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The Historic Resources component of the General Plan confirms the City’s commitment to the protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and use of historic resources as economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits to the City of San Mateo. 



The goal of historic preservation is to keep properties and places of historic and cultural value in active use, accommodating appropriate improvements to sustain their viability while maintaining the key character-defining features which contribute to their significance as cultural resources. Preservation also seeks to keep cultural resources intact for the benefit of future generations. It is an integral component of other community initiatives in neighborhood livability, sustainability, economic development, and cultural appreciation.



GOAL CD-3.1 Identify and preserve historic, architectural and cultural resources, including individual properties, districts and sites, to maintain San Mateo’s sense of place and special identity, and to enrich our understanding of the city’s history and continuity with the past.


GOAL CD-3.2 Use historic preservation principles as an equal component in the planning and development process. Fully integrate the consideration of historic, architectural and cultural resources as a major aspect of the City's planning, permitting and development activities.


GOAL CD-3.3 Ensure compatibility between new development and existing historic, architectural and cultural resources.



Definitions and interpretations used herein shall be consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the State Historical Building Code, the California Register of Historical Resources, the National Register of Historic Places, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.


Policy CD-A3.1 Historic Preservation.  Incorporate historic preservation as an integral part the general plan, specific plans, environmental processes, planning, permitting, and development activities.


Policy CD-P3.2 Historic Preservation Surveys and Context Statements. Identify and preserve historic buildings, districts and sites. Actively identify and protect concentrations of buildings which convey the flavor of local historical periods or provide an atmosphere of exceptional architectural interest or integrity when they meet national, state or local criteria.

Policy CD-P3.3 Downtown Historic District. Maintain the identified historic district along portions of 3rd Avenue and B Street, and continue to implement regulations to protect the overall historic and architectural character and integrity of the area. 


Policy CD-P3.4 Scale, Character and Compatibility. Promote an architecturally sensitive approach to new construction in, and adjacent to identified and potentially eligible historic districts to ensure compatibility of new and old.  Ensure design compatibility that maintains the historic character and integrity of the area.


Policy CD-A3.5 Consider Effects on Historic Resources. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires public agencies to consider the effects of actions on historic resources.  Under CEQA, a historic resource is any resource that is listed in or determined to be eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources. Any resource that is eligible for listing in the California Register is considered significant for the purposes of CEQA.  The California Register of Historical Resources also includes resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  Properties that are designated significant in an adopted local survey are also presumed to be eligible for the California Register, and are considered significant.


Policy CD-P3.6 Demolition. The City shall consider demolition of historic resources as a last resort, to be permitted only if rehabilitation of the resource is not feasible, demolition is necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents, or the public benefits outweigh the loss of the historic resource.



Action CD-A3.1 Historic Context. Structures 50 years old or older proposed for substantial alteration or demolition shall be evaluated for both individual significance and as contributors to an identified or potential historic district.


Action CD-A3.2 Coordinate and align the general plan, specific plans, zoning code, environmental processes, planning, permitting, and development activities to incorporate preservation as an integral component in accordance with the principles, goals and policies herein.


Action CD-A3.3 Public Awareness. Foster public awareness and appreciation of the City's historic, architectural, cultural and archaeological resources and educate the community about how to preserve and improve these resources.  Increase public appreciation through neighborhood workshops, public presentations, interpretive signage, and walking tours.


Action CD-A3.4 Historic Resources Survey. The City shall establish and maintain an inventory of architecturally, culturally, and historically significant structures, districts and sites. Proactively update and maintain an up-to-date historic resources inventory. For areas that have not been surveyed, the City shall seek funding to prepare new historic context surveys to identify structures, districts and sights potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources, or local register.


Action CD-A3.5 Design Standards. The City shall use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards as the basis for objective design standards for alterations to historic resources and new development within and adjacent to commercial and residential historic districts.  Design standards shall ensure that proposed new construction projects have a contextual relationship with land uses and patterns, spatial organization, visual relationships, cultural and historic values, and relationships in height, massing, modulation, and materials


Action CD-A3.6 Demolition Alternatives. Require an applicant to submit alternatives to full demolition on how to preserve a historic building as part of any planning application and implement methods of preservation unless health and safety requirements cannot be met.

SMHA 8/9/22 (Revised 9/12/22)

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