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San Buenaventura Conservancy

P.O Box 23263

Ventura, CA 93002

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"Historic Preservation is about managing change, not preventing it."
Linda Dishman, L.A. Conservancy, quoted from L.A. Times, 07.10.10

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Action Items

   

 
FARM HOUSES DESTROYED BY CITY OF OXNARD

 

 

Oxnard (March 4, 2009) –The Frank Petit farm houses were destroyed this week by the City of Oxnard to make way for a sports park. The city of Oxnard did not find anyone to move the century-old homes, and they did not attempt to adaptively reuse the homes; the land underneath the houses will account for perhaps 3 acres of the 75 acre sports park.

Preserving historic buildings is the most green method of construction, demolition creates landfill, new construction uses natural resources and setting homes ablaze releases toxins into the air. However adaptively reusing an already constructed historic building saves all the natural resources in it's structure, and saves all the embodied energy used in its original construction.

In the early 1990s other pioneer farm houses were saved and moved to Heritage Square in Downtown by the City of Oxnard, but the preservation sentiment at the city has changed and development pressures in Oxnard are making current preservation efforts difficult.

 

Click here for the link to the V C Reporter article on line.


The 1934 and 1936 Pioneer Plaques attached to a 14 ton Sespe sandstone boulder were lifted from their site at the Museum of Ventura County on Tuesday January 3, 2009. The move is being funded by donations from pioneer families and businesses like T&T crane, who donated services to move the monument to the Ventura County Government Center for rededication. The historic marker will be placed on the lawn near the corner of Victoria and Telephone Road. Stay tuned for more information about the rededication ceremony. To donate to the rededication, please send a check made out to the San Buenaventura Conservancy, (and note: Pioneer Plaque) all donations are tax deductible. For More information contact Jim Roberts: 805-643-4700.


San Buenaventura Conservancy News Flash  - 9/18/08

Today after lying buried for over 100 years Trolley tracks were found under the pavement at Oak and Main Street in Downtown Ventura.



Beginning around 1891 until about 1908 a horse-drawn trolley ran between the Southern Pacific Depot on Front Street, down the middle of Main Street, to the Mission allowing train passengers to get to downtown to Hotels like the Hotel Anacapa and the Rose Hotel.

See below for images of the trolley and the tracks, and some of the images Mike Faulconer shot from his office of the tracks. The rails were removed before being properly recorded, Mr. Faulconer has the two rails in his office and there are still some tracks in the street that can be measured and recorded.

 

 

Historical Willett buildings to remain on site - Under settlement of lawsuit, structures will be renovated -

See the article at the Ventura County Star website

Click here to go to our Willett Ranch webpage. Historical and current photos of the ranch, saved thanks to the efforts of SBC

Willet Ranch circa 1920 with Ventura School for Girls in background

Willet Ranch 2007


RECOMMENDING APPROVAL OF AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SAN BUENAVENTURA AMENDING CHAPTER 24.455 OF THE SAN BUENAVENTURA MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING PENALTIES FOR DESTRUCTION OF HISTORIC LANDMARKS

 BE IT RESOLVED by the Planning Commission of the City of San Buenaventura as follows:

SECTION 1: FINDINGS.  The Planning Commission of the City of San Buenaventura hereby finds as follows:

 A.       The City Council of the City of San Buenaventura has initiated revisions to Chapter 24.455 of the Municipal Code of the City of San Buenaventura providing for penalties for destruction of historic landmarks and demolition of a historic landmark; and,

B.       Based on recommendations of the Historic Preservation Committee and subsequent evaluation of those recommendations, and the City Council’s direction given at its regular meeting of March 17, 2003 an amendment to Chapter 24.455 has been prepared for the Planning Commission’s review and consideration; and

C.       The Planning Commission now recommends that the City Council amend Chapter 24.445 of the Municipal Code of the City of San Buenaventura to require reconstruction or restoration, or monetary fines if reconstruction or restoration is not possible, as a result of any demolition, relocation or significant alteration or removal of any improvements, to historic landmarks, and to grant only the City the right to authorize the demolition of a historic landmark structure.

           SECTION 2: All proceedings having been duly taken as required by law, and upon review of the information provided in the staff report, review of the proposed amendments to Chapter 24.455 of the Municipal Code of the City of San Buenaventura, and consideration of the testimony given at the public hearing, as well as other pertinent information in the record as a whole, the Planning Commission hereby recommends that the proposed amendments to Chapter 24.455 provides a desirable and reasonable exercise of the City’s police power in the area of protection of historic landmarks in accordance with the City’s authority as a Charter City granted by the Constitution of the State of California, and will contribute to the orderly development of the City and serve the public health, safety, and general welfare.

    SECTION 3: Chapter 24.455 of the City of San Buenaventura Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:          

Chapter 24.455 Historic Preservation Regulations*

__________

*Cross references: Historic preservation committee, ch. 2.430; historic downtown Ventura parking and business approvement area, ch. 4.310; building and construction regulations, div. 12; historic district HD overlay zone, ch. 24.340.

 

ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 24.455.110. Purpose.

This chapter is adopted pursuant to the municipal affairs provisions of the City Charter for the purpose of establishing procedures for identifying, designating and preserving historic landmarks or points of interest that were the site of an historic event, that are connected with the life of an important person, or that contain a building, structure, or other object that is architecturally significant, representative of a type, period or particular method of construction, or is associated with a significant builder, architect, designer or artist.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.120. Definitions.

Unless the contrary is stated or clearly appears from the context, the following definitions shall govern the construction of the words and phrases used in this chapter:

 

1.Historic district means a geographically definable area possessing a significant concentration, linkage or continuity of site, buildings, structures and/or objects united by past events, or aesthetically by plan or physical development, regardless of whether such a district may include some buildings, structures, sites, objects, or open spaces that do not contribute to the significance of the district.

A historic district can generally be distinguished from surrounding areas (1) by visual change such as building density, scale, type, age, or style; or (2) by historic documentation of different associations or patterns of development. The number of nonsignificant properties a historic district can contain yet still convey its sense of time and place and historical development depends on how these properties impact the historic district's integrity.

 

2. Landmark means any real property such as building, structure, or archaeological excavation, or object that is unique or significant because of its location, design, setting, materials, workmanship or aesthetic feeling, and is associated with:

(a)     Events that have made a meaningful contribution to the nation, state or community;

(b)     Lives of persons who made a meaningful contribution to national, state or local history;

(c)     Reflecting or exemplifying a particular period of the national, state or local history;

(d)     Embodying the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction;

(e)     The work of one or more master builders, designers, artists or architects whose talents influenced their historical period, or work that otherwise possesses high artistic value;

(f)     Representing a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

(g)              Yielding, or likely to yield, information important to national, state or local history or prehistory.

 

3. Point of interest means any real property or object:

(a)    That is the site of a building, structure or object that no longer exists but was associated with historic events, important persons, or embodied a distinctive character of architectural style;

(b)    That has historic significance, but was altered to the extent that the integrity of the original workmanship, materials or style is substantially compromised;

(c)   That is the site of a historic event which has no distinguishable characteristics other than that a historic event occurred there and the historic significance is sufficient to justify the establishment of a historic landmark.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.130. Authority to declare or remove a landmark or point of interest designation.

The City Council shall have the sole authority to declare landmarks or points of interest and to remove such designations.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.140. Notice.

Unless otherwise provided, the following requirements shall apply to all notices required by this chapter:

1.     The owner or owners of the subject property directly affected by the proposed action to be taken shall be given ten days' written notice of the public hearing by mail. 2.     Notice shall be deemed given when a properly addressed envelope, postage prepaid, containing such notice is placed in a depository for U.S. mail.

3.     Notice shall be deemed waived when the proposed action to be taken solely concerns city-owned property or the owners of the subject property have given their consent in writing to the designation.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

 

Sec. 24.455.150. Private property rights.

Designation of a landmark or historic point of interest is not intended, and shall not be construed, to infringe upon the rights of a private property owner to make any and all reasonable uses of such landmarks consistent with the purpose of this chapter.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

 

ARTICLE 2. DESIGNATING LANDMARK/POINT OF INTEREST


Sec. 24.455.210.  Recommendation by Historic Preservation Committee.
           

After a public hearing, the Historic Preservation Committee may, by resolution, recommend to the Planning Commission that, pursuant to the standards set forth in this chapter, a subject be declared a landmark or point of interest or otherwise acquired or made such by application to the appropriate by any person, entity, group, or body.  However, the property owners’ consent must be obtained prior to any such recommendation. 

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.220. No alteration during consideration.

From the time the Historic Preservation Committee adopts a recommendation that a property be declared a landmark until the time the City Council either declares, or decides not to declare, that property a landmark, the time period involved not to exceed the time period specified in this chapter for the City Council to begin consideration thereof, and including any continuances, it shall be unlawful for the property owner or any other person to carry out or to cause the defacing, demolishing, altering, or removing of, or constructing of any additions to, the proposed landmark and any such act shall constitute a misdemeanor.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.230. Planning Commission appeal.

If, after a public hearing, the Historic Preservation Committee decides not to recommend that a subject be declared a landmark or point of interest pursuant to this chapter, such decision may be appealed to the Planning Commission in accordance with the time limits and other provisions set forth in Division 24 of this Code relating to appeals of Planning Commission decisions to the City Council.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)  

ARTICLE 3. DESIGNATING LANDMARK/POINT OF INTEREST; PLANNING COMMISSION ACTION

Sec. 24.455.310. Procedure hearing.

A.     The Planning Commission shall set a date and convene a public hearing within 90 days from the date that the Historic Preservation Committee adopts a resolution recommending the declaration of a landmark or point of interest.

B.     The Planning Commission may continue the public hearing or, following the close of the public hearing, may continue its consideration of the proposed declaration of a landmark a point of interest for a period of time deemed reasonable and appropriate by the Planning Commission taking into account, among other things, the continuing development prohibitions imposed on the property by this chapter.

C.     The public hearing may be waived if the owner or owners of the subject property give their consent in writing to the designation.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.320. Recommendation by Planning Commission.

Following the public hearing, the Planning Commission may, by resolution, recommend to the City Council that, pursuant to the standards set forth in this chapter, a subject be declared a landmark or point of interest or otherwise acquired or made such by application to the appropriate person, entity, group, or body.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.330. City Council appeal.

If, after a public hearing, the Planning Commission decides not to recommend that a subject be declared a landmark or point of interest pursuant to this chapter, such decision may be appealed to the City Council in accordance with the time limits and other provisions set forth in Division 24 of this Code relating to appeals of Planning Commission decisions to the city council.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

ARTICLE 4. DESIGNATING LANDMARK/POINT OF INTEREST; CITY COUNCIL ACTION


Sec. 24.455.410. Public hearing.

A.     The City Council may, but is not required to, convene a public hearing within 90 days from the date of adoption by the Planning Commission of a resolution recommending the declaration of a landmark or point of interest.

B.     The City Council may continue the public hearing, or, following the close of the public hearing, may continue its consideration of the proposed declaration of a landmark a point of interest, for a period of time deemed reasonable and appropriate by the City Council taking into account, among other things, the continuing development prohibitions imposed on the property by this chapter.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

Sec. 24.455.420. Consideration of recommendation.

If the City Council does not convene a public hearing, it shall consider the Planning Commission's recommendation at the next available regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.430. Applicable standards.

The City Council's action on the Planning Commission's recommendation shall be subject to the following standards:

1.     The landmark or point of interest shall be substantially in accordance with the definitions of "landmark" or "point of interest."

2.     The landmark or point of interest shall have significance to the people of the city.

3.     The landmark or point of interest shall not require the expenditure by the city of any amount of money not commensurate with the actual or aesthetic value of the subject to be preserved.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.440. Vote by council; content of resolution.

A.     If the City Council decides to declare any real property or object to be a landmark or point of interest, such declaration shall be by City Council resolution and may be based upon the Planning Commission's recommendation.

B.     Resolutions approving a landmark or point of interest designation will include a legal description of the property involved including lot and block number and the name of the property owner and will be duly recorded by the city clerk in the county recorder's office.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

 

ARTICLE 5. PROHIBITION--DEMOLITION OR RELOCATION


Sec. 24.455.510.  Generally.
                                

It shall be unlawful for the property owner or any other person to carry out, cause, or to permit the demolition or relocation of a designated historic landmark.  Any such act shall constitute a misdemeanor and:

1.       The owner shall pay to the city the greater of $10,000 or the appraised value of the landmark before demolition occurred minus the appraised value after such action.  The appraised values shall be determined by an appraiser selected by the City and certified by the State of California; and 

2.       No building permits shall be issued for new development on the property for a period of five (5) years from the date of demolition.

Sec. 24.455.520.  Exceptions.       

Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, the demolition or relocation of a historic landmark shall not constitute a misdemeanor  as prescribed in Section 2.430.510 if:

Prior approval of the action was received from the Historic Preservation Committee or, on appeal, from the Planning Commission or, on appeal, the City Council. ;

ARTICLE 6. PROHIBITION--EXTERIOR CHANGES


Sec. 24.455.610.  Generally.            

It shall be unlawful for the property owner or any other person to carry out or to cause the defacing, altering, or reconstruction of, or the construction of additions to, or any other changes to, the exterior of a designated historic landmark.  Any such act shall constitute a misdemeanor and

1. shall be abated by reconstructing or restoring the property to its original condition prior to the performance of work.  All plans prepared for such required reconstruction or restoration must obtain prior approval of the Historic Preservation Committee.

2. If restoration or reconstruction is not possible, the owner shall pay to the city the greater of $10,000 or the appraised value of the landmark before defacing, altering, or reconstruction of, or the construction of additions to, or any other changes to, occurred to the exterior of a designated historic landmark minus the appraised value after such action The appraised values shall be determined by an appraiser selected by the City and certified by the State of California.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

Sec. 24.455.620.  Exception.                                                        

Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, exterior changes to a landmark shall not constitute a misdemeanor if the property owner or other person obtained prior design review approval from the design review committee of the action in accordance with Division 24 of this Code.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

Sec. 24.455.630. Appeals.

Decisions of the Design Review Committee pursuant to this article shall be appealable to the City Council pursuant to the same procedures set forth in Division 24 of this Code relating to appeals of Planning Commission decisions to the City Council.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

 

ARTICLE 7. PRESERVATION AND IDENTIFICATION


Sec. 24.455.710. Preservation of landmarks.

A.     The City Council may make any reasonable arrangements to preserve landmarks. These may include establishment of a private or public fund for preservation of historic landmarks or contractual agreements with property owners for the maintenance and preservation of facade easements or public access to the structure.

B.     The Historic Preservation Committee may seek private funds to preserve landmarks and otherwise seek to involve private groups in the preservation of landmarks.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.720. Identification of declared landmarks and points of interest.

A.     Upon declaration of a landmark or point of interest by the City Council, the Historic Preservation Committee may determine which landmarks or points of interest shall be marked with uniform and distinctive markers and specify the form thereof.

B.     The historic preservation committee shall maintain and make available to the general public a list of all such declared landmarks or points of interest.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

 

ARTICLE 8. REMOVAL OF DESIGNATION


Sec. 24.455.810. Request.

A request to remove a landmark or point of interest designation may be initiated by:

1.     Written application of the subject property's owner;

2.     The city council; or

3.     The historic preservation committee.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

Sec. 24.455.815. Recommendation by committee.

A.     After receiving a request, the Historic Preservation Committee shall hold a public hearing.

B.     The committee may recommend, by resolution, to the Planning Commission that the landmark or point of interest designation be removed if:

1.     The property ceased to meet the criteria for designation because its notable qualities were removed, lost, destroyed, or altered to the extent that it no longer retains its original character; or

2.     The property otherwise no longer meets the standards set forth in this chapter.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

Sec. 24.455.820. Planning Commission procedure; public hearing.  

A.     The Planning Commission shall set a date and convene a public hearing within 90 days from the date of adoption by the Historic Preservation Committee of a resolution recommending the removal of a landmark or point of interest designation.

B.     The Planning Commission may continue the public hearing, or, following the close of the public hearing, may continue its consideration of the proposed removal of the landmark a point of interest designation for a period of time deemed reasonable and appropriate by the planning commission.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.825. Recommendation by Planning Commission.

Following the public hearing, the Planning Commission may, by resolution, recommend to the City Council that, pursuant to the standards set forth in this chapter, a subject previously declared a landmark or point of interest have such designation removed.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.830. City Council appeal.

If, after a public hearing, the Planning Commission decides not to recommend that a landmark or point of interest designation be removed, such decision may be appealed to the city council in accordance with the time limits and other provisions set forth in Division 24 of this Code relating to appeals of Planning Commission decisions to the city council.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

Sec. 24.455.835. City Council procedure.

A.     The City Council may, but is not required to, convene a public hearing within 90 days from the date of adoption by the Planning Commission of a resolution recommending the removal of a landmark or point of interest designation.

B.     The City Council may continue the public hearing, or, following the close of the public hearing, may continue its consideration of the proposed declaration of a landmark a point of interest, for a period of time deemed reasonable and appropriate by the city council taking into account, among other things, the continuing development prohibitions imposed on the property by this chapter.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.840. Consideration of recommendation.

If the City Council does not convene a public hearing, it shall consider the Planning Commission's recommendation at the next available regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.845. Standards for removal.

The recommendation of the Planning Commission that the City Council remove a landmark or point of interest, and the City Council's action thereon, shall be subject to the following standards:

1.     The landmark or point of interest does not substantially conform with the definitions of "landmark" or "point of interest,"

2.     The landmark or point of interest no longer has significance to the people of the city;

3.     The landmark or point of interest requires the expenditure by the city of an amount of money not commensurate with the actual or aesthetic value of the subject to be preserved.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.850. Vote; resolution.

The City Council may, by resolution, remove real property or an object from landmark or point of interest designation based upon the Planning Commission's recommendation.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.855. Content and recording of resolution.

Resolutions removing landmark or point of interest designation shall include a legal description of the property involved including lot and block number and the name of the property owner and will be duly recorded by the city clerk in the county recorder's office.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

ARTICLE 9. HISTORIC DISTRICTS


Sec. 24.455.910. Recommendation by Historic Preservation Committee.

A.     Upon receiving an application to establish a historic district, the Historic Preservation Committee shall hold a public hearing where it will review the descriptive materials, proposed architectural and development guidelines, and all other exhibits required by Division 24 of this Code for establishing a historic district overlay zone.

B.     If, after the public hearing, the committee determines that an application meets the requirements for a historic district overlay zone, it may forward the application to the planning commission and recommend a zone change to establish a historic district overlay zone.

C.     Nothing in this chapter is intended to, nor shall be construed to, confer authority on the Historic Preservation Committee to carry out design review of any land uses within an established HD overlay zone.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)


Sec. 24.455.920. Planning Commission action.

The Planning Commission shall review and consider any application and recommendation it receives from the Historic Preservation Committee for establishing a historic district overlay zone in accordance with Division 24 of this Code.

(Ord. No. 2003-003, § 4, 4-28-03)

  SECTION 4:  SEVERABILITY.  If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or word of this Ordinance is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction, adjudicated to a final determination, to be invalid, this City Council finds that said invalidated part is severable, and that this City Council would have adopted the remainder of this Ordinance without the severed and invalidated part, and that the remainder of this Ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.

  SECTION 5:  EXEMPTION FROM CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT.  The City Council hereby determines that this ordinance is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code Section 21000, et seq., “CEQA”) and the regulations promulgated thereunder (14 California Code of Regulations Sections 15000, et seq., the “State CEQA Guidelines”) because it consists only of procedural changes that include reorganization of responsibilities among the City’s decision-making authorities and will not have the effect of deleting or substantially changing any regulatory standards, approvals, or the findings required by law therefore.  This ordinance, therefore, is not a project that has the potential to cause significant physical effects on the environment and is not subject to CEQA pursuant to State CEQA Guidelines Sections 15061 and 15378.

  SECTION 6:  EXISTING VIOLATIONS.  The repeal of any Ordinance or provision of the San Buenaventura Ordinance Code by the enactment of this Ordinance shall not have the effect or releasing or extinguishing any penalty, forfeiture, or liability previously incurred, or of precluding prosecution and imposition or penalty with respect to any violation having occurred prior to the effective date hereof.  Any such repealed Ordinance or provision shall be treated as remaining in full force and effect for the purpose of sustaining any proper action or prosecution for the enforcement of such penalty, forfeiture, or liability, or any prosecution and imposition of penalty with respect to any violation having occurred prior to the effective date hereof. 

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 5th day of October, 2004.                             


SUBJECT: Proposed Amendment to the Historic Preservation Committee Ordinance to Increase Penalties for Unauthorized Destruction of, or Alterations to, a Historic Landmark Structure; initiated by the City of San Buenaventura.

Background

On September 9, 2002, City Council directed staff to research ordinances adopted by other jurisdictions relating to the protection of historic landmarks and sites.  On May 17, 2004, the City Council considered a draft Historic Preservation Ordinance that had been developed based on comments received from both the City Council and the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC).  The City Council was generally supportive of the draft ordinance, and directed staff to include a minimum penalty amount of $10,000 and a 5-year building moratorium for unauthorized demolition of a Historic Landmark, and to require the property owner’s permission to approve a Historic Landmark designation.  

 

The draft Historic Preservation Ordinance (Attachment A) reflects the direction provided by the City Council and the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC).   The complete text is included to show context, but is not intended to initiate a comprehensive review of the Regulations at this time.

 

On August 17, 2004 the Planning Commission was requested to review proposed changes to Chapter 24.255, Historic Preservation Regulations.  The changes dealt specifically with increasing penalties for illegal alterations to, or demolition of, a Historic Landmark to encourage the preservation of the City’s Historic Landmarks. 

At the August 17, 2004 meeting, the Planning Commission expressed concern about the inclusion of a 5-year building moratorium penalty, and requested clarification about how the appraised value before and after demolition would be accomplished.  Additionally, Commissioners addressed portions of the existing regulations not related to the penalty section of the ordinance.  By a 7 to 0 vote, the discussion was continued to October 5, with direction provided to the Chair to initiate discussion with the Chair of the HPC (Attachment B). 

 

Historic Preservation Regulations

The City’s Historic Preservation Regulations were initially adopted in 1973, and amended in 1974, 1977, and 1986.  The regulations were established in the Administration Division of the Municipal Code, and any amendments to the regulations required only City Council approval.

In 2003, the regulating portions of the Historic Preservation Regulations were moved to Chapter 24, Zoning Regulations. As stated in Section 24.540 of the Zoning Regulations, the Planning Commission must review and forward a recommendation to the City Council for all proposed amendments to the text of the Zoning Regulations, other than proposed amendments to Chapter 24.545 (Design Review).  The Administrative portions addressing the composition and role of the Historic Preservation Committee remain in Division 2 of the Municipal Code.  No other changes were incorporated at that time. 

The Administrative Regulations (Division 2) set forth qualifications of service and duties for HPC members.  The HPC was assigned the following responsibilities: 1) advise and make recommendations to the City Council, Planning Commission, and City Manager concerning the designation of historic districts, landmarks, sites, natural configurations, buildings, structures and points of interest significant to the heritage and development of the community; 2) review and act upon requests for demolition or relocation of designated landmarks or points of interest; and 3) review and evaluate any subject or area of possible historic, cultural, or natural significance to determine whether such subject or area may warrant further action.

The Zoning Regulations further establish the procedures for identifying, designating and preserving historic landmarks or points of interest, and are consistent with the guidelines established by the California Office of Historic Preservation and the National Register of Historic Places criteria.  

Proposed Historic Preservation Ordinance Amendment

The limited changes to the Historic Preservation Regulations were initiated by the City Council to address community concerns regarding the protection of Historic Landmarks.  The changes recommended by the Historic Preservation Committee, and as directed by the City Council, were to address two specific areas: 1) elimination of the absolute right of a property owner to demolish a Historic Landmark; and 2) increase penalties for the unauthorized demolition of, or additions to, a Historic Landmark.  

The changes as set forth in the draft resolution address those two points.  The focus on those points was developed through a long process involving a public workshop, several HPC meetings, and three City Council hearings.  Among other steps taken to insure public involvement, current property owners of Historic Landmarks were provided mailed notice of the proposed changes.

The changes, once adopted, would provide substantial protection to the City’s existing, and future, Historic Landmarks.  Without the changes, existing Historic Landmarks could be legally demolished or relocated by providing the City with a 180-day written notice of such action.

Staff Recommendation

Staff concurs with the Planning Commission’s comments and concerns expressed at the August 17, 2004 meeting that the existing Historic Preservation Regulations should be reviewed in their entirety.  Staff recommends that the Planning Commission forward your concerns to the City Council as part of this action. 

The HPC has discussed with staff about conducting a review of the complete regulations in conjunction with the Comprehensive Plan Update process.  This review will be part of their Work Program for 2005.

In preparation for this comprehensive review, staff has begun to research existing preservation regulations adopted by other cities, and has contacted California Preservation Officers to assist in the process.  Once staff has completed their research, a joint HPC/Planning Commission Workshop will be held to discuss changes to the regulations.  However, the review is not expected to be completed until late 2005.

Staff’s intention at this time in attaching the entire Chapter 24.455 with the proposed changes inserted is merely to insure Commissioners can evaluate the changes in the appropriate context, i.e., how the changed provisions interface with the rest of the current regulations. 

As an interim step to provide immediate protection to the City’s Historic Landmarks, staff recommends that the Planning Commission limit their review to the proposed changes as identified by underline and strikethrough in the draft Planning Commission Resolution, and forward a recommendation to the City Council.   The recommendation may include that the complete Historic Preservation Regulations be brought back to the Planning Commission for discussion. 


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