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Local Preservation Planning
Many people are familiar with the National Register of Historic Places, but it often comes as a surprise that National Register designation of a property only protects it from certain types of Federal and state permitted and/or funded actions (for more on this, please see the Project Review section). The only comprehensive protection for historic properties is legislation at the local level.
The Maine Historic Preservation Commission assists municipalities in protecting their cultural resources by providing information and guidance related to historic preservation. Such assistance varies from providing information on archaeological and architectural resources; to networking with other historic preservation organizations and municipalities; to reviewing and commenting on draft local legislation. While the Commission does not proactively promote historic preservation in individual municipalities, it is available as a resource for citizens, public officials and organizations interested in identifying and protecting cultural resources.
Maine's Home Rule provides municipalities with a great deal of latitude in how they may implement legislation for the protection of cultural resources. In Maine, such legislation currently ranges widely and may require either voluntary or mandatory participation by property owners. It may create a historic preservation committee that simply advises the local planning board within a particular historic district, or it may create a commission that makes final decisions as to whether building permits are issued within a district. Legislation may be implemented as a stand-alone historic preservation ordinance, it might be implemented as a chapter or section of a zoning or general resource protection ordinance, or it might protect historic structures through the use of a demolition delay ordinance. The Commission's role in this process is to inform the public as to what each type of ordinance can and cannot do, and to provide guidance as to what standards and guidelines are used elsewhere in the state and nation.
To request assistance with local historic preservation planning activities, please contact Robin K. Reed at 207-287-2992 or by email.
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