Law

Preservation & Law

Important laws at the federal, state, and local levels that encourage—and sometimes require—historic preservation can shape, modify, strengthen, and improve preservation efforts. Familiarity with these laws can help preservation leaders respond effectively to threats as they arise; develop strategies to avoid future threats; and identify the full range of options available to protect an endangered historic building, cultural site, or even an entire neighborhood.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation provides legal advocacy support and legal resources to communities and organizations throughout the country to strengthen and ensure the effectiveness of local, state, and federal preservation laws.

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Easements

Owners of historic properties devote considerable time, effort and expense to restoring the character of their properties. For property owners looking to permanently protect their properties, one of the most effective legal tools available in the preservation easement – a private legal interest conveyed by a property owner to a preservation organization or to a government entity.

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Preservation Law Glossary

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Law prohibiting discrimination to persons with disabilities, by requiring, among other things, that places generally open to the public, such as restaurants and hotels, be made accessible. Special rules apply to historic buildings and facilities.

Certificate of Appropriateness (COA): Certificate issued by a preservation commission to indicate its approval of an application to alter, demolish, move, or add on to a protected resource. Undertaking: Federal agency actions requiring review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Economic Hardship: Extreme economic impact on individual property owner resulting from the application of a historic preservation law.

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A Layperson's Guide to Historic Preservation Law

This booklet provides a concise and comprehensive guide to federal, state, and local laws governing historic resource protection.

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