What is a CLG?

A CLG is an acronym for Certified Local Government and is a unit of local government (town, village, city or county) that has been certified to become a fully participating partner in national and state historic preservation programs.  To be eligible to apply for certification, a community must: 1) make historic preservation a public policy through the establishment of an historic preservation ordinance for the designation and protection of historic resources, and 2) establish a local preservation commission.  See New Mexico Administrative Code, Title 4 Cultural Resources, Title 10 Cultural Properties and Historic Preservation, Certified Local Government Program

What is a local preservation commission?

An Historic Preservation Commission / Historic Design Review Board, etc. is a body of local citizens appointed by the chief elected official to implement historic preservation programs outlined in the community’s historic preservation ordinance for the designation and protection of historic resources.  A commission must have a minimum of five members, all of whom have a demonstrated interest in historic preservation.   Local preservation commission requirements may be found in Section 11 of the NMAC for the CLG Program. 

What are the advantages to joining the CLG Program?

  • Technical assistance
  • Direct participation in the National Register nomination process
  • Eligibility to apply for annual grant funds
  • Establishment of a local ordinance / preservation commission that provides greater control over local preservation concerns

What are the responsibilities of a CLG?

  1. Establish a qualified historic preservation commission.
  2. Enforce appropriate state and local legislation for the designation and protection of historic properties.  In most cases this is done in the form of a local ordinance.
  3. Maintain a system for the survey and inventory of local historic resources.
  4. Facilitate public participation in the local preservation program, including participation in the National Register nomination process.
  5. Follow additional requirements outlined in the State of New Mexico CLG Manual. 

Is financial assistance available?

Each year the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office/Historic Preservation Division must allocate 10% of its funding from the National Park Service to a grant program specifically for CLGs.  Note: in 2017 this was approximately $80,000.  All CLGs are eligible to apply for funding, but not all will receive funding.  CLG Grants are matching reimbursable grants requiring a community to provide a financial and/or in-kind contribution to the project.  An announcement will be issued to all CLGs when funding is available.  Grants are available for preservation planning projects.  

What are design guidelines? 

Design guidelines are a set of criteria established for a designated historic district that outline how buildings shall be treated when construction projects are being considered.  Communities that are not ready to adopt an ordinance may opt for a less comprehensive approach by developing guidelines for voluntary use.  While good examples of design guidelines are available in other communities a community considering design guidelines should develop guidelines that reflect the architecture and design elements in its own community.  Examples of design guidelines may be found here.  

What is the difference between being listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the State Register of Cultural Properties (SRCP) and being locally designated (e.g. a City of Albuquerque Landmark)? 

Local listing provides the strongest type of protection for historic buildings as physical construction work must first be approved by the local preservation commission (often called a “Certificate of Appropriateness” or “Building Permit Review”) before a building permit is issued.  Listing in both the NRHP & SRCP provides recognition of properties but private property owners are not required to preserve properties unless receiving a grant or financial incentives like the tax credit.  See below for further information if public funding is involved.

Do we have the legal right to tell people what to do with privately owned buildings?

The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of design review. The State of New Mexico’s state-enabling legislation permits municipalities and counties the capacity to establish their own preservation ordinances. 

What must be included in the preservation ordinance in order to be qualified to apply to become a CLG?

See Section 10 of NMAC 4.10.10 “Requirements for Local Legislation” for the Certified Local Government Program.

What are the requirements for the establishment of the preservation commission?

See Section 11 of NMAC 4.10.10 "Minimum Requirements and Duties of HIstoric Preservation Review Commissions" for the CLG Program.

What if my community is using public funding in a project that affects historic properties?

See section 18-8-7 of the New Mexico Prehistoric and Historic Sites Act that pertains to Section 7 review and the use of public funding and its effects on historic properties.  The community should consult with HPD as early as possible in the project planning and before any work begins.

What if my community has a project that is funded by federal funding or requires a federal permit or license? 

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to consider their effects on historic properties.  

How does a community become a CLG?

Once a preservation ordinance and preservation commission have been established meeting the requirements outlined above a community may request certification, in writing, to HPD.  The application for certification should include a copy of the preservation ordinance, a list of commission members, commission members’ resumes, how the commission will be staffed, a draft Certification Agreement, a CLG checklist, a Request for Certification, and list/maps of designated historic properties.  Once HPD reviews the application and finds it complete and that it complies with program requirements the application will be sent to the National Park Service for their review and certification. 

Can a community remove its CLG status or have its CLG status removed? 

Yes.  A CLG may request decertification in writing at any time.  HPD also reserves the right to decertify a CLG that is not meeting the requirements outlined in its CLG Certification Agreement.

Further questions?

Please contact the CLG Coordinator, Karla McWilliams at 505-827-4451 or