Monday, April 11, 2011

Historic District Info for Long Beach

I wish some of my neighbors would take note. Its not a problem with the fencing as the upkeep of the houses...Thanks Rose Park for sending this out.

Taking care of property in a historic district is different.
"Fencing Considerations"

The materials, design and scale should complement and be subordinate to the home's architecture. For examp a Cal Bungalow made of wood siding would have a wood fence, whereas a Spanish-Med style home would use masonry and iron elements.

You live in an historic district. Taking care of property in a historic district isn't difficult but it is different. This distinction brings many benefits. You are more confident that your neighbor can't rebuild to the lot-line or the block won't be raised for real estate development. Property can't be changed in historic character. The net effect retains value of your chosen neighborhood.

And here comes the but - there are responsibilities. These responsibilities are based on the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation and are coordinated for all of us in historic districts by our city's Historic Preservation office. This process is called a Certificate of Appropriateness or COA*. A COA is different from a building permit. A COA is a way to ensure that property owners in historic districts conform to preservation standards.

Fences in Historic Districts

Fences require a COA.
You can download the instructions at:
Or, you can call 562) 570-6194.

Here are two things to consider when planning your fence:
1.      It must conform to the city's building code, e.g. height and set-back requirements. To find out what pertains to your individual situation email or give them a call (562) 570-LBDS (5237), Option 3.
Or if you prefer you can visit the planning department but be prepared to wait, as it is a first come first serve system at the planning desk located at 333 W. Ocean Blvd., 4th Floor Long Beach,

Don't want to call the city? Find it difficult to navigate the bureaucracy? You are not alone. You are encouraged to review other approved installations of fencing in your neighborhood.  Try to find out what makes a successful application - most are very simple. Fill out the application and discuss it with historic preservation staff. Most suggested modifications are easy to make. But if you don't obtain the COA unfortunately the city can and will take action.

Further questions please contact:

*What is a COA?
COA stands for Certificate of Appropriateness is required for all exterior changes, even those that do not need building permits, such as repainting. Ordinary maintenance and repair are excluded. The Preservation Officer reviews applications for changes. Minor changes may be approved by staff. Major projects and applications that are inconsistent with the design guidelines are scheduled for a Cultural Heritage Commission meeting. Applicants may appeal decisions to the Planning Commission.
Long Beach City's Preservation Office is at

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