Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Resolving to Endorse: Getting Municipalities On-Board With Historic Preservation

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The Bureau for Historic Preservation (BHP) unveiled Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan last year.  In an effort to assist County Planning Directors and Certified Local Governments to become familiar with the Plan, BHP recently sent a request for our local government partners to endorse the plan. 

Pennsylvania_Historic_Preservation_PlanCorrespondence of pertinent information was mailed to better inform these stakeholders. The mailing includes a resolution to endorse the Plan, a Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code Historic Preservation fact sheet and a map of Community Preservation Coordinator regions.  In addition, County Planning Directors and Certified Local Governments have been asked to send a copy of their signed resolution to their regional Preservation Coordinator in order to maintain a formal record of those who have successfully passed the resolution.

A Resolution to Endorse Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan 2012-2017  is an adaptable template intended to gain local support for the relevant action items in the Plan.  The resolution begins with clauses outlining why communities should care and commit to historic preservation on a very basic level such as the community understands that the irreplaceable historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural heritage of the commonwealth should be preserved and protected for the benefit of all the people including future generations.  The resolution provides suggested language on how communities can resolve to help implement the Plan locally through the following activities: local action, training, signs and markers, outreach and funding.   The resolution is a template meant to advise local governments on how to interpret and preserve the historic places which are locally important rather than a top down approach dictating what local historic resources communities should value.

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code Historic Preservation Fact Sheet is a guide to understanding how the Plan helps to address state law.  Article III, Section 301, of the Municipalities Planning Code requires that local governments identify a plan for historic preservation.  Adoption of relevant goals of the Plan is a step in fulfilling that requirement.

CommunityCoordinatorsFinally, the Community Preservation Coordinator Regions Map illustrates the appropriate Bureau for Historic Preservation contact for each region.  The Preservation Coordinators are excellent references for seeking assistance on how the resolution can be applicable and how best to implement the actions that are pertinent to each individual community.  If a community would like to a step beyond the resolution and begin a local preservation planning process, their Preservation Coordinator can assist in that effort. The character and historic resources of each community varies, therefore, the process in developing a plan for Historic Preservation will depend upon the particular needs of the community.  County and local governments are encouraged to apply the actions that are relevant to their municipalities.

The Bureau for Historic Preservation recognizes that preservation planning is most successful when conducted at the local level. Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan was developed to address the historic preservation needs of the local governments.  Successful implementation of the Plan is important for all municipalities within Pennsylvania for many reasons.  By planning to preserve a community’s historic places, communities are helping to fulfill the requirements of the Municipalities Planning Code, as well as offering alternatives for addressing other comprehensive planning elements that involve historic buildings and enhance community character.

The following Pennsylvania counties and municipalities have formally endorsed the Pennsylvania Statewide Historic Preservation Plan

Crawford County Planning Commission – August 26, 2013

City of Easton– August 28, 2013

Borough of Bath– September 3, 2013

Berks County Planning Commission – October 9, 2013

Borough of Gettysburg – October 15, 2013

Huntingdon County Planning Commission – October 17, 2013

York County Planning Commission – October 21, 2013

McKean County Commissioners – February 2, 2014

Borough of Pottstown – March 10, 2014

City of Reading – February 15, 2015

Borough of Ashland – April 9, 2015

Borough of Ambridge – June 9, 2015

Borough of West Chester – August 19, 2015

Lehigh County Commissioners – September 2015

Delaware County Planning Commission – March 2016

 

 

Katie Carver is a Pittsburgh and New York City native who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Applied History at Youngstown State University in Ohio as a follow up to her BA in History from Pace University in NYC.  Katie decided to pursue historic preservation after working in advertising and as a production assistant for PBS.  She is especially interested in preservation’s role in planning and community development and loves the idea of mixing the past and the future.  Katie interned with the Bureau for Historic preservation during summer 2013 through a partnership with PennDOT

Author: Guest Contributor

The Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office occassionally asks our partners to share their news, successes, challenges, and perspectives on historic preservation matters in Pennsylvania.

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