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Local Historic Preservation Programs

The most effective way to protect historic resources and promote our architectural and archaeological heritage is through local stewardship. When implemented at the local level, historic preservation activities may take the form of preservation master plan elements, comprehensive zoning ordinances, regulated code enforcement, or public education and outreach programs. Local initiatives have far reaching effects on preserving historic resources for future generations. The HPO provides technical assistance, training, and other resources for historic preservation to New Jersey's communities through a variety of programs.

Tax Incentives

Tax incentives leverage private investment in historic properties through income tax credits for qualified rehabilitation projects. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program administered by the National Park Service through the HPO has promoted reinvestment in historic buildings since 1976. The program provides federal income tax credits for rehabilitation of income producing historic properties. Follow the link below for a program summary and additional information.

Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines


The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Standards) offer basic historic preservation guidance for identifying, retaining, and preserving the form and details of historic properties. This philosophy is implemented through a hierarchy that emphasizes maintaining and protecting first, repairing second, and replacing only when maintenance or repairs are not feasible or cost-effective. The Standards also include guidance for replicating or reconstructing missing elements and adding to or altering historic properties. The Standards are available from the National Park Service website along with related guidance and illustrations.

(NPS Website)

New Jersey Rehabilitation

The New Jersey Rehabilitation Subcode is a comprehensive set of technical requirements that enables the restoration and rehabilitation of buildings to be safer, cheaper and easier. These innovative standards provide predictability for those undertaking the rehabilitation of existing buildings, and allow for flexibility in applying a variety of code sections. Developed by the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and a 30 member advisory committee, the Rehab Subcode was adopted on January 5, 1998.

In the guidance document that accompanies the subcode, DCA notes that:

  • The Rehabilitation Subcode is the first comprehensive set of code requirements for existing buildings. It is a stand-alone subchapter and, therefore, it contains all the technical requirements that apply to a rehabilitation project.
  • The Rehab Subcode is divided into parts that are quite different from the new construction subcodes and must be understood if the Rehabilitation Subcode is to be understood.
    • There are three types of projects: Rehabilitation; Change of Use; and Additions.
    • There are four Categories of Rehabilitation: repair, renovation, alteration, and reconstruction. They relate to the extent of the work undertaken.
    • There are five Sets of Requirements: products and practices; materials and methods; new building elements; basic requirements; and supplemental requirements that apply to the categories of work.

The success of the rehab subcode in spurring urban revitalization and economic development is well documented. Rehabilitation work in New Jersey's 16 largest cities has increased 62.5 percent since 1997 before the code was adopted. Renovation accounts for 43 cents of every construction dollar for projects authorized with building permits in New Jersey.

Further information and guidance are available from the Department of Community Affairs website by following the link below.

(DCA Website)

Main Street
New Jersey


Main Street is a comprehensive revitalization program that promotes the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in New Jersey. The Main Street program provides selected New Jersey communities with technical assistance and training of prooven value in revitalizing historic downtowns. The program helps municipalities improve the economy, appearance and image of their central business districts through the organization of local citizens and resources.


(Main Street Website)

New Jersey
Historic Trust

The New Jersey Historic Trust currently provides support and protection for New Jersey's historic resources through a variety of grant, loan, and property donation programs, including:

  • Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund. Grant funding through two programs available to units of county or local government or qualified not-for-profit organizations:
    • Capital Preservation Grants fund construction expenses related to the preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of historic properties and associated architectural and engineering expenses. Level I Capital Preservation Grants, for smaller "bricks and mortar" projects, range from $5,000 to $50,000, while Level II grants range from $50,001 to $750,000.
    • Historic Site Management Grants fund activities that promote effective site management at historic sites. These range from $5,000 to $50,000.
  • The Historic Preservation Bond Program. While the last of the Bond Program funds was awarded in 1997, the Trust continues to administer grants for those projects still under construction.
  • Emergency Grant and Loan Fund. Limited seed funds for critically needed work on endangered historic resources.
  • Revolving Loan Fund. This fund provides long-term, low-interest loans for acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation or restoration of historic properties.
  • Preservation Easement Program. Ensures the preservation of privately held properties in perpetuity through the use of deed restrictions.
  • New Jersey Legacies Program. The Trust accepts donations of real estate through a joint venture with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

More information about the Trust and current funding opportunities are available from the Trust's website by following the link below.

(NJHT Website)

Save America's Treasures


The Save America's Treasures program provides grants for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and nationally significant historic structures and sites. Intellectual and cultural artifacts include artifacts, collections, documents, monuments and works of art. Historic structures and sites include historic districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects. The grants are administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, and are awarded through a competitive selection process. Grants require a dollar-for-dollar non-Federal match.

See the Save America's Treasures website for additional information.

Also see NCSHPO 2007
Also see NCSHPO 2008

Preserve America


Preserve America is an Administration initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities. Detailed information on all aspects of this initiative can be found at www.preserveamerica.gov.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: April 4, 2019