Chapter 15.84
PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC STRUCTURES AND ESTABLISHMENT OF HISTORICAL DISTRICTS1

Sections:

15.84.010    Purpose of provisions.

15.84.020    Application.

15.84.030    Definitions.

15.84.040    Historic resources commission.

15.84.050    Designation of historic districts, buildings and sites.

15.84.060    Official local historic register.

15.84.070    Design review.

15.84.080    Design criteria code.

15.84.090    Demolition of historic structures.

15.84.100    Substandard buildings.

15.84.110    Ordinary maintenance and repair.

15.84.120    Duty to keep in good repair.

15.84.140    Building permits.

15.84.010 Purpose of provisions.

The city council hereby finds the protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and use of structures and districts of historic, architectural, and engineering significance located within the city to be of cultural and aesthetic benefit to the community. It is further found that respect of the heritage of the city will enhance the economic, cultural, and aesthetic standing of the city. The purpose of this chapter is to promote the general welfare of the public through:

A. The protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and use of structures that represent past eras, events, and persons important in history, or that provide significant examples of architectural styles of the past, or that are landmarks in the history of architecture, or that are unique and irreplaceable assets to the city and its neighborhoods, or that provide, for this and future generations, examples of the physical surroundings in which past generations lived;

B. The development and maintenance of complementary settings and environments for such structures and/or districts;

C. The enhancement of property value; the stabilization of neighborhoods and areas of the city; the increase of economic and financial benefits to the city, its property owners, and its inhabitants; and the promotion of visitor trade and interest;

D. The preservation and encouragement of a city of varied architectural styles, reflecting the cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural phases of its history;

E. The educational and cultural enrichment of this and future generations by fostering knowledge of our heritage;

F. The promotion and encouragement of continued private ownership and utilization of such structures so the objectives listed above can be attained under this policy;

G. The establishment of a basis for coordinating the goal of preservation of historic structures in districts with the need to set standards for and implement other elements of the city’s plans, policies and programs;

H. The protection and enhancement of the New York Landing District which represents a distinct historical period within the city and contains buildings of a type and architectural style once common but now rare to the city. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.020 Application.

This chapter shall apply to all properties within the city that are designated historic buildings, designated historic sites, and all properties located within designated historic districts. This chapter shall also apply to the downtown commercial core (General Plan Figure 5.1), which shall also be referred to in this chapter as the design review area. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.030 Definitions.

A. “Alteration” means any exterior change or modification, through public or private action, of a designated historic building or any property located within a designated historic district or the design review area. Alterations may include but are not limited to exterior changes such as architectural details, paint color, building materials and finishes, new structures, disturbance of archeological sites or areas, and the placement or removal of any exterior objects such as signs, plaques, light fixtures, walls, fences, steps and any other aspect of the site or structure affecting the exterior visual qualities of the property.

B. “Contributing building” means a structure within a historic district, which retains scale, mass and other architectural characteristics to the degree that it contributes to the sense of time and place of the immediate area and the district and that has been designated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The building may have individual architectural significance or may be one of a grouping of background buildings that jointly contribute to the character of the immediate area and the district. Contributing buildings may reflect interim modifications if those modifications do not irreparably detract from the character of the building or if the modifications reflect an architectural style or particular era important to the development of the city. Contributing buildings may also include structures that have a strong historic tie to activities, events or individuals important in the development of the city.

C. “Designated historic building” means any building that has special historic, cultural, aesthetic, or architectural character, interest, or value as part of the development, heritage, or history of the city, the state, or the nation and that has been designated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

D. “Designated historic site” means a parcel or part thereof on which a designated historic building is situated, and any abutting parcel or part thereof constituting part of the premises on which the designated historic building is situated, and that has been designated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

E. “Design review area” means the area identified in the general plan as the downtown commercial core (General Plan Figure 5-1).

F. “Exterior architectural feature” means the architectural elements embodying style, design, general arrangement and components of all outer surfaces of a building, the kind, color, and texture of the building materials and the type and style of all windows, doors, lights, signs, and other fixtures appurtenant to such building.

G. “Historic district” means any area containing buildings that have a special character, historic interest, or aesthetic value or that represent one or more architectural periods or styles typical to the history of the city, and which buildings constitute a distinct section of the city that has been designated a historic district pursuant to this chapter.

H. “Historic resources” means designated historic buildings, designated historic sites and designated historic districts.

I. “Improvement” means any building, structure, parking facility, fence, gate, wall, work of art, or other object or activity constituting a physical betterment of real property, or any part of such betterment.

J. “Noncontributing building” means a structure within a historic district that in its present condition does not contribute to the sense of time and place of the immediate area and the district. Noncontributing buildings may include those buildings constructed after the time period featured in a historic district, or buildings in which the historic characteristics have been irreparably modified. They may also include buildings that, while noncontributing at present, may become contributing through the application of appropriate design criteria.

K. “Preservation” means the identification, study, protection, restoration, rehabilitation or enhancement of historic resources. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.040 Historic resources commission.

A historic resources commission is established by this section. The commission shall consist of seven members, which members shall be the same as the planning commission. The historic resources commission shall meet no less than twice per year and shall advise the city council, as necessary, of activities and concerns relating to the commission’s powers and duties. Such powers and duties shall include the following:

A. Conduct, or cause to be conducted, a comprehensive survey of buildings of potential historic significance, due to their architecture or use, within the boundaries of the city based on the criteria listed in PMC 15.84.050. Publicize and periodically update the survey results;

B. Recommend to the city council buildings and other structures that the commission determines should be designated local historic resources;

C. Conduct studies as directed by the city council; except, that all expenditures of city funds are subject to prior approval by the city council;

D. Participate in, promote, and/or conduct public information, educational, and interpretive programs pertaining to historic resources;

E. Perform any other functions that may be designated by resolution or motion of the city council. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.050 Designation of historic districts, buildings and sites.

A. Criteria for Designation. For the purposes of this chapter, a property or properties may be designated a historic resource by the city council pursuant to this section if it meets any of the following criteria:

1. Historic and Cultural Significance.

a. The structure or district proposed for designation is particularly representative of a distinct historic period, type, style, region or way of life;

b. The structure or district proposed for designation is, or contains, a type of building or buildings that was once common but is now rare;

c. The structure or district proposed for designation was connected with someone renowned or important or a local personality;

d. The structure or district proposed for designation is connected with a business or use that was once common but is now rare;

e. The structure or district proposed for designation represents the work of a master builder, engineer, designer, artist, or architect whose individual genius influenced the age in which the person lived;

f. The structure or district proposed for designation is the site of an important historic event or is associated with events that have made a meaningful contribution to the nation, state, or community;

g. The structure or district proposed for designation has a high potential of yielding information of archeological interest.

2. Historic, Architectural, and Engineering Significance.

a. The structure or district proposed for designation exemplifies a particular architectural style or way of life important to the city;

b. The structure or district proposed for designation exemplifies the best remaining architectural type of neighborhood;

c. The construction materials or engineering methods used in the structure or district proposed for designation embody elements of outstanding attention to architectural or engineering design, detail, material, or craftsmanship.

3. Neighborhood and Geographic Setting.

a. The structure materially benefits the historic character of the neighborhood;

b. The unique location or singular physical characteristic of the structure or district proposed for designation represents an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood, community, or city;

c. The district is a geographically definable area, urban or rural, possessing a significant concentration or continuity of site, buildings, structures, or objects unified by past events, or aesthetically by plan or physical development;

d. The preservation of a structure or structures is essential to the integrity of the district.

B. Application. An application requesting designation of a historic resource(s) shall be submitted as follows:

1. Any person may request the designation of a property or properties as a historic resource by submitting an application for such designation accompanied by an application for a general plan amendment to the planning department. The historic resources commission or city council may also initiate such proceedings on their own motion.

2. No applications will be accepted for any properties for which a development permit has been accepted as complete by the city.

C. The application shall contain the following materials:

1. Planning department application form; except, that the notarized signature of the property owner of the structure is not required;

2. Photographs of the resource(s);

3. Map showing the location of the resource(s);

4. Statement of the qualities and characteristics of the proposed resource(s) which supports the findings for designation based on the standards set forth in the criteria for designation described in subsection (A) of this section; and

5. The city planner may require other documentation including but not limited to copies of architectural drawings, copies of historical descriptions or accounts of the resource and its cultural significance including articles, artifacts, correspondence, newspaper articles, periodicals, and written testimony from an architect, archivist, or historian in support of the application or other information as deemed necessary by the planning department to accomplish the purposes of this section.

D. General Plan Amendment Required. An application for designation of a property or properties as a historic resource shall be accompanied by an application for a general plan amendment. On the matter of the general plan amendment and in accordance with state law, the planning commission shall, by resolution, either recommend approval, in whole or in part, or recommend denial to the city council. The application for a general plan amendment shall be processed in accordance with Government Code Sections 65350 through 65359.

E. Historic Resource Designation Procedures. The procedure for processing an application for designation of a property or properties as a historic resource shall be conducted in the following manner:

1. Notification that an application has been submitted to the planning department shall be sent to the property owner(s) 10 days prior to the public hearing on the proposed designation. The same noticing procedure shall be followed if the historic resources commission or city council initiates proceedings to nominate a property or properties for historic resource status.

2. The historic resources commission shall hold a public hearing to consider designation of the resource. Notice of the date, place, time and purpose of the hearing shall be posted on the site, published in a newspaper of general circulation at least 10 days prior to the scheduled public hearing and mailed to the property owner and any person who requests such notice.

3. The historic resources commission must find that the proposed designation meets at least one of the criteria for designation listed in subsections (A)(1) through (3) of this section.

4. The historic resources commission shall, by resolution, either recommend approval, in whole or in part, or recommend denial to the city council.

5. Unless the designation procedure is initiated by the city council, a historic resources commission recommendation of denial terminates proceedings if not appealed. Any person may appeal a historic resources commission recommendation of denial by filing a written application with the planning department within 10 days following the date of the historic resources commission’s action on the application. Notice shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 1.08 PMC.

6. The city council shall hold a public hearing to consider the proposed general plan amendment and proposed designation, concurrently. Notice of the public hearing shall be given pursuant to Government Code Sections 65090 and 65091 and PMC 18.14.020.

7. The city council shall, by resolution, approve, modify or disapprove the recommendations of the planning and historic resources commissions on the general plan amendment and the historic resource designation applications, respectively. The decision of the city council on both applications is final.

8. Failure to send any notice by mail to any property owner where the address of such owner is not a matter of public record shall not invalidate any proceedings in connection with the proposed designation.

F. Determination of Contributing and Noncontributing Buildings. In conjunction with the designation of a historic district, the historic resources commission may recommend to the city council, and the council may, by resolution, approve, modify or disapprove the designation of any building within the designated historic district as a contributing building. All other buildings in the district will be considered noncontributing buildings.

G. Amendment or Rescission. An application may be made for the amendment or rescission of designated historic resource status in the same manner and procedure followed for designation.

1. A designation may be amended when the findings required for designation in the first instance may be made with respect to the amended designation.

2. A designation may be rescinded in whole or in part upon one or more of the following findings:

a. The designated historic building, designated historic site, designated historic district, or contributing building or buildings within a district, through demolition, alteration, neglect or loss of integrity, has lost its historic qualities upon which the designation was based; or

b. New information or analysis shows that the designated historic building, designated historic site, or contributing building or buildings within a district was not eligible at the time of its listing which was not discovered through the exercise of due diligence at the time of the original designation; or

c. If it is discovered that the information upon which the historic resources commission or city council made its recommendation and determination regarding designation was false. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.060 Official local historic register.

Resolutions adopting designations of historic resources shall collectively be known as the “official local historic register.” The register shall be kept on file with the city clerk who shall transmit copies to any person requesting copies. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.070 Design review.

All proposed exterior improvements to structures or sites covered by this chapter shall be subject to design review (Chapter 18.36 PMC). [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.080 Design criteria code.

A. Any reviewing authority with discretionary responsibility for approving, conditionally approving or denying any design review application or building permit application for an exterior improvement to any structure or site covered by this chapter shall apply the applicable city-adopted design guidelines as a basis for their decision. The historic resources commission may, from time to time, recommend changes to the city council in regard to the design guidelines. The city council, by resolution, may adopt amendments to the design criteria code.

B. The following provisions of law are incorporated by reference into the adopted design guidelines and may be used in reviewing proposed alterations to designated historic resources:

1. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. These standards and guidelines are a part of the design criteria for the rehabilitation of contributing buildings. These standards are utilized in the review of improvements for certain income tax benefits.

2. State Historic Building Code (State of California Administrative Code, Title 24, Part 8). This regulation deals with as many aspects of alternative approaches to the prevailing codes as possible, including, among other topics, structural, fire, safety, handicapped requirements, and the use of archaic materials.

C. Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Sections 18950 et seq., the State Historic Building Code shall have application only to those buildings designated as historic resources. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.090 Demolition of historic structures.

A. Notice Required. Demolition, wholly or partially, of a designated historic building or a designated contributing building within a historic district is prohibited unless the proposed demolition is part of a project that has received all entitlements including approved environmental documentation which evaluated the proposed demolition, or if the property owner of such structure gives the city council 180 days’ prior written notice that such act is planned for such structure. Subject to the provisions of subsection (B) of this section, no application to the city for a permit to carry out such demolition shall be accepted during said 180-day notice period. Following the receipt of such notice, the city council may, among other things, hold a public hearing on the matter and/or direct staff to:

1. Seek local trusts and other financial sources which may be willing to purchase the structure for restoration;

2. Publicize with the owner’s consent the availability of the structure for purchase for restoration purposes;

3. Consider acquiring development rights or facade easements and the imposition or negotiation of other restrictions of the preservation of the structure;

4. Investigate possible sites for relocation of the structure;

5. Evaluate the feasibility of the city purchasing the structure pursuant to a development plan if it does not appear that private preservation is feasible.

B. Waiver of Notice. The city council, upon the request of the property owner, may waive the requirement of 180 days’ prior written notice if the action planned for the structure involves:

1. The relocation of the structure to a site in conjunction with a design review application approved by the planning commission; or

2. Relief of extreme financial hardship to the owner of the structure.

C. Waiver of Notice for Emergency. The city planner, upon the request of the property owner, may waive the requirement of 180 days’ prior written notice if, in the opinion of the chief building official, emergency repairs are necessary to remove a dangerous and unsafe condition. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.100 Substandard buildings.

A. Notification. The chief building official shall notify the historic resources commission after such official declares a designated historic building, or a contributing building located within a designated historic district, to be a substandard or dangerous structure.

B. Evaluation Report. Upon receipt of notice from the chief building official, the city planner shall compile a report that contains photographic documentation of the exterior of the structure as well as an evaluation of the historic and architectural merit of the structure. This report shall be made available to the historic resources commission for review and shall be kept on file with the city clerk. Completion of the report shall not be required prior to demolition of the unsafe structure. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.110 Ordinary maintenance and repair.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in or on any property covered by this chapter that does not involve a change in design, material, color, or external appearance thereof, nor does this chapter prevent an emergency repair to, or removal of, an unsafe condition of the structure that requires immediate attention or the construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, demolition, or removal of any such feature, as determined by the chief building official when the chief building official subsequently certifies to the historic resources commission that such action was required for the public safety due to an unsafe or dangerous condition which could not be rectified through the use of the California Historic Building Code. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.120 Duty to keep in good repair.

The owner, occupant, or other person in actual charge of a designated historic resource shall keep in good repair all of the exterior improvements undertaken pursuant to any city permits. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]

15.84.140 Building permits.

No building permit shall be issued for any modifications to any building or structure governed by this chapter, unless the modifications are found to be in conformance with this chapter. [Ord. 07-1290 § 4, 2007; Ord. 06-1266 §§ 1, 2, 2006.]


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Prior legislation: Ords. 815, 1173, 1182, 04-1218, 05-1248.