The National Park Service has begun posting historic tax credit administrative decisions regarding certification review appeals on its website.  This marks a major step forward for the historic tax credit community.  The cases appear to go back to 2008 and should be very helpful in providing insight on past appeals as guidance for future projects, as well as improving the dialogue between NPS reviewers and historic rehab developers.  HPDC has not done a thorough review or analysis of the appeals yet so any interesting insight you can provide into the substance of the documents that have been posted would be greatly appreciated.

From the NPS Website”¦

Appeal decisions

Decisions by the Chief Appeals Officer, Cultural Resources, National Park Service, are the final administrative decisions within the Department of the Interior regarding certification for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program, 36 CFR Part 67. Appeal decisions are administrative reviews, not adjudicative proceedings. Appeal decisions, like all other certification decisions, are based on relevant Secretary of the Interior’s Standards: the Standards for Evaluating Significance within Registered Historic Districts for evaluating certifications of significance and the Standards for Rehabilitation for evaluating rehabilitation projects, as found at 36 CFR Part 67.

NPS regulations clearly state, “Because the circumstances of each rehabilitation project are unique to the particular certified historic structure involved, certifications that may have been granted to other rehabilitations are not specifically applicable and may not be relied on by owners as applicable to other projects.” [36 CFR Part 67] The Chief Appeals Officer reviews only a very small number of all National Park Service certification decisions – usually 20-30 out of the 3,000-4,000 applications reviewed by the National Park Service per year. Applications reviewed on appeal are generally problematic or least atypical and thus are not representative of all certification decisions. Appeal decisions are project-specific and are not applicable beyond the facts and circumstances of each case. Additionally, appeal decisions do not make policy for the tax incentives program, either on questions of historic significance or on questions about rehabilitation treatments.

For guidance in applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, see Interpreting the Standards Bulletins and Standards and Guidelines.

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