Historic Preservation Incentive Programs

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1896, Home of Emma WilsonThe following list and description of incentives are part of the City’s Historic Preservation Program.

  • Historic Building Code
  • Staff Approved Permits for Minor Projects
  • Commission Approved Permits for Major Projects
  • Increased Property Values
  • Reduced Permit Fees
  • Housing Rehabilitation Loans/Grants
  • Zoning Incentives
  • How-to User Brochures

Historic Building Code. This Code requires the City Building Division to make certain building code allowances regarding historic buildings. As long as public safety concerns are met, allowances are intended to retain unique historic features of historic buildings.

Staff Approved Permits for Minor Projects. Minor historic alteration projects may be approved by Planning staff trained in historic preservation. The Historic Preservation Commission adopted a resolution (Resolution Number 13-001) expanding the scope of projects eligible to use the Administrative Historic Alteration Permit process. Such minor projects do not require review at a public hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission. These projects generally involve attached additions of 500 square feet or less located on the rear three-quarters of the building and new detached structures located on the rear three-quarters of a property. Roofing and gutter projects are reviewed and approved through the building permit process. Window replacement in kind is subject to review by Planning staff.

Commission Approved Permits for Larger Projects. Larger projects are reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission at a public hearing. Almost all projects are approved with some design-related conditions related to historic guidelines. Applications are generally processed within one to two months of receipt.

Increased Property Values. Review of exterior alterations provides increased protection of historic resources. This results in the protection of the historic character of the neighborhood against future incompatible development by the implementation of design guidelines. Such review increases neighborhood pride and property values in a manner similar to architectural review in many cities and planned communities.

Reduced Permit Fees. Fees for historic alteration permits are currently $210-275. These are the lowest of all planning permit fees. The Historic Preservation Commission has recommended that all processing fees be eliminated.

Housing Rehabilitation Loans/Grants. Low interest rehabilitation funds are now available for certain projects which benefit low-moderate income households. The City is exploring a similar fund that would be available to certain historic property owners within targeted improvement areas such as Beach Flats and Lower Ocean Street. Façade improvement funds are available in certain areas through the City Redevelopment Department for qualified historic buildings, generally of a commercial character.

Zoning Incentives. Section 24.12.445 of the City Zoning Ordinance allows variations to standard regulations for height, stories, lot coverage, and yards under certain circumstances.

How-to User Brochures and information. Information available at the Planning counter:

  • Explains the application procedure for Historic Alteration Permits
  • Provides written advice on various building preservation issues (such as roofing, woodwork, fire protection)
  • Provides free walking tour brochures
  • Planning staff and commissioners often meet with property owners to offer advice and resource suggestions for specific building preservation issues.