Historic Resources

In addition to beautiful scenery and a wide diversity of natural resources, Santa Cruz County is also rich in history. Historic resources in the unincorporated areas of the County are protected through the implementation of County Code Chapter 16.42  - Historic Preservation. This ordinance establishes the definition of historic resources in the County and the procedure for the designation of these resources. This definition coincides with the definitions used by the State of California and the federal government. The ordinance also establishes the procedures for reviewing modifications to these resources.

Advanced Planning staff maintains the Inventory of Historic Resources, a listing of all officially designated historic resources in the County. Periodically, this inventory is revised to recognize changes in the specific properties or to add/delete historic resources based on updated information. 

How Does a Property Qualify for the Inventory?

Anyone can nominate a property for inclusion in the Santa Cruz Historic Resources Inventory. The nomination is reviewed by the County's Historic Resources Commission (HRC) with final approval by the Board of Supervisors. The HRC evaluates the nomination by the following criteria among other factors:

  • Properties must have retained their architectural and historic integrity.
  • Architectural significance, including buildings representing a distinct architectural style or construction method, and works of a master architect or builder.
  • Cultural or social historic significance, including association with a person of local, state, or national significance or association with an important historic theme or event.

What Are the Benefits of Inclusion in the Inventory?

  • The property becomes eligible to use the California Historical Building code, an alternative to the standard building codes that recognizes the unique construction problems inherent in historic buildings and can allow for cost-effective repair and rehabilitation of historic buildings.
  • Exceptions to zoning and parking standards may be available.