Primer on Historic Preservation Law

What is the legal basis for historic preservation in the United States? The National Historic Preservation Act, NEPA and CEQA provided the legal tools to protect resources recognized through registration programs at the federal, state and local levels. Within the past 50 years, a host of local planning, development and environmental regulations and their associated case law have changed the legal landscape for local governments, preservationists and property owners alike. Learn which laws and procedures apply to your situation, when to apply them, and how they interact in the development process to keep your projects on track and your preservation efforts intact.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will be introduced to the history of preservation law in the United States through a discussion of the purpose, content, scope and timing of national, California state and local statutes.
  2. Participants will learn how enabling regulations and procedures for planning, preservation and environmental review have created a robust, albeit clumsy, regulatory framework to protect historic resources.
  3. Participants will learn how case law has clarified, modified and extended the legal framework for preservation.
  4. Participants will understand how planning, preservation and environmental review interact before and during project review and how mitigation monitoring completes the process during and after construction.


  • Deborah Rosenthal, Esq.,FitzGerald Yap Kreditor