Beveridge & Diamond
 

Historical and Archeological Resources

Overview

Local, state and federal preservation laws aim to protect historic, cultural and archeological resources and seek to engage community groups and tribal governments in that effort.  The National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) and related statutes can impact development proposals in urban areas as well as on more remote federal lands.  Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. regularly counsels clients on the intricacies of these programs and how to best work with governmental agencies from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to local preservation boards and commissions.  The NHPA Section 106 process often overlaps with the preparation of an environmental impact statement or assessment under NEPA, but can cause serious project delays if not managed properly.  We have cultivated effective working relationships with expert consultants who help identify historic or cultural resources.  In addition, we work routinely with various State Historic Preservation Officers concerning the negotiation of complex Memoranda of Agreement.  We know from experience that command of preservation laws and regulations can help manage the passionate views that often accompany demands to protect historic or cultural resources.

Full Description

Historic, cultural and archeological issues are regularly "unearthed" as issues in the project development context. What if a proposed project includes a listed historic resource or is adjacent to one? Or what if during construction, archeological or human remains are discovered? Knowledge of the federal, state and local preservation and mitigation requirements is crucial in helping clients navigate through to project entitlement and construction. If a potentially historic resource needs to be listed, preserved, or demolished, or if archeological or paleontological or Native American resources are discovered, it is important to know the listing requirements, the building demolition or rehabilitation limits and possibilities as well as the mitigation options under the National Historic Preservation Act ("NHPA") and the relevant state and local historic preservation statutes, as well as under the federal National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") and state equivalents, like the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA").

Beveridge & Diamond regularly counsels clients on the intricacies of the these laws. For example, we have helped clients navigate through the Section 106 process pursuant to the NHPA. We also have defended claims challenging the government's compliance with the NHPA, usually on behalf of a private developer or public agency that needs to navigate Section 106 before it can break ground on a project. From the identification of historical or cultural resources within the "area of potential effects," to the negotiation of a comprehensive Memorandum of Agreement with the relevant State Historic Preservation Office ("SHPO"), we have worked with consultants, government agencies and private parties to ensure successful and timely completion of the NHPA process.

Beveridge & Diamond also assists clients in understanding the requirements placed on their projects during environmental review in the project entitlement process. We have helped prepare, review and defend the cultural resources elements of Environmental Impact Statements and the state equivalents. We have also worked with clients to appear before local preservation boards and commissions, and to advise clients on the requirements, restrictions and benefits involved in renovating listed historical structures for redevelopment. Additionally, Beveridge & Diamond has assisted clients when archeological or human remains have been discovered during construction.

Recent Matters

Some of the more recent matters involving historic, cultural and archeological resources that we have handled include:

  • We helped negotiate a complicated Memorandum of Agreement with public and private parties concerning construction of the MCI Center in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • We represented a major labor union that wanted to redevelop property in Washington, D.C. that formerly housed a public school building potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
  • We represented a housing developer in its dealings with the Delaware SHPO concerning the definition of the area of potential effects around a proposed mixed-use residential community.
  • We represented a major company that has regular dealings with neighboring Tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs concerning historic or cultural resources in the vicinity of existing or proposed mining operations.
  • We represented a local reuse agency in the transfer of a former Army Base and negotiation of a Memorandum of Agreement with the California SHPO.