Are there added permits or construction requirements that could increase costs for a proposed project affecting a contributor to a historic district?

Below is a list of the potential additional items/requirements that could add cost to a contributor to a historic district when they apply for an entitlement or a permit. These additional requirements would apply to additions and exterior alterations, but not to interior remodels.


Design and Permitting Phase

  • Submittal of a Planning Application (PA) before a building permit can be submitted may be required as outlined below:
    • Minor facade modifications in the Downtown historic district, which conform to Historic District Design Guidelines, do not require a PA.
    • Additions and facade modifications which may adversely affect the exterior architectural characteristics or historic or aesthetic value of the historic structure, its site or surroundings, require a PA.
    • Determination on if a PA is required is made by the Zoning Administrator based on technical review by a qualified architectural historian.
  • Involvement of a qualified architectural historian in the design of the project
    • Preparation of a Secretary of the Interior’s Standards Review by an architectural historian or other documentation may be required depending on the scope of the project and existing documentation on the property.
  • Incorporation of specialized products and treatments to meet historic preservation requirements (i.e. custom windows and doors, specialized siding and trim).


Construction Phase

  • Involving an architectural historian to inspect and provide input during construction.
    1. Preparation of documentation to confirm adherence to the Secretary of Interior Standards or other historic preservation requirements may be required.
  • Using specific construction materials and finishes to meet design specifications and historic requirements.
    1. These type of specialized materials and finishes are often higher cost than standard materials and finishes.
  • Retaining and retrofitting of portions of the structure that may otherwise have been allowed to be demolished and rebuilt.

Regarding the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards Review requirement, the City would not require this review for contributors or eligible resources within a designated district where the proposed project at these sites meets Secretary of Interior’s Standards and/or Downtown Historic District Design Guidelines in consultation with the City’s architectural historian. The City also does not require Secretary of the Interior’s Standards Review for sites within the City that were already surveyed. In 1989, if the structures were 50 years old at the time and were determined to not qualify as historic resources. City staff will also discuss with the architectural historian and screen out structures over 50 years old that don’t appear to meet any historic criteria/integrity (such as 60-year old ranch-style construction) that are not within any designated districts.

However, absent these circumstances, the City would require an Secretary of the Interior’s Standards Review at the design and permitting phase, which would add time and expense for an applicant.

Regarding CEQA, for non-contributors within a district, staff would ensure any replacement project would not negatively impact the historic district as part of CEQA, but existing, non-contributing homes could likely be demolished.  For contributors within a district, the scope of CEQA review would be contextual.  While alteration or demolition of a contributor might not impact the significance of a district, such that a CEQA exemption or Negative Declaration (ND) could be used, an ND may require more time and expense for an applicant. The City would also need to evaluate and monitor whether the significance of the district as a whole could be significantly impacted at some point due to the alteration or demolition of contributors.

Show All Answers

1. What is a historic district?
2. What are contributors and non-contributors within a historic district?
3. How is a locally designated historic district different from one listed in the California Register of Historical Resources or the National Register of Historic Places?
4. Can a property owner in a proposed historic district oppose designation?
5. What may property owners do to a district contributor and non-contributor properties?
6. Are there added permits or construction requirements that could increase costs for a proposed project affecting a contributor to a historic district?