Who will be on the HPOZ Board?
Each HPOZ Board consists of five members, at least three of whom must be renters or owners of property within an HPOZ. All members should have knowledge of and interest in the culture, structures, sites, history and architecture of the HPOZ area, and if possible, experience in historic preservation.
One member is appointed by the Mayor and must have extensive real estate or construction experience. One member who must be an owner or renter of property in the HPOZ is appointed by the City Councilmember representing the area. Two members, one of whom must be a licensed architect, are appointed by the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission. The final member is selected at large by a majority vote of the initial four members, with input from the Certified Neighborhood Council representing the neighborhood. Board members normally serve a term of four years, although the initial terms are staggered to prevent a complete turnover of the Board at any one time. Appointed members may be removed or replaced by the appointing authority prior to the expiration or their term.
The Board is an advisory body to the City Planning Department. The Director of Planning has the authority to issue determinations, building permit sign-offs, and Certificates of Appropriateness.
What is a “Contributing Structure” and how is it affected by an HPOZ?
A “contributing structure” is any structure identified by a Historic Resources Survey of an HPOZ area as contributing to the historic significance of the area. Any significant exterior work to a contributing structure, which also includes its demolition, removal or relocation, requires approval of the City Planning Department through the issuance of a special permit called a “Certificate of Appropriateness.” This requires the submission of a formal application form, detailed plans, and a fee of approximately $300. The permit process may take up to 75 days, or longer if the initial decision is appealed. Certain less significant exterior work, like routine maintenance or changes to the exterior paint color or landscaping, are approved by the Planning Department as “Conforming Work.” without having to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness and pay a fee. The Conforming Work review process usually takes only 3 to 21 days. In reviewing projects and issuing permits, Planning Department staff considers recommendations of the local HPOZ Board and the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission, as well as its own research and analysis.
What are non-contributing structures and how are they affected by an HPOZ?
Any structure within an HPOZ area that is not identified as a contributing structure by a Historic Resources Survey area is considered “non-contributing.” The HPOZ Board reviews exterior work or changes to a non-contributing structure, unless authority is delegated to the Director of Planning in an adopted Preservation Plan. The HPOZ Board is required to sign off on any request for any exterior work if the Board finds that the work is undertaken solely on a building or feature that has been identified as “non-contributing”. Work that involves the construction of a new building, building replacement, or demolition requires a special permit called a “Certificate of Compatibility”. As with a “Certificate of Appropriateness,” this permit requires the submission of a formal application form, detailed plans, and a fee of approximately $300 and may take up to 75 days, or longer if the initial decision is appealed.
What Standards do the Board and the Planning Department use to evaluate proposed changes in an HPOZ?
The Department of City Planning works with the HPOZ Boards and HPOZ neighborhoods to create a “Preservation Plan” for each neighborhood. The Preservation Plan allows neighborhoods to create tailored design guidelines that respond to the needs and preferences of each community. The website contains the text of all adopted HPOZ Preservation Plans under each neighborhood’s listing.
The Department of City Planning has also created a Preservation Plan Workbook that can serve as a helpful template for crafting new Preservation Plans for HPOZs. When HPOZ neighborhoods do not yet have an adopted Preservation Plan, the HPOZ Ordinance requires that the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation be utilized as the benchmark for review of projects. These Standards are utilized by local governments in thousands of historic districts nationally and provide a sophisticated framework for managing change – ensuring that alterations and additions to historic properties are pursued sensitively.
If I disagree with the Planning Department’s decision about a project, can I appeal it?
Yes. The approval or disapproval of “Certificates of Appropriateness,” “Certificates of Compatibility,” or any other written determination by the Director of Planning may be appealed to the Area Planning Commission. The Area Planning Commission also serves as the first level of review for proposed demolition, removal or relocation of structures within HPOZs; appeals of these cases go to the City Council. All appeals must be filed within 15 days of the date of the action, and must be acted on within 75 days from the date filed. Decisions can be appealed only once. Original decisions by the Director of Planning that are appealable to the Area Planning Commission cannot be further appealed to the City Council.