On April 2, 2019, the Arcadia City Council adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance, a first for the City of Arcadia and marking an important step in the identification and preservation of historic buildings throughout the City.
The Ordinance represented the culmination of several years of community engagement and involvement. The project began in 2015 with an effort to determine what historic resources exist in the City, and to identify the various patterns of development throughout the City’s history. The City contracted with well-respected Pasadena historians Architectural Resources Group, Inc., to develop a Historic Resources Survey and Context Statement, as well as to draft the Historic Preservation Ordinance.
The Survey identified a number of important structures, some of which rise to the State and National levels for historic significance. Arcadia’s rich history includes not only obviously important structures such as the Santa Anita Park Grandstand and Queen Anne cottage at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, but also iconic structures related to City-founder Lucky Baldwin and the Baldwin family, homes designed by famed architects Wallace Neff and Richard Neutra, and commercial structures such as the Harold Bissner designed Denny’s building with its famous windmill.
“Like any important new regulation, the Ordinance was truly a community effort, with numerous well-attended public meetings and discussions. In the end, the final Ordinance represents a balance between private property rights and the ability to protect and preserve important buildings,” said Assistant City Manager/Development Services Director Jason Kruckeberg.
The main tenets of the Ordinance are the facts that it is voluntary, and property owners can come forward to designate their own properties. “The Historic Preservation Ordinance is a thoughtful, important step in the preservation of not only buildings but of Arcadia’s heritage,” said Mayor Sho Tay. “We listened to our residents and developed an Ordinance that fits our City.”
Now that the Ordinance is in effect, the City will be working with local organizations such as the Arcadia Historical Society and Los Angeles Conservancy in assisting residents and property owners in designating their buildings as historic if they so choose. If you are interested in learning more about the Historic Preservation Ordinance and its implementation, please contact the Arcadia Planning Division at (626) 574-5423 or visit the City’s website at ArcadiaCA.gov/HistoricPreservation.