Introduction to Local Historic Districts

A local historic district is a historically significant area that is protected by a historic district ordinance. The local unit of government appoints a historic district commission to review proposed work to the exterior of resources in the district to determine if the work meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation. Designating an area as a local historic district is one of the few ways a community can provide legal protection for its historic resources.

Michigan's Local Historic Districts Act, Act 169 of 1970, provides the legal foundation for the creation of local historic districts. It is a public act that was created to:

"provide for the establishment of historic districts; to provide for the acquisition of certain resources for historic preservation purposes; to provide for preservation of historic and nonhistoric resources within historic districts; to provide for the establishment of historic district commissions; to provide for the maintenance of publicly owned resources by local units; to provide for certain assessments under certain circumstances; to provide for procedures; and to provide for remedies and penalties."