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RULE §12.9Application Requirements and Considerations

(a) A county or municipality that owns a historic courthouse may apply to the commission for a grant or loan for a historic courthouse project. The application must include:

  (1) the address of the courthouse;

  (2) a statement of the historic designations that the courthouse has or is likely to receive;

  (3) a statement of the amount of money that the county or municipality commits to contribute to the project;

  (4) a statement of previous county or municipal monies spent on planning which the county or municipality may be allowed as credit toward their match;

  (5) a statement of whether the courthouse is currently functioning as a courthouse or other public facility;

  (6) copies of any plans, including the required master preservation plan or construction plans and specifications, that the county or municipality may have for the project unless the commission already has these plans on file;

  (7) copies of existing deed covenants, restrictions or easements held by the commission or other preservation organizations;

  (8) statements of support from local officials and community leaders;

  (9) the current cost estimate of the proposed project; and

  (10) any other information that the commission may require.

(b) The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program will be a competitive process, with applications evaluated and grants awarded based on the factors provided in this section, including the amount of program money for grants.

  (1) Funding requests may be reduced by the commission to reflect ineligible project costs or smaller scopes or phases of work such as planning for the construction work.

  (2) The commission may adjust the amount of a previously awarded grant up and/or down based on the changing conditions of the property and the program.

(c) In considering whether to grant an application, the commission will assign weights to and consider each of the following factors:

  (1) the status of the building as a functioning courthouse;

  (2) the age of the courthouse;

  (3) the degree of endangerment;

  (4) whether the courthouse is subject to a current conservation easement or covenant held by the commission;

  (5) whether the proposal is in conformance with the approved master plan and addresses the current condition and needs of the property in proper sequence;

  (6) whether the county or municipality agrees to place/extend a preservation easement/covenant and/or deed restriction as part of the grant process;

  (7) the importance of the building within the context of an architectural style;

  (8) whether the proposal addresses and remedies former inappropriate changes;

  (9) the historic significance of the courthouse, as defined by 36 CFR §60.4, and National Park Service Bulletin 15, "How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation;"

  (10) the degree of surviving integrity of original design and materials;

  (11) if a county or municipality submits completed and commission-approved construction plans and specifications for proposed work at the time of the application, provided the plans and specifications comply with the previously approved master plan;

  (12) the use of the building as a courthouse after the project;

  (13) the county's or municipality's provision of a match greater than 15% of the grant request;

  (14) the degree to which the proposal achieves a fully restored county courthouse;

  (15) the status of the courthouse in terms of state and local historical designations that are in place;

  (16) the county or municipal government's provision of preservation incentives and support of the county historical commission and other county-wide preservation efforts;

  (17) the location of the county in a region with few awarded courthouse grant applications;

  (18) the existence of a plan for physically protecting county records during the restoration and afterwards, as well as an assessment of current and future space needs and public accessibility for such records, if county-owned;

  (19) the existence of a strong history of compliance with the state courthouse law (Texas Government Code, §442.008 and the Antiquities Code of Texas, Texas Natural Resources Code Chapter 191);

  (20) the effort to protect and enhance surrounding historic resources;

  (21) the evidence of community support and county or municipality commitment to protection;

  (22) the applicant's local funding capacity as measured by the total taxable value of properties in the jurisdiction; and

  (23) the number of prior cycles in which a county has applied for and not received a full restoration grant.

(d) Other Considerations.

  (1) The factors noted in subsection (c) of this section, and any additional ones determined necessary by the commission, will be published prior to each individual grant round as part of the formal procedures for the round.

  (2) The commission may distribute a portion of the funds available for each grant period to be used for specific purposes on an expedited basis and/or granted through different criteria than other funds. Such specific purposes may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    (A) Emergency repairs necessary to address or prevent catastrophic damage to the courthouse; or

    (B) Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act or other state or federally mandated repairs or modifications; or

    (C) Previously awarded projects that require additional funding to accomplish the intended goals of the project; or

    (D) Updates to approved courthouse preservation master plans.

  (3) Any such distribution to a specific purpose or change in criteria must be decided by a vote of the commission and advertised to the potential grantees prior to the date for the submission of applications.

(e) As a condition for a county or municipality to receive money under the courthouse fund, the commission may require creation of a conservation easement on the property, and may require creation of other appropriate covenants in favor of the state. The highest preference will be given to counties agreeing to the above referenced easements or covenants at the time of application.

(f) The commission shall provide oversight of historic courthouse projects.

  (1) The commission may make periodic inspections of the projects during construction and/or upon and following completion to ensure compliance with program rules and procedures.

  (2) The commission may require periodic reports to ensure compliance with program rules and procedures and as a prerequisite to disbursement of grant or loan funds.

  (3) The commission may adopt additional procedures to ensure program compliance.

Source Note: The provisions of this §12.9 adopted to be effective October 31, 1999, 24 TexReg 9277; amended to be effective October 7, 2001, 26 TexReg 7529; amended to be effective July 2, 2006, 31 TexReg 5097; amended to be effective March 6, 2014, 39 TexReg 1357; amended to be effective November 30, 2015, 40 TexReg 8641; amended to be effective January 2, 2018, 42 TexReg 7678; amended to be effective November 28, 2018, 43 TexReg 7670; amended to be effective November 23, 2023, 48 TexReg 6739

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