4. Frequently Asked Questions
What is Pacific Grove’s Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)?
The HRI is the City of Pacific Grove’s official listing of locally designated historic resources. The HRI is authorized by the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance (Chapter 23.76 of the Pacific Grove Municipal Code) and administered by the Historic Resources Committee (HRC), which may add or delete properties.
This list of historic buildings was initiated in 1978 with a matching grant from the State Office of Historic Preservation and adopted by the City of Pacific Grove. The properties surveyed by the Heritage Society in 1978 primarily date to from the 1880s to 1927. (This date was chosen because of the existence of two separate sources of verification, the 1926 Sanborn maps and the 1926 county assessor’s records). The HRI also includes other properties determined over the years by the Historic Resources Committee to be of architectural and/or historical significance. In 2005, the Heritage Society funded a photographic inventory of the more than 1,300 buildings on the Historic Resources Inventory.
Today, there are approximately 1,400 buildings listed on the City’s Historic Resources Inventory. Seven of these buildings are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and/or California Register of Historical Resources. California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) 523 survey forms for nearly 600 of the 1,400 inventoried buildings are on file with the Community Development Department. There are many more buildings over 50 years of age that have yet to be surveyed.
What is the purpose of the HRI Update?
This phase of the HRI update will focus on re-surveying the approximately 1,400 buildings listed on the HRI to determine if they should remain on the inventory. This was identified as a next step in the Preservation Program Considerations prepared by Page and Turnbull in association with the HCS in 2011. Buildings will be formally surveyed using the significance and integrity thresholds provided in the Pacific Gove Historic Context Statement (HCS) as a framework for evaluation. Those buildings found to lack integrity and/or significance will be proposed for removal from the HRI as part of an effort to improve the existing inventory. The HRI Update will also identify potential historic districts in areas where buildings may be significant as a group.
Who decides whether my building should remain on the HRI?
A qualified consultant will make the determination as to a building’s historic status. Page & Turnbull is a historic preservation architecture and planning firm that authored Pacific Grove’s Historic Context Statement in 2011. Page & Turnbull’s a team includes architectural historians and preservation planners who meet the required Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards for historic and cultural resource survey work. Survey results will also be reviewed by Community Development Department staff and the Historic Resources Committee and the Planning Commission. An Advisory Group comprised of the Mayor, Chairs of the Historic Resources Committee and Architectural Review Board, Vice-Chair of the Planning Commission, and a qualified representative of the Heritage Society will also act in an advisory role.
What is not included in the HRI Update survey?
This phase of the HRI Update will not intensively survey new buildings for potential inclusion in the HRI, though the consultant will provide a list of buildings identified in the field that may warrant survey and inclusion in a future effort.
How will the HRI Update survey be conducted?
Pacific Grove’s HRI Update will be undertaken with a tiered methodology, using GIS data and the Historic Context Statement, among other information. In order for a property to qualify as a historic resource, it must meet evaluation criteria as well as have sufficient integrity to convey its significance. With approximately 1,400 buildings on the HRI, Page & Turnbull’s tiered approach to surveying the buildings will begin with a reconnaissance survey of all of the buildings to narrow down those that retain integrity and should remain on the inventory, using the integrity thresholds outlined in the HCS.
The HCS and additional historic research will then be used to evaluate buildings that retain integrity using eligibility criteria for the HRI, the National Register of Historic Places, and the California Register of Historical Resources. While all surveyed properties will be documented in a survey database, this second tier of buildings will also receive State of California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) 523A (Primary Record) forms that briefly document their appearance, historic context, and evaluation of significance. DPR 523 forms are the accepted format in which to record a variety of resources, from buildings to archeological finds to bridges and roadways throughout the state. They were designed to be the final product of a survey, organized in a standardized statewide format.
Using recommendations from the Pacific Grove Preservation Program Considerations document (October 31, 2011, produced in association with the HCS) and observation during the reconnaissance survey, Page & Turnbull will identify geographic or thematic groupings of buildings that may comprise potential historic districts. The documentation of these districts will be included in the GIS data and the Survey Report, which will also summarize the overall findings of the HRI Update survey. Next steps regarding the establishment of any potential historic districts may be undertaken as a separate project given budget constraints.
What are the HRI’s significance criteria for evaluation?
The following criteria will be utilized to assess a historic property’s inclusion in the National and/or California Registers and HRI:
(a) Whether the structure has significant character, interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the city of Pacific Grove, the state of California, or the United States;
(b) Whether it is the site of a significant historic event;
(c) Whether it is strongly identified with a person who, or an organization which, significantly contributed to the culture, history or development of the city of Pacific Grove;
(d) Whether it is a particularly good example of a period or style;
(e) Whether it is one of the few remaining examples in the city of Pacific Grove possessing distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type or specimen;
(f) Whether it is a notable work of an architect or master builder whose individual work has significantly influenced the development of the city of Pacific Grove;
(g) Whether it embodies elements of architectural design, detail, materials or craftsmanship that represent a significant architectural innovation;
(h) Whether it has singular physical characteristics uniquely representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood, community, or of the city of Pacific Grove;
(i) Whether a resource with historical or cultural significance retains historic integrity. [Ord. 17-023 § 2, 2017; Ord. 01-25 § 1, 2001; Ord. 97-23 § 1, 1997].
What does integrity mean?
Integrity has very specific connotations regarding historic and cultural resources. Integrity is the authenticity of physical characteristics from which resources obtain their significance. Integrity is the composite of seven qualities: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. When a property retains its integrity, it is able to convey its significance, its association with events, people, and designs from the past.
How does inclusion or removal from the HRI benefit property owners?
Buildings with high levels of architectural significance, association with important events or people, and sufficient historic integrity will remain on the HRI. The preservation of historic character is a cultural and aesthetic benefit to the community. Some of the buildings may be documented as eligible for listing in the California or National Registers. Building owners of qualified historic buildings can follow the more flexible State Historical Building Code (SHBC). Buildings removed from the HRI for lack of integrity or significance may undergo a less arduous project review process if alterations are proposed.
Will a potential reduction of buildings on the HRI affect community character?
The HRI’s listing of individual buildings may decrease if some buildings are identified as lacking integrity and/or individual significance based on register criteria. However, the HRI Update survey’s identification of potential historic districts has the potential to counter this decease by identifying groupings of buildings that support community character but are not individually significant and may have a lower threshold of integrity. Additionally, any changes to single-family residences that are not listed on the City’s Historic Resources Inventory remain subject to the City’s permit process and the City’s existing Design Guidelines for Single-Family Residences.
Heritage Society Historic Home Green Plaque Program
The Pacific Grove Heritage Society is a nonprofit organization formed in 1975 that works to encourage the preservation and restoration of buildings that contribute to Pacific Grove. The organization operates independently and is not affiliated with the City. The Heritage Society’s popular Historic Homes Green Plaque program is a separate and independent program from the City’s Historic Resources Inventory. Please contact the Heritage Society for questions regarding this program.
Will the HRI affect my property tax?
No. The HRI will not be used for tax assessment purposes. It is also worth noting that concern about negative economic effects is often raised when discussing historic preservation. However, many studies have shown a direct correlation between the creation of historic preservation programs and policies and a long-term increase in property values. Some jurisdictions provide property tax relief for owners of historic resources.
Can I opt out of the survey?
No. All buildings currently listed in the HRI are included, and all of the city is open to possible historic district identification. Survey activity and evaluation is conducted from public rights-of-way.
Where can I learn more about the history of my property?
For those interested in learning more about Pacific Grove’s history, we suggest reviewing the Pacific Grove Historic Context Statement (Page & Turnbull, 2011), visiting the Pacific Grove Heritage Society, Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Public Library (California Room), and California Historical Society. Primary sources you may want to reference include Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, newspaper articles, city directories, census data, and historic photographs. Secondary sources include books and publications, GIS maps, previous historical reports and survey documentation, and internet sources. Local historian Donald Howard provides exceptionally detailed accounts of Pacific Grove’s early development in his book, The Old Pacific Grove Retreat 1875 – 1940, which should be considered a primary reference for research on Pacific Grove.
Why is the Community Development Department involved with the HRI Update survey?
Surveys help inform the planning process. A building’s historic status can impact area-wide planning, development proposals, and review of individual building permit applications. The City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance (Chapter 23.76 of the Pacific Grove Municipal Code) directs the Community Development Department and Historic Resources Committee (HRC) to consider historic resources.
How can I help to ensure the success of this effort?
Please become involved in this project and attend the public meeting. Keep up-to-date on the project’s progress by visiting the project website (www.cityofpacificgrove.org/HRIUpdate). If you have easily accessible photographs of HRI buildings or streetscapes from the past to help the consultant understand past alterations and verify integrity, please send a scan of them to the consultant team or the city’s staff, Alyson Hunter, Associate Planner at email@example.com or Haroon Noori, Management Analyst at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project schedule includes deadlines, so providing timely input is appreciated!