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Frequently Asked Questions

Is My Property Historical?

What makes a property historically significant?

In order to be designated as a historically significant site at the local level, the historical study must show that a site meets at least one of the following City of San Diego historical designation criteria.

  1. Exemplifies or reflects special elements of the City's, a community's or a neighborhood's historical, archaeological, cultural, social, economic, political, aesthetic, engineering, landscaping or architectural development.
  2. Is identified with persons or events significant in local, state or national history.
  3. Embodies distinctive characteristics of a style, type, period or method of construction or is a valuable example of the use of indigenous materials or craftsmanship.
  4. Is representative of the notable work of a master builder, designer, architect, engineer, landscape architect, interior designer, artist or craftsman.
  5. Is listed or has been determined eligible by the National Park Service for listing on the National Register of Historic Places or is listed or has been determined eligible by the California State Office of Historic Preservation for listing on the California Register of Historical Resources.
  6. Is a finite group of resources related to one another in a clearly distinguishable way or is a geographically definable area or neighborhood containing improvements which have a special character, historical interest or aesthetic value or which represent one or more architectural periods or styles in the history and development of the City.

What does it mean if my property is included in a historical survey?

It most likely means that your property is 45 years old or older and has good architectural integrity. Depending upon the evaluator's rating, it could indicate that your property is: 1) potentially eligible for individual designation; 2) is a contributor to a potential historical district; or, 3) is not historically significant. An "individually significant" rating in a Reconnaissance Survey would indicate a good probability of meeting local designation criteria.

In cases where your property is identified as potentially historical, further research would need to be done to determine whether your property meets Historical Resource Board criteria for designation. This would only be necessary if you want to designate your property, or want to remodel or demolish your property. If you want to remodel or demolish your property, you would be asked to provide a historical study prior to getting your permit. The requirements for historical studies are located in the Land Development Manual Historical Resources Regulations.

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