RULE §17.2 Review of Work on County Courthouses


Published: 2015

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Texas Government Code, Chapter 442, §442.008, requires
that the Texas Historical Commission review changes made to courthouse
structures.
  (1) Definitions. The following words and terms, when
used in this section, shall have the following meaning, unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise.
    (A) Demolish--To remove, in whole or part. Demolition
of historical or architectural integrity includes removal of historic
architectural materials such as, but not limited to, materials in
the following categories: site work, concrete, masonry, metals, carpentry,
thermal and moisture protection, doors and windows, finishes, specialties,
equipment, furnishings, special construction, conveying systems, mechanical
and electrical.
    (B) Sell--To give up (property) to another for money
or other valuable consideration; this includes giving the property
to avoid maintenance, repair, etc.
    (C) Lease--To let a contract by which one conveys real
estate, equipment, or facilities for a specified term and for a specified
rent.
    (D) Damage--To alter, in whole or part. Damage to historical
or architectural integrity includes alterations of structural elements,
decorative details, fixtures, and other material.
    (E) Integrity--Refers to the physical condition and
therefore the capacity of the resource to convey a sense of time and
place or historic identity. Integrity is a quality that applies to
location, design, setting, materials, and workmanship. It refers to
the clarity of the historic identity possessed by a resource. In terms
of architectural design, to have integrity means that a building still
possesses much of its mass, scale, decoration, and so on, of either
the period in which it was conceived and built, or the period in which
it was adapted to a later style which has validity in its own rights
as an expression of historical character or development. The question
of whether or not a building possesses integrity is a question of
the building's retention of sufficient fabric to be identifiable as
a historic resource. For a building to possess integrity, its principal
features must be sufficiently intact for its historic identity to
be apparent. A building that is significant because of its historic
association(s) must retain sufficient physical integrity to convey
such association(s).
    (F) Courthouse--The principal building(s) which houses
county government offices and courts and its (their) surrounding site(s)
(typically the courthouse square).
    (G) Ordinary maintenance and repairs--Work performed
to architectural or site materials which does not cause removal or
alteration or concealment of that material.
  (2) Procedure.
    (A) Notice from the county to the commission. At least
six months prior to the proposed work on a county courthouse, a letter
from the county judge briefly describing the project should be submitted
to the commission, along with construction documents, sketches or
drawings which adequately describe the full scope of project work
and photographs of the areas affected by the proposed changes.
    (B) The commission will consider the opinions of interested
parties with regard to the preservation of the courthouse per Texas
Government Code, §442.008(b).
    (C) Notice from the commission to the commissioners
court of the county. Written notice of the commission's determination
regarding the historical significance of a courthouse for which work
is proposed shall include comments pursuant to a review of the proposed
work by the commission. Comments shall be made based on the Secretary
of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties
1992 or latest edition, which are summarized in clauses (i) - (iii)
of this subparagraph:
      (i) Definitions for historic preservation project treatment.

        (I) Preservation is defined as the act or process of
applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity,
and materials of an historic property. Work, including preliminary
measures to protect and stabilize the property, generally focuses
upon the ongoing maintenance and repair of historic materials and
features rather than extensive replacement and new construction. New
exterior additions are not within the scope of this treatment; however,
the limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and
plumbing systems and other code-required work to make properties functional
is appropriate within a preservation project.
        (II) Rehabilitation is defined as the act or process
of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair,
alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features
which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values.
        (III) Restoration is defined as the act or process
of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property
as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal
of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of
missing features from the restoration period. The limited and sensitive
upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other
code-required work to make properties functional is appropriate within
a restoration project.
        (IV) Reconstruction is defined as the act or process
of depicting, by means of new construction, the form features, and
detailing of a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure,
or object for the purpose of replicating its appearance at a specific
period of time and in its historic location.
      (ii) General standards for historic preservation projects.

        (I) A property shall be used as it was historically,
or be given a new use that maximizes the retention of distinctive
materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships. Where a treatment
and use have not been identified, a property shall be protected and,
if necessary, stabilized until additional work may be undertaken.
        (II) The historic character of a property shall be
retained and preserved. The replacement of intact or repairable historic
materials or alteration of features, spaces, and spatial relationships
that characterize a property shall be avoided.
        (III) Each property shall be recognized as a physical
record of its time, place and use. Work needed to stabilize, consolidate,
and conserve existing historic materials and features shall be physically
and visually compatible, identifiable upon close inspection, and properly
documented for future research.
        (IV) Changes to a property that have acquired historic
significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.
        (V) Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and
construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize
a property shall be preserved.
        (VI) The existing condition of historic features shall
be evaluated to determine the appropriate level of intervention needed.
Where the severity of deterioration requires repair or limited replacement
of a distinctive feature, the new material shall match the old in
composition, design, color, and texture.
        (VII) Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate,
shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments
that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used.
        (VIII) Archeological resources shall be protected and
preserved in place to the extent possible. If such resources must
be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
      (iii) Specific standards for historic preservation
projects. In conjunction with the eight general standards listed in
clause (ii)(I) - (VIII) of this subparagraph, specific standards are
to be used for each treatment type.
        (I) Standards for rehabilitation.
          (-a-) A property shall be used as it was historically
or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive
materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships.
          (-b-) The historic character of a property shall be
retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration
of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize a
property shall be avoided.
          (-c-) Each property shall be recognized as a physical
record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense
of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or
elements from other historic properties, shall not be undertaken.
          (-d-) Changes to a property that have acquired historic
significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.
          (-e-) Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and
construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize
a property shall be preserved.
          (-f-) Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired
rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires
replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match
the old in design, color, texture, and where possible, materials,
replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary
and physical evidence.
          (-g-) Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate,
shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments
that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used.
          (-h-) Archeological resources shall be protected and
preserved in place to the extent possible. If such resources must
be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
          (-i-) New additions, exterior alterations, or related
new construction shall not destroy historic materials, features, and
spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work
shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with
the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and
massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.
          (-j-) New additions and adjacent or related new construction
shall be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future,
the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its
environment would be unimpaired.
        (II) Standards for restoration.
          (-a-) A property shall be used as it was historically
or be given a new use which reflects the property's restoration period.
          (-b-) Materials and features from the restoration period
shall be retained and preserved. The removal of materials or alteration
of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize the
period shall not be undertaken.
          (-c-) Each property shall be recognized as a physical
record of its time, place and use. Work needed to stabilize, consolidate
and conserve materials and features, from the restoration shall be
physically and visually compatible, identifiable upon close inspection,
and properly documented for future research.
          (-d-) Materials, features, spaces, and finishes that
characterize other historical periods shall be documented prior to
their alteration or removal.
          (-e-) Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and
construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize
the restoration period shall be preserved.
          (-f-) Deteriorated features from the restoration period
shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration
requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall
match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible, materials.

          (-g-) Replacement of missing features from the restoration
period shall be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.
A false sense of history shall not be created by adding conjectural
features, features from other properties, or by combining features
that never existed together historically.
          (-h-) Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate,
shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments
that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used.
          (-i-) Archeological resources affected by a project
shall be protected and preserved in place to the extent possible.
If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be
undertaken.
          (-j-) Designs that were never executed historically
shall not be constructed.
        (III) Standards for reconstruction.
          (-a-) Reconstruction shall be used to depict vanished
or non-surviving portions of a property when documentary and physical
evidence is available to permit accurate reconstruction with minimal
conjecture, and such reconstruction is essential to the public understanding
of the property.
          (-b-) Reconstruction of a landscape, building, structure,
or object in its historic location shall be preceded by a thorough
archeological investigation to identify and evaluate those features
and artifacts which are essential to an accurate reconstruction. If
such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.

          (-c-) Reconstruction shall include measures to preserve
any remaining historic materials, features, and spatial relationships.
          (-d-) Reconstruction shall be based on the accurate
duplication of historic features and elements substantiated by documentary
or physical evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability
of different features from other historic properties. A reconstructed
property shall re-create the appearance of the non-surviving historic
property in materials, design, color, and texture.
          (-e-) A reconstruction shall be clearly identified
as a contemporary re-creation.
Cont'd...