Historic Resources Board May be Eliminated
We must ACT NOW!!
By Beth Montes
This is not the President's message we intended to print in this issue. We literally stopped the presses to include instead urgent news about the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board.
City Manager, Lamont Ewell, has recommended the reduction of one (the only) staff person in the Historical Resources area of the Planning Department (HRB). In his recommendation, he states that this cut may cause designations to cease and would cost San Diego its Certified Local Government (CLG) status.
As a CLG, the local government has the power to review projects involving historical resources. The elimination of voluntary historical designations of our local historical resources would be a devastating blow in itself, but the loss of CLG status is not in anyone's best interest. It is bad for preservation, bad for the economy, bad for our neighborhoods, our future and for future generations. It is bad for developers too. The money saved by eliminating an HRB position, possibly the entire Historic Resources Board, and certainly CLG status will pale when compared to the financial losses which will occur when projects will take months, maybe years, longer to approve and that the approval process will be more costly than it already is.
If San Diego loses CLG status, all development involving historical resources would have to be reviewed at the state level. This option is problematic for all involved. The state body meets only 4 times per year: twice in Northern California and twice in Southern California (southern seems to mean places like Santa Barbara and Fresno).
Since there would be no locally approved body to decide otherwise, all projects involving historical resources would likely require CEQA level review, another cost to all concerned, especially developers.
You may view the National Park Service language dealing with Certified Local Governments at:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_04/36cfr61_04.html - see particularly Section 61.6e, which deals with minimum requirements for CLG status.
With these thoughts in mind, please write or call the Mayor and your City Council person. Comment on the importance of preserving our local resources through designation, both individually and in districts. Talk about the economic fact that historic properties are worth more and that homes in historic districts sell for higher prices than those which are not. Tell them about the intangible benefits we all receive from retaining our intrinsically beautiful historic structures. And remind them that developers with historical resource related projects will lose out too. See below for contact information, call, email or write. And lastly, PLEASE plan to attend the City Council meeting on June 13th where the fate of this department will be discussed. WE ALL MUST ACT NOW OR RISK A TERRIBLE LOSS.
With Deep Concern,
Beth Montes, SOHO President
Contact the San Diego Mayor and members of the City Council
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