Under the state enabling statute, HDCs and HPCs are granted additional discretionary powers, including but not limited to:
Making periodic reports to the local legislative body
Providing information to property owners and others regarding historic preservation
Suggesting legislation pertinent to the preservation and character of the historic district
Initiating planning and zoning proposals
Cooperating with other regulatory agencies, civic organizations, and groups interested in historic preservation
Commenting on applications for zoning variances and special exceptions affecting the historic district
Advising on sidewalk construction and repair, tree planting, street improvements, and public buildings as they affect the historic district
Furnishing information and assistance with capital improvement programs in historic districts
Consulting with groups of experts
Publishing brochures, presenting walking tours, having other informational programs on the character, history, and architecture of the LHD or LHP
The discretionary powers provide an opportunity for HDCs and HPCs to extend their efforts in the community in support of historic preservation. In many communities, the HDC or HPC becomes a source of technical expertise and advice for property owners within and outside the district and for other municipal boards and officials.
Duly appointed HDC and HPC members are an important part of municipal governance. With creativity and energy, they can provide leadership in the preservation and protection of the community’s historic resources.