Saving our homes. Preserving our land. Protecting our rights.
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Common Inaccuracies in Information

 1.  Any concerns or issues people bring up now will be addressed in the management plan:    

Fact:  This statement is misleading because the management plan is developed up to three years AFTER legislation passes.  If people in the area do not want a Heritage Area designation for their area, or they wish to be excluded, their concerns should be addressed NOW.


2.   Now is the time to get involved---the process is just starting. 

Fact:  The time to involve community stakeholders was six years ago to see if they even thought that a Heritage Area was something desired for their community--BEFORE legislation was introduced in Congress.


3.  The managing group has no regulatory authority and does not manage land: 

Fact:  Their documentations, studies, inventories and recommendations will probably lead to more regulations and controls (see ‘HCCC Quotes’).  Cooperative agreements with the state and the city to support their efforts and the plan can mean that the group’s recommendations about land, properties and restrictions will be supported by the State and City governments (in order to receive any federal funds).  The Congressional Research Service says in their report from 2006:

"[The managing group] typically develops and implements a plan for managing the NHA, in collaboration with other parties. Once approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the management plan becomes the blueprint for managing the area."

(CRS Report for Congress, Heritage Areas:  Background, Proposals, and Current Issues, June 7, 2006).


4.  The 2004 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report shows that NHAs have no impact on property and homeowners.  Here is the paragraph of the 2004 GAO report that is still referred to constantly (also cited on the HCCC's website):

     "Despite concerns about private property rights, officials at the 24 heritage areas, Park Service headquarters and
     regional staff working with these areas, and representatives of six national property rights groups that we contacted 
     were unable to provide us with a single example of a heritage area directly affecting-positively or negatively-private
     property values or use."

Fact:   Documented instances (Wheeling, Hinton, Erie Canal - all in 2002) and Congressional Committee Reports (Yuma, 2005-2006) show that examples of adverse impacts have occurred in NHAs.  See Condemnation and Restrictions and Controls for more information. 

5.  It is an "opt-out" or “opt-in” program: 

FactIf your home, business, or property is included within the boundaries of the map, you are automatically included in the area (without your permission).  Studies, inventories and programs in which you do not wish to participate could still affect your interests.  Without adequate safeguards in the legislation or the ability to carve out areas of the map, studies,  recommendations and restrictions could affect properties and sites remaining within the proposed map.

6.  No Federal Funds can be used to acquire real property or any interest in real property (page 6 of S. 359).

Fact:  Funds from other Federal programs can be used in an NHA to acquire property or interests in real property.  The key words in the legislation are "shall not use Federal Funds made available under this Act.." (the NHA Act - emphasis added).

7.  In a purportedly "neutral" investigative article by the online publisher Civil Beat, Yuma's NHA was highlighted as an example where residents were first "concerned" and later "satisfied".   The story's sidebar highlighted three points:

      "Legislation currently sitting before Congress would create a National Heritage Area in the heart of Honolulu.
      Some locals worry the new federal designation will limit what they can do with their homes and businesses.
      Arizona residents who had concerns about a similar proposal now call their program a success."

Fact:  The sidebar failed to mention the crucial point that the majority of Yuma residents and owners were only satisfied when their legitimate concerns were addressed and the boundaries of the NHA were shrunk by 5/6ths (excluding them from the area).  It took Yuma residents three years to accomplish this difficult task (see the Congressional Report on Yuma under Restrictions and Controls).  The Civil Beat article referred to objections from residents as forcing the organizers to "shave the 22 square mile proposal to just 4 square miles" -  which in reality was not a proposal but an NHA that had already been passed into law.  The sidebar omitted the critical role that the reduction in size of the NHA map played in residents later satisfaction.  Yumas' residents were only satisfied when their concerns were addressed and the size of the NHA was severely limited.  The sidebar was later deleted from the article.

8.  All organizations listed as coalition partners, people at meetings, and those contacted by the HCCC are supporters: 

Fact:  Not all groups listed as coalition partners support the NHA (they simply support art and culture in general).  Not all groups to whom they have done outreach support the NHA.


9. The NHA is just a cultural grants program with a virtual map to tell our stories and celebrate our heritage:

Fact:  It is much much more than that.  The group will be required to inventory all sites and properties in the area and then make recommendations about whether they should be "protected, enhanced, managed or developed".  In other Heritage Areas, design controls, restrictions, land use and condemnation issues have occurred.  Issues of accountability, adverse impacts, outside oversight and management, lack of transparency, lack of true public involvement and public support have plagued NHAs for years.

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