Additional Laws

State Preservation Laws
| Registers of Historic Places | Stewardship Programs | Historic Preservation Acts |
| Environmental Protection Acts | Enabling Authority for Local Preservation Ordinances |
| Easement Enabling Law | State Tax Incentive Programs | Other Laws |

Preservation Law 101
| Federal Preservation Laws | State Preservation Laws | Local Preservation Laws | Constitutional Issues |

A number of states have adopted measures that have and could help to strengthen historic preservation programs, such as special protection laws for reclaiming brownfields and state preservation building codes. Specific examples include:

  • Brownfield Clean Up Laws: The Minnesota Land Recycling Act of 1992 (Minn. Stat. § 115B.17, subd. 14), for example, establishes a voluntary investigation and clean-up program.
  • Community Revitalization Acts and Main Street Programs: The Massachusetts Community Preservation Act, for example, authorizes local governments to levy a 3% surcharge on real estate property taxes to support historic preservation programs, affordable housing and open space protection, and the National Trust's Main Street Program provides technical assistance and other support to member programs across the country.
  • Laws Encouraging Smart Growth: Maryland, for example, has enacted both "smart growth" laws and "smart codes," which encourage the revitalization of existing properties. For more information, contact the state's Smart Growth Office. Helpful information is also available from the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, which is housed at the University of Maryland.
  • State Disability Laws: In addition to the American with Disabilities Act, many state disability laws provide exceptions for historic properties in meeting access requirements for public programs and places of public accommodation. Click here to view state access codes.
  • State Preservation Building Codes: These laws provide more flexibility in meeting uniform building code requirements. See California's State Historical Building Code (Health & Safety Code §§ 18950 et seq) and the New Jersey Rehabilitation Sub Code (NJAC § 5:23-6.33).

In addition, many state preservation programs also include specific laws addressing archeological protection, Native American burial sites, cemeteries and historic shipwrecks, as applicable. Georgia, for example, operates a comprehensive archeological protection program that protects not only archeological sites within the state, but also cemeteries and underwater resources.

Learn More

Layperson's Guide to Preservation Law: Federal, State and Local Laws Governing Historic Resources
First published in 1997, this booklet provides a concise and comprehensible guide to federal, state and local laws governing historic resource protection. The 2008 edition includes updated information on transportation issues, eminent domain, easements, the American's with Disabilities Act, and the regulation of historic religious properties.