Under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Section 106 portion has the most impact on the day-to-day operations of the historic preservation planning office. Section 106 requires federal agencies to assess the impact of their undertakings on historic resources. The Section 106 process requires a review administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).
Under Section 106 when the city plans to use federal funds for a project, it must assess the impact of the project. Generally, this comes into play in St. Joseph when the decision is taken to demolish or repair a structure using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. When a project using federal funds seems likely, the staff fills out a Section 106 Information form. The form and supporting documents are sent to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and the Native American Tribes.
The purpose of the Section 106 Information Form is to determine if the demolition of the property will have an adverse effect. Adverse effects are those which diminish characteristics qualifying a property for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. If it is determined, the demolition will result in an adverse effect the city will be required to mitigate the loss.
If an adverse effect determination has been made, ACHP will be notified and a meeting of concerned parties is held to determine a mitigation strategy. ACHP may or may not choose to participate in the determination of a mitigation, but they must be kept informed as the process moves to its conclusion. The purpose of the mitigation is to offset the loss of the historic structure. Mitigations can include such things as: detailed photographic documentation of the structure; education and outreach programs; or other undertakings which will help to further historic preservation in the city.
Once the mitigation strategy is agreed upon, city staff drafts a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which goes through a series of drafts until a form acceptable to the city and SHPO, with input from legal departments on both sides, is created. The city then must complete the requirements of the MOA in the time frame allotted.