Review of State and National Historic Properties
Minnesota law requires that an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) be completed before a Responsible Government Unit (RGU) may issue any permits for the destruction, in whole or part, or the moving of certain historic properties which are listed on the State and/or National Registers of Historic Places and are not locally designated. Listed properties may include individual sites, districts (grouping of properties), objects and even some landscapes. (Source: Minnesota Statutes 116D.04 and Minnesota Rule 4410.4300 Subp. 31)
The City of Saint Paul, as the acting Responsible Government Unit, is tasked with the review of proposals under Minnesota state law.
The Environmental Assessment Worksheet requirement applies to approximately 1,800 state and/or nationally designated properties in Saint Paul.
An Environmental Assessment Worksheet is not required for locally designated properties.
Is My Property in a State or National Register Historic District or Site?
Please see the map and/or list of addresses below in order to determine if your property falls within a State and/or National Register Historic District or individual site.
- Map of the boundaries of the State and National Historic Districts.
- List of properties which are located in the State and/or National Historic Districts.
- Map of individually designated properties in Saint Paul to which the EAW provision applies.
- List of individually designated properties in Saint Paul to which the EAW provision applies.
The following definitions are utilized in the Environmental Assessment Worksheet determination process:
DESTRUCTION/PARTIAL DESTRUCTION:The whole destruction of any structure or the removal of components that would have an adverse impact on the ability of the property to exist as it had historically by the elimination of features that characterize the architectural style or design of the building, structure or site. (It is assumed that destruction and demolition are synonyms.)
PRINCIPAL ELEVATION: Straight-on view of the building or structure from the public street. Shows features such as entry doors, windows, the front porch and any items that protrude from the home, such as side porches, wing additions, bays or chimneys. Evaluations discussed in this process are based on National Register of Historic Places Criterion C: Those that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction.
Environmental Assessment Worksheet Determination Process
The Heritage Preservation Commission has adopted a policy and process (HP Policy #17-003) in coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office to facilitate a faster review of proposals occurring in the State and National Register Historic Districts to meet the requirements from the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB).
An Environmental Assessment Worksheet is only required of properties who meet both the determination of threshold and the determination of property status.
DETERMINATION OF THRESHOLD
The first step is for Heritage Preservation staff to determine if your proposal meets the threshold of destruction or partial destruction (as defined above) and requires further review. A Request for Determination of Threshold must be submitted to initiate the review.
Proposal types that generally do meet the threshold of destruction include:
- Removal of principal elevation component that alters the envelope of the structure built within the period of significance (1854-1930). Including, but not limited to porch, portico, turret, balcony, dormers, bay, principal entry, oriel window, palladian window, bow window, wheel window, lanterns, cupolas, etc.
- Removal of principal elevation component of a particular architectural style from a structure built within the period of significance (1854-1930). Including, but not limited to columns, detailed trim work, entablature features, bargeboard, gauged or corbeled brick work, chimney pots, pilasters, finials, ridge caps, trim work, timbering, etc.
- Structures built within the period of significance (1854-1930)
Proposal types that generally do not meet the threshold include:
- The re-establishment of historic features from the period of significance that are supported through physical or documented evidence.
- Structures built after the period of significance (after 1930)
- Removal of:
- Secondary elevation porches or bays (only if they do not affect the principal elevation and are not visible from the public street)
- Later additions which are unsuitable or not genuine to the original architecture
- Skylights or solar
For staff to make a determination, you must submit the required form as well as:
- Scaled and dimensioned plans of the proposed project
- Photographs of all elevations, architectural features, and areas affected by the proposed work
- Documentation supporting date of construction of the affected property
If Heritage Preservation staff determines the proposal does not meet the threshold, you will be notified and may continue the permitting process with the Department of Safety and Inspections.
If staff determines the proposal meets the threshold, you will be notified and asked to submit for a Determination of Property Status.
DETERMINATION OF PROPERTY STATUS
Since State and National Register Historic Districts in Saint Paul were established before the requirement of classifying properties as “contributing” or “non-contributing” to the character of the district, Heritage Preservation staff must make a determination on the classification of the property.
Heritage Preservation staff will determine the contributing status of a property based on the following:
- Structures built during the period of significance (1854-1930).
- Structures which retain architectural integrity.
- Structures specifically listed in the State or National nominations
- The professional discretion of Heritage Preservation staff as to the determination classification.
Heritage Preservation staff will determine the non-contributing status of a property based on the following:
- Structures built after 1930.
- Structures which have lost integrity.
- Structures which lack distinct features of an architectural style.
- Emergency situations and/or orders.
- The professional discretion of HP staff as to the determination classification. Structures which appear to be non-contributing will be released for permit issuance
The criterion for determining contributing or non-contributing status was defined with the State Historic Preservation Office.
In order for Heritage Preservation staff to make a timely determination, a report shall be submitted which addresses the following:
- A summary of the history of the construction of the structure(s) on the site. This should include dates of construction, who they were constructed by, a detailed description of its architectural style and features, and any historic plans or documentation associated with it. If an architect, builder, or engineer is noted in any of the documentation, a summary of their notable work or contributions should be included.
- Supplemental Documents: Copies of historic photographs, building plans, permit index cards, building permits, etc. that support the construction summary.
- An overall history of the building and its uses. Describe how the building is currently being used, as well as previous historic uses.
- A description of the overall condition of the building. Any specific structural or technical issues need to be substantiated by a professional with documented expertise in historic structures. A professional with documented expertise is defined as written documentation, accreditation or licensure that characterizes a person as conforming to the technical or educational standard of a particular professional expertise for the particular work type that is being proposed.
- Supplemental Documents: Photos and/or professional reports that support the building condition summary provided.
- A brief explanation of the purpose of the proposed project.
The above report requirements are based on the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) standards for fulfilling Question #14 of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet.
If Heritage Preservation staff determines that the property is non-contributing, you will be notified and may continue with the permitting process with the Department of Safety and Inspections [link].
If Heritage Preservation staff determine that the property is contributing, an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) is required. The process for the EAW can be found on the Environmental Quality Board website at eqb.state.mn.us/content/eaw-process.
Appeals of the determination of Heritage Preservation staff are filed through the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Please note that the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has 30 days to review. If the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) still determines your property to be contributing upon further review, you may appeal to the Keeper of the National Register, a federal entity. Heritage Preservation staff can assist with information on how to appeal.
- Ramsey County Historical Society
- Photographs, building permits, building permit index cards, maps, and more
- Northwest Architectural Archives
- Architectural plans and information on architects
- Minnesota Historical Society
- Photographs and other documentation
- Minnesota Historical Society Preservation Specialists Directory
- Historic consultants qualified to write the property determination report, individuals and firms that can conduct technical analysis of historic structures.