The budget cuts enacted by the 82nd Texas Legislature impacted nearly every state agency, and the THC lost a number of full-time positions. The review and compliance staff — as well as the clerical teams that support them — were affected by these cuts. While we continue to strive toward timely responses to your phone calls, emails, and review requests, the number of projects coming to us is on the rise, and we ask for your patience as we work through the incoming projects as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In addition, our review regions and system has changed. Please view our new maps and tables to update your contact information, and look for updates over the next several months on our project review web pages. In the past, archeologists divided reviews based on federal, state, or local agency; historians continue to divide reviews by agency. Archeological and architectural reviewers divide projects based on region of the state; however, the boundaries of some regions have changed. Please consult the list of agencies and counties on the Project Reviewers contact page to determine who will be handling your submission. Look for additional updates over the next several months on our project review web pages.
How the THC Reviews Projects
Sponsors of development projects that trigger compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act or the Antiquities Code of Texas are required to consult with the Texas Historical Commission (THC). Each year, the agency's team of project reviewers process 13,000-18,000 submissions, examining proposed actions for potential impacts to historic buildings, archeological sites, and other properties of historical significance.
Reviewers from three divisions within the THC—Archeology, History Programs, and Architecture—work together to conduct reviews. Depending on various factors, including the scope and nature of the project and whether historic resources are present, an archeologist, historian, and architectural reviewer may make assessments relative to your project. All projects are logged into a computer database to track each review to the appropriate staff. The agency strives to examine all projects within 30 days, and most projects are reviewed in a shorter time.
Archeologists examine new construction for potential impacts to archeological sites and are most concerned about subsurface disturbance within the construction footprint. They check the locations of known cultural resources and areas where archeological surveys have been conducted in Texas. If no sites are plotted and a professional has surveyed the area, there is usually no need for additional archeological investigation. Most projects are determined to have no effect on important archeological sites.
If the project area has not been surveyed and it contains landforms considered likely to contain important cultural resources, the reviewer will recommend a survey be conducted. For federal projects, the survey needs to be undertaken by professionals who meet the Secretary of the Interior's Professional Qualifications Standards. For surveys on Texas public lands performed under the Antiquities Code of Texas, professionals must meet the qualifications for a principal investigator found in Chapter 26 of the Texas Administrative Code, available in Statutes, Regulations, and Rules. See Hiring a Preservation Consultant for information on how to find a qualified professional for your project. The results of the survey are submitted to the THC for review. If no cultural resources were found, no further consultation is necessary. If cultural resources may be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, the THC staff will discuss measures to avoid or mitigate the effect of the project on the archeological deposits.
Review of Standing Structures
If a proposed project has the potential to affect a building, structure, site, object, or district 45 years old or older, historians will review the project. For Section 106 review, historians will consider an area of potential effects larger than the construction footprint in order to take into consideration visual and other indirect impacts. Staff will examine the historical importance or architectural merit of any buildings or other resources 45 years old or older that will be directly affected by construction or close enough to the project site to be indirectly affected.
If historians determine that a building or structure is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, architectural reviewers will determine the effect of the project on the historic property. Please see the National Historic Preservation Act for a more in-depth explanation of the Section 106 process.
The Antiquities Code of Texas does not require assessment of indirect or visual effects; however, a project that will directly impact a building or structure will be evaluated by a historian and architectural reviewer. Please see the Antiquities Code of Texas for an explanation of the notification requirements and review procedures for historic buildings and structures.
For More Information
For the Request for SHPO Consultation form and an outline of the material that must be submitted for project reviews, please see What to Send for a Project Review.
If you have questions regarding what to submit or how the THC reviews projects, please contact the applicable project reviewer for your agency or county.