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Designation of New Historic Districts

Historic Preservation Planning Section

Overview

A historic district is defined by the City’s Municipal Code as “a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects that are united historically, geographically, or aesthetically by plan or physical development and that have a special character, historical interest, cultural or aesthetic value, or that represents one or more architectural periods or styles in the history and development of the City.”

In other words, a historic district is a geographically defined concentration of resources – typically buildings – that come together to collectively convey a shared significance under one or more of the City’s PDF icon designation criteria. Individual buildings within the boundary of the historic district may or may not be significant in their own right, but much like pieces of a puzzle these properties come together to paint a picture and tell an important story about our City’s past.

The Historic Preservation Planning section is responsible for the identification and designation of new historic districts consistent with City codes, policies and procedures. The following documents provide information on the process, requirements, responsibilities and benefits:

Current Work Efforts

With the adoption of the Community Plan Updates (CPUs) for North Park and Golden Hill in late 2016, the Planning Department committed to an aggressive six-year work program to bring forward all 13 potential historic districts identified in the reconnaissance surveys that were prepared in support of the CPU efforts. The prioritization of the districts was developed in concert with the community and the Community Planning Groups, as follows:

Historic District Processing Work Program

Processing Year District Number of Properties Community Date Designated
2017 (Year 1) Spalding Place
Valle Vista Terrace
South Park
14
89
385
North Park
North Park
Golden Hill
7/27/2017
2/6/2018
2/6/2018
2018 (Year 2) Park Boulevard Residential*
Melhorn & Son (aka Shirley Ann Place Expansion)
119
29
North Park
North Park
 
2019 (Year 3) Culverwell & Taggart's
Park Villas
245
48
Golden Hill
North Park
 
2020 (Year 4) Altadena
Kalmia Place
400
20
North Park
North Park
 
2021 (Year 5) 28th Street
St. Louis Heights
45
135
North Park
North Park
 
2022 (Year 6) 30th Street Commercial
Wabash Mesa
128
82
North Park
North Park
 

*Includes the western side of Park Boulevard, in Uptown

(Updated February 2018)

Processing Year 2018

The Historic Preservation Planning section is processing two historic districts this calendar year: Park Boulevard Residential Historic District, located in the North Park and Uptown communities; and the Melhorn & Son Historic District, which surrounds the existing Shirley Ann Place Historic District in the North Park community.

Park Boulevard Residential Historic DistrictMap illustrating the boundaries of the Park Boulevard Residential Historic District and the location of contributing and non-contributing resources.

Anchored by the multi-family flats and apartment buildings that line both sides of Park Boulevard north of Upas Street, the core of the district is contemporarily referred to as “Park Boulevard Apartment Row.”  However, consistent with its early zoning designation, the district features a mix of single-family dwellings, duplexes, bungalow and cottage courts, garden court apartments, and six-pack / dingbat buildings. The Park Boulevard Residential Historic District is significant under HRB Criterion A as a special element of San Diego’s historical, economic, and architectural development from 1900, when the area was initially platted as part of the University Heights expansion; through 1967, when the district was built-out and the character of new in-fill development began to reflect increased density allowances. The district is significant as a reflection of the area’s evolution from low density single-family uses to higher density multiple-family housing over several phases of development; and serves as a microcosm of the evolution of housing types and corresponding architectural styles in a first ring suburban neighborhood developed along a streetcar line. The district is comprised of 87 land parcels containing 119 resources, 86 of which are contributing and 33 of which are non-contributing. For more detailed information, please visit our online database, CHRID:

The Park Boulevard Apartments Historic District is tentatively scheduled for the following public meetings and hearings:

 

Melhorn & Son Historic District (formerly Shirely Ann Place Historic District Expansion)Map illustrating the boundaries of the Melhorn & Son Historic District and the location of contributing and non-contributing resources.

The Melhorn & Son Historic District is located in the University Heights neighborhood in San Diego. The district boundary includes all of the western and eastern-most parcels in Block 51 of the University Heights Subdivision. The Melhorn & Son Historic District surrounds the existing Shirley Ann Place Historic District, which was designated in 2000. The Melhorn & Son Historic District is significant under HRB Criterion A as a special element of San Diego’s historical, economic and architectural development from 1924, when Alberta Security Company purchased block 51 in University Heights, through 1948, when the district was ultimately built-out with a few infill properties constructed in the Minimal Traditional style. The Historic District is also significant under HRB Criterion D as a resource that reflects the notable work of two Master Builders, Martin V. Melhorn and William Melhorn working together as Melhorn & Son construction company. The period of significance related to HRB Criterion D is 1924-1926, which reflects the period of time in which Melhorn & Son was designing and building homes within the district. The Melhorn & Son Historic District consists of 21 contributing resources, all built between 1924 and 1948, and 9 non-contributing resources. The contributing resources include primarily modest, working-class vernacular Craftsman bungalows with Colonial Revival influences that were constructed between 1924 and 1926 by Master Builders Martin V. Melhorn and William Melhorn working in collaboration as Melhorn & Son. The contributing resources also include several Minimal Traditional bungalows that reflect later infill construction within this streetcar suburb.

CHRID Link: The History and Significance of the Melhorn & Son Historic District

CHRID Link: Property-Specific Documentation for Each Property

The Melhorn & Son Historic District is tentatively scheduled for the following public meetings and hearings:

  • July 9, 2018: Historical Resources Board Policy Subcommittee
    • PDF icon Meeting Agenda
    • Meeting Results: At the Policy Subcommittee meeting the Subcommittee reviewed the nomination and did not recommend any alterations to the nomination, although there were some questions regarding how the Melhorn & Son Historic District and Shirley Ann Place Historic District relate to one another. The nomination will proceed through the public review process.
  • August 11, 2018: Property Owner Workshop at 10:00am at the North Park Recreation Center (4044 Idaho Street, San Diego 92104)
  • August 15, 2018: Property Owner Webinar at 12:00pm
  • Property Owner Polling: Property owners may voice their opinion on the designation of the historic district by replying to the online poll. Please reply between August 15th and September 5th.
  • September 27, 2018: Historical Resources Board First Hearing
    • PDF icon Meeting Agenda
    • PDF icon Staff Report
    • Meeting Results: At the first hearing the Board found the nomination complete, voted to reclassify the properties at 4515 Louisiana Street and 4541 Louisiana Street from non-contributing to contributing, and forwarded the nomination on to a second hearing, which will occur on October 25, 2018.
  • October 25, 2018: Historical Resources Board Second Hearing

(Updated September 2018)

Processing Year 2017

The Historic Preservation Planning section processed three historic districts in calendar year 2017: the Spalding Place Historic District and Valle Vista Terrace Historic District, located in the North Park community, and the South Park Historic District, located in the Golden Hill community.

Spalding Place Historic District

Map illustrating the boundary of the Spalding Place Historic District and the location of contributing and non-contributing resources.The Spalding Place Historic District is located in the University Heights neighborhood in San Diego. Map illustrating the boundary of the Spalding Place Historic District and the location of contributing and non-contributing resources.The district consists of 11 contributing buildings and three noncontributing buildings, all built between 1909 and 1912. The contributing buildings include 1 one-part commercial block building and 10 modest Craftsman bungalows. The district is located on Spalding Place, a one-lane street that runs east to west between Georgia Street and Park Boulevard, surrounded by a mix of residential and commercial buildings that represent successive eras of the neighborhood’s development. The Spalding Place Historic District is significant under HRB Criterion A as a special element of University Heights’ historical and architectural development, reflecting its development as a streetcar suburb and the influence of Craftsman architecture on modest residential development in San Diego.

On July 27, 2017, the Historical Resources Board designated the Spalding Place Historic District under HRB Criterion A. This action became final on Aug. 11, 2017, following the close of the appeal period. This action concluded a public review and hearing process that included the following:

(Updated February 2018)

Valle Vista Terrace Historic DistrictMap of the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District showing location of contributing and non-contributing resources.

The Valle Vista Terrace Historic District is located in the University Heights neighborhood in San Diego on a promontory above Mission Valley. The district boundary includes all of the parcels in the Valle Vista Terrace Subdivision, which includes irregularly shaped lots surrounding both sides of the curvilinear loop of Panorama Drive, along Cliff Street, and on the north side of Adams Avenue between its east and west intersections with Panorama Drive. The district consists of 67 contributing resources, all built between 1908 and 1950, and 23 non-contributing resources. The Valle Vista Terrace Historic District is significant under HRB Criterion A with a period of significance of 1907-1942 as a special element of University Heights' historical and architectural development; and HRB Criterion C with a period of significance of 1907-1950 as a collection of architectural properties that are good examples of a variety of archiectural styles dating to the first hall of the 20th century, in both upper and working class expressions.  Individual property records can be accessed through CHRID by selecting "Valle Vista Terrace Historic District" from the "District" drop-down menu in the "Search by Property" field.

On Nov. 16, 2017, the Historical Resources Board designated the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District under HRB Criteria A and C. This action was appealed to the City Council, who denied the appeal and upheld the designation on Feb. 6, 2018. The designation is now final. This action concluded a public review and hearing process that included the following:

  • July 10, 2017: Historical Resources Board Policy Subcommittee
    • PDF icon Memo to the HRB Policy Subcommittee Regarding the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District
    • Meeting Results: At the Policy Subcommittee meeting, the Subcommittee forwarded the nomination on for continued processing. There was some discussion regarding extending the period of significance, which is currently defined as 1907-1942, to 1907-1950. This change would impact five properties constructed between 1943 and 1950, which could be considered contributing resources if they are found to retain integrity. However, there was no consensus among the Subcommittee members regarding this issue, and staff continues to recommend a period of significance of 1907-1942. This issue will likely be an item of discussion at the first Board hearing on Aug. 24.
  • July 29, 2017: Property Owner Workshop
  • Aug. 24, 2017: Historical Resources Board First Hearing
    • PDF icon Meeting Agenda
    • PDF icon Staff Report to the Historical Resources Board
    • Meeting Results: On Aug. 24, 2017, the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board held the first hearing on the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District. The Board reviewed the nomination, accepted the statement of significance and period of significance for Criterion A, and requested additional information regarding post-1942 architecture within the district boundary and Criterion C. Staff is currently working on researching and developing this information. The Valle Vista Historic District nomination will return to the Historical Resources Board for another first hearing on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, and it is anticipated that the second hearing to designate the historic district will occur at the following hearing on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Property owners will receive direct notice of each of these hearings.
  • Oct. 26, 2017: Historical Resources Board Second First Hearing
    • PDF icon Meeting Agenda
    • PDF icon Staff Report to the Historical Resources Board
    • Meeting Results: On Oct. 26, 2017, the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board held the second first hearing for the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District. The Board reviewed those aspects of the nomination deemed incomplete at the hearing on Aug. 24, 2017, and accepted the revised statement of significance and period of significance for Criterion C; reclassified 2206 Adams Ave. and 4737 Panorama Drive as from Non-Contributing to Contributing and 2242 Cliff St. from Contributing to Non-Contributing; and deemed the nomination complete and forwarded it on to a second hearing for designation. The second hearing will occur on Nov. 16, 2017.
  • Nov. 16, 2017: Historical Resources Board Second Hearing
    • PDF icon Meeting Agenda
    • PDF icon Staff Report to the Historical Resources Board
    • Meeting Results: On Nov. 16, 2017, the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board held the second hearing for the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District.  The Board voted to designate the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District under HRB Criterion A as a special element of University Heights' historical and architectural development with a period of significance of 1907-1942; and under HRB Criterion C as an intact collection of early 20th century architectural styles in both upper and working class expressions, with a period of significance of 1907-1950.  The Board designated the 66 properties identified in the staff report as contributing resources, and also designated the property at 2242 Cliff St. as a contributing resource. Lastly, the Board classified 23 properties as non-contributing resources (the 24 properties identified in the staff report minus the one property listed above.)  The Board's action to designate the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District will become final 11 business days (Dec. 4, 2017) following the Board's action, unless an appeal to the City Council is filed with the City Clerk within 10 business days (Dec. 1, 2017).
    • Appeals Filed: On Nov. 30, 2017, three appeals of the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District designation were filed with the City Clerk. Please check back for updates on the appeal process.
      • Appeal Hearing Date Set: The appeal of the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District has been scheduled for the City Council meeting of Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, beginning no earlier than 2 p.m. Notice will be sent via postal mail by the City Clerk's Office to all property owners. The City Council Docket and Report to City Council will be posted to the City's website on the Wednesday before the City Council meeting.
      • Appeal Hearing Results: On Feb. 6, 2018, the City Council heard the appeal of the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District. The City Council denied the appeal and upheld the designation of the district as designated by the Historical Resources Board on Nov. 16, 2017. The designation of the Valle Vista Terrace Historic District is now final.The City Council also directed staff to return to the Council with a partial waiver to City Council Policy PDF icon 700-46, which establishes the City's Mills Act program, to waive the December 31st designation deadline for contributing resources and allow them to apply this calendar year.
  • Mills Act Application Period Extended for Valle Vista Terrace Historic District Property Owners: On March 20, 2018 the City Council voted to waive portions of the City Council's Mills Act Policy for property owners in the Valle Vista Terrace and South Park historic districts. Property owners within these districts may now apply for a Mills Act Agreement this calendar year, with a new extended deadline of April 30, 2018. For more information on how to apply, please visit the City's Mills Act website.

(Updated March 2018)

South Park Historic DistrictSouth Park Historic District Map showing location of contributing and non-contributing resources.

The South Park Historic District is located in the Golden Hill community of San Diego, bounded roughly by 28th Street to the west, Elm Street to the north, 31st Street to the east and A Street to the south, excluding some portions of the northeast corner. The South Park Historic District is comprised of 407 built resources on 396 land parcels (including two vacant parcels). Due to the unique development history of South Park, the number of resources in the district is not the same as the number of land parcels or owners. The South Park Historic District is significant under HRB Criterion A as a special element of Golden Hill's historical and architectural development, reflecting both its development as a streetcar suburb, and a range of architectural styles from the first half of the 20th century represented in various socio-economic expressions. The period of significance identified for the district begins with the first development in South Park in 1906 and ends the general buildout of the district and decommissioning of the streetcar in 1949. The district consists of 299 contributing resources, all developed between 1906 and 1949, and 108 non-contributing resources. The degree of integrity exhibited by the district contributors makes it one of the best unified examples of an early 20th century streetcar suburb in the community. Individual property records can be accessed through CHRID by selecting "South Park Historic District" from the "District" drop-down menu in the "Search by Property" field.

On Oct. 26, 2017, the Historical Resources Board designated the South Park Historic District under HRB Criterion A. This action was appealed to the City Council, who denied the appeal and modified the designation on Feb. 6, 2018, to change the property at 1320 29th St. from contributing to non-contributing. The designation is now final as modified. This action concluded a public review and hearing process that included the following:

  • June 19, 2017: Historical Resources Board Policy Subcommittee
    • PDF icon Memo to the HRB Policy Subcommittee Regarding the South Park Historic District
    • Meeting Results: At the Policy Subcommittee Meeting, the Subcommittee did not suggest any revisions to the historic context, statement of significance and period of significance. Discussion of the proposed district boundary was forwarded to a second Policy Subcommittee meeting, following a site visit to the South Park Historic District.
  • July 10, 2017: Historical Resources Board Policy Subcommittee
    • Meeting Results: At the Policy Subcommittee Meeting, the Subcommittee forwarded the nomination on for continued processing, with a recommendation to expand the district boundary to include 18 additional parcels at the northeast corner of the district. The expanded boundary now also includes the east side of the 1700 block of 30th St., the north side of the 3000 block of Date St., the east side of the 1600 block of Grove St. (through 1625 Grove St.) and the north side of the 3000 block of Cedar St. The South Park Historic District nomination will proceed with this expanded boundary.
  • Aug. 12, 2017: Property Owner Workshop
  • Sept. 28, 2017: Historical Resources Board First Hearing
    • PDF icon Meeting Agenda
    • PDF icon Staff Report to the Historical Resources Board
    • Meeting Results:  On Sept. 28, 2017, the Historical Resources Board held the first hearing for the South Park Historic District. At the meeting, the Board voted to accept the historic context and boundary description as proposed; accept the statement of significance, with direction to staff to revise it to address an expanded period of significance through 1949; and accept the proposed period of significance, with direction to staff to extend it through 1949 to include the end of the streetcar era (1906-1949). In regard to the classification of contributing and non-contributing resources, the Board provided direction to staff to re-classify properties with asbestos shingle siding from Non-Contributing to Contributing when the asbestos shingle siding was the primary factor in how the property was classified; and to review the PDF icon properties identified by the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) and reconsider whether those properties should be reclassified as Contributing Resources. In response to this direction, staff will be revaluating all properties constructed or altered between 1931 and 1949, as well as the properties identified by SOHO, and it is expected that the classification of at least some of these properties will change. Information regarding the results of this analysis will be provided in the October Staff Report to the Board.
  • Oct. 26, 2017: Historical Resources Board Second Hearing
    • PDF icon Meeting Agenda
    • PDF icon Staff Report to the Historical Resources Board
    • Meeting Results: On Oct. 26, 2017, the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board held the second hearing for the South Park Historic District. The Board voted to designate the South Park Historic District under HRB Criterion A as a special element of Golden Hill's historical and architectural development with a period of significance of 1906-1949. The Board designated the 295 properties identified in the staff report as contributing resources, and also designated an additional five properties addressed at 1403 30th St., 1743 30th St., 2953 Beech St., 2919 Date St. and 1520 Fern St. as contributing resources. Lastly, the Board classified 107 properties as non-contributing resources (the 112 properties identified in the staff report minus the five properties listed above.) The Board's action to designate the South Park Historic District will become final 11 business days (Nov. 13, 2017) following the Board's action , unless an appeal to the City Council is filed with the City Clerk within 10 business days (Nov. 9, 2017).
    • Appeals Filed: On Nov. 8 and 9, 2017, three appeals of the South Park Historic District designation were filed with the City Clerk. Please check back for updates on the appeal process.
      • Appeal Hearing Date Set: The appeal of the South Park Historic District has been scheduled for the City Council meeting of Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, beginning no earlier than 2 p.m. Notice will be sent via postal mail by the City Clerk's Office to all property owners. The City Council Docket and Report to City Council will be posted to the City's website on the Wednesday before the City Council meeting.
      • Appeal Hearing Results: On Feb. 6, 2018, the City Council heard the appeal of the South Park Historic District. The City Council denied the appeal and upheld the Historical Resources Board's Oct. 26, 2017, designation of the district, with a modification to change the classification of the property at 1320 29th St. from contributing to non-contributing. The designation of the South Park Historic District is now final. The City Council also directed staff to return to the Council with a partial waiver to City Council Policy PDF icon 700-46, which establishes the City's Mills Act program, to waive the Dec. 31 designation deadline for contributing resources and allow them to apply this calendar year. A City Council hearing date for that action is still pending.
  • Mills Act Application Period Extended for South Park Historic District Property Owners: On March 20, 2018 the City Council voted to waive portions of the City Council's Mills Act Policy for property owners in the Valle Vista Terrace and South Park historic districts. Property owners within these districts may now apply for a Mills Act Agreement this calendar year, with a new extended deadline of April 30, 2018. For more information on how to apply, please visit the City's Mills Act website.

(Updated March 2018)

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