Properties come into the Division of Historical Resources’ Preservation Easement Program to protect the public’s investment in or stewardship responsibilities for historic resources. Preservation easements represent partial interest in real property and create an active partnership between the DHR and owners of historically significant properties.
Easement Program Guidance for Property Owners and Stewards
Like the more commonly known conservation easements that primarily protect the natural, open space, or agricultural character of a parcel of land, a preservation easement primarily protects the historic characteristics of a property that convey its historic significance, which may include both built and natural elements. It does so by laying out responsibilities of both grantor and grantee, for the property owner to be a conscientious steward and the easement holder a source of guidance and support in preservation best practices.
Unlike many other easement programs where an organization is approached directly by property owners interested in protecting their own cherished resources for the long term, easements in DHR's program are often the result of the transfer of property out of federal or state ownership, the receipt of federal or state preservation grants, or as mitigation for adverse effects due to federal projects. For this reason, there is no application process to establish new easements in the program.
Coordination with Other Programs and Agencies
Many of the properties in DHR's Preservation Easement Program have multiple types of easements, are eligible for state and federal grants, or become subject to regulatory review. Property owners MUST initiate and follow the protocols of those programs and agencies, as well as project review under DHR's easement program. However, the DHR regularly coordinates our easement review consultation with those programs and agencies to help consolidate project review.
Annual Monitoring Reports (AMRs) facilitate communication between easement property owners and the DHR regarding the current physical condition of the historic resource, the status of projects completed in the previous year, and proposals for projects anticipated for the upcoming year. Not all easements in the DHR Preservation Easement Program require submission of AMRs to the DHR. AMRs may also be referred to as Annual Stewardship Reports.
Alteration Project Review
All DHR preservation easements require DHR review and approval of proposed alterations, usually on a project-by-project basis. The types of alterations reviewed for any particular property depend on the specifics of the easement for that property. Formal requests for approval must include an Alteration Request Form and attachments.
Forms and Resources
Site visits are often required but are always encouraged. Please contact the Easement Program Coordinator to schedule a site visit at any time to discuss proposed projects on-site, and/or take advantage of annual overview site visits to ask questions and receive guidance.
Property Ownership Transfers
Please submit p.1 of the Annual Monitoring Report to the DHR if a property transfer has occurred recently or is anticipated. Note that some easements require coordination with the DHR prior to sale.
Not all Easements are the Same
There is no single template for preservation easements with the DHR. Please review the text of your easement for guidance on specifics for your particular property.
Stewardship and Caring for Your Historic Property
Use the DHR’s Helpful Links for Stewardship & Best Practices to find links to everything from the National Park Service’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and Guidelines, the go-to compilation of historic preservation philosophy and guidance and their accompanying technical assistance bulletins and briefs, to sources for local consultants and contractors.