Increase Your San Diego Home’s Value Through Historic Designation

Historic Home Designation

Property Tax Reduction with Mills Act, San Diego County Homes and Property.

Historic Designation Increases Your Home’s Value and Maintains Neighborhood Integrity

One way to increase the value of an older home is to acquire historic designation. Several cities in San Diego County have programs for Historic Designation. Generally, properties that are 50 years or older have the potential to be considered Historic.

A property or potential resource less than 50 years old may be considered for listing in the Local Register if it can be determined that sufficient time has passed to understand its historical importance. However, there are explicit criteria that determine if a property is eligible for listing on the Local Register of Historic Resources. 

Historic Designation is a win-win for neighborhoods. Once a property is designated, it limits what can be done to it in terms of renovations. It creates a better chance for a neighborhood to maintain its character, thus increasing the value of the homes in the neighborhood.

I am personally going through the process with my home in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego, and want to share the information in hopes that it can help you have a smooth process.

Here are the Criteria:

  • 1.) Is the property associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of San Diego County’s history and Cultural heritage?
  • 2.) Is the property associated with the lives of persons important to the history of San Diego County or its communities?
  • 3.) Does the property embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, San Diego County region, or method of construction, or does it represent the work of an important creative individual, or possess high artistic values?
  • 4.) Has the property yielded or or will it be likely to yield, information important in San Diego prehistory or history?

My Personal Experience

In the case of our own property, which was built in 1928, much of the historic significance is attributed the well-known architect who designed several of the homes in Kensington. We are also designating our fireplace. The style and the scenic tiles on the face of the fireplace are period-specific and were created by well-known Southern California clay tile artisans in the 1920’s. I will talk more about my specific home and designation process in an upcoming article.

The Historic Site Board

The Historic Site Board (HSB) is an advisory board to the decision makers of the County of San Diego. The HSB reviews historic resources (including archaeological resources) for landmarking, participation in the Mills Act, and conformance with the Secretary of Interior Standards.

The Board considers project design and mitigation measures for resources identified during environmental review of discretionary permits. In addition, the Board reviews legislation and the various cultural resource programs that are proposed for the County of San Diego.

Historic Evaluation

A Historic Evaluation Survey is prepared in accordance with the Office of Historic Preservation’s “Instructions for Nominating Historical Resources to the California Register”. It is utilized to determine the significance of a potentially historic resource. In some circumstances, a property may already be listed on the State or National Register of Historical Resources.

Preparing the Historic Report

Part of the process is preparing a detailed report of the history of your home. The more information and photographs that document its history, the better. Some of this information can be acquired through the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

If you believe your home or property may qualify for historic designation, I have resources for preparing the Historical Designation documents. It is possible to complete this step on your own, but it is a lengthy detailed process and I can recommend resources who are very experienced at creating these reports on your behalf. They can also guide you through the submission process and subsequent hearing.

I will be publishing an article soon, with more details on preparing the report, but if you want to know more in the meantime, please contact me for more information..

The Mills Act and Property Tax Reduction

If you live in a San Diego County home with a historic designation, you may qualify for the Mills Act, which provides for a significant property tax reduction for historic homes. For more information, please read my article on The Mills Act

If you have any questions in the mean time, feel free to reach out to me for more information:

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