In communities across New York State, municipal historic preservation law serves as the backbone of historic resource protection.
Local historic preservation law can also play a key regulatory role, providing legal protection against inappropriate exterior remodeling, new construction, or demolition within a historic district.
A municipal preservation law (sometimes referred to as a local landmark law) protects and enhances the historic architecture and attributes of historic downtowns, industrial areas, and residential neighborhoods. Such laws protect individual properties and historic districts through a local designation and permitting process that requires advance review of proposed projects.
In 2014, the Preservation League and the NYS Historic Preservation Office developed a revised and expanded Model Preservation Law to allow municipalities to update their existing laws, and to encourage more communities to evaluate and implement historic resource protection.
The League also published a Supplemental Guide to the Model Law, written to accompany the Model Law text to explain the structure, components, and language necessary for an effective local preservation ordinance.
New York’s first local landmark law was adopted in Schenectady in 1954, and subsequently, over 175 municipalities across the state have adopted some form of standalone historic or architectural resource protection. Over 80 of those municipalities meet federal Certified Local Government requirements, a national benchmark for local historic preservation initiatives.