Historic Preservation Work Plan

The Historic Preservation Work Plan (HPWP) represents the first step in a broader approach to update the city’s historic preservation program. The plan is a framework that directly connects to how plans have been historically developed to guide preservation activities in Rockville.

Development of an Action Plan for Historic Preservation 

As the city’s guiding historic preservation document, the Historic Resources Management Plan (HRMP), is 37 years old, the Mayor and Council directed that an action program be implemented to restart an update process.

In September 2022, staff from Community Planning and Development Services presented the Historic District Commission with an initial draft of the requested action program, the Historic Preservation Work Plan 2023-2033. The Historic District Commission subsequently endorsed the HPWP on October 20, 2022. 

After a process of instruction and discussion, the Mayor and Council endorsed the HPWP as the approved 10-year framework action plan for the city’s historic preservation program on May 8, 2023.

The HPWP is comprised of a series of recommended work items and action steps. Many of the recommendations have been previously approved in a number of planning documents and have been discussed at local board and commission meetings, in public forums, and at Mayor and Council meetings.

This work plan is intended to serve as a living document and details 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.

Via the HPWP, the city’s historic preservation program will be modernized and updated with an eye on yielding specific outcomes, including:

  • Creating an improved alignment with national and state historic preservation standards and best practices.
  • Strengthening overall local preservation programming.
  • Establishing agreed upon implementation timelines.
  • Laying out an improved understanding of future budgetary needs.
  • Serving as a base to update elements of the municipal preservation plan, previously called the HRMP, to better assess and define all aspects of Rockville history and its historic and cultural resources.

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 the city to embark on. Over the coming months, working groups and city staff will convene and begin this process. Each of the work items outlined in the HPWP 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. Future recommendations and findings will be brought before various city committees, commissions, and the general public for review and feedback. 

As detailed below, this framework is once again being implemented to assess policies, programming, and other activities that chart the course of the city’s preservation program over the next decade.

View the Endorsed Historic Preservation Work Plan

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 develop a long-range municipal preservation plan. Via a cooperative effort with the Maryland Historical Trust, university partners, and other stakeholders, the HRMP was formulated. This plan was created based upon the Resource Protection Planning Process developed by the National Park Service and adopted by the Mayor and Council in 1986.

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 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.

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: