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HISTORIC PRESERVATION 101
FAQs

1. What is the purpose of Historic Preservation? Why is it needed?

Historic preservation provides for the acknowledgement, study and recording of historical resources within a community or general area. Historic preservation also involves certain protections for a community’s most significant historical or archaeological resources. Protecting a historic site not only implies ensuring a site’s retention over time but can offer protection to a property owner or a neighborhood. This is because a historic preservation ordinance usually provides for a public forum for review of proposed development and redevelopment projects which could have an impact on the historical character, design, context and value of a designated property or properties.

2. Broward County is relatively new. There’s really very little history here. 

While it is true that Florida is a relatively ‘new’ state, the history of man in the area spans a long continuum. Our own back yards give testimony to centuries of life. Paleo sites provide evidence of long extinct mega fauna in South Florida. Archaic and Tequesta sites give testimony of human life in prehistoric times. Florida was the first point of contact for exploration, settlement and cross cultural relations in the United States. During the late 18th and early 19th century, Seminoles established their first towns in South Florida, the earliest were in today’s Broward. Soon after, Broward and South Florida saw a mix of African Americans, Southerners, European immigrants and Caribbean settle and thrive. Land and population booms in the 1920s and after World War II contributed greatly to growth and expansion. Broward today is home to millions from around the globe. There has always been a history of place to Broward. 

3. What is historic designation?

Historic resource designation involves:
​(a​) ​the ​​recognition of the significance and value that a site has
​(b) offering certain safeguards and protections that enable a longer lifespan for the property
(c) ​allows for project guidance by the Historic Preservation Board, a group of professionals charged with reviewing and authorizing work project
​(d) allows for certain incentives and access to special grants which are not available to non-designated properties
​(e) helps to foster civic pride in local heritage, history and culture
​(f) ​resources that date back more than fifty (50) years​

4. Designation will force me to put my property back to the way it was. I will have to spend a lot of money.

Designation does not require an owner to take actions to restore a property to original historical condition. 
Designation does require that new work proposals be respectful and preserve design elements that contribute to a site’s historical and/or architectural significance. New work must also be compliant with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. To help meet compliance, it is recommended that a property owner meet with historic preservation staff for guidance before initiating a project. Meeting with staff is voluntary and the property owner may choose not to. 
Designation does require a ‘Certificate of Appropriateness’ (COA) or a ‘Certificate to Dig’ (CTD) application to be completed and submitted for review and approval. Minor maintenance or routine repairs do not require applications. 

5. Historic preservation does not allow me to do changes or improvements to my property. 

Wrong! Modern historic preservation tries to achieve a balance between preserving what’s important, what the needs of the property owner are and ensuring that the historical property has a continued usable life span. Historic preservation does not freeze properties nor prevents owners from making use of their property or making changes for livability. In most cases, historic preservation involves preserving the historic character of exteriors while allowing flexibility for modern adaptions, use and re-use of interiors.

6. What kind of incentives exist in support of historic preservation?

​​(a) Rehabilitation Federal Income Tax Credit: A 20% Rehabilitation Federal Income Tax Credit is available for income producing structures for commercial, industrial, agricultural or rental residential purposes. Tax credits provide a dollar-for-dollar reducti​on of income tax owed. The goal of this rehabilitation credit is to put a structure back to use so that it is functional and can meet current needs. This tax credit must be claimed on the appropriate IRS form of the tax year in which the rehabilitated structure is placed in service. For more information:
National Park Service Technical Preservation Services
​(b) Preservation Easement: A Preservation Easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a property owner (grantor) and a government agency or preservation organization (grantee). A Preservation Easement protects a significant historic, archaeological or cultural resource (or part of that resource) in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations. The terms of agreement for an easement are reached by mutual consent between the property owner and the easement-holder. An easement allows the donor to retain private ownership and use, and if certain criteria are met, claim a Federal income tax deduction equivalent to the value of the donated right. For more information: 
National Park Service Easements to Protect Historic Properties
Florida Trust Eastment Program
(c) Historic Preservation Ad Valorem Tax Exemption: Historic Preservation Ad Valorem Tax Exemption is a State-enabled incentive which requires local governments to adopt into their own codes in order to apply. Not all local governments offer this exemption; Broward County does. The incentive provides for a 10-year abatement (tax freeze) on the qualified improvement value added to a property after rehabilitation work. The exemption applies to County property taxes only. To qualify, properties must be under local (County or City) designation or National Register sites. Applications for this exemption require submittal before beginning improvement work and authorization by a Certificate of Appropriateness issued by the local historic preservation board. For more information:
Broward County Municode Sec. 31 1/2-103. - Exmeption from ad valorem taxes - General.
​(d) Historic Preservation Grants: Grants for historic preservation projects are available from State, Federal and non-profit entities such as Florida’s Division of Historical Resources, the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and others. Grant recipients are usually, non-profit groups or organizations and local governments. Funding categories, specifications, requirements and deadlines vary so it’s best to check directly with the National Park Service, State of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources or the National Trust directly. For more information:
National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund Grants
Florida Department of State Historical Resources Grants
National Trust for Historic Preservation Grant Programs