San Diego

Historic Preservation Regulations and Ordinances

Historic Preservation Planning Section


The goals and policies found in the Historic Preservation Element of the City’s General Plan and its Community Plans are implemented through the PDF icon Historical Resources Regulations of the City’s Municipal Code and Land Development Code.

The purpose of the Historical Resources Regulations is to protect, preserve and, where damaged, restore the historical resources of San Diego. The regulations are intended to assure that development occurs in a manner that protects the overall quality of historical resources.  It is further the intent of the regulations to protect the educational, cultural, economic, and general welfare of the public, while employing regulations that are consistent with sound historical preservation principles and the rights of private property owners.

The PDF icon Historical Resources Guidelines of the Land Development Manual provide property owners, the development community, consultants and the general public with explicit guidelines for the management of historical resources located within the City of San Diego. The City’s PDF icon Historical Resource Research Report Guidelines and Requirements, PDF icon Historical Resource Technical Report Guidelines and Requirements, and PDF icon Guidelines for the Application of Historical Resources Board Designation Criteria are included as appendices to the Historical Resources Guidelines.

The Historic Preservation Planning Section is responsible for the maintenance of the regulations and ordinances related to the City’s Historic Preservation program, as well as the development of new regulations and ordinances that serve the General Plan’s goals to identify and preserve the City’s historical resources.


Current Work Efforts


New Historic Preservation Development Incentives

During the public hearing process for the North Park, Golden Hill and Uptown Community Plan Updates (CPUs) in late 2016, both historic preservationists and members of the development community expressed interest in new development incentives to encourage preservation and continued use or adaptive reuse of designated historic resources. The Planning Department agreed, and committed to including new development incentives for historic preservation as part of the 11th Update to the Land Development Code.

As part of the review process for the 11th Code Update, the proposed amendments to the Historical Resources Regulations will be reviewed by the Policy Subcommittee of the Historical Resources Board, and the Historical Resources Board itself, which will provide a recommendation to the City Council. It is anticipated that this process will occur during the summer and fall of 2017.

First Draft of the Proposed Development Incentives for Historic Preservation

On June 12, 2017 the Planning Department released the first draft of the proposed new development incentives for historic preservation. The draft will be reviewed by the Policy Subcommittee of the Historical Resources Board at their meeting on Monday, June 19, 2017.

(Updated June 2017)


New Supplemental Regulations for Potential Historic Districts

During the public hearing process for the North Park, Golden Hill and Uptown Community Plan Updates (CPUs) in the late fall of 2016, Planning Department staff proposed new supplemental development regulations for potential historic districts. The regulations were proposed for potential historic districts that were identified in a historic survey and specified by the City Council, and were intended to provide new protections for potential historic districts until they could be intensively surveyed and brought forward to designation.

In response to concern from the community planning groups, the development community, property owners, and the Planning Commission and City Council, the supplemental regulations for potential historic districts were removed from the Community Plan Updates and put on a separate track. The Planning Department committed to working with all stakeholders in the development of the supplemental regulations, and estimated a timeline of approximately 12 to 18 months.

Please check back soon for new information.

(Updated May 2017)