Mills Act Program
Historic Preservation Contract
The City of Redlands currently invites applications from property owners to participate in the city’s Mills Act program, designed to encourage the preservation of historic properties in Redlands. The Mills Act Program is an economic incentive program statewide in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners.
Participation by the City in the California Mills Act Program was approved by the City Council on November 20, 2012. The California Mills Act Program was first enacted in 1972, and grants participating cities and counties the authority to enter into contracts with owners of qualified historic properties who actively participate in the rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, and maintenance of their historic properties. Since the costs of doing so can be high, and ultimately have the effect of prohibiting preservation activities, property tax relief can offset these costs. Thus, the Mills Act program is offered as a strong incentive for property preservation work.
Property Tax Savings
Property taxes are recalculated using a formula in the Mills Act and State Revenue and Taxation Code. The average savings for individual properties under the Mills Act contract is between 20 and 60 percent. The full amount of the tax savings received by the property owners must be used to finance the preservation, maintenance and improvements to the property. If a property owner defaults on the conditions, the City may cancel the contract and the owner would be subject to a cancellation fee.
Under the program approved by the City Council, the City will accept up to seven applications per year, including five residential properties and two commercial properties. Each contract that is accepted or approved will include a term of 10 years, and will renew automatically each year.
The eligibility and program guidelines include:
- Property must be located in the City of Redlands;
- Property must be privately owned;
- The property is not currently exempt from taxation;
- The property is listed in a Federal, State or City official register (pursuant to Calif, Gov. Code 50280.1);
- Significant features that define the historical character of the property and its buildings have not been destroyed or can be restored based on documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence;
- The owner of the property proposes to make significant improvements to the property that will not impact the architectural, historical, or aesthetic integrity of the property;
- The property owner agrees to enter into a 10-year contract, and have the contract recorded with the County Assessor; and
- The property owner agrees to submit documentation every year to the Planning Division that allows the City to conduct an annual review of the work completed and evaluate compliance with the contract.
The application form is available above (a fillable PDF form), as well as from the Planning Division public counter at the One Stop Permit Center (click here) located at 35 Cajon Street, Suite 15-A, in the Redlands Civic Center. For further information or if you have any questions, please contact the planner at the One Stop Permit Center at (909) 798 – 7551 extension 3.
Typical properties in Redlands that could take advantage of the Mills Act Program include the following.
State of California Mills Act Program
Information about the statewide program is available from the State Office of Historic Preservation, Mills Act Program website (click here), or go to www.ohp.parks.ca.gov for the California Office of Historic Preservation.