PreserveMaryland, the Statewide Preservation Plan 2014-2018
Goal 2: Improve the Framework for Preservation
Federal, state and local laws – implemented through public programs and government
agencies – make up the legal and regulatory framework for preservation. In general,
the framework supports preservation regulation and preservation incentives.
Regulation. Almost all regulation related to preservation – that is,
laws that dictate what you can and cannot do with historic property – occurs
on the local level through local preservation ordinances. While the state enables those
powers, it does not control how local jurisdictions use them. Thus, local
regulation in Maryland varies widely. Federal and state agencies do regulate properties that are
owned by, subject to action by, or receive permits or funding from a state or federal entity.
Incentives. Many incentives exist for preservation activities, including
from agencies and entities that do not have preservation as a primary focus. The most prominent
incentive is the rehabilitation tax credit, which exists on the federal, state, and sometimes local
levels. Most incentives require adherence to preservation standards, which can seem like
regulation – but the programs are voluntary.
The recommended action steps for this goal address aspects of the framework that need to
be strengthened to best serve preservation in Maryland.
What We Need to Do to IMPROVE
Conduct needs assessment of the historic and cultural museum community to provide targeted
assistance to most vulnerable resources.
MHT, Maryland Association of History Museums (MAHM), Small Museum Association (SMA)
Develop online guidance and training on the use of new materials in historic districts
with the goal of "striking a balance" for property owners.
Maryland Association of Historic District Commissions (MAHDC) and MHT,
in coordination with local commissions
With support from MHT, MAHDC produced a
day-long symposium on Replacement Materials,
which was well-attended by local commissions and staff. MHT worked with Preservation Maryland
to reconfigure one of the sessions for PM's Old Line State Summit in July 2017.
Continue and accelerate the training programs for local commissions. Execute the additional
modules that have been proposed.
MAHDC has added three new "Skill
Sessions" training opportunities in addition to its Foundational Workshops: Connecting with Your Community:
Communication, Education and Outreach; Sustainability for
Historic Preservation Commissions; and Modernism for Maryland’s Historic Preservation Commissions.
Simplify tax credit process for small commercial projects to stimulate more activity.
Create public outreach plans for state programs and incentives. Evaluate ways to simplify
paperwork, access and processing time.
MHT; outreach partners include Preservation Maryland, Main Street, local
preservation organizations, local commissions
The Maryland Historical Trust developed and continues to implement a new outreach program for
state and federal rehabilitation tax credits. In 2017, MHT launched the "MHT Roadshow," showcasing
a variety of programs and incentives tailored to the needs of communities around the state.
In addition to ongoing outreach on grants programs, MHT migrated to a fully online grants system
to reduce paper waste and inefficiency for applicants. This migration included the review
and simplification of materials and requirements wherever possible.
County and Local
Create public outreach plans for local programs and incentives. Evaluate ways to
simplify paperwork, access and processing time.
Local commissions, working with MHT, Main Street, local preservation organizations
Create and share local "best practice" case studies (e.g., tax credit, technical
practices, construction best practices, code enforcement).
Local staff; share with MAHDC and MHT for broader dissemination
Bring processes in line to qualify for Certified Local Government status.
MHT has worked with Harford County and several municipalities that have expressed
interest in joining the CLG program. MHT also updated its program procedures in an
effort to clarify and simplify requirements; these changes are pending with the
National Park Service.
Promote the creation of local programs to protect archeological resources at the county level.
With funding from MHT's Certified Local Government (CLG) program, Charles County has recently
created a review process for archeological resources. Between 2014-2018, CLG and Non-Capital Historic
Preservation grants supported research and documentation of archeological sites, particularly those threatened
by flooding and erosion, via established county programs.
All commissioners and staff participate in MAHDC training program.
Identify, and eliminate or reduce conflicts with, state-administered programs (e.g.,
EPA guidelines on lead abatement) that create obstacles to preservation.
MHT is in the process of developing guidance to help local commissions balance the
conflicting practices related to flood mitigation and historic preservation. Locally,
the City of Baltimore's Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation has
amended its design
guidelines to better address lead hazards.
Make capital grants available to preservation projects beyond those tied to heritage
tourism or African American heritage.