Pasadena Historic Preservation Society Ordinance Updates

As a local real estate agent in Pasadena, I like to keep my finger on the pulse of our neighborhood. The Pasadena Historic Preservation Society recently made some changes and ordinance updates that we all should be aware of regarding community concerns and best practices for historic preservation.

Here is an overview of the significant changes that have been put in place:

Historic Resource Evaluations

Now, any major project that affects a building 45 years or older requires a historic resource evaluation prior to a permit being issued for the potential project. If, as a result of the evaluation, the building is determined to be a historic resource, a Certificate of Appropriateness will also be required before a permit is issued. To avoid delays, it’s recommended that applicants submit their application for a Historic Resource Evaluation before creating and/or submitting any plans for a building permit.

Major Projects

The list of major projects was redefined, and those listed below require a Certificate of Appropriateness:

  • Any demolition or relocation of a historic resource or removal of a character-defining feature of a historic resource. This includes character-defining interior or exterior fixtures designed by the firm of Greene and Greene and interior character-defining features of designated historical monuments, as specified in the designation report.

  • Any undertaking that significantly alters or changes the street-facing or primary elevation of a historic resource, including changes to materials or muntin patterning of windows and doors or to the sizes of their openings, the application of new exterior wall cladding or coating which changes the appearance, design, or texture of a property, and the addition of dormers and other architectural features.

  • Any addition of square footage to a primary building elevation.

  • Construction of a new primary structure in a designated or eligible landmark or historic district.

  • Demolition of a non-contributing resource in a designated landmark or historic district.

  • Construction of a new house or addition greater than 500 square feet on a non-contributing property in a designated landmark or historic district that results in the total square footage of the house exceeding 35% above the median house size of all properties within a 500-foot radius of the subject property, calculated as outlined in Section 17.22.050.E and also excluding properties outside of the landmark or historic district boundaries.

  • Any addition of a height greater than that of the existing building, if the addition is visible from the street.

  • Substantial removal (i.e., generally more than 50%) or replacement of exterior cladding on a street-facing (including corner side) or primary elevation.

  • Construction of an accessory structure in front of the primary structure.

  • Any undertaking determined major by the Director.

Ordinance Violations

Violations to the Historic Preservation Ordinance were both simplified and clarified. Now, initiating a project prior to obtaining the Certificate of Appropriateness approval will result in a stop-work order being issued. An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness will need to be submitted, and any modifications or restoration to work already completed may be required. Time limits for compliance have also been established, and penalties outlined.

If you are unsure whether or not a property has been designated as an eligible historic resource, the best thing to do is search the database. Keep in mind that if the property is not found, or the database evaluation is more than five years old, a Historic Resource Evaluation will be required to determine if the property is an eligible historical resource.

I’m a local real estate professional who has decades of experience in the Pasadena area. I am available to assist you in buying or selling a home, so please contact me if you would like to schedule a time to discuss your needs. Please be well and stay healthy!