Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Certified Local Government (CLG)

Downtown Warrenton
Warrenton was awarded CLG funds (2018-2019) for a project to update its downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Overview of CLG

Communities strengthen and expand their local preservation programs through Certified Local Government (CLG) designation. The CLG program was created by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended in 1980). It establishes a partnership between local governments, the federal historic preservation program, and each state’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which in the case of Virginia is the Department of Historic Resources (DHR).

The program allows DHR, as the SHPO, to recommend for certification local governments that have put key elements of a sound local preservation program in place in their communities. Designation as a CLG gives local governments a way to participate more formally in the state and national historic preservation programs. General requirements for certification are identified in the federal program; specific requirements for the Virginia program have been established by DHR.

Goals of the Virginia CLG program are threefold:

  • Promote viable communities through preservation
  • Recognize and reward communities with sound local preservation programs
  • Establish credentials of quality for local preservation programs

To learn more about the CLG program, click on the various links featured in the top-right navigation box.

Additional information is also available from your nearest DHR regional preservation office. Also, for more information, contact: Aubrey Von Lindern Phone: (540) 868-7029.

CLG Grants

CLG designation also allows a jurisdiction to apply for CLG grants through federal Historic Preservation Funds (HPF). Ten percent of all HPF monies that come to the Commonwealth of Virginia must be distributed to CLGs. DHR does this through a competitive grant process, open only to CLGs. 

 

Benefits of CLG Designation

There are many advantages to earning CLG designation as a community. The program helps a community with preservation generally in three ways, since it—

  • promotes community-wide preservation;
  • recognizes and supports a community’s local preservation programs; and
  • establishes the credentials of quality for local preservation programs.

As a CLG, a community

  • assumes a formal role in the identification, evaluation, and protection of its heritage resources;
  • has the right to comment on the eligibility of resources nominated for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in its jurisdiction;
  • receives technical assistance from DHR and the National Park Service;
  • learns from each other CLGs by sharing experiences, concerns, solutions to problems;
  • can apply for matching grants for preservation programs from a 10% share of Virginia’s annual federal appropriation;
  • gains full access to DHR’s GIS-based Virginia Cultural Resource database (V-CRIS), an $800 value annually;
  • is eligible for stipends to selected preservation conferences and workshops;
  • is automatically considered for the DHR Cost Share Program funding for survey projects in which CLG grant funding is unavailable; and
  • is granted the right to be a “consulting party” in a project requiring Section 106 review.

CLG grants can be used in the following ways:

  • for surveys of architectural or archaeological resources;
  • for preparation of Preliminary Information Forms or National Register of Historic Places nominations for local heritage resources;
  • for heritage stewardship planning projects such as drafting historic preservation plans, archaeological assessments, preservation components of comprehensive plans, or condition assessment reports;
  • for public education programs concerned with a heritage stewardship program;
  • for local review board or targeted audience training and education projects such as development of materials or programs, including training sessions and hands-on workshops;
  • for testing archaeological sites to determine their significance or for pure research, education, or mitigation (as the latter pertains to Section 106 requirements);
  • for rehabilitation of buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places that are publicly owned or are privately owned and selected through a local grant competition;
  • for drafting new or updated design guidelines; and
  • for materials research on a rehabilitation project.

DHR is currently reviewing the CLG program requirements to identify other local government planning efforts that promote heritage stewardship activities and that contribute to an effective local preservation program. As a result of this review, some of the requirements for the CLG program may be amended.

 

Requirements for CLG Designation

Currently the following requirements are necessary for CLG designation

  • A local government must adopt a historic district ordinance that —
    (a) defines district boundaries,
    (b) establishes a review board,
    (c) identifies actions that must be reviewed and standards for review, and
    (d) in general provides for the protection of local historic resources.
  • The CLG’s preservation commission or review board must administer its ordinance and work as an advocate for preservation in the locality.
  • The CLG must continue to survey its local heritage resources.
  • The CLG must promote public participation in its local heritage stewardship program.
  • The CLG must annually report on the performance of its CLG responsibilities.

An application for designation as a CLG currently requires the following:

  • A request for certification from the local chief elected official with a written assurance that the local government fulfills the Virginia CLG requirements.
  • A copy of the local preservation ordinance and map(s) showing the areas and sites protected by the ordinance.
  • A copy of a resume for each member of the local review board and a copy of the board’s bylaws and rules of procedure.

 

List of CLGs in Virginia

The following communities have strengthened and expanded their local preservation programs through participation in the Certified Local Government program. In Virginia the program is jointly administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (the State Historic Preservation Office).

The communities below are active partners in the Federal Historic Preservation Program and the opportunities it provides. These include access to the expert preservation and technical advice of DHR as well as the NPS. Partnerships with the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Main Street Center are also networks that CLGs have an opportunity to tap. Of course, another benefit is access through DHR to Federal funds set aside annually for CLGs.

Also, Virginia CLGs receive a free license to access V-CRIS and training in using this state-of-the-art GIS database of historic resources.

These CLGs show a community commitment to keeping what is significant from the past for future generations. As a certified town, city, or county seeking other opportunities, it becomes easy to demonstrate a readiness to take on a preservation project and be successful.

Abingdon (Town)
Alexandria (City)
Arlington County
Blacksburg (Town)
Cape Charles (Town)
Charlottesville (City)
Clarke County
Culpeper (Town)
Danville (City)
Fairfax (City)
Fairfax County
Fredericksburg (City)
Hanover County
Herndon (Town)
Leesburg (Town)
Lexington (Town)
Loudoun County
Lynchburg (City)

Manassas (City)
Middleburg (Town)
Norfolk (City)
Petersburg (City)
Prince William County
Pulaski (Town)
Richmond (City)
Roanoke (City)
Smithfield (Town)
Spotsylvania County
Stafford County
Staunton (City)
Stephens City (Town)
Suffolk (City)
Virginia Beach (City)
Warrenton (Town)
Williamsburg (City)
Winchester (City)

Updated August 26, 2020