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."
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.
- Citizens ask local legislative body to adopt a resolution to approve a historic district study
- Local legislative body appoints a Historic District Study Committee
- Study Committee performs photographic inventory and research
- Study Committee evaluates resources using National Register of Historic Places criteria
- Study committee prepares a preliminary historic district study committee report according to Section 3 of PA 169
- Study Committee officially transmits report to local planning board, SHPO, Michigan Historical Commission and State Review Board
- At least 60 days after the official transmittal of the report the Study Committee holds a public hearing
- Study Committee has up to 1 year after the public hearing to submit a final report to the local legislative body
- Local legislative body votes to approve or reject the proposed historic district
- A historic district ordinance must be adopted and a historic district commission appointed at the time the historic district is approved
- Property owners apply to Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) before undertaking work in the historic district