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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."
A local historic district provides specific benefits and protections for historic resources. While often confused, listing a property in the National Register of Historic Places and designation of a local historic district are not related. Both are effective preservation tools that help a community identify and plan for its historic resources, but they have different purposes, requirements, and benefits. In addition, while properties can be both listed in the National Register and also locally designated, the two have no bearing on one another. To learn the specifics of both types of historic designation, review our simple What's the Difference? document, below.
Below is an overview of the process for establishing a local historic district in Michigan. For full requirements, please see Section 3 of Public Act 169 of 1970, Michigan’s Local Historic Districts Act for complete requirements.