Preservation Long Island offers a variety of programs and services in support of historic preservation throughout the region. Our activities include providing technical and advisory services via direct consultation, maintaining an Endangered Historic Places list, recognizing excellence through Awards, developing Special Reports, organizing Preservation in Progress events, and publishing our Preservation Notes newsletter and Blog.

Advisory and Technical Support

Preservation Long Island’s advisory and technical services help advance preservation in communities across the region. We offer consultation and strategic guidance for Long Islanders in support of local preservation projects, including historic resource surveys, local landmark designation, National Register listing, and restoration or adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Contact our Preservation Director to learn more. 

Ways to Preserve & Protect Long Island’s Historic Places

The first step towards protecting historic structures and sites is to recognize their historic value. According to federal guidelines for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a property is historically significant when it demonstrates an association with:

  • Broad patterns of history.
  • The lives of significant people.
  • Distinctive characteristics of an architectural building type or period and/or high artistic value.
  • Potential to yield archaeological information important about prehistory or history.

Historic Resources Surveys: Surveys are a basic tool for identifying and documenting significant historic sites and districts. Surveys often precede nominations for listing on the National Register of Historic Places or local landmark designation. The Preservation League of New York State’s Preserve New York Grant Program offers funding support for local governments and non-profit organizations to hire a professional consultant to conduct a historic resources survey.

Sponsoring a Historic District Nomination (National Register): Follow the link to a guide by the New York State Historic Preservation Office outlining the steps and process of sponsoring a new historic district nomination.

Federal and State Tax Credit Programs: Owners of historic income-producing real property, owner-occupied homes, and barns may qualify for a tax credit for rehabilitating the property.

Sensitive Approaches to Rehabilitation and Maintenance: When planning to do work on a historic property, applying general preservation principles will help ensure the property’s significant architectural and historical features. The Preservation League of New York State’s Preserve New York Grant Program offers funding support for local governments and non-profit organizations to hire professional consultants to design sensitive rehabilitation and maintenance plans for historic properties open to the public.

Design Guidelines: Administration of local preservation ordinances may be supported by design guidelines, which provide property owners with helpful recommendations for ensuring their proposed projects meet the design review criteria required by local preservation ordinance. Design guidelines often include written and graphic information to enhance the clarity and efficiency of the review process for members of preservation commissions and boards as well as applicants. Some examples of guidelines provided by municipalities on Long Island include:

Regulating New Construction in Historic Districts: The design and review of plans for new construction in a historic district differ from the design and review of plans for the rehabilitation or repair of an existing historic building. This publication from the National Trust for Historic Preservation explains how to enhance the success of new construction projects through the design review process, as well as different approaches to new construction in historic settings.

Preservation Easements: A legal tool for preservation that can offer flexibility and other benefits.

Local Preservation Laws: Regulation at the local level by cities, villages, and towns provides the strongest protection for historic resources.

Certified Local Government (CLG) Program: Any city, county, town, or village in New York State can be a CLG, once the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and National Park Service determine that it meets state and federal standards. These standards include having adopted an appropriate historic preservation ordinance and appointing a qualified preservation review commission. All certified CLGs may receive direct support from the SHPO, including special grants and services to directly support local preservation activities and long-term preservation goals. Click HERE to find out if your community is a CLG.

State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR): In New York State, most projects or activities proposed by a state agency or unit of local government (e.g., infrastructure expansion), and all discretionary approvals (e.g., subdivision approval) from a state agency or unit of local government, require an environmental impact assessment as prescribed by SEQR. For example, a Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF), or a Short Environmental Assessment Form (Short EAF) may be required for a proposed action impacting the character or quality of important historic, archaeological, architectural or aesthetic resources.

  • Under SEQR law, potentially significant adverse impacts on archeological and historic resources must be considered and a plan to mitigate or avoid such impacts developed. Moreover, nothing in SEQR precludes or prevents attention to historic resources identified during the process of review, public comment and fact-finding, even if those resources are not yet listed or nominated for listing on the National Register. Consequently, SEQR broadly defines “historic” as an element of the environment itself, as well as one of the physical conditions potentially affected by a project: “Environment means the physical conditions that will be affected by a proposed action, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, resources of agricultural, archeological, historic or aesthetic significance, existing patterns of population concentration, distribution or growth, existing community or neighborhood character, and human health” [6 NYCRR Part 617.2(l)].

Preservation Long Island advocates for preservation throughout our geographical region.

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