Case Study: Georgia
Codified at Georgia Code §§ 12-3-55, the state's law directs "heads of all state agencies" to "assume responsibility for the preservation of historic properties" under their ownership. In addition, before "acquiring, constructing, or leasing buildings for purposes of carrying out agency responsibilities," each state agency is required to "use, to the maximum extent, and as operationally appropriate and economically feasible, historic properties available to the agency."
Georgia's law establishes a specific timetable for establishing preservation programs within each agency, requiring that by July 1, 2000, each agency shall have in place "a preservation program for the identification, evaluation, and nomination of historic properties to the Georgia Register of Historic Places to further protection of such historic properties." Under each agency program, historic properties must be "managed and maintained in a way that considers the preservation of their historic, archaeological, architectural and cultural values" and "give [ ] special consideration to the preservation of such values in the case of properties designated as having historic significance to this state." All agency preservation activities are to be "carried out in consultation with other federal, state, and local agencies, Native American tribes, and the private sector."
Specifically, each agency program must include a process for the identification and evaluation of historic properties as well as the development and implementation of agreements "regarding the means by [which] such adverse effects on such properties will be considered." Prior to the approval of any undertaking affecting National Historic Landmarks, agency heads are also required, "to the maximum extent possible, undertake such planning and actions as may be necessary to minimize harm to such landmark and shall afford the director an opportunity to comment on the undertaking." Agencies are also required to ensure that no loans, permits, licenses or other form of assistance is provided to applicants who have "intentionally and adversely affected a historic property" unless special circumstances exist. However, the law explicitly provides that it does not create "any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the State of Georgia."
Consistent with efforts at the federal level, Georgia's preservation law also directs agencies to "utilize and maintain, wherever operationally appropriate and economically prudent, historic properties and districts, especially those located in central business areas" and to "give first consideration to historic properties in historic districts" when locating state facilities. In addition, state agencies are required to remove obstacles or minimize regulatory impediments to accomplishing these goals.