Historic Resource Surveys

The foundation of a successful preservation program is an understanding of the location, distribution, and significance of historic and cultural resources, which include buildings, sites and/or landscapes. This understanding is achieved through the historic and cultural resource survey process. In addition to identifying important individual historic or cultural resources and potential districts, a survey can help identify buildings that qualify for local or national preservation incentives or inform the development of new projects that protect the integrity of designated properties.

The following surveys are available for online view and download.

2016 (Commercial and Non-Residential)

The Commercial Survey is an update to the initial citywide survey and focused on commercial, institutional, and industrial structures built before 1975. The project was completed in the fall of 2016.

2008 (Multi-Family)

The Multi-Family Survey, adopted in 2008, summarizes the findings of a citywide historic resource survey of multi-family housing within the R2, R3, and R4 zoning districts built before 1961. The survey reviewed approximately 2,160 properties, some of which were previously surveyed in the initial citywide survey adopted in 1987.

1987 (Citywide)

The City’s first Historic Resources Survey was adopted in 1987. The survey reviewed approximately 1,750 properties built before 1942. Of these properties, 118 were compiled into the City’s official historic resources inventory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do surveys focus just on buildings?

Buildings are just one focus of surveys. Historic and cultural resources can be individual buildings and structures, or groups of properties that form districts or cultural landscapes, as well as objects, archeological resources, works of art, or flora such as trees.

How old does a building have to be in order to be surveyed?

Generally, surveys investigate buildings that were constructed more than 50 years ago. However, certain buildings from the more recent past can also be included in a survey if they feature outstanding architecture, craftsmanship, or materials, or if they are closely associated with a recent significant event.

What types of surveys are there?

There are two types of historic resource surveys: Reconnaissance and Intensive. Reconnaissance surveys, aka windshield survey, document the physical qualities of the property, but make no formal evaluation as to a building’s significance, integrity, or eligibility to local, state, or national registers. An Intensive survey requires more intensive research and documentation of a property, and most significantly, results in the evaluation of a property’s eligibility for local, California, or National listing. Evaluation can apply either to individual properties or to properties within the context of a historic district. In general, surveys usually begin at the Reconnaissance level. After additional research and identification of property types, a smaller number of properties are selected for time-and-research-heavy Intensive surveys.