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Historic Properties and Sites Review

A. Legal Authority

  • Presidential Executive Order 11593
  • National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, Public Law 89-665; 16 U.S.C., 470 et seq.
  • Chapter 6E, HRS, Historic Preservation
  • Title 13, Subtitle 13, Chapters 275 -284 HAR , Rules Governing Procedures for Historic Preservation Review for Governmental Projects Covered Under Sections 6E-7 and 6E-8, HRS


B. Purpose

The purpose of the historic places and sites review is to protect buildings, structures, objects, districts, areas, and sites, including underwater sites that are significant to the history, architecture, archaeology, or culture of the state, its communities or the nation. The review procedure is designed to provide the state adequate advance notice to assess the project prior to any construction, alteration or improvement being undertaken that may affect a historic property.

C. Applicability to Aquaculture

Before any agency or officer of the state, or counties, approves any project involving a permit, license, certificate, land use change, subdivision or other entitlement for use, which may affect a historic property, the agency shall advise the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) in the DLNR and allow the SHPD an opportunity to review the potential effects of the proposed project, if any, on historic properties or burial sites. In particular, before any construction alteration, disposition or improvement on private land which could affect a property on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places, the landowner shall notify the SHPD and allow an opportunity for review. The activity cannot commence until SHPD has concurred or 90 days have passed. Within 90 days, SHPD shall concur with the project or begin condemnation proceedings, or undertake to record, preserve and salvage any historical information deemed necessary to preserve Hawaiian history.

Persons interested in restoring fishponds should contact SHPD early in the planning process. Since the ponds were important food production features of early Hawaiian communities and are considered cultural treasures, they are likely to be surrounded by 52 significant archeological and cultural sites. Moreover, accurate restoration of a Hawaiian fishpond will need to be closely coordinated with SHPD.

Importantly, it is unlawful to take, destroy, or alter any historic property located on lands owned or controlled by the state, except as permitted by DLNR. Projects by state agencies shall not commence until SHPD concurs with the action. If SHPD does not concur within 90 days, the agency may apply to the Governor for a review and final decision.

For large projects, SHPD recommends applicants instigate a historic site review, also called an archeological assessment, of property to determine if unrecorded historic sites may be present, particularly if there are known sites in the vicinity (permits for archeological work are issued under §13-282, HAR). SHPD requires that archeological survey consultants be qualified for this task (see §13-281, HAR). If sites are found and the applicant decides to continue with the project, then SHPD may require preparation of a historic site preservation plan to avoid, minimize, or mitigate effects on historic properties (§13-276-280, HAR). Survey and plans are submitted to SHPD for review, comment and approval for a fee.

The respective state and federal laws and regulations do not necessarily prohibit alteration or destruction of designated historic places, but every effort is made by SHPD to preserve and protect such resources to the extent permissible by law. Projects affecting historic properties, but judged to be in the best interests of the public, or projects that produce adverse effects to landowners or other affected parties, may be allowed to proceed (following SHPD review), provided the state has the opportunity to record, retrieve, or salvage historical data, information, or artifacts which would be otherwise lost.

D. Administering Agency

The Historic Site Review requirement is administered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

State Historic Preservation Division
Department of Land and Natural Resources
State of Hawaii
601 Kamokila Blvd., No. 555
Honolulu, Hawaii 96707
Phone: 808-692-8015
Fax: 808-692-8020
Web site:

E. Information Requirements

An applicant or agency must file a notice of their intention to perform any action 53 which may impact an historic site 90 days prior to the proposed project start date. The applicant must make clear the nature of the proposed action and the precise location of such activities with respect to any historic site. A site plan and scale drawings describing the proposed action are generally required. A survey by a qualified archeologist may also be required if sites are suspected but not evident. Actions affecting historic sites on the National Register or Hawaii Resister will also require the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and if determined to be necessary an Environmental Impact Statement (see state EIS section). Once a site is surveyed and it is determined that significant historic sites will be impacted, then the applicant must work with SHPD to develop one of several approaches to avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating adverse impacts. Options include developing one or more of the following: a preservation plan, a monitoring plan and/or an archeological data recovery plan. Once these documents are available, SHPD will review and approve the plan or plans for implementation.

F. Public Participation

There is no requirement for a public hearing in connection with a Historic Site Review. However, if a site mitigation plan is required then SHPD will post on its web site that the plan has been received and interested parties may comment. Projects affecting a designated historic property will frequently require an EIS and may entail a public hearing for the EIS.

G. Process Time

The processing time for a Historic Properties and Site Review is approximately 180 days from the date SHPD is officially notified. If a historic site is present and the applicant must develop plans to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts, the general process is described below. Time required will vary with the scope and complexity of the historic site issues encountered.

H. Sequence of Filing

By law, a permit, license, certificate, land use change, subdivision or other entitlement for use, which may affect a historic property may not be approved without allowing SHPD the opportunity to comment. It is therefore highly advisable that SHPD be consulted early on in the planning process regarding any known or suspected historic sites to ensure the prompt processing of applicable permits.

I. Cost

The cost associated with obtaining the necessary information for a SHPD review will vary depending upon the scope and nature of the historic sites affected. An archeological reconnaissance survey, if required, can be costly, depending on the size and scope of the proposed project. SHPD charges fees established by rule for all its document review actions. Below is a listing of the specific actions and the cost for staff review of a particular type of document, be it an assessment or survey of a site or a plan to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts of a project moving forward.

  • Archeological Assessment – $50 fee;
  • Archeological Inventory Survey Plan – $150 fee;
  • Archeological, Architectural or Ethnographic Survey Report – $450 fee;
  • Preservation Plan – $150 fee;
  • Monitoring Plan – $25 fee;
  • Archeological Data Recovery Plan – $150 fee;
  • Burial Treatment Plan – $250 fee;
  • Archeological Monitoring Report – $100 fee;
  • Archeological Data Recovery Report – $450 fee;
  • Ethnographic Documentation Report – $450 fee;
  • Burial Disinterment Report – $25 fee;
  • Osteological Analysis Report – $50 fee.
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Department of Agriculture – Aquaculture and Livestock Services
99-941 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaii 96701-5602
Phone: 808-483-7130
Fax: 808-483-7110
Web site:


Pacific Region Aquaculture and Coastal Resource Hub
2525 Correa Road, HIG 238
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: (808) 956-7031

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