Inventory and Analysis of Historic Preservation Ordinances in Pennsylvania Municipalities

Authors: Steven Burg, Shippensburg University, Angela Cuthbert, Millersville University, George Pomeroy*, Shippensburg University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: historic preservation, Historic District Act, Municipalities Planning Code
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8229, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research provides the first comprehensive statewide inventory and analysis of historic preservation ordinances in Pennsylvania municipalities. The goal of the project was to fulfill six specific outcomes focused on documenting, evaluating, and assessing the effectiveness of historic preservation ordinances in Pennsylvania. In addition to the inventory, analysis, and a set of related outcomes, a set of fifteen policy considerations relevant to the extent and methods of historic preservation is provided. The project considers historic preservation ordinances enabled via either of the two statutory pathways provided by state law, which are the Historic District Act (HDA) of 1961 and the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) of 1968. The project was accomplished using several methodologies, including an online survey of county planning directors, key person interviews with planning / historical preservation stakeholders in selected municipalities, and demographic analysis complemented with extensive mapping. Analysis of the data yielded three conclusions and fifteen policy considerations. The findings and conclusions include the identification of 294 municipalities engaging in historic preservation regulatory activity, that there is a tremendous range of documented current practices operating under the authority of the MPC to protect historic resources, and A set of socio-demographic factors correlate with municipalities that have historic preservation related ordinances (or lack thereof) and these are broadly related to a set of potential constraints that limit the ability of some municipalities to engage in historic resource preservation.

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