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Historic Preservation in Menlo Park

From: domainremoved <>
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2015 11:49:58 -0500

Honorable Mayor and Council Members,
During the General Plan update, would the City Council consider taking
steps toward establishing a Historic Preservation Ordinance? One such example
is discussed in the article below. Apparently three cities in San Mateo
County, including
1) Redwood City,
2) San Mateo and
3) South San Francisco have already adopted a plan, commonly known as the
Mills Act.
Menlo Park is rich in history, as you know. This may be one way to
acknowledge and celebrate it. Thank you for your consideration.
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East Palo Alto takes step toward preserving its history
By Jason Green
Daily News Staff Writer
POSTED: 01/07/2015 12:17:14 AM PST_0 COMMENTS_
=email#disqus_thread) | UPDATED: ABOUT 8 HOURS AGO


The relatively young city of East Palo Alto took a critical step Tuesday
toward preserving its past.
The City Council voted unanimously to adopt an inventory of historic
resources, which will be included in a new general plan due by the end of the
year, said Councilman Ruben Abrica.
The decision does not establish a program to preserve and protect historic
 resources in the city. But it lays a foundation for the council to
potentially adopt measures like the Mills Act, which provides tax benefits to
those who agree to restore and maintain historic properties.
According to a report by Planning and Housing Manager Brent Butler, only
three cities in San Mateo County have adopted the Mills Act: Redwood City,
San Mateo and South San Francisco.
"We're about to lose the last resources in the community," Butler said in
an interview following the council meeting. "It's very important that
future generations are able to understand what preceded them."
The first general plan adopted by the city following its incorporation in
1983 was supposed to include a historic resources inventory, but it was
left out because of funding issues, Butler said.
Then in 1994, residents, historians and members of the city's Historical
and Agricultural Society worked with the San Mateo County Historical
Association to identify historic resources in the city. The work was funded by a
grant from the Peninsula Community Foundation.

The resulting historic inventory, which lists a total of 52 resources, was
 included in the 1997 Weeks neighborhood plan. While the plan was not
adopted by the council because of a change in leadership, historic preservation
was identified as a concern in the 1999 general plan, Butler said.
Nonetheless, the city has lost more than a quarter of the resources on the
historic inventory. The Weeks neighborhood has been particularly hard hit,
and all of the resources that once existed in the University Circle and
Gardens neighborhoods are gone.
"A review of the city's resolutions and ordinances, and historical record
of approvals show that no preservation measures, programs or policies have
been carried out since adoption, and that many discretionary approvals
resulted in the demolition of potentially historic resources," Butler wrote in
his report.
The majority of the 37 that remain, however, are in "decent, good or
excellent condition," Butler said. They include the Kavanaugh family home and
the commercial store on Cooley Avenue.
"I think it's catching up a little bit," Abrica said about the decision to
 adopt the historic inventory in an interview following the council
meeting. "We definitely want to preserve as much of our history as we can. This
was a good step, a small one, but it brings us up to date."
Michael Levin, a lead researcher with Rebooting History at Stanford
University, called the city's history "precious."
"I just think this is an incredibly exciting moment," Levin told the
council. "This report was done a long time ago, but staff has been diligent in
documenting what remains and it's remarkable that so much is still there."
Email Jason Green at _jgreen_at_(domainremoved)
(http://twitter.com/jgreendailynews) .

Received on Wed Jan 07 2015 - 08:43:40 PST

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