The purpose is to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare by providing for the identification, protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and use of improvements, buildings and their settings, structures, objects, monuments, sites, places, and areas within the City that reflect special elements of the City’s architectural, artistic, cultural, engineering, aesthetic, historical, political, social, and other heritage to achieve the following objectives:
- Safeguard the heritage of the City by encouraging the voluntary protection of historic resources representing significant elements of its history.
- Enhance the visual character of the City by encouraging and providing for the voluntary preservation of those buildings that reflect unique and established architectural traditions that contribute to the older neighborhoods of the City.
- Foster public appreciation of and civic pride in the beauty of the City and the accomplishments of its past.
- Strengthen the economy and improve property values of the City by protecting and enhancing the City’s attraction to residents and visitors.
- Promote the private and public use of historic resources for the education, prosperity and general welfare of the people.
- Stabilize and improve property values within the City.
- Achieve historic preservation through the encouragement and promotion of voluntary additions to the City’s Historic Register.
- Recognize that the previous historic resource inventory (adopted by Ordinance No. 82.111) is ineffective for the purposes of creating a presumption of historicity of any property identified thereon.
Click here to view the Historic Preservation Training PowerPoint
On April 26, 2022, the City Council approved a revised Historic Preservation Program to provide for a locally voluntary program, which was certified by the Coastal Commission July 13, 2022. For more information, see the City Council Staff Report and the revised Historic Preservation Ordinance.
MUNICIPAL CODE CHANGES
There are four key components proposed in the draft Preservation Ordinance: (1) Inclusion of the definition of the term "Historic Resource has been provided;" (2) the addition of "owner consent" as a criteria for eligibility for local register purposes; (3) the elimination of references to the outdated 1981 Historic Resources Inventory; (4) expanded historic preservation incentives. These four key components are described in more detail below.
Historic Resources Definition
The proposed definition of "Historic Resource" is consistent with State Law. Through this revised language, the City is exercising its discretion not to expand the definition beyond what is mandated by law. At the same time, the definition follows the mandates of CEQA by recognizing that there will be situations in which a structure may be considered "eligible" for the California Register of Historic Places, and must therefore generally be considered an historic resource.
Owner Consent for Eligibility of Local RegisterThe criteria for being considered eligible forthe City's local register now includes an explicit requirement for owner consent (See pg. 15, Draft Ordinance, Section 25.45.006 (8)(1)). When first adopted, the City's local program was intended to be voluntary in nature but was not implemented as such. This proposed revision clarifies that on the local level, for a property or structure to be considered as a local historic resource that is eligible for the local Historic Register, owner consent is required. These new criteria provide for the locally voluntary program.
Eliminate References to the "Historic Inventory"It has been determined that the 1981 Historic Inventory no longer meets the requirements of Public Resources Code section 5020.1 (k) because it has not been updated within the last five years. Consequently, the Inventory does not provide a presumption that properties identified are historic resources, and all references to it have eliminated from the City regulations and policy documents. Properties that were identified on the 1981 Inventory as eligible for the local register will no longer be "flagged" during the plan check process, on the City's GIS system, or on a Real Property Report.
Expanded Historic Preservation IncentivesAdditional changes to the Preservation Ordinance include expanded and/or modified historic incentives. The Mills Act is proposed to be expanded to all Historic Register properties, density bonuses have been included in additional zones, and relaxed open space and rear setback standards are offered to historic properties. The complete list of incentives offered can be found in Section 25.45.008 (pgs.17-21) of the proposed Ordinance and is an important component of the City's Historic Preservation Program.
Land Use Element
Currently Policy 2.3.3 of the Land Use Element references the Historic Inventory. It is proposed to delete the following implementation action: LUE Action 2.2.1: Update the City's Historic Inventory.
Residential Design Guidelines
Text in the City's Resource Document, "Design Guidelines - A Guide to Residential Development, will also be revised to eliminate references to the outdated Historic Inventory.
The first step in the process would be to have the home placed on the Register. Once it is Registered, then it could be eligible for the Mills Act. The City processes Mills Act applications once a year, with the application process starting in January.
Sometimes, the Heritage Committee also requests that a rating assessment be provided to help in evaluating the structure. The applicant has the option to use the City’s consultant architectural historian to get a scope and cost for conducting an assessment prior to going to the Heritage Committee.
See the designation procedures and criteria below for placement on the City’s Historic Register:
(B) Designation Procedures.
(1) The property owner shall complete the application for the proposed designation as a historic resource and inclusion on the register on a form provided by the department, include all information required and file the application with the department.
(2) The Heritage Committee will review the application for designation. In its consideration of placement on the register, the Heritage Committee may request additional information and plans for any future planned changes to the structure. There shall be no application fee for placement on the register.
(3) Recordation of a written historic resource preservation agreement between the City and the property owner, acknowledging the owner’s obligations and responsibilities to ensure preservation of the historic character of the resource shall be filed after the property is designated by the Heritage Committee for inclusion on the register. If the owner has applied for incentives, the recordation shall not occur until the owner’s request, or the incentive has been acted upon. This agreement shall be recorded with the County and will apply to any subsequent owners. A property approved for the Register shall not be formally designated until the property owner executes the preservation agreement, and it is recorded with the County.
(C) Criteria for Historic Register Listing. Upon submittal of an application by the property owner(s), a building, grouping of buildings, structure, site, object, or district shall be considered for designation by the Heritage Committee if it meets criteria (1) and also one or more of criteria (2) through (11):
(1) The owner of the property voluntarily agrees to the placement on the register;
(2) It is listed on the National Register or the State Register;
(3) It exemplifies the cultural, political, economic, social or historical heritage of the community;
(4) It is identified with a person, events, culture or site significant in local, state or national history;
(5) It is representative of the work of a notable builder, designer, architect, or artist including those of local importance;
(6) It embodies distinguishing architectural characteristics of a style, type, period or method of construction that exemplify a particular architectural style or way of life important to the City;
(7) It embodies elements that represent a significant structural, engineering, or architectural achievement or innovation;
(8) It has a unique location, a singular physical characteristic, or is an iconic visual feature or public view point within the City;
(9) Is one of the remaining examples in the City, region, state or nation possessing distinguishing characteristics of architectural, cultural or historical importance;
(10) Is an iconic landscape, garden, space or public view point that is significant to the history and heritage of the City; or
(11) Has yielded, or has the potential to yield, information important to the prehistory or history of the local area, California, or the nation.