Legal

Proposed Tower Threatens Palisades

Posted on: April 18th, 2014 by Will Cook 1 Comment

 

Palisades – Aerial View

Aerial view of the Palisades looking north.| Courtesy of Protect the Palisades

Preservationists often rely on local height ordinances and federal designations as a first line of defense in the protection of historic resources. Sometimes these legal mechanisms work. However, this reliance is sometimes misplaced, especially when local governments grant zoning variances and refuse to consider the effect of these variances on adjacent historic resources, even if the resource is nationally significant. Such is the threat facing the pristine cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades, a National Historic Landmark and National Natural Monument that have been successfully preserved for more than a century.

Recognizing the threat posed to the integrity of the Palisades National Historic Landmark by a proposed office tower, the National Trust recently joined forces with a coalition of preservation and conservation groups in filing an amicus curiae brief in the New Jersey Court of Appeals on April 4.1 The coalition includes the Preservation League of New York State, among others. A copy of the amicus brief is available here.... Read More →

About Will Cook

Will Cook is an associate general counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Standing Law: Keeping the Courthouse Doors Open to Preservation Issues

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by Sharee Williamson

 

Blair Mountain in West Virginia, site of the largest armed labor conflict in U.S. history, with the potential to be developed as a heritage tourism destination, would be obliterated by strip mining. | Credit: Harvard Ayers

Blair Mountain in West Virginia, site of the largest armed labor conflict in U.S. history, with the potential to be developed as a heritage tourism destination, would be obliterated by strip mining. | Credit: Harvard Ayers

Over the past few decades, standing decisions have increasingly hindered the ability to bring preservation issues into court. The National Trust has been involved in a number of standing cases over the years, including the recent state court litigation regarding cruise ship impacts in Charleston, S.C., and a case currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia regarding the de-listing of Blair Mountain from the National Register.

Blair Mountain in West Virginia served as the site of an unprecedented battle between American coal miners and mine owners in the 1920s. Today, the site is threatened by mountaintop removal mining. This method of mining would destroy valuable historic artifacts that have never been adequately surveyed or studied, as well as obliterate the landscape where the battle took place. In recognition of the site’s national significance, the National Park Service (NPS) listed Blair Mountain on the National Register of Historic Places, but then de-listed it months later, after a re-count of property owner objections was made at the urging of mining interests. The National Register listing had given the site an important increase in recognition and protection, because of the fact that federal coal mining laws are unique in providing additional protection to National Register-listed sites, as opposed to sites that are merely eligible for the National Register. Thus, the decision to de-list the property made it vulnerable again.... Read More →

About Sharee Williamson

Sharee Williamson is an Associate General Counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

View of the C&O Canal |  Credit:  on Flickr via Creative Commons

View of the C&O Canal | Credit: on Flickr via Creative Commons

For almost 100 years in the 19th and early 20th century, the C&O Canal provided an important transportation route along the Potomac River. Today, almost 1,300 historic structures remain within the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, including many of the lockhouses that controlled the flow of commerce along the approximately 185-mile route. The size of the park, however, and the number of historic resources located within present a maintenance challenge for the Park Service.

Federal funding support for the Park Service has not kept pace with the maintenance needs over the years, and as a result the maintenance backlog across the entire National Park System has grown. Current estimates from the Park Service set the total backlog amount as $11.5 billion with $4.5 billion attributable to the unmet needs of cultural and historic resources alone. In the face of decreased federal funding, this backlog amount continues to grow.

Yet innovative programs and approaches are working to make a dent in the backlog.

... Read More →

About Sharee Williamson

Sharee Williamson is an Associate General Counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.