate such professionals in the community if they are not known to live there.

    Commissions must document in writing the manner in which such effort was made. Documentation shall take the form of a written description of efforts undertaken and organizations and individuals contacted, with copies of correspondence if available. Nothing in this part shall be construed to encourage the appointment of professionals who do not have a demonstrated interest, competence, or knowledge in historic preservation.

    *Note: The intent of this guideline, and the corresponding federal regulation, is to provide a mix of professional and lay members on local review commissions. Professionals can help a local review board make objective decisions; the appointment of such professionals may enhance the credibility of the local review commission in a community. Lay members with a demonstrated interest in or knowledge of preservation also bring much that is valuable to a commission, including organizational or parliamentary skills, familiarity with the community's values and political processes, and knowledge of local historic resources. Both professionals and laymen are concerned about preservation and can provide useful insights.

  3. Terms of office of CLG commission members shall be staggered and of at least two years duration. Terms may not exceed four years, but there is no limit on the number of consecutive terms served by any one member.

  4. The local appointing authority shall act within sixty (60) days to fill a vacancy. The 60-day period commences on the date of an expired term, letter of resignation, or at the time the commission chairman recognizes that there is a vacancy as defined by the commission's rules of procedure.

  5. In addition to Year-End Monitoring Reports to update property designations and resumes of commission members, a formal evaluation report of the activities of the commission shall be submitted once every 3 years (triennial) to the SHPO. Such reports shall include, but are not limited to, such items as the number and types of cases reviewed and their disposition, new designations made, revised resumes of commission members, appointments to the commission, attendance records, additions to and deletions from the inventory of historic properties, and all minutes relating to the consideration of NRNs. The report shall also include an affirmative statement that the local government has met the requirements for certification contained in these guidelines.

  6. In addition to any other responsibilities delegated to it by state or local law, the CLG commission shall review all proposed NRNs for properties within its jurisdiction.

    When a commission considers a NRN for a resource (such as an archaeological site, or a building or district possessing historical and/or architectural significance) which is normally evaluated by a professional in a specific discipline (such as an archaeologist, architect or architectural historian, or historian), and that discipline is not represented on the commission, the commission must seek expertise in this area before rendering its decision. When particular expertise is lacking, the commission is encouraged to seek the assistance of professionals in the community or region, such as college or university faculty or museum staff.

    Commissions may wish to explore the possibility of sharing professional expertise among several communities. Commissions may also seek the assistance of either the Archaeology or Survey and Planning branches of the DAH. Professionals consulted for NRHP eligibility should meet the qualification standards in 36 CFR 61, Appendix A, which is included as the Appendix to these guidelines.

  7. The CLG commission may be made up combining existing local commissions which may continue to operate individually in some cases. However, any activity specifically addressed in federal CLG regulations, or other activities specified by the state in the certification agreement, must be handled by the CLG commission as a whole.

  8. Federal regulations require that there be no overlapping jurisdictions (e.g. between city and county). The North Carolina SHPO will determine on a case by case basis how to handle those communities wishing to be certified where joint commissions have been established (e.g. a county joint historic landmarks commission with jurisdiction in both municipal and unincorporated areas).

  9. The SHPO may, at his/her discretion and by mutual written agreement with the local government delegate further responsibilities to the CLG commission. Local governments may petition to assume greater responsibility for preparation of NRNs, environmental review, and review of tax act projects provided they have sufficient and qualified staff. Staff qualification shall be consistent with the standards established in the 36 CFR 61 (see Appendix). Note: Professional members with qualifications as described in the Appendix are required if the commission petitions to assume the additional responsibilities described above.

  10. At least two commission members, and the designated member of the CLG's staff (see below) must attend at least one informational or educational meeting per year pertaining to the work and functions of the commission or to historic preservation. Such meetings may include those sponsored by the HPO, the Attorney General's Office, the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, Inc. (also known as Preservation/North Carolina), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, or a local preservation organization.

  11. The HPO shall make available orientation materials and training to all CLGs and commissions. The orientation and training shall be designed to provide a working knowledge of the roles and operations of federal, state, local, and private preservation programs.
* Reproduced for the City of Washington Department of Planning and Development Website from the January 1992 revision of this document.
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