Certification Requirements and Application Process
The Certified Local Government (CLG) program in Pennsylvania helps communities of all sizes develop, implement, and improve effective and holistic historic preservation programs. In order to become a CLG, municipalities must demonstrate their commitment to historic preservation by having certain policies and practices in place at the time of application. These minimum certification requirements are the building blocks of an effective local preservation program and will help the community make the most of its participation in the CLG program. To remain active and in good standing, CLGs must meet ongoing performance standards and submit brief annual reports.
To become a CLG in Pennsylvania, a municipality must:
- Demonstrate a commitment to historic preservation as a vital and integral component of community and economic development;
- Implement and enforce state and local laws, policies, and procedures that advance preservation goals and uphold the public interest;
- Engage the public in historic preservation issues;
- Maintain, utilize, and share current information about historic resources in their community;
- Appropriately manage and maintain historic resources in their ownership;
- Provide adequate human and financial resources to implement historic preservation programs effectively; and
- Actively participate in regional, state, and national preservation programs.
The Certification Checklist and the CLG Guidelines and Procedures provide detailed information about the specific tools, policies, and practices that a municipality must have in place in order to be eligible for the CLG program. These core requirements include:
- Enacting an historic preservation ordinance that, at a minimum, requires the municipality to review and approve the proposed demolition of designated historic buildings and new construction in historic districts;
- Appointing a preservation commission or Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) to administer the preservation ordinance;
- Incorporating historic resources and historic preservation strategies into the community's comprehensive plan.
Is your community ready to be a CLG?
If your community is interested in becoming a CLG, your first step should be to talk with the Community Preservation Coordinator for your region about your community's preservation program and the application process.
Here are a few important pointers and tips about the application process:
- There are no application deadlines, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
- The certification process generally takes 3 to 4 months to complete, from the time a complete application is received to NPS approval.
- The CLG application must be signed by the chief elected official in your municipality. This typically requires authorization from the governing body, such as the City/Borough Council or Board of Supervisors. A sample cover letter and resolution are included in the application packet.
- Following the SHPO's review and approval of the application, the SHPO will send the municipality a certification agreement that must be signed by the chief elected official and returned to the PA SHPO. The certification application and executed certification agreement will then be sent to the National Park Service for final review and official certification.
- Identify a municipal staff person to serve as the SHPO's point-of-contact during normal business hours should there be any questions or additional information required about the application.