The National Register is overseen by the National Park Service under the Secretary of the Interior. Projects that are federally funded, licensed or authorized are required to take into account how the project will effect historic properties. Properties given this form of recognition are deemed significant to all Americans because of their exceptional values or qualities, which helps illustrate or interpret the heritage of the United States. However, there is limited protection and does not prohibit the owner from making changes or alterations. The National Park Service may recommend various preservation actions, but the owner is not obliged to follow them.
The New Jersey Register of Historic Places was created in 1970 and provides and added layer of protection to the National Register by including undertakings by the state, county or municipalities. The State Register is the official listing of those sites important to the historical development of New Jersey. Listing on the State Register does not restrict the rights of the property owner in the use and development of the historic property.
Local designation is a form of protection for significant properties and districts. To be considered for designation, a building or district must represent and reflect elements of the village’s culture, social, architectural, political, religious or aesthetic heritage. Local designation of properties and districts offers the most protection and regulation.
NJ State statutes allow municipalities to establish historic properties and districts for which exterior changes are reviewed by the local preservation commission. Municipalities in New Jersey obtain their authority to identify, evaluate, designate and regulate historic resources (individual sites and districts) from the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), the enabling legislation for municipal land use, and, development planning, zoning and since 1986, historic preservation zoning.