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San Mateo General Plan Update

San Mateo's General Plan hopes to express the vision of the community about how the City will look, feel and change in the next 20 years.

San Mateo Historic Resources Information Handout

This brochure provides an overview of the review and regulation of historic resources in the City of San Mateo, including the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, the Zoning Code, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

San Mateo Historic Preservation Ordinance

The City's Historic Preservation Ordinance (Zoning Code Chapter 27.66) was adopted in 1995.  The Ordinance is limited to only the buildings identified in the 1989 Historic Survey, demonstrating why it is so important to update the survey and identify historic resources in all neighborhoods throughout the city.

Virtual Walking Tour of Downtown San Mateo

San Mateo Historical Association President Mitch Postel narrates this delightful 7-1/2 minute virtual walking tour of Downtown San Mateo.  On YouTube.

Downtown San Mateo Historic District Walking Tour

A self-guided walking tour through San Mateo's National Register Eligible Downtown Historic District.


City of San Mateo Historic Building Survey Final Report, September 1989

In 1989,  San Mateo adopted a Historic Building Survey as part of its General Plan update.  That survey serves as a basis for review and regulation of San Mateo’s historic resources, including the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, the Zoning Code, and CEQA.  The 1989 survey was a significant achievement, but also limited in budget and scope. The survey concentrated its attention on the downtown commercial district and the oldest residential neighborhoods, mostly east of El Camino Real where historic resources were most threatened with demolition and redevelopment.  


Many individual buildings and two historic districts - the Downtown Commercial District and Glazenwood Residential District -  were identified as historically significant and as a result were listed on the California Register of Historical Resources. Residential neighborhoods west of El Camino Real were never completely or adequately surveyed, although several are referenced in the survey report as potentially significant historic districts. 

Baywood Historic Asset Analysis (2022)

The purpose of this report is to assess whether the Baywood Neighborhood is eligible
under the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.  Based on this research, the Baywood study area does meet the requirements of a historic distinct under the criteria A and C of the
National Register of Historic Places criteria and does appear to be eligible for listing. Other
authorities also concluded that Baywood should or could be considered historic.


Historic Residential Suburbs in the United States, recognizes the important role that transportation played in fostering America’s suburbanization and in shaping the physical character of American suburbs between 1830 and 1960.


Mills Act Tax Relief

The Mills Act is the single most important economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners. 

The City of San Mateo enacted a Mills Act Program in 1993 (Mills Act Resolution 1993)

North Central couple uses Mills Act to renovate 1891 historic home.

Mills Act: Good for homeowners, good for the community, Burlingame Voice.

Mills Act: Historical Preservation Through Tax Incentives.  Introductory presentation of the Mills Act from the Santa Clara County Assessors Office.


The California Historical Building Code (CHBC) is intended to save California’s architectural heritage by recognizing the unique construction issues inherent in maintaining and adaptively reusing historic buildings. The CHBC provides alternative building regulations for permitting repairs, alterations and additions necessary for the preservation, rehabilitation, relocation, related construction, change of use, or continued use of a “qualified historical building or structure.”


The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Rehabilitation as a Treatment and Standards for RehabilitationThe Secretary of the Interior's Standards are intended to provide guidance to historic building owners and building managers, preservation consultants, architects, contractors, and project reviewers prior to beginning work. 


Common questions and answers about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).


Rehab Right

Rehab Right was conceived as an easy-to-use guide to help home owners, designers and remodelers make design decisions that protect the architectural integrity of historic pre-war homes so they will no longer be unnecessarily lost. A good design decision for a repair problem requires satisfactory answers these straightforward questions: How will it look? How will it work? And, how much will it cost? Rehab Right addresses these questions for typical home improvement problems encountered in older residential building styles.

Bungalow Heaven: Preserving a Neighborhood (DVD)

In 1985, a group of neighbors in Pasadena, California decided to fight the piecemeal destruction of the early-20th-century neighborhood they lived in and loved. In 1989, the City of Pasadena made Bungalow Heaven the first bungalow neighborhood in the nation to be designated a landmark historic district, and in 2008 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here is the inspiring story, told by the planners, politicians, preservationists and neighbors who made it happen. This film is an indispensable resource for anyone who lives in a beloved older neighborhood threatened by thoughtless redevelopment or wholesale destruction.

DVD available at the San Mateo Public Library

How-to Manual: Creating a Sense of Place

Communities with an appealing sense of place typically exude a style all their own that reflects their history, economy and attitude. In these communities, careful planning has helped to preserve, highlight and augment important features such as civic buildings, central parks or town squares, architecturally or historically important buildings, heritage trees and scenic vistas.


The California Preservation Foundation

The California Preservation Foundation provides statewide leadership, advocacy and education to ensure the protection of California’s diverse cultural heritage and historic places. Their vision is to ensure that the rich diversity of California’s historic resources are identified, protected and celebrated for their history and for their valuable role in California’s economy, environment and quality of life.


24 Reasons Historic Preservation is Good for Your Community

A report by PlaceEconomics details why historic preservation is good for cities….no, not just good, historic preservation is great for cities. The reasons preservation is great for cities are multiple – aesthetic, symbolic, cultural, social, educational, economic, and others.

Glazenwood Pillars Restoration

Neighbors restore historic Glazenwood pillars.

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