Council Extends Emergency Moratorium on Demolitions of Undesignated Historic Homes

Action extends 45-day moratorium to November 2020 giving City time to ‘address inconsistencies’ in current ordinance, general plan

Published : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | 5:18 AM

The Pasadena City Council Monday unanimously approved the extension of a 45-day emergency moratorium on eligible, but as-yet undesignated historic homes in the City. The Council also approved the first reading of the extension ordinance.

The ordinance originally took effect November 28, 2019, and was set to expire on January 12, 2019. The extension adds 10 months and 15 days, setting the new expiration date to November 3, 2020.

The ordinance will put in place a temporary moratorium on demolition and any “major projects” affecting eligible, undesignated historic resources while staff is preparing permanent regulations to address the identified inconsistencies in current City regulatiins.

According to a Planning Department presentation, the City is essentially trying to strike a balance between projects that may destroy buildings of historic value, or may prevent homeowners from improvement projects on homes or buildings that might not have historic value.

One couple and a family told the Council that a historic designation process may prevent them from improving their homes, and earning rental revenue.

According to the staff report, the Planning staff has conducted a study session with the Historic Preservation Commission and received support from the Commission including the establishment of a procedure for evaluating properties for “potential historical significance and designation eligibility,” and allowing the disapproval of applications for demolition and “major projects” affecting eligible, undesignated historic resources, and allowing Variances for Historic Resources to be processed for eligible, undesignated historic resources.

The planning department staff is currently developing a public outreach program and scheduling public hearings before the Historic Preservation Commission, and Planning Commission for the first quarter of 2020.

According to the staff report, any new regulations and corresponding changes to the Zoning Code will require separate environmental review and must be presented to the Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Commission for a formal recommendation prior to consideration by the City Council.

The effort is anticipated to take several months and should be completed by the end of spring 2020, said the report.

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