2020 November 16, 2022


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Aug 09, 2020
Real Estate

Many properties within the neighborhoods of the City of Los Angeles we work in are valuable historic structures, some of which are protected under the City’s historic/cultural preservation program. Some have been designated Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCM).  Others are in one of the special preservation zones.  It is important for potential buyers and sellers to know if a property falls within one or more of these protected categories.

If the property has been designated a Historic Cultural Monument it will be subject to additional review should an owner wish to make changes.  Proposed projects involving these designated properties are reviewed by the Los Angeles City Planning Department’s Office of Historic Resources for conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

But even if the property is not an official HCM,  it may still be subject to special review under the City’s local historic districts program which aims to identify and protect the distinctive architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles’s historic neighborhoods. Designating a neighborhood as a local historic district—also called a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ)—means that any new projects in that neighborhood must complement its historic character.

Like other zoning overlays, HPOZs provide an additional layer of planning control during the project review process. All exterior work proposed in an HPOZ, including landscaping, alterations, additions, and new construction, is subject to additional review. Each district has a Preservation Plan with design guidelines and an HPOZ Board that reviews proposed work. Some projects are reviewed at a staff level, while others also go to the district’s HPOZ Board for consultation and review.

If the property is eligible, there may be City, State and Federal tax and financial arrangements available, such as the Mills Act Historical Property Contract Program which  is the City’s most significant financial incentive for historic preservation. It allows owners of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCMs) and contributing properties within one of the City’s Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZs) to receive a potential property tax reduction to help offset the costs of substantial rehabilitation and restoration of their buildings.

There are also similar programs in nearby cities such as Pasadena.  We are very knowledgeable about all of these programs and arrangements.  Unlike realtors from outside our area, we can assist in helping buyers and sellers make their way through the complicated process.

Visit planning.lacity.org/historic preservation