Preservation Plans

Preservation planning is a proactive way to provide for the protection of a community’s historic resources and character. A community that includes a preservation component as part of long-range planning recognizes the importance of local heritage and the built environment.

Among other things, a preservation plan identifies and articulates community preservation goals, lets current and future property owners know how the community intends to grow, helps eliminate confusion about the purpose of the local preservation ordinance, educates the public about the community’s history and heritage, creates an agenda for future preservation work and creates a way to measure preservation’s progress. Preservation plans also encourage economic development and strengthen political understanding of historic preservation policies.

How is a preservation plan adopted? It is a collaborative effort between historic preservation commission members, commission staff, other municipal departments, elected officials, and community advocates. Consultants are typically hired to draft the plan, which is reviewed at public input forums. Funding, implementation and scope are all challenging facets of adopting a preservation plan, but there are numerous examples of success stories around the country.

Contact National Alliance of Preservation Commissions for more information – we may be able to assist with your efforts!

Examples of Citywide Preservation Plans

Berwyn, IL

Suitable for use within a municipality with a population greater than 50,000. The Berwyn Preservation Plan aims to raise awareness of community architecture, history, and preservation in addition to defining and maintaining architectural and cultural resources. Lastly, the Berwyn Preservation Plan aims to improve the economics of commercial streets within the municipality while still maintaining their architectural character. The plan further explains different methodologies and financial incentives available to assist in this process.

Fort Worth, TX

Appropriate for use in a municipality with a population greater than 50,000. The Fort Worth Citywide Historic Preservation Plan was created to provide a historic preservation framework for the city of Fort Worth, Texas. The plan summarizes the historic character and public value of preservation in Fort Worth, evaluates the existing historic preservation ordinance and historic resources survey, and establishes goals and a preservation strategy for the city of Fort Worth in the future.

Montclair, NJ

Appropriate for use within a municipality with population between 5,000 and 50,000. This document was developed according to the guidelines of Sustainable Jersey, a non-profit organization that provides tools, training, and financial incentives to support New Jersey communities as they pursue sustainability programs. It meets the requirements stipulated by the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law for the content of an HP Element, and includes an inventory of historic resources that lists their location and a description of their significance, a discussion of the standards used to assess the significance of historic resources, and an analysis of the impact of other master plan elements on the Township’s historic resources. The 2016 HP Element additionally provides an analysis of private sector issues related to historic resources in the Township, establishes a historic preservation goal and set of objectives, and includes an action plan that outlines strategies and a timeline for implementing a series of historic preservation recommendations.

Olympia, WA

Appropriate for use within a municipality with a population greater than 50,000. In 2004, the city of Olympia authorized the Olympia Heritage Commission to undertake a review of the City’s historic preservation program and to recommend preservation priorities for the next several years. This report summarizes the findings of the Commission and offers a comprehensive “road map” to guide future preservation policies, planning, and programs which will revitalize and strengthen the Historic Preservation program of Olympia.

Plano, TX

Suitable for use in a municipality with a population greater than 100,000. Preservation Plano 150 (PP150) is the guiding document for City of Plano’s heritage preservation program and establishes goals and objectives as Plano advances towards its 150th anniversary in 2023. Divided into six chapters, the plan provides a comprehensive overview of the importance of preservation. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of preservation and sustainability and the use of new tools to protect heritage resources, such as, conservation districts and backyard cottages. PP150 balances the protection and sensitive adaptation of heritage resources with tremendous development pressure as a result of a rapidly growing community. In addition to the traditional content, the plan includes, graphic timelines of Plano’s history and heritage preservation program.

San Antonio, TX

Appropriate for use in a municipality with a population greater than 50,000. In 2009, the City of San Antonio initiated a public planning process to develop a Strategic Historic Preservation Plan. The Plan’s central purpose was to create a set of achievable goals and strategies for strengthening the City’s historic preservation program. Specific objectives of the Plan include promoting historic preservation as a tool for revitalizing neighborhoods and commercial districts, enhancing tourism and cultural arts activities, creating new jobs and businesses, and managing effectively the overall design and development of areas and districts within the City of San Antonio. The Plan’s overall objective is to inspire different stakeholders, including residents, business owners, developers, economic development groups, civic organizations, and neighborhood associations, to share in a common ethic and belief that preservation is an essential element to the future growth and prosperity of San Antonio

San Francisco, CA

Suitable for use in a municipality with a population greater than 50,000. The purpose of the Central SoMa Plan is to create a sustainable neighborhood by 2040, where the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Central SoMa Plan seeks to achieve sustainability in each of its aspects– social, economic, and environmental. Additionally, achieving sustainability in Central SoMa should complement movements towards sustainability in the city, region, nation, and planet. Central strategies of the plan include accommodating growth, providing public benefits, and respecting and enhancing neighborhood character.

Shreveport, LA

Appropriate for use in a municipality with a population greater than 50,000. The Shreveport Common Plan resulted after a devastating fire damaged the cultural center of Shreveport. The plan aims to rebuild and revitalize the commercial and institutional neighborhood of Shreveport Common. The document provides an overview of existing conditions and specific areas of infrastructure that require attention.

Examples of Statewide Preservation Plans


The primary purpose of this Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan is to provide guidance to the OHP and the preservation community for the identification, registration, protection, and preservation of important historic resources, and to establish priorities for the use of limited resources available for the program.

New Jersey

This Plan is intended to guide preservation activities in New Jersey into the 21st century. The Plan aims to encourage wide appreciation of the state’s cultural resources; to mobilize the preservation community and to create a climate where public policy and sustainable funding work together to promote historic preservation.


As a member of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, you become part of a national network of historic preservation commissions, boards of architectural review, staff, local and state preservation nonprofits, and residents of historic districts who value their historic resources.

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NAPC is honored to serve as a national voice for local preservation. This would not be possible without support from members and partners around the country. Learn more about how you can further our mission to build strong local preservation programs and leaders through education, training and advocacy.