Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Category: Municipalities Planning Code

3 Things to Know About Local Preservation Programs in Pennsylvania – Part 1

Preservationists often refer to the range of programs, laws, and financial incentives that are invoked to help protect and enhance historic places as a “toolbox.”  Among the tools in the toolbox may be planning and zoning regulations, grants, tax credits, state or Federal laws, to name just a few.  The tools with the most “teeth” however, are often historic preservation ordinances enacted by a municipal government.  The effectiveness of local ordinances when attempting to save a building from demolition or guide sensitive changes and alterations comes from the fact that generally speaking, only local governments have the ability to regulate property – both public and private.  These tools are often misunderstood, though, and so I’ve compiled a short list of some common misconceptions about ordinances to shed some light on some nuances of how these programs work in Pennsylvania.  Continue reading

Spotlight Series: National Alliance of Preservation Commissions

The Spotlight Series is an occassional series that highlights interesting people, places, programs, and partner organizations working on historic preservation issues.

PrintWhen it comes to protecting historic places and maintaining the character of our neighborhoods, villages, and landscapes, we all know that the real action is at the local level.  Cities like Charleston and New Orleans paved the way for municipal historic preservation programs in the 1920s and 30s when they adopted ordinances designating portions of those cities as historic districts and enacting design review programs for managing changes to buildings in those districts.  Since then, thousands of communities across the country, including hundreds in Pennsylvania, have adopted preservation ordinances of their own.  A major resource for these communities is the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, the only national –level organization dedicated to serving the needs of local government preservation boards and commissions through education, advocacy, and training. Continue reading

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