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Nicole Hernandez
Architectural Historian
(805) 564-5536
NHernandez@SantaBarbaraCA.gov

Historic Treasures Map

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Historic Districts

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A Historic District is an area designated to protect and enhance the City’s visual character by encouraging and regulating architectural styles that reflect the City’s unique and established architectural, cultural and landscaping traditions.

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Historic District Designation

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Designation Process

1
Application Requirements
  • Evidence of Property Owner Support - Documentation by letter or petition with a majority of property owners in the proposed district supporting the designation. A majority constitutes over 50% of the property owners listed on the County of Santa Barbara’s most recent property ownership assessment roll in the proposed district by affixing their signatures to the letter or petition;
  • A Map depicting the boundaries of the proposed Historic District Overlay Zone;
  • A Property Inventory - A professional historic resources survey with photographs of all properties in the proposed historic district. At least 80% of these properties must be deemed by the City’s Architectural Historian as “contributing.”
2
Historic Landmarks Commission Recommendation

A public notice and a hearing at the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) is required within 60 calendar days of the determination that the Historic District Overlay Zone application is complete. The HLC evaluates the significance criteria presented, assesses the historical significance of the proposed contributing resources, and evaluates the positive and negative effects upon the surrounding neighborhood. If supportable, the HLC issues a Resolution with findings that is forwarded to the Planning Commission for a zoning amendment. If the HLC denies the designation, the decision is appealable to City Council within ten (10) calendar days.

3
Planning Commission Zoning Amendment Review

A public notice and a hearing at the Planning Commission is required no later than 90 calendar days after the Historic Landmarks Commission’s recommendation of approval. The Planning Commission hearing shall be limited solely to the formation of the proposed Historic District Overlay Zone. The Planning Commission’s review only includes the following:

  • The Proposed Zone Map, depicting the boundaries of the proposed HD Overlay Zone including any proposed buffer zones;
  • A Legal Description, of the proposed HD Overlay Zone;
  • An Inventory of All Historic Resources, including contributing and non-contributing resources and structures to confirm that the mandatory 80% contributing resources threshold has been met; and
  • A Copy of the Historic Landmarks Commission’s Recommendation, approving the proposed district

Planning Commission recommends either approval or denial of the Historic District Overlay Zone that is then forwarded to City Council for a final decision. 

4
City Council Action

A public notice and a hearing at City Council is required within 30 calendar days of a recommendation for approval or denial by the Planning Commission. The City Council considers whether to approve, modify, or disapprove the Planning Commission’s and Historic Landmarks Commission’s recommendations. Approval by the City Council shall be based on a finding that the Historic District Overlay Zone establishes the Significance Criteria for designation.

5
Post City Council Approval/Denial

Post Approval Procedures
A buffer area notification will be documented on the affected properties by the Community Development Department. A buffer area serves to alert owners, planners and design review boards during the planning and design review process of the necessity to plan to mitigate any negative impacts a new project may have on a historic resource. 

Limits on New Applications After Denial
If the City Council denies the proposed classification as an Historic District Overlay Zone, then 24 months must elapse before the submittal of another application to consider a Historic District for that same area.