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My property doesn't look historic. Why do I need a Historic Resource Evaluation (HRE)?
  • Shorter answer: A property can meet State criteria (webpage link) as a historic resource (have significance) regardless of the design. For example, a property can be significant for association with important events or people.
  • Longer answer: In California, projects require environmental review in accordance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In order for a local jurisdiction to legally find that a project (such as a residential addition or some infill housing projects) qualify for an environmental review exemption, the project can't result in an impact to a historic resource. Since the city hasn't routinely evaluated neighborhoods and/or developed historic context statements, the responsibility shifts to individual property owners or developers to submit an HRE to the Planning Department. The findings of an HRE report, in part, determine whether a project is categorically exempt from environmental review and/or must include design changes. 
Who decides if my property is historic?
How long does an HRE take?
  • A consultant prepared HRE will take a minimum of two weeks to complete. 
What happens if my property is identified as historic during my Administrative Use Permit(AUP) or Use Permit w/Public Hearing (UPPH)?
  • There might be design changes that are necessary so that the residential addition or project doesn't impact the historic resource, for example, changes to: proposed volume/floor plans, fenestration, and/or siding material. The legal basis for an addition that will not impact a historic property is when it meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation (webpage link).
What are the benefits of having a historic property?
  • California Historic Building Code (CHBC)(webpage link) - Historic properties may request to use the the CHBC which allows for "alternative building regulations for permitting repairs, alterations and additions necessary for the preservation, rehabilitation, relocation, related construction, change of use, or continued use of a “qualified historical building or structure.”
  • Mills Act Program (webpage link) - Historic properties may apply for a Mills Act contract which allows owners of qualified historic properties who actively participate in the restoration and maintenance of their historic properties to receive property tax relief. 
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