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Historic Preservation Work Plan
The Historic Preservation Work Plan is a framework that directly connects to how plans have been developed to guide preservation activities in Rockville. This initiative, as detailed in past efforts discussed below, is the first step in a broader approach to review and activate recommendations to update and strengthen our local preservation program. Ultimately, the HPWP will serve as a municipal work plan to update various elements of the city’s preservation program over the course of a decade, from 2023 to 2033.
Past Actions to Develop Municipal Historic Preservation Planning
In 1980, the Department of Planning and the Historic District Commission kicked off the initiative to update the 1970 Rockville Preservation Plan. The first step for this initiative was to develop a program that thoroughly assessed and provided recommendations to update preservation policies, programming, and activities. A guiding framework, called the Recommended Historic Preservation Action Program (Action Program), was created. This Action Program, comprised of a series of goals and actions, sought to achieve particular preservation objectives and to likewise be used in the development of a long-range municipal preservation plan. After a thorough public comment period, the Action Program was approved in 1981 and incorporated as an amendment into the city’s 1970 Master Plan. In 1983 and then again in 1985, the Action Program was further updated and expanded to meet Rockville’s heritage management needs.
Based upon objectives identified in the Recommended Historic Preservation Action Program, in 1985 the city commenced the initiative to now develop a long-range municipal preservation plan. Via a cooperative effort with the Maryland Historical Trust, university partners, and other stakeholders, the Historic Resource Management Plan was formulated. This plan was created based upon the Resource Protection Planning Process developed by the National Park Service. In 1986, the HRMP was adopted by the Mayor and Council.
The HRMP identified city historic resources, provided local history contexts, presented recommendations and implementation steps to protect and preserve such resources, and coordinated resource management through the Rockville Historic District Commission. The HRMP was designed to advance historic preservation and heritage by integrating such planning initiatives into comprehensive and land use planning processes.
As the HRMP is 36 years old, it is time to restart this process. In December 2020, Mayor and Council directed that an action program initiative be implemented. In September 2022, staff from Community Planning and Development Services presented the Rockville Historic District Commission with an initial draft of an action program, now called the Historic Preservation Work Plan. At the November HDC meeting, the draft plan was endorsed.
Precedents: Past Planning Documents and Meetings
The following documents and meetings are the basis used to develop and compile recommendations that make up the HPWP 2023-2033:
- 1977 Historic Districts Preliminary Preservation Plan
- 1981 Historic Preservation Action Program
- 1983 Historic Preservation Action Program
- 1986 Historic Resources Management Plan
- 2013 Rockville Amendment: Montgomery County Heritage Area Management Plan
- 2014 Analysis of Documents for Historic Designation and Certificates of Approval
- 2016 Historic Preservation Assessment for Comprehensive Plan
- 2020 Proposed Revision of the Historic Resources Management Plan
- 2040 Comprehensive Plan, Historic Preservation Element
- Public Discussion Occurring at the Historic District Commission (begins at 20:29)
- Public Discussion Occurring at the Mayor & Council Meeting (begins at 2:22:28)
Creating the Historic Preservation Work Plan
The HPWP is a 10-year action program made up of recommended actions to update the municipal preservation program. The vast majority of these recommendations have been approved in a number of planning documents and plans, and have been discussed at local board and commission meetings, in public forums and at Mayor and Council meetings.
Via the HPWP, municipal preservation and heritage efforts will be modernized and updated with an eye on yielding specific outcomes including:
- Creating an improved alignment with national historic preservation standards and best practices.
- Laying out an improved understanding of future budgetary needs.
- Strengthening overall preservation programming.
- Establishing agreed upon implementation timelines.
- Providing a base and components to update the municipal preservation plan, the HRMP, to better assess and define all aspects of Rockville history and its resources.
The HPWP is broken down into six work items and 40 action steps that chart approaches to modernizing policies, programming and survey initiatives. The proposed recommendations will help in updating the knowledge of our local resources and the manner in which they are handled.
This plan is intended to serve as a living document and will detail policies and implementation steps for citywide historic preservation. Work items and action steps address survey needs, historic districts, incentives, easements, education and outreach, as well as describing the roles of the Mayor and Council, Historic District Commission, Planning Commission and other organizations in preserving Rockville’s history.
It is important to note that the HPWP itself does not make any policy recommendations, nor does the document make any changes to the city’s preservation program. The HPWP outlines a series of projects and updates for staff to embark on. Each of these projects will have their own public engagement process, likely involving stakeholder and work groups, neighborhood listening and discussion sessions, public hearings and ample opportunity for resident feedback before any decisions are made.
Get Involved with the Historic Preservation Work Plan
As this plan lays out work elements for the next 10 years, CPDS would like to gather additional thoughts and directions. Contact Christopher Meyers at email@example.com to send comments via email, or schedule an in-office discussion or video conference.