Certified Local Government Program

The Certified Local Government (CLG) program is designed to provide an opportunity for local governments to become more directly involved in identifying, evaluating, protecting, promoting and enhancing the educational economic value of local properties of historic, architectural and archeological significance.

New Hampshire currently has 43 local governments with preservation ordinances; 28 of these are Certified Local Governments (CLGs).

CLGs are municipalities that have been endorsed by the State Historic Preservation Office (Division of Historical Resources) and the National Park Service (NPS) to participate in the national preservation program while maintaining standards consistent with the federal historic preservation regulations and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

A local government wishing to become a CLG must fulfill certain requirements indicating its commitment to local preservation. One key requirement is establishing a historic preservation review commission, which may be either a historic district commission, or a heritage commission with historic district responsibilities. The local government appoints to the commission professional and lay members with varied expertise and interest related to historic preservation, and "shall take into consideration the appointee's demonstrated interest and ability to understand, appreciate and promote the purposes of the…commission."

In addition to its other responsibilities, the historic district or heritage commission serves as an advisory body to the municipal government and to the land use boards (planning board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, and conservation commission). In that role, it becomes the coordinating body for municipal preservation activities.

A CLG Community is also responsible for preparing reports on National Register of Historic Places nominations, for all properties within the community (not just those within a historic district), sponsoring public information programs on historic preservation, and preparing applications for matching grants from the CLG share of the state’s annual Historic Preservation Fund allocation, if the community chooses to apply for grant funds. The DHR provides training for the CLG commission on its CLG responsibilities and on preservation topics in general.

The entire municipality, and not the Historic District or Heritage Commission alone, is designated as a "Certified Local Government." After certification, ongoing technical assistance is available from the DHR to help the community and the historic district (or heritage) commission conduct historic preservation projects, address preservation issues and opportunities, and resolve concerns relating to federally assisted activities that may affect historic properties.

The matching grants available to municipalities that have become Certified Local Governments can be used to fund various community preservation activities such as survey, National Register, preservation planning and educational projects.

The Certified Local Government for Program Manual describes the program in detail.