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Helpful Documents and Templates

For more information contact:

Michelle Thompson
Certified Local Government & Main Street Design Specialist
(360) 890-2617

True protection of historic resources takes place at the local level of government thanks greatly to one of the key components of all of Washington's Certified Local Governments, the Historic Preservation Ordinance.  The ordinance spells out exactly what the local preservation program entails, its powers and its duties.  A local ordinance should establish a historic preservation commission; a local register of historic places and criteria for nominating properties to the local register; a mechanism for the review of proposed changes to properties listed on the local register, commonly known as design review; and any incentives for historic property owners such as Special Tax Valuation. The Bylaws of the Historic Preservation Commission establish the rules that the commission will follow during meetings and the criteria for design review. 

Telephone Company - SnoqualmieFor most Certified Local Governments (CLG), the criteria for design review are the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation (The Standards). The Standards are a set of 10 key points or best practices when considering changes or alterations to historic properties. The intent of the Standards is to assist the long-term preservation of a property's significance through the preservation of historic materials and features. This is known as retaining a property's Historic Integrity.

To further protect the historic character of their communities, some CLGs have opted to adopt Design Guidelines for their locally-listed historic districts. Design Guidelines are in line with the Standards, but, unlike the Standards, which are intentionally general, Design guidelines are tailored to offer specific guidance to protect the individual character of a historic neignborhood or downtown core. Design Guidelines may include such things as commission review of building scale and massing, signs and advertising features, building materials, and in some cases even paint color. Both the Standards and Design Guidelines are used to help protect the character of locally listed properties and to ensure that new development, or changes to existing properties are compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. Each local government decides the breadth and scope of its Design Guidelines should it chose to adopt them.  

 Additionally, Historic Conservation Districts are an additional tool communities sometimes find useful. Historic Conservation Districts are intended to preserve the overall sense of community character rather than historic fabric, per se. Generally, Conservation District Guidelines are another way to protect older residential neighborhoods that may not qualify for historic designation under a local preservation ordinance. In short, there are lots of creative ways to protect the historic resources in your community and the CLG Program encourages participants to tailor their programs to meet their unique needs. 


Ordinance & Bylaws Templates:

Other Useful Templates

Design Guidelines Examples: