By Anna Broverman, Architectural Historian, State Historic Preservation Division
Hawai‘i County has joined Kaua‘i and Maui counties to become Hawaii’s third Certified Local Government (CLG), a designation under the National Historic Preservation Act.
The CLG program is a partnership between local, state and federal governments to promote historic preservation at the local level. By joining the program, local jurisdictions make a commitment to preservation and become eligible to receive technical assistance and funding.
Hawai‘i County adopted its enabling ordinance in 2009, and took several years to develop the rules and operating procedures, appoint the members of the preservation commission, and apply for certified status. The State approved the County’s program in 2014.
Benefits of the CLG program include access to expert advice from the State Historic Preservation Division and the National Park Service, the chance to network with other CLG programs throughout the state and country, and grants up to $57,000 within the State of Hawaii.
Requirements include the formation of a qualified historic preservation commission; the establishment of a local preservation ordinance; the creation and maintenance of a system of survey and inventory for historic properties; and the facilitation of public participation in local preservation efforts, including the National Register of Historic Places listing process. Together, these programs help the community continually identify their historic resources, educate the public about those resources, and monitor changes to them.
The CLG program hinges on the idea that local communities know the most about their historic resources. Each CLG has a commission that consists of local experts knowledgeable in specific fields including culture, history, architecture, and archaeology. Through the county historic preservation commission and county staff person, CLGs are able to raise awareness about historic preservation and institute programs to promote preservation in local communities. Commissions also advise County Councils and the State Historic Preservation Division on projects impacting local historic properties.
Kaua‘i and Maui Counties have been able to accomplish a number of preservation projects that furthered preservation in the state, such as surveys of historic areas and technical reports on significant historic properties. CLG grants can be used for many types of preservation project, excluding physical work on properties. Recent projects include completing a Lahaina National Historic Landmark archaeological survey, surveying two districts on Kaua‘i and holding preservation basics workshops in Kauai and Maui Counties. In early December, the State Historic Preservation Division brought in instructors from the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions to complete a two-day training on historic preservation, commission procedures, and grant ideas for the new Hawai‘i Island Commissioners as well as Kaua‘i and Maui County commissioners.
The City and County of Honolulu is now the only county in Hawai‘i not participating in the CLG program. Although the City and County did approve enabling legislation several decades ago, the program has never been implemented.
If you would like to attend or comment on the Historic Preservation Commission meetings please refer to the county websites: