As we ring in a new year, the PA Historic Preservation Office (PA HPO) is also fine tuning a new approach to the review of state and federal projects that have the potential to affect historic structures. The review process, mandated by federal law (Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended) and state law (the PA History Code), is a core responsibility of all state historic preservation offices. Here in Pennsylvania we have made some changes in order to expedite and streamline our review process.
First, we have added two new structures review staff, Barbara Frederick and Cheryl Nagle, to help meet the need for timely evaluation and response for all submitted projects. Program veterans Ann Safley and Pamela Reilly round out the historic structures review team.
Second, we have developed a new Project Review Form, available as an interactive pdf.
Use of this new form will make it easier for PA HPO staff to provide a timely response. Once the form and other essential project information (maps, photos, project description, etc.) are received and reviewed by staff, the form can be signed and returned to the applicant. Please note that while the form is available online, it must be submitted as a hard copy to initiate consultation. (We hope to provide online reviews at some point in the future when funding allows us to develop the needed software and technical platforms.)
Third, for those not using our Project Review Form, common project responses are now being stamped, signed and dated on the project cover letter and returned to the applicant. If the project review is more complicated and requires a detailed response, our traditional review letter is used.
A big change in our office involves a more comprehensive approach to environmental reviews. For the first time, both historic structures and archaeological reviewers are completing reviews by region, as opposed to by federal or state agency, as was previously done. The regional environmental review staff meet regularly with our Community Preservation Coordinators and our National Register program staff to discuss projects, improving intra-office communication. This approach provides a more complete understanding of regional issues for all of our staff as well as fulfills Action Steps 5.7 and 5.8 of the 2012-2017 Statewide Historic Preservation Plan
For project review purposes, the state is divided into three regions: western, central and eastern. A dedicated structures and archaeological reviewer is assigned to each region. The region boundaries have been developed to evenly distribute the number of reviews among staff. The maps included here reflect these regions and the assigned PA HPO environmental review staff. To download PDFs of these maps click Historic Structures or Archaeology
Ann Safley, long a core member of the structures review staff with an abundance of varied state and federal project expertise, handles all reviews in the western portion of the state. Ann has special insight into this region from her years as a PAHPO Western PA Coordinator based in Johnstown. Ann reviews projects in our Harrisburg headquarters, but receives assistance on PENNDOT projects from our current Western PA Community Coordinator Bill Callahan who is based in Pittsburgh. If you have questions about state and federal project review in western Pennsylvania, contact Ann at 717.787.9121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The central region is staffed by Cheryl Nagle, a newcomer to the environmental review staff, but not our PA HPO office. Prior to taking on structures review for the center part of the state, Cheryl worked closely with our National Register Division developing historic contexts for railroad related resources and post-World War II housing. Cheryl was also responsible for structural environmental reviews for PENNDOT Transportation Enhancement projects. So, Cheryl was well-prepared to take on additional structures review responsibilities. Bryan Van Sweden, the Central Region Community Coordinator provides expertise on the communities in this part of the state at regular regional staff meetings. Contact Cheryl at 717.772.4519 or email@example.com.
Leading our structures review group is Barbara Frederick, a newcomer to our office in 2012 with past experience at the federal government level and as a cultural resource consultant in the private sector. Barbara has responsibility for all reviews in the eastern region. She relies on the assistance and insight of Eastern Region Community Coordinator, Cory Kegerise to manage an extensive workload of varied projects and issues. For questions about projects in the eastern region of the state, contact Barbara at 717.772.0921 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By special arrangement with the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Pamela Reilly is our dedicated reviewer of all projects funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through its Small Communities Program. Pamela has responsibility for projects that are funded through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HUD HOME, Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) programs for communities who receive those funds through DCED, and not as Direct Entitlements from HUD. Whenever these funds are used, even in conjunction with other state or federal funds, Pamela is your PAHPO contact person. Reach her at 717.720.1441 or email@example.com.