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One of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) responsibilities is advising the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (DHEC-OCRM) about the potential impact of development on historic and archaeological sites in the State’s eight county coastal zone (Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, and Jasper).

The South Carolina Coastal Program Document (Program Document) and the associated excerpt entitled Policies and Procedures of the South Carolina Coastal Management Program, updated July 1995, (Program Excerpt) contain the specific goals, objectives and policies necessary for DHEC-OCRM staff review of development activities taking place in the eight coastal counties. These documents also contain the basic procedures involved in the management of specific coastal resources, such as endangered species and archaeological and historical resources.

The Program Document identifies two levels of management for archaeological and historic resources:  

(1) Geographic Areas of Particular Concern (GAPCs). GAPCs are, in general, sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

(2) Sites determined significant ("Significant Sites") by the SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) or the SC Department of Archives and History (SCDAH). The SHPO considers Significant Sites to be properties that meet the criteria for listing in the NRHP. 


The SHPO advises DHEC-OCRM on the National Register eligibility status of historic and archaeological sites and the presence of Significant Sites within a project area. The SHPO also advises DHEC-OCRM on potential impacts that the project may have on the historical or cultural values of the GAPC or Significant Site and treatment options necessary as a result of proposed development impacts, as appropriate. The SHPO’s role in project review is advisory and consultative, rather than regulatory. DHEC-OCRM considers the SHPO’s comments in making its permitting and certification decisions.

SHPO Review Process

Applicants should contact the SHPO no less than 60 days prior to making a permit application to DHEC-OCRM. The SHPO will review and comment on projects within 30 days of receipt of all required information. Please complete the DHEC-OCRM Project Review Form (PDF) and mail to the SHPO with the required attachments (See Project Review Form Instructions).

Upon receipt of all requested information, the SHPO will respond via letter within 30 days. The SHPO’s letter is intended to be included in the application packet to OCRM. The response will address the following:

  • Presence or absence of GAPCs
  • Presence or absence of Significant Sites
  • Recommendations for permit conditions, as needed

Results of Review

DHEC-OCRM has the final say regarding GAPCs and Significant Sites on a project area. Based on the information provided in the Project Review Form and its attachments, the SHPO will make recommendations to DHEC-OCRM for permit conditions to address GAPCs and Significant Sites. SHPO comments will be based on information provided. Permit conditions may include:

  •  Preservation covenant
  •  Archaeological monitoring of construction
  •  Visual buffers
  •  Archaeological data recovery
  •  Architectural documentation
  •  Alternative examination

Document Links (PDFs)

DHEC-OCRM Project Review Form 

DHEC-OCRM Project Review Form Instructions 

Definition and Treatment of GAPCs and Significant Sites 

Historic and Archaeological Properties Survey (HAPS) Guidance

See DHEC-OCRM's Special Area Management Plans (SAMPs) for projects in the Cooper River Corridor and for the Ashley River.