Friday, November 8, 2013

FCC Has Proposed Changes to Its Section 106 Rules

The Federal Communications Commission has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, among other things, proposes to streamline environmental and historic preservation review procedures for small cell and Distributed Antenna System projects. The notice also proposes to clarify federal laws restricting state and local wireless permitting authority and includes limits on state and local authority to regulate cell towers.  

Comments on the notice can be submitted to the FCC by November 26.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Section 106 Deadlines Post-Shutdown

With the Federal government to normal staffing levels and activities, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued guidance on working with the Council and adjusting deadlines related to Section 106. Let us know if you have any questions or needs.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Federal Shutdown Over

As a result of legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President early this morning, the Federal government is back in business. Federal employees who have been furloughed for the past 16 days were told by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to report to work this morning. So, if you need to contact Federal agencies about Section 106 matters, you should be able to receive assistance from agency personnel. However, the National Park Service's website is still unreachable. The FCC's site and systems are back up, however.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What does the Federal government shutdown mean for Section 106?

Without the enactment of new funding legislation, most Federal agencies, programs, and employees are on hiatus. Until funding is restored, the Federal government will only be acting on emergencies and matters of safety and security. How this works depends on the agency. For instance, while military operations continue uninterrupted, the Army Corps of Engineers has ceased most of its activities and civilian employees at Wright Patterson Air Force Base are on indefinite furlough. Some agencies, including the National Park Service and the Federal Communications Commission, have taken their websites down.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is closed, for the most part. However, staff whose positions are funded by arrangements with the other agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Energy, are working. Most employees are unavailable, however. So, chances are that the Council is not going to respond to requests for comment, notifications of adverse effect findings, or invitations to consult until the shutdown is over.

Despite the shutdown, most activities that were funded in Fiscal Year 2013, which ended on September 30, are not affected. So, many highway projects, building rehabs, and construction projects are proceeding. On the other hand, consultation to resolve adverse effects cannot proceed until agency staff are back at work.

If you are an applicant for a license, permit, or funding, or if you are a contractor working on a Federal undertaking, and you are unsure of the status of your undertaking, our best advice is to try and phone or email the Federal agency. If no one is available, you will probably receive an automated email or voice message saying so. We don't have any special access to agency officials, so we are unlikely to be able to reach anyone if you can't.

As information becomes available or circumstances change, we'll share what we know. For now, let's hope that a spending bill gets passed by Congress and signed by the President soon, allowing the Federal government to resume normal operations.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Online Mapping System updates

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office has made some enhancements to our Online Mapping System (OMS).

We've added a new layer that shows the location of historic bridges, including structures that are listed in and eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in Ohio. We'll update the database periodically to reflect changes, as bridges are listed in the National Register, determined eligible, or demolished.

Also, National Historic Landmarks now have their own layer in the OMS.

Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions about our Online Mapping System.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cincinnati Named a Preserve America Community by First Lady

First Lady Michelle Obama has sent designation letters to three new Preserve America Communities, including Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Historic Union Station

With this most recent group of designations, Ohio has 21 Preserve America Communities. The program recognizes communities that use preservation of their cultural resources for sustainability and economic benefit. Preserve America Communities are located in all states and some U.S. territories. Applications for Preserve America designation can be submitted quarterly; December 1, 2013, is the next deadline. The program  is administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Coordinating NEPA and Section 106

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued guidance to help agencies, applicants, and consultants can better coordinate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance and Section 106 compliance. The handbook also guides stakeholders and the public who want to influence decisions about environmental review and advises agencies on how to maximize the effectiveness of public involvement under NEPA and Section 106.

The Advisory Council plans to offer training on the handbook. We'll let you know when details become available.