Project Review

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What is a historic project review?

Project review for historic resources is the process that helps ensure any alterations to a building do not adversely affect that building’s historic character and appearance. There are many benefits to conducting design review which include the preservation of the unique and historic qualities of our shared environment, the promotion of unique business environments and the protection of neighborhood identity.


What types of projects require review? 

Properties that are listed on the City's Inventory, California Register of Historical Resources (CRHR) or the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), properties within local and national Historic Districts and properties that have been deemed eligible for listing on the CRHR or NRHP are all considered historic resources and require review for many exterior projects.  Unevaluated properties, i.e. properties that are not listed or are potentially eligible, may require research done to determine their historical resource status and any necessary project review processes. It is important to note that normal maintenance or repair, interior work and landscaping for historic resources typically do not require historic review if no changes are made to the exterior appearance of the building.

Some development projects involving historic resources are subject to review under the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance (Municipal Code Chapter 16.49).  Additionally, projects which are processed by the Planning and Community Environment (PCE) Department as discretionary development applications are subject to review according to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Discretionary development applications include Architectural Review, Design Enhancement Exception, Home Improvement Exception, Neighborhood Preservation Exception, Single Family Individual Review, Site and Design Review and Variance.


How do I know if my property is a historic resource? 

For information on the historic status of a specific property, please review a Parcel Report for the subject property, available on the City's website at or request a Parcel Report from City staff in the Development Services Department. 

Development Services
285 Hamilton Avenue
planner@cityofpaloalto.org
(650) 329-2496 


Want to learn more? 

For more information on the review process, please read the Application Review Procedures for Historic Resources and Properties that Require Historic Resource Evaluation bulletin or see our below resources.