The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance ".... is a non-profit, membership-based organization that helps community leaders and property owners save and revitalize our irreplaceable historic landmarks and communities to contribute to the quality, the character, and the economic vitality of the state."
The following in part is from the NH Preservation Alliance website and provides a concise explanation of a number of resources available to communities as they embark on projects such as our village vision committee has undertaken. Part of our village of course contains a number of historic properties and along with the Rt 25 issue must also be factored into the vision equation.
Heritage Commissions ( Here is link to the Moultonboro Heritage Commission)
One of the first things a community can do is establish a Heritage Commission. This appointed body works much like a conservation commission. It is not regulatory (which requires an established Historic District and rules governing changes to the structures within that area). Rather, it is advisory to the board of selectmen or city council, and can work on behalf of preservation, own property and accept gifts of money to rehabilitate those structures. Many of the tools listed below are appropriate for Heritage Commissions. Other activities include offering educational programs, creating a recognition program of historic plaques or signs, or submitting a regular column about historic resources to the local newspaper or town website.
Historical Resource Survey
A priority task for the heritage commission is to have a comprehensive understanding of what the community’s historical resources are. This is generally accomplished by undertaking a survey or inventory of historical buildings, structures, and sites. A historical resource survey can aid in understanding the community's historic character and assist in determining which resources take preservation priority and why. It provides ready access to accurate, useable information whenever needed. With accurate data, a municipality can make an informed decision quickly. The historical resource survey also plays a major role in creating a preservation chapter for the community's master plan.
Detailed information on conducting a historical resource survey can be found at http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/programs/survey.htm.
When it comes to recognizing or protecting historic character in a specific area of the community, municipalities have three options, each of which is distinctively different: (1) National Register historic districts, (2) locally designated historic districts, and (3) neighborhood heritage districts. The districts can be separate designations or can overlap with each other. The town's historical resources survey will identify areas within the community where a particular type of district might be appropriate.
Detailed information on the various kinds of historic districts may be obtained by consulting the NH Division of Historical Resources www.nh.gov/nhdhr
Master Plan Chapter ( Here is a link to the 2008 Moultonboro Master Plan Historical and Cultural Resources Chapter)
Advocates for preservation can make an immediate contribution to preservation planning by working with town government to include a chapter on Historic and Cultural Resources, an optional component of the state-required municipal Master Plan. A master plan, sometimes called a comprehensive community plan, combines descriptive information, analysis of local trends, technical data and annotated maps. This material forms the basis for policies used by the community to manage and direct municipal growth, development and change. The historical and cultural resources chapter of the master plan should provide an overview of the history of the town or city; identify significant resources and historic areas that illustrate its history; and offer goals and action items to manage future change that might impact those resources. If there is a heritage commission, they should take an active role in writing this chapter, but volunteers can also come together to compile this information. Once their work is complete, their next project might be to propose that the town form a heritage commission.
* Merrimack completed a comprehensive chapter on historical resources in its 2002 master plan, which is on their website: http://www.merrimacknh.gov/
Demolition Review Ordinance
Several of New Hampshire's heritage commissions have spearheaded demolition review ordinances for their community. While the ordinance does not prevent demolition of a historic building, it does bring it to the attention of the heritage commission and the general public. Through discussion, education and exploration of alternative approaches, communities with a demolition review ordinance have successfully saved a number of buildings from the wrecking ball, while keeping property on the tax rolls and spurring creative new development.
The Certified Local Government Program (CLG)
The CLG program is a partnership between municipal governments and the state historic preservation program, to encourage and expand local involvement in preservation-related activities. It is administered through the NH Division of Historical Resources, and municipal governments must apply for admission to the program. The Division of Historical Resources (DHR) designates at least 10 percent of its annual Historic Preservation Fund allocation from the Department of the Interior to local governments that have become Certified Local Governments.
To be eligible, a local government must have established a historic preservation review commission, which may be either a historic district commission or a heritage commission with historic district responsibilities. In addition to its other responsibilities, the historic district commission or heritage commission serves as an advisory body to the municipal government and to the land use boards (planning board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, and conservation commission). In that role, it becomes the coordinating body for municipal preservation activities. It prepares reports on National Register of Historic Places nominations, for all properties within the community (not just those within a historic district), sponsors public information programs on historic preservation, and prepares applications for matching grants from the CLG share of the state’s annual Historic Preservation Fund allocation, if the community chooses to apply for grant funds. The DHR provides training for the CLG commission on its CLG responsibilities and offers ongoing technical assistance to help the community and the commission conduct historic preservation projects, address preservation issues and opportunities, and resolve concerns relating to federally-assisted activities that may affect historic properties.
Matching grants to municipalities that have become Certified Local Governments can be used to fund community preservation activities such as historic resource surveys, National Register nominations, preservation planning, and educational projects. In some years, grants are also available for architectural plans and specifications, engineering reports, and even “bricks and mortar” work on National Register properties.
Real property acquisition
* RSA 674:44-b-II
The heritage commission can acquire real property in the name of the town or city and subject to the approval of the local governing body. The acquisition can be by gift, purchase, grant, bequest, devise, lease, or otherwise, and in the form of a fee or lesser interest, development rights, covenant, or other contractual right, including conveyances with conditions, limitations, or reversions. This mechanism was put into place as a means to maintain, improve, protect, limit the future use of, or otherwise conserve and properly use the historical and cultural resources of the city or town. With acquisition, the heritage commission is responsible for managing and controlling the property