FEMA's 'Phased Approach' To Historic Preservation Review Is OK

Friday, February 23, 2018 5:21 am
March 2018 - Volume 46 Number 3

FEMA properly based its National Historic Preservation Act review on the proposed location of replacement facilities---and not the original location of facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Facts: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita severely damaged Holy Cross College, Inc. (Holy Cross) in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Holy Cross applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance funds to build a new campus in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. The site of the new campus had previously been the site of Cabrini Church and the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and Redeemer School (Cabrini School). Cabrini Church was a historic property, eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Properties. However, both Cabrini Church and Cabrini School were severely damaged by the two hurricanes. Nevertheless, both FEMA and Holy Cross had to comply with the §106 review process under the National Historic Preservation Act (the Act) before FEMA-funded work could begin.

As part of the section 106 review process, FEMA defined the "area of potential effects" (APE) as Cabrini Church and Cabrini School, but not the original Holy Cross site in the Lower Ninth Ward. Friends of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church (Friends) and t[..]