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Last Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 11:30 AM

Exhibit 7.1 Tips on Completing DPR 523 Forms

Exhibit 7.1 PDF version here.

Exhibit 7.1: Tips on Completing DPR 523 Forms

(Observations by a couple of former SHPO Section 106 Reviewers)

This information is intended to convey how a reviewer might ask to see information presented.

Primary Record: P1 and P2, Building Structure & Object (BSO) form B2


The name, if there is one, and the address are the most important identifiers. When there is no street address, use intersections or distances from a landmark, with directional notations (e.g., southeast corner of Mooney and Bridges; west side of Sacco, 200 yards north of Vanzetti).


BSO B5: Standard terminology is best, rather than coining new names or using ones that few would recognize. If a new term is coined, include a definition of the term. Avoid terms like Traditional, None or N/A as styles.

P3a: the verbal description should complete the picture shown in the photo. Point out notable features, describe what isn’t visible or easily seen, and list alterations and their extent. An architectural essay on the building can be educational, but unless the building is likely to be eligible under National Register Criterion C, the description can be fairly basic. The focus should be on the elements needed for evaluation, such as any architectural values, and the integrity of the property and its setting.

Primary record/continuation sheets

Photos: For many properties, a good, clear photo, not too close or too far away, showing the property in its setting, is the single most important element of the documentation. Providing more than one photo can be helpful. If it is impossible to get a good photo, note the problem, and expand the description to compensate as much as possible.

P6: Try for a factual date; appearances can be deceptive and estimates subject to dispute.

B6: List alterations here, rather than referring back to P3a. It slows a review down to have to go back and re-read the description looking for alterations. Just list them (aluminum windows, new doorbell).

B8: List related features rather than referring to P3a. Just list them (barn, garage, reflect pool).

BSO Form


B10: Avoid a total boilerplate statement; it will give the appearance that the property has not been individually considered. Modified boilerplate is fine, but tailor it to the property. Put some statement in that shows that this building or structure’s history and architecture have been evaluated. If the building is not eligible, don’t just say that it doesn’t meet the criteria. Explain why not (it is an undistinguished example of an Egyptian Revival residence, a style common in the area, and it has lost integrity because the decorative sphinxes have been removed).

Other than boilerplate statements, common problems with significance statements include the following:

  • A lengthy account of the property’s history and owners without an evaluation of their significance
  • A rehash of the community or neighborhood’s history without explaining how this property fits into it
  • Assuming that any connection with an important event or individual conveys eligibility
  • Evaluation in too narrow a context (the best example of a Craftsman bungalow on the east side of 23rd Street between C and D);
  • Consideration under Criterion C only, without doing any research, ignoring any other possible significance
  • A statement consisting of only the word “None.”

Sketch map

The sketch map is important, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be a photocopy of the Assessor’s parcel map, with buildings marked in, or it can be a simple drawing by hand. The map is needed to show where buildings are and how they relate to each other, to the road, and to property boundaries.

Referring to the APE map instead of providing a sketch map is not adequate for two reasons:

  • The APE map rarely shows the buildings and relationships requested above
  • The search for property delays the review.

If the APE map does have buildings and relationships clearly displayed photocopy the appropriate spot and attach it to the form.

A last comment

It’s very helpful if each form is complete in itself, so the reviewer can go through a report efficiently. when the workload is overwhelming, reviewers still must try to handle everything. The only way to survive is by devoting less time to each project. Focus on presenting full pertinent information in a concise manner, with the forms complete in themselves so that reviewers can whip through them in no time and bless our little furry heads as they do so.