Los Angeles Department of City Planning

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The HPOZ Review Process

The type of HPOZ review your project will undergo is determined by the scale, location, and scope of your project. Details on each process are explained below. For more information on which review type is appropriate for a certain project, contact staff at the Department of City Planning.


Properties within an HPOZ are defined in three ways, based upon the area's Historic Resources Survey:


Contributing Structures:

Contributing structures are those structures, landscape features, natural features, or sites identified as Contributing in the Historic Resources survey for the HPOZ. Generally, “Contributing” structures will have been built within the historic Period of Significance of the HPOZ, and will retain elements that identify it as belonging to that period. The historic Period of Significanceof the HPOZ is usually the time period in which the majority of construction in the area occurred. In some instances, structures that are compatible with the architecture of that period or that are historic in their own right, but were built outside of the Period of Significance of the district, will also be “Contributing”.


Contributing Altered:

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.


Non-Contributing Structures:

Non-Contributing structures are those structures, landscapes, natural features, or sites identified as not retaining their historic character as a result of un-reversible alterations, or as having been built outside of the HPOZ Period of Significance or because they are vacant lots.


*To find out if a particular structure, landscape feature, natural features, or site is Contributing, consult the City of Los Angeles Zoning Information and Map Access System ZIMAS. Depending on the Contributing/Non-contributing status of a structure, feature, or site, different elements of the design guidelines will be used in the planning and review of projects.



Procedures for Contributing Structures:


Conforming Work on Contributing Elements:

Certain less significant exterior work, like routine maintenance or changes to the exterior paint color or landscaping, are approved by the Planning Department as “Conforming Work” . The Conforming Work review process usually takes only 3 to 21 days.


Certificate of Appropriateness:

A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is required when significant work is proposed for a Contributing element in the HPOZ. A COA requires that a formal application be filed with the Department of City Planning. The HPOZ Board will conduct a public hearing and submit a recommendation to the Director of Planning, who will also consider input from the Cultural Heritage Commission regarding the project. The process 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 permit process may take up to 75 days, or longer if the initial decision is appealed.


Procedures for Non-Contributing Structures:


Conforming Work on Non-Contributing Elements:

Conforming Work on a Non-Contributing Element (CWNC) is a review process for work on Non-Contributing properties that does not involve demolition of a primary structure or construction of a new primary building on a vacant lot. 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 Conforming Work review process usually takes only 3 to 21 days.


Certificate of Compatibility:

A Certificate of Compatibility (CCMP) is required for the review of new construction on vacant lots or on lots where a Non-Contributor is proposed for demolition. The HPOZ Board will conduct a public hearing and submit a recommendation to the Director of Planning. As with a “Certificate of Appropriateness,” this permit 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.


Review Processes at a Glance:

The table below* provides a quick reference guide for procedures that may apply to your project depending on the size of the project, and whether the property is a Contributor or a Non-Contributor. Further guidance is laid out  in the Preservation Plan. HPOZ Planning Staff interpret how projects comply with the Preservation Plan guidelines. Approved projects must comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and with the HPOZ Ordinance. Below is a chart representing common projects that occur in HPOZs and the procedures that accompany them. For more information on each procedure please review  your HPOZ Preservation Plan.

Note: The tables below are meant to provide a general summary of HPOZ processes, applicants are advised to consult the applicable Preservation Plan for specific policies.



What Standards are used by the Board and the Planning Department to evaluate proposed changes in an HPOZ?

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 HPOZ's individual page.


HPOZ Board:

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.

One member is appointed by the Mayor and must have extensive real estate or construction experience. One member who must be an owner or renter of property in the HPOZ is appointed by the City Councilmember representing the area. Two members, one of whom must be a licensed architect, are appointed by the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission. The final member is selected at large by a majority vote of the initial four members, with input from the Certified Neighborhood Council representing the neighborhood. Board members normally serve a term of four years, although the initial terms are staggered to prevent a complete turnover of the Board at any one time. Appointed members may be removed or replaced by the appointing authority prior to the expiration or their term.

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.

For more information on Board Meeting times and locations visit our HPOZ Board Information page , for details on what to bring to an HPOZ Board meetings click here.


If I disagree with the Planning Department’s decision about a project, can I appeal it?

Yes. The approval or disapproval of “Certificates of Appropriateness” and "Certificates of Compatibility” may be appealed to the Area Planning Commission. The Area Planning Commission also serves as the first level of review for proposed demolition, removal or relocation of structures within HPOZs; appeals of these cases go to the City Council. All appeals must be filed within 15 days of the date of the action, and must be acted on within 75 days from the date filed. Decisions can be appealed only once. Original decisions by the Director of Planning that are appealable to the Area Planning Commission cannot be further appealed to the City Council. Conforming Work approvals are not appealable under the HPOZ Ordinance.