Local Preservation Planning

The Maine Historic Preservation Commission assists municipalities in protecting their cultural resources by:

  • providing information on archaeological and architectural resources
  • networking with other historic preservation organizations and municipalities
  • 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.

Home Rule and Preservation

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.

Resources to Assist Local Preservation Efforts

The Maine Historic Preservation Commission provides data about historic and archaeological resources in communities that are developing comprehensive plans.  This information includes lists of known historic buildings and archaeological sites, as well as prehistoric archaeological sensitive areas maps and guidelines for addressing archaeology in growth management planning.   Upon request, the Commission will also review and comment on provisions in municipal ordinances designed to protect historic and archaeological resources.

Additional guidance may be found through the website links below.

National Park Service

National Alliance for Preservation Commissions

Maine Preservation

Maine Municipal Association

To request assistance with local historic preservation planning activities, please contact Megan M. Rideout at 207-287-2992 or by email.