Special assessment program offers incentives for preservation, rehab efforts
New construction, existing or proposed, is included under the special assessment benefit if deemed compatible to the existing structure by the SHPO or the local government.
by Joy Sears, State Historic Preservation Office
The Special Assessment Program is a state-sponsored incentive program in Oregon instituted in 1975 to encourage the preservation and appropriate rehabilitation of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Under this program a property is specially assessed for a period of 10 years. This allows the owner to restore or improve the condition of the property and not pay additional taxes on the resulting increase in the property’s value until the 10-year benefit period has expired.
What kinds of properties are eligible for this benefit?
The tax benefit is applicable to a property listed, or soon to be listed, in the National Register of Historic Places, or that is deemed historic by the State Historic Preservation Officer. NOTE: Properties deemed eligible for listing by the State Historic Preservation Officer must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places within two years of certification in order to retain the tax benefit.
Properties within National Register-listed districts must be considered contributing to the district in order to be eligible, or otherwise become contributing as a result of rehabilitation through the required preservation plan.
What part of the property does the benefit cover?
The special assessment applies to the entire property (interior and exterior), including any outbuildings that are considered historically contributing, as well as specified parcels of land under and around buildings. New construction, existing or proposed, is included under the benefit if deemed compatible to the existing structure by the SHPO or the local government.
What are the program requirements for the Special Assessment program?
1. An owner must provide a progress report on the preservation plan in the third, sixth, and ninth years of the benefit. By the end of the fifth year on the program, an owner must expend, at a minimum, 10 percent of the property’s real market value in rehabilitation projects to remain in the program. The value of donated materials, labor, or services may be included in that expenditure.
2. An owner is required to affix an identification plaque on the property. Plaques are provided by the SHPO.
3. An owner is required to show proof that the property is insured.
4. An owner is required to notify the SHPO if the property is sold anytime during the 10-year property tax benefit period.
Joy Sears is the restoration specialist with the State Historic Preservation Office.