City Earns “A” on Preservation Report Card
2014-05-01 · By Editor
The City of Long Beach has earned an “A” by the Los Angeles Conservancy, in a new study that measures historic preservation in 88 cities within Los Angeles County.
“The City of Long Beach has a strong commitment to historic preservation,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “The City’s remarkable efforts at preserving local historic and cultural resources add to the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and to our housing and tourism value.”
The Preservation Report Card released by the Los Angeles Conservancy evaluates each community based on its preservation policies, with the goal of improving preservation at the local level by recognizing communities with solid programs in place, and suggesting areas of improvement.
Long Beach received a score of 230 out of a possible 245, and was one of 17 cities to receive an “A”; the Preservation Report Card assigned 51 cities a failing grade.
The Historic Preservation Element (HPE) was adopted in 2010 as part of the Long Beach 2030 General Plan Update to better integrate historic preservation into City procedures and decisions. Outlining a vision for future historic preservation and the actions that need to be taken to achieve it, the HPE seeks to recognize and protect areas, sites, and structures with architectural, historical, cultural, or archaeological significance.
The City’s preservation efforts have been further demonstrated through the establishment of a Cultural Heritage Commission, which identifies buildings and neighborhoods with architectural and historical value; develops and maintains appropriate settings for cultural resources; makes recommendations for City landmarks and historic districts; and reviews design of all changes to designated properties.
As part of the recent adoption of the City’s new building code, more flexible guidelines have been implemented for the conversion of existing buildings for new purposes, to include adaptive reuse provisions for designated landmarks. Currently in the construction phases, development of the historic City Hall East is slated to provide 156 market rate residential units to the former office building. Similarly, adaptive reuse of the landmark Meeker-Baker Building will allow for a revitalized six-story, 127,000-square-foot medical office space. To be occupied by Molina Healthcare, completion of this project in June 2014 will result in 800 to 1,000 new jobs in the City.
The City continues to build momentum for historic preservation initiatives. Reviews of the Mills Act property tax reduction program for historic buildings are currently under way; this program is one of the best incentives for historic preservation efforts. The Cultural Heritage Commission and Planning Bureau staff will be researching and considering new locally designated landmarks and historic district design guidelines in the near future.
Long Beach currently has 17 assigned historic districts, including Belmont Heights, Drake Park / Wilmore City, and the Wrigley Area. Additionally, 130 landmarks have been designated around the City, including the Long Beach Museum of Art, Broadlind Hotel, Fire Station No. 10, and The Wilmore building.
For more information on the City’s Historic Preservation Element or to view an updated list of designated landmarks in Long Beach, please visit www.lbds.info/planning/historic_preservation