Mills Act: Learning By Example

The California Office of Historic Preservation calls the Mills Act the "single most important economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners." This session will begin with a brief overview of the Mills Act followed by a roundtable discussion between professionals working with Mills Act programs in cities across California. The discussion will focus on the nuances of managing and enforcing Mills Act contracts. Participants will learn from case studies as they relate to issues such as interior vs exterior reviews, non-historic additions to Mills Act properties and their effect on assessed values, structural work, caps on Mills Act tax benefits, and issuing contracts with a predetermined termination date.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Engage with case studies to see how cities implement the Mills Act locally.
  2. Review the challenges of managing a Mills Act program and look at ways to overcome challenges
  3. Examine the roles of participants in a Mills Act Contract, from the property owner, to city planners, assessors, and architects
  4. Weigh the fiscal impact of the Mills Act with its benefits to community character.


  • Robert Chattel, AIA, Preservation Architect, Chattel, Inc., Historic Preservation Consultants
  • Susan Parks, LEED GA, Preservation Planner at City and County of San Francisco
  • John Ciampa, Associate Planner, City of San Clemente
  • Other Speakers to be Announced!

Documents and Downloads

Sign In Sheet for Continuing Education Credits