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How are Surveys and Evaluations Different?

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Historic Resource Survey (DPR 523A)

Historic resource surveys are prepared by qualified historic resource professionals in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Surveys identify and describe physical characteristics of the historic resource - a building, structure, site, or object. For example, a survey of a property that contains two historic buildings would describe the following for each building: type (e.g., residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, etc.), approximate date of construction, architectural style, other design aspects, size and dimensions, type and quality of materials, type and approximate date of exterior alterations, and physical condition. Surveys are recorded on State of California Dept. of Parks forms called “DPR 523A” Primary Record and contain a location map and photo. A survey may also indicate the level of historical significance by including the California Historical Resource Status Code if known:

  1.  Listed in the National or California Register
  2. Determined eligible for listing in National or California Register
  3. Appears eligible for listing in National or California Register by Survey
  4. Appears eligible for listing in National or California Register by Other Evaluation
  5. Recognized as historically significant by local government
  6. Determined not eligible at local, state or national level
  7. Not evaluated or needs re-evaluation 

Historic Resource Evaluation (DPR 523B)

Historic resource evaluations are also prepared by a qualified historic resource professional in accordance with California (PDF) and National (PDF) guidelines. For purposes of the Landmarks Commission review and Sonoma County Historic Resource Inventory, the Evaluation may exclude the interior of a resource, unless the Landmarks Commission and/or qualified historic resource professional determines that it is a publicly accessible building (ex: an institutional building such as courthouse, hotel or bank) and its significance and integrity are based on interior features. 

The Historic Resource Evaluation may be a part of a separate Historic Structure Report document, but if so, the results of the Evaluation should also be recorded on State “DPR523B” Building, Structure and Object (BSO) forms; or “DPR523D” District Records forms as appropriate. Evaluations are prepared in conjunction with the historic resource survey Primary Record “DPR523A”, either at the same time or a later date.
An Evaluation includes discussion of: 

  1. Historic Context

    The inclusion of the Historic Context (PDF) is essential in a Historic Resource Evaluation as it provides the basis for the identification, evaluation, registration and treatment related to the historic resource. Historic Context Statements answer questions such as:

    • What facet of history does the property represent?
    • Why is that facet of history significant?
    • Is the property type important illustrating the context?
    • How does the individual property illustrate that facet of history?

    More on Historic Context

  2. Character Defining Features

    Because architectural detail and uniqueness are primary considerations in determining the significance of a resource, and in determining the impact of alterations, Evaluations must include a discussion of "character defining features."

  3. Historic Significance

    The Evaluation provides the basis for the professional’s determination of why the resource may be significant, which is a major consideration in determining its eligibility for listing as a historic resource and the assignment of the appropriate California Historical Resource Status Code (PDF). The Evaluation must discuss the criteria below within the Historic Context previously provided. The four criteria for significance are:

    • Criterion 1
      Associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local or regional history or the cultural heritage of California or the United States.

    • Criterion 2
      Associated with the lives of persons important to local, California or national history.

    • Criterion 3
      Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region or method of construction or represents the work of a master or possesses high artistic values.

    • Criterion 4
      Has yielded, or has the potential to yield, information important to the prehistory or history of the local area, California or the nation.

  4. Historic Integrity

    To find that a resource is eligible for historic listing, in addition to being associated with an important historic context and meeting one or more of the four criteria listed above, an historic resource also must retain sufficient integrity to convey its historic significance. The Evaluation must consider seven aspects of historical integrity. An historic resource does not have to meet all seven aspects of integrity listed below, but it must meet most of them:

    • location
    • design
    • setting
    • materials
    • workmanship
    • feeling
    • association
  5. Degree and Result of Impact if Alterations are Proposed

    If alterations are proposed, the Evaluation also assesses the effect of proposed alterations based on the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, in relation to:

    • character defining features
    • ability to meet the four criteria of significance
    • retention of sufficient integrity to convey its historical significance