Technical Services Division

The Technical Services Division staff provide a wide range of technical preservation assistance to public agencies, communities, and the public.

Review and Compliance Frequently Asked Questions

Historic Preservation Certification

The federal tax incentive program* has encouraged private investment and rehabilitation of historic properties and has been particularly valuable to Massachusetts. This program allows owners of National Register buildings in commercial, industrial, or rental residential uses to qualify for a 20 percent Investment Tax Credit, in effect a 20 percent rebate, based on rehabilitation costs. These credits help pay for the unique costs associated with rehabilitations of historic properties and have convinced otherwise skeptical investors of the value of historic buildings.

The National Park Service certifies rehabilitation, and the MHC Technical Services staff advises and assists owners during the application and review process. This assistance has inspired tremendous interest in the program in Massachusetts and has ensured a consistently high rate of approvals. Applications should be submitted to MHC before rehabilitation work begins in order to receive the most useful advice and best results.

*(Tax Reform Act of 1986)

Environmental Review and Public Planning

As the State Historic Preservation Office, the MHC acts as liaison to federal, state, and local development agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency. The MHC is authorized by state and federal law* to review and comment on certain state and federally licensed, permitted, or funded projects to determine whether or not the proposed project will have an impact on historic or prehistoric properties. This review process generally begins during the early stage of the planning process when the federal or state agency contacts the MHC. If it is determined that the project poses a threat to a historic property within the proposed project impact area, then project proponents and the MHC jointly explore alternatives to eliminate, minimize, or mitigate any damaging effects. MHC's environmental review programs have been successful in resolving historic preservation disputes.
Archaeological excavations on public lands are overseen by the State Archaeologist**, whose permits ensure that these important resources are properly conserved. The State Archaeologist also reviews development projects that affect archaeological properties and negotiates solutions to protect the sites.

*(NHPA Section 106; 36 CFR 800)

**(MGL Ch. 9 Sections 26-27C, as amended; 950 CMR 71.00, 950 CMR 70.00)