eTools for Historic Resource Preservation Planning and Protection Standards

All over the world, historic communities and structures provide a visual link to the past by displaying elements and features that could not be reproduced on their own today.

This month, our highlighted eTools focus on methods municipalities can take to implement historic preservation programs to help protect these important historic resources, landscapes, and structures.

One way to accomplish this is through Historic and Cultural Resource Preservation Planning, which is a process for identifying policies and measures to achieve cultural and historic resource preservation goals. By ensuring that a community’s historic features are considered during their planning and community development decision making, the community can retain its original character.

Once this background planning is in place, Historic Resource Protection Standards come into play to provide protection of these resources. The standards can be included in a community’s zoning ordinances, subdivision and land development ordinances, and/or local historic district ordinances. Regulations can vary depending on factors such as historic resource types and their context, local policies, as well as other considerations.

In addition to retaining an area’s original identity and character, there are a number of benefits associated with historic resource preservation planning and protection standards, such as the adaptive reuse of buildings (smart growth), energy conservation, community pride, heritage interpretation, and economic value.

Some current examples in Chester County include Kennett Township’s comprehensive plan which includes a framework for historic resource preservation planning, Birmingham Township’s HARB (Historic Architectural Review Board) and Historical Commission, and Thornbury Township’s Historic Battlefield zoning overlay.

The Planning Commission’s eTools cover a wide array of planning topics, from natural resources to economic development. The tools are easy to read, providing a quick overview of each topic, a brief explanation of how it works, and considerations for addressing the topic or regulating use. An alphabetical listing of eTools is available in our Municipal Corner.