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Preservation Planning and Local Governments

Local governments play a critical role in identifying, protecting and enhancing historic places and culturally significant sites. While the Maryland Historical Trust can provide support for preservation activities, counties and municipalities have the ability to plan for historic properties, create local preservation incentives, review changes to properties and ensure that new growth and development enhances — rather than damages — the historic character of Maryland's communities.

Through powers granted in Title 8 of the Land Use Article, local governments have the ability to create historic preservation commissions — sometimes called historic district commissions — to carry out preservation activities, including the designation and review of historic properties. Some local governments have dedicated staff to administer preservation programs, and some local programs are managed by volunteers.

MHT can assist local governments by providing guidance on the research, survey and registration of historic properties; through grants and loans for preservation activities; and by responding to inquiries from individual governments about preservation issues in their communities. The majority of MHT's planning assistance takes place through the Certified Local Government program, a voluntary program for which local governments must qualify to join. MHT also reviews and comments on local comprehensive plans and amendments. In some cases, MHT partners with the Maryland Association of Historic District Commissions to develop training for commissions and staff.

With questions about preservation planning or the Certified Local Government program, please contact Nell Ziehl at or (410) 697-9592.