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Wisconsin Historical Society

Guide or Instruction

Preservation Commission Work Plans

Chapter 5: Preservation Commission Operations, Page 2 of 6

Preservation Commission Work Plans | HPC Training | Wisconsin Historical Society

Once each year, a preservation commission should formulate a plan of action for the next year. This plan should reflect the preservation interests and goals of the community and consider available resources.

It is a good idea for a commission to prepare two work plans — one that addresses short-term goals, and another for long-term objectives. All work plans should identify a timeline and assign responsibility for each work item.

Creating a Work Plan

A commission work plan should be kept brief and simple with specifically stated end goals. The objectives of a newly formed commissions often include the following:

  • Inform and educate the public about the commission and its role, historic preservation issues and concerns, and the benefits of historic preservation to the community. This can be accomplished through promotional materials such as brochures, or Powerpoint presentations, public workshops, or other activities.
  • Educate commission members about preservation topics and issues, such as identifying threats to historic properties, evaluating properties for historic significance, and creating incentive programs for rehabilitation.
  • Initiate surveys of the community to identify significant historic properties and potential districts.
  • Determine the criteria and procedures to be used for designation of a local landmark and a historic district, and set priorities for designation.
  • Create design guidelines.
  • Develop an awards program to recognize and honor local historic preservation efforts.
  • Prepare a budget and identify requests for funding.

Example of an Annual Commission Work Plan

Here is an example of a preservation commission's annual work plan:

  1. Adopt the preservation plan as the city's official historic preservation policy, and incorporate appropriate recommendations into the city's comprehensive plan.
  2. Provide copies of the preservation plan to city departments, commissions, and county and regional planning agencies, accompanied by a notice that it represents the city's official historic preservation policy.
  3. Provide copies of the plan for distribution to the general public, including the public library, historical society, and other entities, accompanied by a notice that it represents the city's official historic preservation policy.
  4. Identify locations where materials and brochures, such as a walking tour of the historic town square, can be made available to the public, including downtown businesses and the public library.
  5. Amend the preservation ordinance to better facilitate the nomination of local landmarks, historic districts, and neighborhood preservation districts.
  6. Send a letter of introduction to owners of properties listed in the recommendations section of the plan for National Register and State Register listings, including any survey forms on their property, information about relevant programs, and materials on financial incentives, as may be applicable; distribute a similar packet of information to local realtors and owners of listed properties.
  7. Distribute copies of all completed architectural/historic survey forms to the present property owners of those documented properties.
  8. Pursue National Register and State Register listings for properties that have owner support.
  9. Create a neighborhoods committee, with liaisons from each of the city's neighborhoods, to work with the commission to develop some educational actions.
  10. Initiate the development of a historic preservation resource section in the public library that includes information on the commission, the designation process, copies of all historic resource surveys, technical preservation resources, and other preservation-related materials.