Historic Preservation Ordinance Background

About the Ordinance
The commissioners adopted the County Historic Preservation Plan, the formal policy document, on February 18, 1997. The plan is the county's statement of the goals and objectives that it wants to achieve regarding the preservation of historic properties in the unincorporated areas of Frederick County. Within the incorporated municipalities, the local governments have the powers under state law to adopt their own legislation about historic sites. The City of Frederick and the Town of New Market are the only 2 municipalities thus far to have adopted local historic preservation ordinances. The implementation of the Historic Preservation Plan is the way in which the county government will proceed to reach the goals and objectives. The Historic Preservation Ordinance is a legislative tool that sets up a program of recognition of historic sites by owner-initiated designation to a landmarks list, called the County Register of Historic Places, and protects those designated sites through the requirement for review of exterior alterations by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Designations to the County Register are encouraged by the availability of certain financial and regulatory incentives. A local property tax credit for approved rehabilitation work is offered. State and/or federal income tax credits for rehabilitation that meet the standards of the National Park Service may be used, and loan and grant programs through the Maryland Historical Trust, the state agency for historic preservation, are available to owners of County Register properties.

On January 1, 1998, the Historic Preservation Ordinance became effective. The ordinance established the County Historic Preservation Commission as the reviewing body and the County Register of Historic Places as the official landmark list. The program is voluntary and owners wishing to have their properties listed on the County Register must nominate them for designation. The Historic Preservation Commission must hold a hearing and the Commission's recommendation is forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for action. After listing on the County Register, exterior changes to the structures and their setting within the designated area must be reviewed by the Preservation Commission and, if the changes meet the established guidelines, a Certificate of Appropriateness is issued.

Certified Local Government
Frederick County became a Certified Local Government (CLG) on July 19, 2001. This agreement with the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) under the National Historic Preservation Act provides eligibility to the County Government for certain funds through the MHT and allows the Preservation Commission to participate in the National Register of Historic Places nomination process. As a CLG, the Preservation Commission also can participate in the review of publicly funded and/or licensed projects in the County through the Sec. 106 process.