Tools To Help Protect Your Historic District

Posted on: February 9th, 2016 by Preservation Leadership Forum Staff 3 Comments
NoHo Historic District | Photograph Courtesey of the New York Landmarks Conservancy

NoHo Historic District | Photograph Courtesy of the New York Landmarks Conservancy

In the last few weeks, historic preservationists across the country have noted heightened threats to a key protective tool in saving places: historic districts. Swift-moving legislative efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin have been especially troubling. While threats to historic districts have existed before, accompanying negative editorials on sites such as CityLab call for a strong and concerted response. These attacks ignore the short- and long-term benefits of historic districts—economic, social and environmental—in favor of politically expedient but unnecessary curbs that would likely drive down the very development and investment that historic district opponents are trying to attract.

We know leaders in the field want to speak up but need the right tools and resources to make a strong case. Our efforts in Michigan and elsewhere are producing materials that can help you advocate for historic districts in your community.

Here is an initial list of resources to help with make the case for your historic district.

Note: This is just an initial list of materials to get the ball rolling. If you have anything you think should be added, email forumonline [at]

[Updated 2/17/16 with new Key Messaging document and some economic data on the Wisconsin HTC]

Online Articles

Supplemental Reports

Additional Resources


3 Responses

  1. AC Clark

    February 9, 2016

    Thanks so much for this; every element was valuable and interesting, esp. Miller’s 1991 legal analysis of owner consent in designation of historic districts. Any pertinent updates, more recent case law?

    Just TODAY our Lexington, KY city council subcommittee on planning addressed mandatory polling of owner support prior to initiating a request for a historic-district zoning overlay through the planning commission.

    Where can I learn more about what is required of a CLG in regard to the process of historic district designation?

    Very troubling affairs in Michigan. What is the story in Wisconsin?

  2. Dawn McCarthy

    February 10, 2016

    Legislators in Wisconsin received lots of feedback in support of historic preservation from constituents. In response the authors have drafted amendments to the original owner consent bills.

    In order to protect property owner rights the amended legislation would require that property owners are noticed, that a public hearing is held, and that HPC decisions may be appealed to a body of elected representatives. Owner consent has been removed. We think that the current Wisconsin historic preservation statutes are effective and don’t need to be changed but the amended legislation is a significant improvement and is unlikely to have an adverse effect.

    Voting on the amendments is expected to happen this week and next.

    Dawn McCarthy
    Milwaukee Preservation Alliance

  3. Tools To Help Protect Your Historic District | mhpn

    February 13, 2016

    […] Posted on February 13, 2016 by mhpn Posted on: February 9th, 2016 by Preservation Leadership Forum Staff 2 Comments […]