Historic Preservation Program

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Photo of Redlands Bowl and fireworks

The City of Redlands has a long and rich history, and its citizenry has always been concerned with preservation of its history by maintaining its architectural and scenic resources.

In 1986, the City adopted an ordinance that created the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission which has responsibility over historic resources. The Commission has seven citizen members, all with special expertise and experience in history, architectural history, planning, historic preservation, and related professional fields.  The Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission meets on the first Thursday of each month in the City Council Chamber located at 35 Cajon Street. Planning Division staff are responsible for providing support to the Commission, and can respond to questions regarding historic and scenic preservation.

Images of historic A.K. Smiley Public Library

Why is historical preservation important to city planning? The video ”Keeping the Promise That Is Redlands” (click here) was featured at the Mayor’s State of the City Address on June 22, 2018, and illustrates why we continue to implement good Historic Preservation practices.

Overview

The Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission is authorized by City Council to preserve, protect, and promote the City’s historic and scenic resources. The Commission may make recommendations, decisions, and determinations concerning the designation, preservation, protection, enhancement and perpetuation of these historical, scenic and cultural resources which contribute to the culture and aesthetic values of the city (Redlands Municipal Code Chapter 2.62).

The City of Redlands is proud to be a “Certified Local Government” (CLG) in cooperation with the National Park Service as well as the State Office of Historic Preservation in the interest of historic preservation goals. 

Birdseye View Redlands 1888

Redlands Historic Victorian Homes

Resources & Documents

2020 Historic and Scenic Preservation Schedule & Calendar
List of Designated Historic Resources
Historic Design Manual
Historic Context Statement
Draft Historic Design Guidelines  - proposed (not yet adopted)
Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties

Responsibilities

The Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission has responsibility for the following functions. 

I. Formation of Historic Districts

The Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission has the primary responsibility of making a recommendation to the City Council on the formation of a Historic District. A Historic District is a geographical area that has a significant architectural enclave of historic buildings or scenic vistas. Applications for the formation of a District can be made by the City or from an individual. If you are interested in possibly creating a new historic district, please contact Planning Division staff at (909) 798-7555 option 2 to discuss your idea. 

II. Designation of Historic Resources

Application for Historic Designation 

DPR Form 523A

DPR Form 523B

DPR Form 523L

The Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission has the primary responsibility of making a recommendation to the City Council on the designation of an individual structure as a Historic Resource. A structure with aesthetic, architectural, or historical value which is 50 years old or more may be designated as a Historic Resource. A structure with exceptional aesthetic, architectural, or historical value can be designated as a Landmark Resource.  If you are interested in possibly designating a new historic resource or property, please contact Planning Division staff at (909) 798-7555 option 2, and discuss your idea with Loralee Farris. 

Image of Redlands Bowl and fireworks

Image of historic Santa Fe Depot

III. Certificates of Appropriateness

Application for Certificate of Appropriateness

A Certificate of Appropriateness is an application upon which the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission makes a decision to alter, demolish, move, or subdivide a building/property which has been designated Landmark or Historic Resource or within the boundaries of a Historic District designated by the City Council. This means that any modification to the outside of the structure (subsequent to formal designation) must be approved through this COA application. Changes to the exterior of a building need to be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and in some cases also requires a building permit. If you are interested in making modifications to a historic resource or a property eligible for historic designation, please contact Planning Division staff at (909) 798-7555 option 2, and discuss your idea with Loralee Farris. We would be happy to discuss your idea early during the design phase (before you finalize or submit your plans) so that your project can proceed smoothly.

IV. Demolition of Structures Over 50 Years Old

Application for Demolition Permit 

Any structure designated as a Historic or Landmark Resource by the City must have a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition approved by the Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission. This involves a public hearing and the Statement of Findings as defined by the Redlands Municipal Code. Demolition of any structure over fifty (50) years old needs to have approval from the Historic and Scenic Commission regardless of whether it is designated or not. If you are unsure of the age of the structure, please check with Planning Division staff at (909) 798-7555 option 2, or visit the Planning Division public counter at the One Stop Permit Center

V. Mills Act Applications

Mills Act Application

The Mills Act is an incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of designated historic buildings by private property owners. A Mills Act Contract grants a reduction in local property taxes in exchange for an agreement to actively participate in the restoration, rehabilitation, repairing and preserving of their historic property.  The Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission reviews and provides guidance on 10-Year Rehabilitation Plans that are part of a requested Mills Act Contract, and make a recommendation on the application to the City Council. Please contact Planning staff to discuss how a Mills Act Contract might be beneficial to your property, or for further information about obtaining a Mills Act Contract.  You may also visit the Mills Act Contract webpage (click here) for further information. If you have any questions about the Mills Act program or might be interested in applying, please call the Planning Division at (909) 798-7555 option 2, and discuss your idea with Loralee Farris. 


VI. Environmental Review

Some projects, especially demolitions, may require environmental review depending on the structure and the type of changes being proposed. This would mean that if a significant impact to historic resources were identified, either an Initial Study would be prepared to identify the impact and determine if the impact could be mitigated.

Facts about Historic Preservation in Redlands

Some projects do not require review from the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission, but instead may be approved by staff. However, it is best to communicate with staff and coordinate your project before proceeding forward. The following is a list of projects which do not typically require review from the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission:

  • Alterations to the inside of any structure, including designated structures.
  • Landscaping unless specifically designated.
  • Outside alterations to structures which are less than fifty (50) years old.
  • Outside alterations to structures over fifty (50) years which are not designated and not located in a district; however, it is best to consult with staff as to the sensitivity of older structures.
  • Re-Painting of a building in the same colors

It is best to discuss your project with Planning staff and confirm if your project qualifies for an exemption from review, prior to proceeding with your project or any structure/property modifications. We encourage all property owners and other interested persons to speak with Planning Division staff early in the process, when the project is still an idea (and not a final plan) so that staff can help ensure your project goes smoothly and avoids any delays. If you have any questions, please call Planning Division staff at (909) 798-7555 option 2, or visit the Planning Division public counter at the One Stop Permit Center

Historic Context Statement

In 2016, the City of Redlands received a Historic Preservation Fund Grant from the State Office of Historic Preservation to produce a “Historic Context Statement” document. A Historic Context Statement is a narrative report that provides the framework for identifying potential historic resources and evaluating their historic significance and integrity. This report identifies important themes relevant to the history and development of the City of Redlands, including: significant property types; time periods of historical significance; and character-defining features of important architectural styles. This rich document provides guidance to residents, City staff, Commissioners, and historic preservation professionals. The Historic Context Statement was approved by the City Council on September 19, 2017. ​

Historic Context Statement – September 19, 2017
Community Meeting, June 12, 2017 – Powerpoint Presentation - ”What is a Historic Context Statement?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: I own a home or property that is designated as a Local Historic Resource by the City. Can I make modifications to the exterior (such as a re-roof, changing the windows, a room addition, or other exterior changes)?
Answer: You may need approval of a “Certificate of Appropriateness” permit by the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission before you do any work to the structure or make any changes. Please contact Loralee Farris in the Planning Division at (909) 798-7555 option 2 or send an email to lfarris@cityofredlands.org

Question: I own a home or property that is more than 50 years old, and it might be eligible for historic designation by the City. Can I make modifications to the exterior of the structure (such as a re-roof, changing the windows, a room addition or new porch, or other exterior changes)?
Answer: You may need approval of a “Certificate of Appropriateness” permit by the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission before you do any work to the structure or make any changes. Please contact Loralee Farris in the Planning Division at (909) 798-7555 option 2 or send an email to lfarris@cityofredlands.org

Question: Where can I get help with designing the changes to my historic building? 
Answer: Click on the “Resources & Documents” button at the top of this page, and go to the link named “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.” This is a very detailed and technical document, and staff can assist you with identifying appropriate materials and other treatments that may be used on historic structures. For large projects, it may be necessary for the applicant to hire a qualified historical architect (which is a licensed architect who has specialized training and experience working with historic buildings). To discuss your idea for a project further, please contact Loralee Farris in the Planning Division at (909) 798-7555 option 2 or send an email to lfarris@cityofredlands.org

Question: I want to demolish one or more structures that are 50 years old or more. Do I need approval by the City to do demolition work? 
Answer: Yes, you will need a Demolition Permit approved by the City before you perform any work to demolish or otherwise remove the structure(s). You may also need approval by the Historic & Scenic Preservation Commission (if required by the Redlands Municipal Code Chapter 15.44) before you do anything to cause the structure to be removed. Please contact Loralee Farris in the Planning Division at (909) 798-7555 option 2 or send an email to lfarris@cityofredlands.org

Question: I am thinking about having my historic residence or other property designated as a Local Historic Resource.  How do I go about doing that? 
Answer: Please contact Planning staff to discuss your idea. The Redlands Municipal Code Chapter 2.24 (click here) has specific requirements and procedures for designating a property as an official historic resource. For an explanation of the requirements and procedures, please speak to Loralee Farris  in the Planning Division at (909) 798-7555 option 2 or send an email to lfarris@cityofredlands.org

Question: How do I find a list of properties in Redlands that are currently designated as Historic Resources? 
Answer: Click on the “Resources & Documents” button at the top of this page, and go to the link named “List of Designated Historic Resources.”