Maritime Heritage Program
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Information about the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act Program
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Excess Government Property and the Notice of Availability
When a Federal agency determines a historic light station to be excess to its needs, the General Services Administration (GSA) will issue a Notice of Availability (NOA) for the property. Within sixty (60) days of when the NOA is issued, any eligible entity with an interest in acquiring the light station must 1) submit a letter of interest to GSA and 2) submit a copy of the letter to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) of the state in which the light station is located. Letters of interest must include:
- Name of the light station property
- Name of the eligible entity
- Point of contact, title, address, phone number(s), and email of the eligible entity
- Nonprofit corporations, educational agencies, and community development organizations must provide a copy of their state-certified articles of incorporation
GSA will forward a list of qualified eligible entities from information provided in these letters to the NPS.
The NHLPA Application and Site Visit
NPS will send an application to eligible entities that have submitted a complete letter of interest as determined by GSA. Eligible entities will then be given an opportunity to inspect the property at a site visit, the date of which is set by GSA and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). A completed application must be submitted to the NPS ninety (90) days after the date of the site visit.
The NHLPA Review Process
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The NPS Review Committee will evaluate the applications for completeness; past performance; ability to carry forward the goals of the NHLPA; compliance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (36 CFR 68); and, most importantly, compliance with legal requirements of the NHLPA and the National Historic Preservation Act. The application, once accepted, becomes the principal planning document for the light station. In addition, the SHPO of the state in which the light station is located will be provided with copies of all submitted applications and asked to provide comments which will also be considered in the NPS review.
At the end of the evaluation process, the NPS Review Committee will submit a recommendation to the Director of the National Park Service, who will make a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior.
In cases where there are multiple applicants for a single light station, the applicants whose applications were rejected will have the opportunity to request a review of the evaluation and recommendation.
The NPS Review Committee is made up of experts from at least three disciplines, including:
- cultural resources management;
- maritime history and/or preservation;
- park and recreational programs;
- cultural landscapes; and
- accounting, finance, or grants management.
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Transferring NHLPA Light Stations
The Secretary of the Interior will notify the Administrator of GSA as to the recommended applicant and GSA will complete the conveyance to the selected recipient. If no acceptable steward is found at the end of the NHLPA application process, the property will be offered for sale by competitive bid or auction. Lighthouses for sale will be posted at GSA Auctions.
To sign up to receive electronic updates about the NHLPA program, please visit the GSA Office of Real Property Utilization and Disposal.
Administering the NHLPA involves several Federal and State agencies that play different roles in transferring surplus historic light stations to new owners:
- The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and other Federal agencies, identify and report historic light stations to be excessed through the NHLPA process. These agencies also make available condition reports, maintenance records, and related documentation on these properties to the other agencies involved in the process as well as to prospective applicants.
- The General Services Administration (GSA) issues Notices of Availability (NOA) on historic light stations available for transfer, and works with the USCG to arrange open houses at the properties. In addition, GSA initiates Section 106 review with State Historic Preservation Officers, conducts environmental reviews in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Coastal Zone Management Act as applicable, and develops and executes conveyance documents. In the event that no applicant is approved to receive the historic light station, GSA may sell the property in accordance with procedures outlined in NHLPA (54 USC 305106) (formerly at 16 USC 470w-8).
- The National Park Service (NPS) of the Department of the Interior, acting on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), provides applications to interested parties, and reviews and evaluates submitted applications. The Secretary recommends a single suitable applicant to GSA or indicates that no suitable applicant was found.
- The State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO) are consulted during the review of applications and after the transfer of ownership takes place (54 USC 305106) (formerly at 16 USC 470w-8).
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