The City's Historic Preservation program began in 1974 with the City Council’s adoption of the City’s first preservation ordinance and the appointment of the first “Preservation Board” in early 1975. Since then, the program has become a city-wide “Certified Local Government” program (certified in partnership with the State of California Office of Historic Preservation and U.S. National Park Service) with a seven-member Preservation Commission and a Historic & Cultural Resources Element of the City’s General Plan. The program’s primary objectives are to identify, protect, and assist in the preservation, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and awareness of the City’s historic and cultural resources.
Identification of Historic & Cultural Resources
Through historical survey efforts, followed by ordinances adopted by the City Council that add historic properties to the Sacramento Register of Historic & Cultural Resources, either individually as historic Landmarks, or as Historic Districts with Contributing Resources, properties are listed in the Sacramento Register of Historic & Cultural Resources (Sacramento Register.) Go to the link below for the Sacramento Register to find out if a property has been listed or to find out the boundaries of listed Historic Districts:
Preservation Review Process
Preservation, Site Plan and Design Review and approval is required prior to undertaking work on a property that is designated a historic Landmark, or is located within a Historic District.
If the work involves the exterior of a building (including windows and doors,) construction on the site, or involves significant, publicly-accessible interiors (i.e., lobbies, auditoriums, train station. restaurants), then a Planning Entitlement Application for Preservation, Site Plan and Design Review will likely be required from the City Planning Division, unless the project is exempt from Preservation, Site Plan & Design Review (see Exempt from SPDR Historic Properties Forms). When an application is required, depending upon the type of project, the project will be reviewed by Preservation Staff, the Preservation Director at a public hearing, or by the Preservation Commission also at a public hearing and, generally, will be reviewed for compliance with the Historic Rehabilitation Standards. Preservation approval may be required even if the work does not require a building permit. Also, except in special circumstances, the building plan check or permit application process cannot proceed until the Preservation application Record of Decision is issued and any reconsideration or appeal period has expired or the reconsideration or appeal has been has been decided.
To get started with a preservation review.
Historic Rehabilitation Standards
Sacramento holds some of the finest collections of historic properties in California, including many noteworthy Landmark properties and numerous Historic Districts. It is the City's goal to support the high quality of life that the community enjoys by preserving these resources. For review of the Preservation, Site Plan and Design Review applications involving historic properties, the City has adopted the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and, in particular, often uses the Secretary of the Interior’s “Rehabilitation Standards.” For purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act, projects involving historic resources where the proposed work is found to comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, that project may be found to be exempt from further environmental review, unless other elements of the environment could be impacted by the project. Also, the Secretary of the Interior’s Rehabilitation Standards are also used by state and federal officials in their review of projects which are eligible to use the federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program.
The Preservation Director is the Secretary to the Preservation Commission and is responsible for overseeing the operation of the city's historic preservation program, advises the city and its various entities and staff on historic preservation issues, including rehabilitation standards and historic resources surveys, maintains the Sacramento Register, review and nominate properties for recommendation to the Preservation Commission on properties eligible for listing in the Sacramento register as landmarks, historic districts and contributing resources, reviews and decides on proposed preservation development projects at the Director level and hears reconsiderations of staff level project decisions, and follows the responsibilities outlined in Historic Preservation of the City Code, Title 17, Chapter 17.60. See here for Preservation Commission.
Learn more about historic walking tours and the City’s official Historic Properties Plaque program, and more, visit the Sacramento Heritage website.