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Preservation Planning

"The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change.  The question is how."  -Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

Historic preservation planning establishes a process for identifying, evaluating, protecting, and managing significant historic and cultural resources within the context of community planning and land management.  Like all community planning efforts, it is influenced by the actions that direct change.

MainStrasse District, Covington 

To plan for their cultural resources, the Covington City Commission adopted a historic preservation ordinance that instituted an architectural review board and later established historic preservation overlay zones and the Historic Covington Design Guidelines.  Pictured above, the 600 block of Main Street in the MainStrasse Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, one of seven locally-designated preservation overlays in the city.

Preservation planning is based on the following principles:

  1. Important historic properties are irreplaceable if destroyed.  Preservation planning provides for conservative use of these properties and permits drastic modification or destruction of historic properties only after all other alternatives are exhausted.

  2. If planning for the preservation of historic properties is to be effective, it must begin before the identification of all significant properties has been completed.  To make responsible decisions about resources, existing information must be used to the maximum extent and new information must be acquired regularly.

  3. Preservation planning includes public participation.  Public involvement is most meaningful when used to define historic preservation issues at the beginning of the planning process.  

The danger of historic preservation planning is that it can become separated from the overall community planning process.  Preservation planning driven by survey alone or concerned with isolated landmarks without being connected to decisions about economic development, public investment, and urban form, is not effective.  When incorporated into broader issues of land use and community growth, historic preservation planning minimizes potential negative impacts that unchecked growth may have on the landscape. 

Information on preparing preservation plans is available from the Kentucky Heritage Council and the National Park Service.  In addition, the American Planning Association and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have produced excellent preservation planning publications.  For more, visit the American Planning Association [External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain. ] and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

For More Information

Vicki Birenberg
State Certified Local Government Program and Planning Coordinator
(502) 564-7005, ext. 126


Related Content


The National Park Service offers various resources for local preservation planning:

Historic Preservation Planning in Local Communities [External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain. ] includes links to planning tips, tools and guidelines, and provides examples of local historic preservation plans across the country

Learn all about sustainable preservation practices [External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain. ]from NPS Technical Preservation Services

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Illustrated Guidelines on  Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings [External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain. ] are the official NPS guidelines on how to make changes to improve energy efficiency of historic buildings


Last Updated 9/13/2013
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