Any significant exterior work to a Contributing Structure, which also includes its demolition, removal or relocation, requires approval of the City Planning Department through the issuance of a special determination called a “Certificate of Appropriateness.” This requires the submission of a formal application form, detailed plans, and a fee ranging from $708 - $1,706 (depending the size of the new construction or addition). The COA process may take up to 75 days, or longer if the initial decision is appealed.
Work that involves the construction of a new building, building replacement, or demolition requires a special permit called a “Certificate of Compatibility”. As with a “Certificate of Appropriateness,” this type of approval requires the submission of a formal application form, detailed plans, and a fee ranging from $708 - $1,706 (depending the size of the new construction or addition) and may take up to 75 days, or longer if the initial decision is appealed.
Certain less significant exterior work, such as routine maintenance or changes to the exterior paint color or landscaping, are approved by the Planning Department as “Conforming Work.” without having to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness or paying a fee. The Conforming Work review process make take anywhere from 3 to 21 days.
"Conforming work on a Non-Contributor" consist of any project on a Non-Contributing property that does not involve the demolition of a structure, or construction of a new building on a vacant lot.
A “Contributing Structure” is any structure identified by a Historic Resources Survey of an HPOZ area as contributing to the historic significance of the area.
Contributing Altered structures are structures that date from the period of significance, built in the same time period as Contributing Structures that have retained their historic character in spite of subsequent alterations or additions and are deemed reversible. Contributing Altered structures undergo the same design review process as Contributing Structures.
Work delegated to planning staff does not require HPOZ board approval. Delegated work is specified in each Preservation Plan in Section 3.6.
Exemptions are defined as work deemed to be exempt from review by the HPOZ Board and HPOZ Planning Staff. Exemptions are specified in each Preservation Plan in Section 3.5. For examples of commonly exempt projects please see the HPOZ Review Process.
An Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, or HPOZ, is an area of the city which is designated as containing structures, landscaping, natural features or sites having historic, architectural, cultural or aesthetic significance. To receive such designation, areas must be adopted as an HPOZ by the City Planning Commission and the City Council through a zone change procedure that includes notification of all affected and nearby property owners and public hearings. Once designated, areas have an HPOZ overlay added to their zoning, and are subject to special regulations under Section 12.20.3 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. Each HPOZ area has a five member HPOZ Board to review and make recommendations on projects and promote historic preservation within the designated area. Most types of exterior changes or improvements to properties in an HPOZ area require written approval from the Planning Department.
Each HPOZ Board consists of five members, at least three of whom must be renters or owners of property within an HPOZ. All members should have knowledge of and interest in the culture, structures, sites, history and architecture of the HPOZ area, and if possible, experience in historic preservation
The Board is an advisory body to the City Planning Department. The Director of Planning has the authority to issue determinations, building permit sign-offs, and Certificates of Appropriateness.
Any structure within an HPOZ area that is not identified as a Contributing Structure by a Historic Resources Survey area is considered “Non-Contributing.” The HPOZ Board reviews exterior work or changes to a Non-Contributing Structure, unless authority is delegated to the Director of Planning in an adopted Preservation Plan. The HPOZ Board is required to sign off on any request for any exterior work if the Board finds that the work is undertaken solely on a building or feature that has been identified as “Non-Contributing”.
The Department of City Planning works with the HPOZ Boards and HPOZ neighborhoods to create a “Preservation Plan” for each neighborhood. The Preservation Plan allows neighborhoods to create tailored design guidelines that respond to the needs and preferences of each community. The website contains the text of all adopted HPOZ Preservation Plans under each neighborhood’s listing.
- Preservation Plan Guidelines
Each Preservation Plan contains guidelines explaining how preservation, restoration, and compatible infill development can be achieved. Guidelines are organized by type of project: Residential Rehabilitation, Residential Additions, Residential In-fill, Commercial Rehabilitation, Commercial In-fill, and Public Realm. If you are conducting a project within an HPOZ, it is recommended that you review these Guidelines early-on to determine the appropriateness of a project.