Q. Can you please help
me understand the steps I need to take in creating a local historic district?
A. The order of the steps will depend upon whether
the local government already has a process in place for creating a local
- Find out if the local government has a system for creating local
districts. If it does, go to step 3. If it doesn't, go to step 2.
- Ask the State Historic Preservation Office what the State authorizing
statutes have to say about establishing local historic preservation
programs and local districts. Go to step 3.
- Find out the eligibility criteria for becoming a local district and
what the benefits/consequences are for being located in a historic district.
Go to step 4.
- Given the answers to the issues in step 3, find out from community
members whether or not they think that this is worth while at least
investigating. If you don't have community support, you probably will
have difficulty in getting the local political support necessary to
move the process along. If you are successful, go to step 5.
- Find someone with the requisite expertise to help you determine whether
the community meets the eligibility criteria. If it does, go to step
- Hold a community meeting or survey community members to get a more
formal expression of support to pursue local designation as a local
district. If successful, go to step 7.
- Approach the local government a) entity responsible for historic
preservation at the local level or b) if there is no local historic
preservation program, the entity that State law requires to initiate
the process for establishing a local program. Go to step 8.
- Assist and encourage the local government a) to follow its certification
designate the community as a local historic district or b) to take the
steps necessary to establish a local historic preservation program and
then use that system to designate the community as a local historic
Page content by: John Renaud, State, Tribal, and Local
Programs Branch, and Susan Henry Renaud, Preservation Initiatives Branch,
Heritage Preservation Services Division, National Center for Cultural
Resources, National Park Service.
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