Local and National Historic Districts

The Elmwood Historic District (West) is a National Register historic district, not a local historic or a local preservation district.

A National Register historic district is not a local historic district with exterior review by others. There are no restrictions on the use, treatment or transfer of National Register-listed private property. Buildings do not need be open to the public. There is no need to consult any new agency for exterior changes. Rehabilitation review is involved only with requests for tax credit and public funding programs, which request is voluntary.

Local Historic Designation National Register Designation
A Local Historic District or Individual Local Landmark is designated by a Certified Local Government (CLG) in accordance with provisions in their City Charter. Local landmarking typically only deals with the appearance of properties, not with the use of those properties and is typically exterior only. An Individually Listed Building or those contributing to a National Register Historic District are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historic properties and resources worthy of preservation. These individual buildings, structures, sites and objects are significant in American history, architecture, engineering, archaeology and culture.
Designation of local landmarks recognizes, protects, and enhances important architectural, historical and environmental characteristics of buildings and districts. It provides a community with the means to make sure that growth, development and change take place in ways that respect historic character.The local preservation board will review all exterior changes that are planned for local landmarks. The board uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings as their guide. Interior changes are not normally reviewed. Listing recognizes the national significance of important built historic resources in a community. Boundaries of districts are tightly drawn to encompass only concentrated areas of historic buildings. Information compiled to nominate a historic district can be used in a variety of planning and development activities.National Register listing also makes available specific preservation incentives and provides a limited degree of protection via review of the effects of federally funded, licensed or permitted activities.
Key Features and Benefits of Local Designation Key Features and Benefits of National Register Designation
    • A public process to identify, recognize, and hopefully protect historic resources through listing
    • Protects, enhances a community’s historic properties and districts through a design review process
    • Requires local preservation board review and approval, based on conformance with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards before a building permit is issued for work
    • Maintains and elevates property values; unique and valuable historic features are retained and revitalized
    • Designates local landmarks and historic districts on the basis of local criteria and local procedures
    • Provides tax incentives for properties certified with the Department of the Interior through the NY State Historic Preservation Office
    • Provides no additional protection from the effects of federally assisted undertakings
    • May qualify owners for local preservation grants
    • Does not normally restrict the use of the property
    • Allows for consultation and assistance from the Buffalo Preservation Board for improvement projects
    • Allows for special local tax incentives such as a delay in increasing assessed values
    • Provides for review of proposed demolitions within designated areas, which may prevent or delay demolitions to consider preservation alternatives


    • A public process to identify, recognize, and hopefully protect historic resources through listing
    • Is an honor afforded to a small fraction of the millions of buildings and structures in the United States
    • Identifies significant properties and districts for general planning purposes as part of a process of identification, recognition, and protection
    • Analyzes and assesses the historic character and quality of properties and districts
    • Designates historic areas based on uniform national criteria and procedures
    • Provides a limited degree of protection from the effects of federally assisted undertakings
    • Qualifies property owners for available state and federal grants for preservation purposes
    • Makes available specific state and federal tax incentives for residential and commercial property owners
    • Does not restrict the use or disposition of property or obligate private property owners in any way
    • Does not require conformance to design guidelines or preservation standards when property is rehabilitation, unless specific preservation incentives (tax credits, grants) are involved
    • Does not prevent the demolition of historic buildings and structures within designated areas


This chart is based on information prepared by the Buffalo Preservation Board.

© Clinton Brown Company Architecture, 2012