Information About Historic Preservation

About the Historic Preservation Program

The Historic Preservation Program began in 1986 with the adoption of the Historic Preservation Ordinance. City Council appointed a five-member Historic Preservation Commission to carry out the task of identifying South San Francisco's most important historic sites and structures, and protecting them from needless neglect, exterior alteration that might destroy their historic and architectural value, or demolition.

Historic Resource Designation

The goals are accomplished by designating landmarks as Historic Resources. Specific criteria have been established to define how a property qualifies for nominations as a historic resource. The criteria relate to the property's significance to the heritage of the City, the involvement of important people who may have designed, built, resided in, or worked in the structure, its exemplification of a special architectural style, or its careful attention to detail and craftsmanship. Its relationship to other historic buildings or to a historic district is also considered. If nominated, a public hearing is scheduled and the Historic Preservation Commission reviews the background of the structure or site and determines whether or not to designate it as a historic resource.

Special Status and Recognition

Historic resources have a special status and recognition in the community. Resource owners can be proud that their property is identified and honored for embodying local historical significance. Such structures are important representatives of the past and present spirit of South San Francisco. Once designated, even if the property changes hands, it is afforded permanent protection from misguided alteration or demolition.

Building Code

Historic resources are subject to the State Historic Building Code, which has been written with more flexibility than South San Francisco's local building code. This may facilitate the retention of historical features and reduce expenses for a renovation. Before the owner of a historic resource (or a property on the list of potential historic resources) can alter the exterior of a building or tear it down, the Historic Preservation Commission must issue a Certificate of Alteration. No building permit for a historic resource or a potential historic resource will be issued without a Certificate of Alteration. An administrative fee is charged to consider such applications.

Additional Information

For additional information on historic resources, you may request access to an individual resource's file, kept at the Planning Department, 315 Maple Avenue. The History Room at the Grand Avenue Library, 440 Grand Avenue, also has historical materials.