What is considered an impact to a historic property?

by Andrew Shaffer  on June 27, 2018 | | No comments

The State Office of Historic Preservation answers this question as follows:

Substantial adverse change includes demolition, destruction, relocation, or alteration such that the significance of an historical resource would be impaired (PRC Section 5020.1(q)).

While demolition and destruction are fairly obvious significant impacts, it is more difficult to assess when change, alteration, or relocation crosses the threshold of substantial adverse change. The State CEQA Guidelines provide that a project that demolishes or alters those physical characteristics of an historical resource that convey its historical significance (i.e., its character-defining features) can be considered to materially impair the resource’s significance. [State CEQA Guidelines Section 15064.5]

These are sometimes judgment calls. If you disagree with the conclusion reached by the agency, contact a professional or other expert on historical resources to review and comment on that conclusion. If there is litigation over the project, non-expert opinion or statements will not be considered substantial evidence to support an argument that the impact is significant.

About the Author

Andrew Shaffer is the California Preservation Foundation’s Engagement Director. His job includes sharing stories of CPF’s work and collaborating with members and partner organizations on preservation issues across California. Prior to joining CPF, he studied at the University of San Francisco and the University of Wisconsin, where he specialized in LGBTQ history, preservation, and activism. Andrew is a transplant to San Francisco and loves showing off his adopted hometown to people from all over the world.