64 local properties could be protected from major changes and demolition.
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission has given their approval for a temporary change to the Unified Development Code, which if passed by the City Council, would protect historic property in our town.
City staff cited two lists of historic properties; one from the City’s General plan and the other taken from an Environmental Impact Report compiled for downtown Newhall redevelopment.
If passed by the City Council, the code change would force the owners of these historic sites to get Planning Commission approval for major alterations or demolitions.
This code change is only temporary, and will automatically expire after three years. However, City staff believes this will offer a good starting point.
“The goal is to establish some level of review if the owner tries to alter or demolish the property on one of the lists,” said Alex Hernandez, Administrative Analyst for the City. “We’d like to create a formal review process.”
Indeed this temporary establishment would aid City staff in preparing specific criteria for qualifying historic sites, and establish an official set of rules to govern any action that would taint their historical integrity.
The Planning Commission expressed specific concern over residences on the historical lists.
For now, the proposed system would force owners to receive a minor use permit before completing major work. Several exceptions are written into the proposal, which include basic home repairs such as fencing, carpeting and countertops. More severe changes may also be allowed as exceptions if they involve repairing or replacing dilapidated historic material with similar materials.
The Planning Commission altered the proposal to also include the ability to waive the minor use permit fee for properties that serve as residences.
There are some items that were not included in City Staff’s proposal. According to Hernandez there were no recommendations made about changing the list of historic sites, and residents are not restricted from continuing to occupy their homes if they are listed as historic.
The code change proposal passed the Planning Commission by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Bill Kennedy voting against it.
A notice period of at least 30 days will need to take place before the issue surfaces at the City Council for a public hearing.