12. PRESERVATION PROGRAMS
Renderings of two street views showing renovated housing units and landscaping.
Responding to an increasing interest in our culture and architectural heritage and to a public need for more and better housing, Congress, state legislatures, cities and private groups have created programs and grants to aid preservation, conservation and rehabilitation projects. Agencies of the federal government are committed to full consideration of environmental impacts, including those affecting historic properties, and to coordinated efforts among the departments with state and local authorities, professional and private citizens' groups. Government programs and related private activities which might be helpful to a neighborhood rehabilitation project in Tucson are briefly described below. Further information may be obtained from the sources listed in the directory in Appendix 6.
1. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private non-profit organization chartered in 1949 by an Act of Congress to encourage public participation in the preservation of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history and culture. In addition to owning and administering several histric properties, the Trust sponsors conferences and workshops on historic preservation, publishes a monthly newspaper, a quarterly journal and reprints from pertinent articles and speeches. It awards fellowships for advanced training through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities.
2. The Department of the Interior, created in 1849, is concerned with the management, conservation and development of natural resources of the country. The Antiquities Act of 1906, written to protect historic monuments on government property, was the first federal legislation devoted to historic preservation. It was followed in 1916 by an act creating the National Park Service as an agency of the Department of the Interior, and in 1935 by the Historic Sites Act charging the National Park Service with the responsibility to effectuate a national policy of historic preservation.
a. The National Register of Historic Places, authorized by the Historic Sites Act and greatly expanded by the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, is an inventory of properties worthy of preservation. In addition to all historical areas in the National Park System and properties eligible for designation as National Historic Landmarks, it now also includes properties of state or local significance nominated by the states and approved by the National Park Service.
In addition to the quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology or culture, an entry should possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association. It need not be associated with historically important events nor with the lives of significant persons if it embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or if it represents a significant and distinguishable entity the components of which may lack individual distinction.
b. The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), a recording of important examples of American architecture, is conducted in cooperation with the American Institute of Architects and the Library of Congress. The records--photographs, measured drawings, written data--are deposited in the Library of Congress where they are available for inspection and study. Recording by HABS is evidence that a building is worthy of preservation, but it is not a guarantee of protection (half of the 12,000 buildings recorded since 1933 have been destroyed).
c. The Grant-in-Aid Program provides funds on a matching basis to be used for statewide surveys, the preparation of statewide historic preservation plans and the acquisition and restoration of individual properties.
To qualify for aid, properties must be listed in the National Register, be consistent with a statewide historic preservation plan approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and need financial assistance or be owned by the National Trust. Funds are distributed through the State Liaison Officer.
3. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was established in 1965 to administer and coordinate several existing agencies created under various housing acts beginning with the National Housing Act of 1934. Greatly increased by housing and Urban Development Acts almost every year since, HUD programs are directed toward providing all Americans with decent housing in suitable neighborhoods and toward helping urban communities create a healthful environment in which people can live and work.
HUD aids may take the form of grants, guarantees, direct loans, morgage and loan insurance, technical and advisory assistance, or training assistance. A few of the programs are listed here; a more complete list and further information may be found in Catalog of HUD Programs (HUD-214-SP)(1971), available at any HUD area or regional office. (Tucson lies within the jurisdiction of the HUD Los Angeles area office and the San Francisco regional office; see Directory in Appendix 6.)
a. Grants-in-Aid for historic preservation may be made to qualify public bodies for up to two-thirds of the cost of surveys and up to 50 percent of the cost of acquiring, restoring and improving sites, structures, or areas of historic or architectural significance in urban areas in accord with comprehensive local planning. Priority will be given to projects that exhibit vital, adaptive uses that serve the community such as cultural centers, educational and day care facilities, health units and senior citizen centers. The grants have ranged from $10,000 to $100,000.
The Model Cities program, authorized by the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966, was designed to rebuild entire urban areas by combining new innovations by the participating communities with the wide array of existing federal and local programs for a coordinated attack on blight. To qualify for aid, areas must be considered substandard according to federal guidelines. Historic preservation planning and restoration may be considered an integral part of the program.
The Urban Renewal program was established by the Housing Act of 1954 to eliminate or halt urban blight, deterioration and obsolescence and to replace them with new or improved land uses. Besides grants and technical assistance for land acquisition, clearing and rebuilding, the program now encompasses new conservation and rehabilitation measures. These are designed to protect the qualities of older but essentially sound districts, and to repair structures to conform to decent standards. The programs supports historic surveys and preservation planning as well.
Rehabilitation Grants up to $3,500 may be made to qualifying low-income owner-occupants of properties in federally assisted urban renewal areas to bring them up to public standards for decent, safe and sanitary housing.
Other grants are available for demonstration projects to arrest the process of housing abandonment; for programs of concentrated code enforcement; for demolishing unsound structures; for interim assistance before planned urban renewal can be begun; for neighborhood development in urban renewal areas; for relocation of residents; for multipurpose neighborhood facilities; for the acquisition and development of open space; and many others.
Rehabilitation Loans are available which allow owners to repair and improve buildings in qualifying areas. Residential property loans are up to 20 years and $12,000 at three percent interest and with limited exceptions are restricted to low-income applications.
Nonprofit organizations, cooperatives, and limited-profit sponsors providing Senior Citizen Housing may qualify for direct federal, three percent, 50-year loans, covering 100 percent of development costs including costs of land and site improvements, construction, built-in equipment, and architectural, legal, advisory and other fees.
Rent Supplement payments are made to owners of certain private housing projects. The payment amounts to the difference between 25 percent of the tenant's income and the fair market rental for the unit he occupies.
Interest Supplements on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration are paid to mortgagees to enable low-income families to buy a house or to reduce rentals to a level they can afford. The payment can cover up to the difference between the payment required on a market interest rate mortgage and that required if the mortgage bore interest at one percent.
The Department of Transportation, created in 1966, is concerned with ways to provide maximum transportation efficiency and convenience and, at the same time, to reflect appropriate concern for the impact of that transportation system on the physical environment. Within the Department, the Office of Environment and Urban Systems was established to carry out the tenets of Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1968 and the Federal Aid Highway Act of the same year, prohibiting, among other things, the use of recognized historic sites for transportation projects unless no feasible or prudent alternative exists.
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires an environmental statement for major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The impact statement must consider various alternatives to any proposed project, including the alternative of not building the project at all, and it must be available to the public at least 15 days prior to any public hearing. Highway proposals require two hearings, first on the location, and second on the design, to give citizens additional access to the transportation decision-making process.
In addition, federal funds may be withheld from highway construction which unfavorably affects a historic site or district which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Adverse effects include (a) destruction or alteration of all or part of a property, (b) isolation from or alteration of its surrounding environment, (c) or introduction of visual, audible, or atmospheric elements that are out of character with the property and its setting.
The Department of Health, Education and Welfare, created in 1953 and concerned with all forms of public health and welfare including social service, offers through its Office of Education assistance to preservation-related studies.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, established by the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, advises the President and Congress on matters relating to historic preservation. The Council recommends courses of action when National Register properties are threatened by federal highways, dams and other projects.
The American Institute of Architects, a national professional organization chartered in 1857, maintains a Historic Resources Committee which sponsors educational workshops. It is currently exploring the feasibility of a major demonstration projects involving preservation in an old area which will involve other organizations such as the private foundations, preservation organizations and government agencies.
The Arizona State Parks Board, created by the Governer in 1957, is responsible for the coordination of preservation activities in Arizona. Its director acts as State Liaison Officer with the National Park Service, channeling applications for the National Register and for federal grants in historic preservation. The Historic Sites Preservation Officer oversees statewide historic site surveys and the publication of a monthly bulletin. In response to a request from the National Park Service, the Board has prepared an interim plan outlining the state's preservation objectives.
The Arizona Historical Advisory Commission advises the Governer on preservation matters and, through a seven-member sub-committee, acts as the state-level review body requested by the National Park Service. In accordance with the recommendations of a Special Committe on Historic Preservation, the Commission plans to present to the Governor a request for an Arizona Register of Historical Places which would be coordinated with the National Register but would also include such properties as churches and cemetaries.
The Arizona Historical Society, founded by pioneers in 1884, and later authorized by the state legislature, receives both state and private funding. It houses a museum, library and publication facilities and provides professional advisory services, loan exhibits and film presentations. The library contains many early photographs and personal collections, the largest collection of Arizona newspapers extant, and is a valuable source of related research material.
The Urban Renewal Division, through locally planned and executed improvement programs, deals with problems of industrial growth, poor housing, traffic congestion, and decay of downtown areas and neighborhood deterioration. Two programs are in execution, assisted by federal funds: (1) the Pueblo Center Development, and (2) the University Neighborhood Project. In addition, funds are reserved for the Holladay and Manzo Neighborhood Developments, both rehabilitation projects. The Division is currently preparing an application for survey and planning funds for the Barrio Historico District, a preliminary step in securing federal funds for a neighborhood development project.
The Building Inspections Division supervises the enforcement of housing codes and the zoning ordinance, issues permits for new construction and modification of existing buildings, and checks existing buildings in an attempt to eliminate unsafe structures and to encourage renovation.
The Administrative Services Division acts as the administrative office for the department. It assists in the preparation of applications for urban renewal, code enforcement programs and other related forms of federal financial assistance.
The Planning and Zoning Division, a professional staff, is concerned with appropriate land uses, zoning administration, long-range comprehensive planning, federally assisted projects and housing development. It has prepared a plan for preservation and development of Tucson's historic districts and an ordinance for establishing historic zones, which provides for orderly development of future buildings within an existing framework.
The Tucson Model Cities program was developed in response to federal concern over the crisis of the inner city. Its goal is to transform and regenerate blighted neighborhoods in the depressed areas by enlisting the aid and advice of the residents in a coordinated effort at innovative solutions. Private investments and city funds are supplemented by federal grants to develop housing, educational, health, and social services, environmental protection and crime prevention.
The City of Tucson Planning and Zoning Commission is a nine-member advisory group of citizens appointed by the Mayor and Council to serve as a guide to the governing body in reaching decisions relating to the pattern of land use in Tucson. Working closely with the Planning and Zoning Division and with the Pima County Planning Department, the Commission studies programs of public improvements, master planning, neighborhood planning, open space, commercial and industrial land use, transportation, housing, zoning and other features of the future physical and economic development of the community.
The Historical Committee of the City of Tucson, authorized by amendment to the Tucson Code (Chapter 10), is composed of 18 members appointed by the Mayor and Council to confer with and advise them on matters relating to the existing historic structures, sites, areas and districts in the community and to recommend which of these should be designated as historic and what changes should be made to encourage and create historic character in the area.
The Tucson Historic Sites Committee under the auspices of the Arizona Historical Society is involved in determining which local sites are of historic interest. In 1969 it published a report, "Tucson Historic Sites," describing the sites selected at that time.
The Tucson Heritage Foundation was organized in 1964 by a group of citizens recognizing the need for an organization to purchase, restore and administer historic sites. Their efforts resulted in the retention and restoration of the Carrillo-Fremont House within the new Community Center complex. The house has been donated to the Arizona Historical Society.
The Junior League of Tucson, Inc., a women's volunteer service organization, maintains a continuous picture of the community's needs through its Community Research Committee, initiates pilot programs aimed at training its members in active voluntary participation in community affairs and finances its projects with several fund-raising activities. Junior Leagues have been active in historic preservation throughout the country (in Savannah the revolving fund was initiated with money raised by the League). The Tucson League is currently cooperating with the Tucson Art Center in research work on the Center's historic properties.
Los Tucsonenses, a group of Mexican-American citizens, is dedicated to bringing their culture and heritage to the attention of the rest of the community. El Tiradito (the Wishing Shrine) Committee, a subgroup, initiated the nomination of the Shrine to the National Register, which was accepted in November, 1971.
In addition to the wide range of government programs and private citizens' organizations aiding historic preservation rehabilitation, there are a number of procedures that have been implemented successfully elsewhere to make it economically feasible; they might well be adapted to a local situation.
Revolving Funds have been used to help preserve historic districts in Charleston, Savannah, and Pittsburgh. The fund, administered by a non-profit civic group, may be used to buy property and initiate restoration; the property is resold with a restrictive covenant on the deed, or it may be rented, and the proceeds are returned to the revolving fund.
In Tucson, a similar fund is being set up with a $50,000 HUD grant under the Model Cities program. It will be administered by a board of directors consisting of one representative from each of the 12 Model Cities units, 12 members selected from the business community including financial, construction and real estate circles, and 12 residents of the neighborhoods who are not already connected with the Model Cities structure. The fund will be available for loans to qualifying non-profit sponsors of housing developments.
The banking of development rights may also be administered by a revolving fund. Buildings in historic districts often do not use their full allotment of space under the zoning code. For example, a one-story building may occupy an area where a multi-story building is permitted. The unused allowable building space, called excess development rights, becomes reus.
The banking of development rights may also be administered by a revolving fund. Buildings in historic districts often do not use their full allotment of space under the zoning code. For example, a one-story building may occupy an area where a multi-story building is permitted. The unused allowable building space, called excess development rights, becomes reusable and may be sold to owners of properties in designated nearby high density areas. While the city's overall density is not increased (since development of the same amount of space is already premitted), the city gains a greater tax revenue from the increased development, and the established character of the historic district is maintained. The procedure was developed in New York, and the feasibility of its use in other areas of the country is being studied in depth under the auspices of the National Trust with an $75,000 grant from HUD.
The owner retains the use of the interior of the building, and the historical character of the exterior is controlled. Tucson has accepted gifts of easements and deeds of rights of way in similar transactions, but has not yet used the method to safeguard historic buildings. Another form of tax abatement is available under a federal program in which qualifying private investors and developers of low and moderate income housing may be allowed double depreciation on the property. Rents and the rate of return on the investment are controlled within a fixed percentage based on local conditions.
Tax Abatement measures to aid in historic preservation have been devised and enacted both in Puerto Rico and in Maryland. In Puerto Rico, owners who fully renovate historic structures are permitted a full 10 years of freedom from property taxes on the structures, or five years in the case of partial renovations (or rehabilitations). Maryland allows the owner of a historic building to pay taxes only on that fraction of the lot actually occupied by the building. To encourage restoration by private owners and to offset the high cost, a tax rebate based on a percent of the restoration costs may be given. In California, a proposed ordinance will permit a reduced assessed valuation rate for historic properties. Arizona needs legislation to permit this sort of tax relief.