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City of San Gabriel

The City of San Gabriel Historic Preservation and Cultural Resources Ordinance Update is the winner of a 2018 Preservation Design Award. Award recipients are selected by a jury of top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, and history, as well as renowned architecture critics and journalists. In making their decision, the jury stated: “This is an excellent policy document. Terrific! This ordinance represents real progress, and serves as a model for other projects.”

Debi Howell-Ardila, MHP, lead preservation specialist and principal author: “We are thrilled to receive this honor from the California Preservation Foundation. San Gabriel has such a rich history, with so much great architecture, cohesive neighborhoods, and cultural resources. This ordinance will allow the city to proactively identify, manage and preserve resources that reflect this heritage. It was an honor to be part of the project.”

The Award will be presented on Friday, October 19, 2018 at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Tickets and sponsorship options are available at californiapreservation.org/awards.

About this project

The City of San Gabriel is home to a wealth of historic and cultural resources, including archeological sites, the iconic San Gabriel Mission, period-revival buildings, and cohesive residential neighborhoods.

In 1965, San Gabriel became the second city in Los Angeles County to adopt a historic preservation ordinance. Fifty years later, while preservation practice and law had come of age, San Gabriel’s original ordinance had not changed. The short ordinance, though pioneering when adopted, was ill-equipped to address modern-day challenges. As the 21st century began, development pressures and an increase in tear-downs had sparked fears of mansionization. Recent discoveries of significant archaeological resources near the Mission San Gabriel Archangel intensified the need for stronger cultural resource policies and law.

In 2017, after a two-year process involving robust citizen and stakeholder input, the City adopted a new Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Ordinance. The new law is more than a preservation ordinance–it represents a comprehensive cultural resource program.

One of the most significant updates in the law is the creation of a stand-alone Cultural Heritage Commission. The new ordinance gives San Gabriel tools for managing and maintaining the cohesive feel of residential neighborhoods through the designation of historic districts and the establishment of Conservation Overlay Zones.

In addition, the updated ordinance uses clear language, designed to be user-friendly for the people of San Gabriel.

With this new law, the City will have the tools it needs to continue managing its rich cultural resources and addressing new challenges.

Considered the birthplace of the Los Angeles region, San Gabriel has a wealth of cultural resources – from archaeological sites to twentieth-century historic landmarks and cohesive neighborhoods.

San Gabriel’s Historic Preservation and Cultural Resources Ordinance advances historic preservation and cultural resource management by allowing the City to proactively respond to 21st-century challenges, effectively managing change to historic properties, protecting neighborhood character, and preserving significant Native American sites and resources.

Key components of the new law include effective provisions for the management of archaeological and Native American resources; criteria and process for landmark designation; establishment of Conservation Districts; strong provisions for review of demolition permits; tiered, streamlined project review; and clear nexus between the new local ordinance and state law.

The new Historic Preservation and Cultural Resources Ordinance will help San Gabriel continue to identify, protect, and preserve its wealth of cultural resources, well into the future.

Project Team

Client
Arminé Chaparyan
City of San Gabriel Community Development Department

Project Lead
Tracy Steinkruger
City of San Gabriel Community Development Department

Principal Author and Lead Historic Preservation Specialist
Debi Howell-Ardila, MHP

Lead Archaeologist and Project Manager
John Dieter, PhD
SWCA Environmental Consultants, Inc.

Senior Historic Preservation Specialist and Author
Leslie Heumann
Chattel, Inc.

Historic Architect and Strategic Oversight
Robert Chattel, AIA
Chattel, Inc.

Photo Credits
Robert A. Estremo via Wikipedia