U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
VII. HOW NOMINATIONS ARE PROCESSED
The regulations for processing a completed National Historic Landmark Nomination Form are outlined in 36 CFR Part 65. When the nomination form is completed and submitted, the NHL Survey reviews and may recommend revisions of the forms before they are considered final and able to be placed on the agenda of the next National Park System Advisory Board meeting. (The Advisory Board has traditionally met to conduct business at least twice a year.) In addition, properties being considered under Criterion 6 for archeology are reviewed by a committee of the Society for American Archeology (SAA). This professional substantive review for archeological NHL nominations is provided by the SAA through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. If the NHL Survey receives a nomination for a property that does not qualify for NHL designation, but may be eligible for listing in the National Register, the appropriate State Historic Preservation Officer, Federal Preservation Officer, or Tribal Preservation Officer will be sent a copy of the documentation to consider for possible nomination to the National Register.
When the NHL Survey determines that the nomination for a property adequately documents the national significance, is substantially and technically complete, and may be placed on the agenda for the next Advisory Board meeting, the NPS is ready to notify the appropriate parties as outlined in the regulations. The NPS notifies the owner or owners of the property, the highest elected local official of the jurisdiction in which the property is located, the State Historic Preservation Officer, the two U.S. Senators, and the House of Representatives member from the district in which the property is located. These parties are provided with a copy of the nomination form and the date, time, and location of the Advisory Board's meeting. This notification must occur at least 60 days before the Advisory Board meeting so that those parties may have an opportunity to comment in writing on the nomination if they choose. Private property owners have the option to concur with or object to the proposed designation. If a private owner, or a majority of private owners, objects to designation, the Secretary of the Interior may not designate the property but may determine if the property is eligible for designation.
Any written comments received by the NPS will be included in the documentation reviewed by the Advisory Board. Interested parties also may attend the Advisory Board meeting, and upon request, may be given an opportunity to address the Advisory Board concerning the property's historical associations or attributes, integrity, and proposed boundaries. The NHL regulations, 36 CFR Part 65, outline this aspect of the procedure in more detail.
Made up of scholars and citizens interested in the conservation of natural and cultural resources, the National Park System Advisory Board reviews all of the documentation on proposed properties and makes a determination on whether a property meets the criteria for designation as a NHL. It can then recommend properties that should be designated as National Historic Landmarks to the Secretary of the Interior. Decisions about designation ultimately rest with the Secretary. The Advisory Board may also determine that a property does not meet the criteria and should not be forwarded to the Secretary; or it may determine that a property meets the criteria but because a private owner or majority of private owners objects to designation may only recommend that the Secretary determine the property eligible for designation.
After the Secretary of the Interior has designated a NHL, the NPS notifies the owner(s) (as well as the other original parties of notification) and invites the owner(s) to accept a bronze plaque, free of charge, bearing the name of the property, its year of designation, and attesting to its national significance. The plaque is presented to owners who display it publicly and appropriately. The plaque may be presented to the owner or owners at a public ceremony by a representative of the NPS or the Department of the Interior.
NHL designation implies no intention on the part of the federal government to acquire the property. Although some NHLs have later become units of the National Park System, most are not suitable for use as parks and are better cared for in the hands of other public or private owners.
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