CLG & Historic Preservation
What is the Certified Local Government (CLG) Program?
The 1980 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, provided for the establishment of a CLG program to encourage the direct participation of local governments in the identification, evaluation, registration, and preservation of historic properties within their jurisdictions and promote the integration of local preservation interests and concerns into local planning and decision-making processes. The CLG program is a partnership among local governments, the State of Washington Department of Archeaology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), and the National Park Service (NPS) which is responsible for administering the National Historic Preservation Program.
What are the requirements to be a CLG?
In order to qualify as a CLG, the city was required to pass an ordinance, appoint a board, facilitate public meetings, meet regularly and record those meetings. Qualifications are flexible in that some city’s use existing boards to fulfill member requirements. The City of Gig Harbor's Design Review Board is charged with acting on behalf of the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation in carrying out the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. They are very specific and are broken down into 4 main categories: Restoration, Rehabilitation, Preservation or Reconstruction. To qualify as a CLG, Gig Harbor:
- Established a historic preservation review commission by local ordinance (the City's Design Review Board);
- Maintains a system for the survey and inventory of historic properties;
- Provides for public participation in the local preservation program; and
- Satisfactorily performs responsibilities delegated to it by the state.
The CLG Program's Objectives:
- Encourage historic preservation at the local level through local governmental sponsorship;
- Encourage local governments to follow the Secretary of the Interior's Standards & Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation in their historic preservation programs;
- Provide training and technical assistance through the State's historic preservation office;
- Provide funding to underwrite various historic preservation activities.
- Create a federal, state, and local governmental partnership in historic preservation
- Each state's historic preservation office administers a Certified Local Government Program on behalf of the National Park Service.
Specific CLG responsibilities:
- Review Register of Historic Places Nomination Applications
- Review Changes to Registered Properties (Certificate of Appropriateness - exemptions: maintenance, emergency repair)
- Public Outreach and Education (Brochures, Resource Information)
- Initiate Nominations (optional)
WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED LOCAL GOVERNMENT (CLG)?
When your local preservation program is consistent with federal and state standards and regulations you have the backing of programs that have stood the test of time. The National Historic Preservation Act has been around since 1966. The National Register of Historic Places and its criteria are widely recognized and they have been tested legally (reviewed, refined by adoption into regulations, tested and upheld in courts).
When your local survey and designation program is consistent with the National Register and Washington State Register you know you are on safe ground. Similarly, in project review or adoption of Certificates of Appropriateness, the adoption and use of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards provides criteria for project evaluation that, again, have stood the tests of time, reasonableness, and the courts. It insulates the local preservation program from charges of being arbitrary and capricious. Becoming a CLG provides the local program the added value of prestige and cachet.
Each state is required to pass through 10% of its annual Historic Preservation Fund grant from the National Park Service to CLGs to fund their preservation activities. In Washington, the CLG grant program is competitive for a wider variety of preservation planning activities. This funding is not a large amount, but it can support important activities including completion of a preservation element or plan, a survey, preparation of a National Register district application, or the update of an ordinance. When work is carried out under the CLG grant program, there is the assurance that the work conforms to time-tested state and federal standards.
When your local governments decides to become a CLG, it agrees to carry out the intent of the NHPA and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. DAHP's role is advisory. Recognizing that individual local governments and individuals employed by those local governments often do not have all the background, training, and skills to achieve a good balance between development and preservation, DAHP reviews the structure and processes of the local preservation program, and may comment on or make suggestions about strategies a local government can use to accomplish its goals and objectives. Beyond that, neither the NPS nor DAHP have any regulatory authority over local governments.
Neither the NPS nor DAHP dictate the content of historic preservation plans or ordinances; neither the NPS nor DAHP review nor is their approval needed prior to the selection and appointment of individual local preservation commissioners by local government officials. In no way is the autonomy of a local government decreased by becoming a CLG. However, a CLG may be decertified if it establishes policies or adopts practices that violate the intent of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Although there are no direct economic benefits to being a CLG other than the opportunity to compete for CLG grants, your CLG's commitment to historic preservation does result in multiple economic benefits. Where preservation is supported by local government policies and incentives, designation can increase property values and pride of place. Revitalization of historic downtowns and adaptive reuse of historic districts and buildings conserves resources, uses existing infrastructure, generates local jobs and purchasing, supports small business development and heritage tourism and enhances quality of life and community character. For more information download The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Washington State from DAHP.