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Long Beach CA
Historic District Design Guidelines
Latest News and Updates
The City is now preparing draft historic district design guidelines for 5 more historic districts- Carroll Park, Linden Ave, Lowena Dr., Sunrise Blvd, and Wrigley. Draft guidelines were released to the public for review in October of 2017, and a community workshop regarding those design guidelines was held on November 4th. Based on community feedback, a revised draft of the guidelines was prepared and then released on December 14, 2017, alongside a response to comments matrix showing all feedback received from comunity members and explaining how that feedback was incorporated into the revised drafts.

The community is encouraged to take the time to review the revised drafts between now and Monday, January 8, 2018, at which time the Cultural Heritage Commission will consider adopting the guidelines for these five districts as well as the Architectural Style Guides for American Foursquare, Folk Victorian, French Eclectic, Mediterranean Revival and Tudor Revival styles. We welcome your participation in this process as we strive to protect the character on our historic districts and provide excellent customer service to those seeking permits for a historic property.

Long Beach Historic District Design Guidelines: Table of Contents
The City of Long Beach is in the process of developing Historic Districts Design Guidelines for each of the 17 historic districts in the city, along with Style Guides for each major historic architectural style. These guidelines impact how you care for, remodel, or possibly expand your home. On August 14, 2017, after multiple rounds of public comment and changes made to the draft guidelines, the Cultural Heritage Commission adopted design guidelines for 8 historic districts and architectural style guides for Craftsman and Spanish Colonial styles. Draft guidelines are now available for 5 more districts and 5 more style guides. 

  1. Chapter 1 - Purpose, Procedures, Overview of Program - Adopted 
  2. Chapter 2 - Guidelines for Maintenance, Repair and Minor Alterations - Adopted 
  3. Chapter 3 - Design Guidelines by District
    3.1 Belmont Heights - Adopted
    3.4 Brenner Place - Adopted
    3.6 Carroll Park - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback!
    3.8 Eliot Lane - Adopted
    3.9 Hellman Street Craftsman - Adopted
    3.10 Linden Ave - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback!
    3.11 Lowena Drive - Draft - subject to change based on your beedback!
    3.12 Minerva Place - Adopted
    3.13 Rose Park - Adopted
    3.14 Rose Park South - Adopted
    3.15 Sunrise Boulevard - Draft - subject to change based on your beedback!
    3.16 Wilton Street - Adopted
    3.17 Wrigley - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback!
    Coming soon: Bluff Heights, Bluff Park, California Heights, Drake Park/Willmore City
  4. Chapter 4 - Architectural Style Guide 
    4.1 American Foursquare: 1894-1910 - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback!
    4.3 Craftsman: 1902-1925 - Adopted
    4.4 Folk Victorian: 1870-1910 - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback!
    4.5 French Eclectic: 1915-1942 - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback!
    4.6 Mediterranean Revival: 1919-1950 - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback! 
    4.7 Spanish Colonial Revival: 1915-1942 - Adopted
    4.8 Tudor Revival: 1900-1942 - Draft - subject to change based on your feedback!
    Coming soon: Other architectural style guides will be developed thorugh this process, such as Colonial Revival (1876-1965), Midcentury Modern (1945-1970s), Neoclassical (1900-1930), Prairie (1900-1922), Queen Anne (1885-1910), Streamline Moderne (1925-1942)
  5. Chapter 5 - Resources
    5.1 Paint Samples for Craftsman, Colonial Revival and Victorian
    5.2 Resource List: A referral list from Long Beach Heritage, including architects, contractors, painters, roofers etc.
    5.3 Window Referral List

Response to Comments:
Click below to review the public feedback for each of the 8 adopted historic district design guideline and a response to each comment, indicating if and how the comment was incorporated into the adopted design guidelines. Changes to the final guidelines also reflect feedback from the Cultural Heritage Commission; you can view video the Commission discussions by clicking here.

Additions to Homes in Historic Districts

The fabric of our historic districts is made up of the materials, details and scale of each individual home and structure. Additions to homes in historic districts should be designed and constructed so as to preserve the significant materials, architectural features, and overall historic character of the home as well as the district. Changes in scale and massing can affect the overall unity, consistency and cohesion of the streetscape and the district.

In reviewing the Certificate of Appropriateness for additions, the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) must take into account the effect the proposed addition has on both the home and the historic district. The review process addresses scale, materials, setbacks, massing, sightlines, architectural style, historic features and design. The CHC will review each submission on a case-by-case basis using the following as a guideline.

Effects of Additions on Historic Scale & Character

Additions should be designed to preserve, as much as possible, the original scale and overall character of the structure.

Some of the ways this can be accomplished include:

  • Placing the new addition on an inconspicuous side or rear elevation so that the new work does not result in a radical change to the form and character of the historic building

  • Setting an infill addition or connector back from the historic building wall plane so that the form of the historic building – or buildings – can be distinguished from the new work

  • Setting an additional story well back from the roof edge to ensure that the historic building’s proportions and profile are not radically changed.

  • Limit the size and scale of the addition so that is does not diminish or overpower the original building and/or the character of the historic district.

Scale is an important character-defining attribute of historic buildings and one of the unifying factors in historic districts. In order to protect both the original character of the historic property and the visual consistency of the neighborhood, additions that are over 50% in size (square feet) to the original house will be carefully scrutinized by the CHC. The intent will be to minimize the visual impact of the larger additions in order to maintain the character of the district.

Identify & Preserve Character-Defining Features

Each of the properties on the historic resources inventory is recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use.

In the spirit of preserving the historic fabric, the City encourages the preservation of distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that serve to characterize and define properties of historic significance. Likewise, the City discourages the addition of inappropriate features or architectural elements from other buildings.

New additions and alterations should be designed and constructed so that the character-defining features of the historic building are not radically changed, obscured, damaged, or destroyed.

Features that may be important in defining the overall historic character of the building include:

  • Siding: Clapboard, weatherboard, shingles, and other siding and decorative elements – both functional and decorative.

  • Windows: Functional and decorative features or windows that define the overall historic character of a building (e.g., a decorative window with an unusual shape, glazing patterns, or color; historic window types; window proportions).

  • Entrances and porches: Entrances and porches, particularly when they occur on primary elevations.

  • Roofs: Such roof features as roof shape, dormers, cupolas, eaves and chimneys, as well as the size, color, and patterning of the roofing material.

  • Architectural features: Trim details, treatment of gables, overhangs.

Reference the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation for additions and rehabilitation of historic buildings.

The Long Beach Municipal Code Section 2.63.070 contains the following standards for review and approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness:

  • The proposed change will not adversely affect any significant historical, cultural, architectural or aesthetic feature of the concerned property or of the historic district in which it is located, and is consistent with the spirit and intent of this chapter;

  • The proposed change is consistent with or not incompatible with the architectural period of the building;

  • The proposed change is compatible in architectural style with existing adjacent contributing structures in a historic district;

  • The scale, massing, proportions, materials, colors, textures, fenestration, decorative features and details proposed are consistent with the period and/or compatible with adjacent structures.

It is advisable to homeowners considering significant alterations and additions to contact the Historic Preservation Officer to discuss the proposed project. Preliminary plans and concepts can be reviewed for compatibility with the CHC guidelines and the Municipal Code .

The Review Process

A Certificate of Appropriateness is required for all exterior changes, even those that do not need building permits, such as repainting. Ordinary maintenance and repair are excluded. The Preservation Officer reviews applications for changes. Minor changes that meet the design guidelines are approved immediately. Major projects and applications that are inconsistent with the design guidelines are scheduled for a CHC meeting. Applicants may appeal decisions to the Planning Commission (PC).