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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Spring 2002 arrow Georgia: Construction in Savannah Historic District
Georgia: Construction in Savannah Historic District

Agency: Federal Transit Administration
The Savannah Historic District is one of the largest urban National Historic Landmark districts in the U.S., and a World Heritage Site. The Chatham Area Transit Authority has proposed constructing a bus transfer station in the historic district. The Historic Savannah Foundation and others argue, among other problems, that large buses in this heritage tourism area would tie up traffic. They have proposed several areas immediately adjacent to the historic district where they say that the bus station could serve its function and reduce its impact on the historic district.

The city of Savannah, Georgia’s, National Historic Landmark district is one of the country’s premier heritage tourism sites and is considered a unique resource by many groups. In 1999, a conflict began between the Chatham Area Transit Authority and the Historic Savannah Foundation and other groups over the transit authority’s proposal to place a bus transfer station in the historic district.

A parking lot, the proposed site of a bus transfer transfer station in Savannah, Georgia



The proposed site of a bus transfer station, Savannah Historic District, Savannah, Georgia (photo courtesy of Historic Savannah Foundation)




That year, the Georgia State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) informed the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that the location of the bus transfer station in the Savannah Historic District would not cause an adverse effect to the district. In 2001, however, the SHPO noted that the plans for the bus transfer station had substantially changed and requested the latest plans and additional information on bus traffic studies from FTA.

In early 2002, the Elbert Square Alliance, comprised of groups opposed to plan, asked ACHP to review the project. Shortly thereafter, the National Trust for Historic Preservation raised issues with FTA about the status of its compliance with Sections 106 and 4(f) of the National Historic Preservation Act.

ACHP sent an investigation letter to FTA, which FTA cited in an order to the Chatham Area Transit Authority to stop all project planning and site preparation, and reinitiate the Section 106 review process for the entire project. The transit authority was also not to make any findings or determinations pending FTA involvement in the case.

One alternative favored by some local citizens is to simply relocate the station a block or two outside of the Savannah NHL district, on a larger parcel of vacant land.

Staff contact: Tom McCulloch

Posted July 15, 2002

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