Preserve Your Home

Preserving Your Historic House or Neighborhood
Technical Assistance

National Park Service (NPS) publishes technical guidelines for its historic site managers but these publications are also available to the public.
U. S. Department of the Interior, including the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation
Association for Preservation Technology (APT) a professional organization that tackles the highly technical field of building conservation and publishes its results in its journal.
Old House Journal (OHJ) a bi-monthy magazine devoted to history and techniques for a general audience. Contact them at 2 Main Street, Gloucester, MA 01930. Phone (800) 356-9313.
Traditional Building magazine advertising lots of companies who specialize in replicating historic architectural elements, from windows to mailboxes to lighting. Their website contains a database to help you find these companies.

Government Assistance

These are just some of the many resources available and described in detail in Historic Preservation in California: A Handbook for Local Communties (1986), published by the California Office of Historic Preservation.

Local Historic Preservation Ordinances may protect designated historic houses or districts either by requiring public review of remodelings or preventing demolition. They may also various benefits for historic property owners, such eligibility to use the State Historic Building Code or special tax breaks like the Mills Act. Check with your city’s Planning or Building Department for more information.
California State Historic Building Code (SHBC) provides an alternative to the Uniform Building Code to encourage the re-use and rehabilitatation of historic buildings.
Mills Act provides property tax incentives for restoration of eligible properties. See a presentation on theĀ  Mills Act 101 – here
Facade Easements reduce property and income tax by donating historical facades (or other historical elements) to a non-profit organization.
Investment Tax Credits for income-producing properties can encourage restoration. Check with your tax preparer and California Office of Historic Preservation for more details.
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires the consideration of historic and cultural resources in environmental reviews by cities.

For further information, consult:

the Planning, Community Development, or Building Department in your city.
Historic Preservation in California: A Handbook for Local Communties, published by theĀ  California Office of Historic Preservation (1986), an 81-page booklet that describes preservation programs, historic surveys, fundamentals of designation, the role of local government, state and federal programs assisting preservation, non-profit preservation groups, and how to revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods. A good reference and hopefully still in print.
Los Angeles Conservancy, an historic preservation organization that sells a resource directory listing historically-sensitive architects, contractors, manufacturers, and vendors.
a licensed architect or general contractor experienced in historic preservation. These qualified individuals are rare, so you will want to ask them for their experience in working on historic buildings, familiarity with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and if they are a member of any historic preservation organization, such as the California Preservation Foundation or National Trust. That won’t guarantee you’ve found someone who is sensitive to historic preservation projects, but if they can’t answer your questions satisfactorily, beware!

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