An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
In a nutshell, a Certified Local Government (CLG) is any local government – be it a town, city, municipality, or county – that has an established historic preservation commission and has been certified by the State Historic Preservation Officer as having met all federal and state standards. The CLG must sign an agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, agreeing to develop and administer its local preservation program so that it complies with national and state preservation goals and standards.
No, participation is open to local governments of any size.
Kentucky does not have a detailed statutory framework for local historic preservation ordinances. However, Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) Chapter 100 does contain several sources of authorization for historic districting. Prior to adoption of a local preservation ordinance, citizens should contact their local city/county attorney for additional guidance. The SPHO can also provide information on other communities that have successfully adopted a local preservation ordinance. In general, an ordinance establishing specific historic overlay zone will contain (1) an accurate description of the boundaries of the district; (2) a description of the historical, architectural, cultural, aesthetic, natural, or other distinctive characteristics of the district that are to be preserved or conserved; (3) a delegation of responsibility for the administration of overlay regulations to an appropriate entity of government; and (4) the standards, guidelines, or criteria that shall govern development within the district to preserve, conserve, or protect the historical, architectural, cultural, aesthetic, or other distinctive characteristics of the district.
When a property owner wishes to alter the exterior of a building, demolish a building, or engage in new construction or relocation of structures, the property owner must make an application for a permit (also referred to as a Certificate of Appropriateness or COA). Some "normal maintenance" or "routine repairs" that do not involve a change in design, material, or appearance may be excluded by an ordinance or involve only routine approval by a commission. Check with your local historic preservation commission to see how they handle routine maintenance and repairs. Work performed without a COA can result in fines and/or removal or reversal of unauthorized alterations. There are provisions for appeal from an unfavorable decision and provisions regarding hardship cases. However, experienced preservation commissions generally seek to provide suggestions or give alternatives whenever possible to avoid an outright denial of a COA.
After passage of a preservation ordinance and creation of a preservation commission, an application must be submitted to the SHPO. Any local government (city, county, or joint city-county) may apply. Your city/county may require passage of an ordinance or resolution prior to becoming a CLG. Check with your city or county attorney. Applications are reviewed and subject to approval by the SHPO and the National Park Service.
For complete information, see the Kentucky Certified Local Government Manual. Visit the National Park Service website for more about how the federal-state-local Certified Local Government partnership works, why local preservation programs are important and how the NPS can assist local preservation efforts. Another good source for technical assistance and advocacy is the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions.
Yes, please contact Orloff Miller, Certified Local Government Program and Planning Coordinator, at (502) 892-3606.
Directory of Kentucky CLGs and local contact information (Updated February 2023)
Directory of Local Elected Officials in CLG communities (Updated February 2023)
Kentucky Certified Local Government Manual
KY CLG Application Form
CLGs and the National Register of Historic Places
CLG/National Register Report Form