Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s regulations, 36 CFR 800, apply to all projects assisted by federal funding, licenses or approvals. The 106 process requires the identification of properties listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in the project area and an assessment of the undertaking’s effect on them. As a Certified Local Government under the National Historic Preservation Act, the City has entered memoranda of agreement with the Advisory Council, the State Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and with the Federal Highway Administration to expedite 106 by having the Historical Commission perform the 106 review for many projects by these agencies.
Building Permit Issues
Any work that requires a building permit or that changes the appearance of an historic property must have the approval of the Historical Commission before the Department of Licenses and Inspections will issue a building permit. The Historical Commission staff approves most permit applications upon or within a few days of submission. When the scope of work exceeds the staff’s jurisdiction, the Architectural Committee and the Historical Commission review it.
The Historical Commission designates buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts as historic and enters them on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.
The Commission has a small library focused on Philadelphia history, architectural history, architecture, preservation and archeology. It maintains a file for each property on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. These files vary in content, but frequently hold chains of title, fire insurance surveys, previously approved building permit applications, and photographs. The Commission also has files on properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Philadelphia as well as some buildings and streets not recognized as historic.
The Historical Commission staff can provide technical information about the preservation and conservation of historic properties and building materials. It can also answer questions about the practices and procedures of the Commission. In addition, the staff can offer information about federal and state preservation legislation and the federal investment tax credit for the restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings.