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  Council Takes Another Look at Historic Preservation
March 15, 2004

Tomorrow, March 16, 2004, at 6:30 PM in the Council Chamber, the City Council will hold a study session to discuss proposed changes to Richmondís Historic Preservation Ordinance intended to secure approval by the State of California of Richmond as a Certified Local Government.  

The Historic Structures Code, Chapter 6.06, was adopted by the City Council on November 23, 1999, as Ordinance 60-99. It has been amended twice. The first amendment was Ordinance 10-00 on April 4, 2000, which expanded the number of at-large members from one to two. The second amendment was Ordinance 10-01 April 10, 2001, which set the terms of officers and meeting attendance requirements. 

On February 5, 2002, the City Council voted unanimously to file an application to become a Certified Local Government, a program set up under the National Historic Preservation Act and administered by the State Office of Historic Preservation that would qualify Richmond for grants and give our city more autonomy and flexibility in the processing of entitlements that involve historic buildings, such as the Ford Assembly Building and buildings in the Winehaven Historic District at Point Molate. The state has asked for some minor changes in the ordinance in order to give it final approval, but the City Council has balked, and some staff members continue to view historic preservation as both a distraction from and a hindrance to economic development. 

This is the year prior to Richmondís 100th birthday and a time when national interest in the Rosie the Riveter WW II/Home Front National Historical Park is skyrocketing. Rather than distancing itself from its rich heritage, Richmond should embrace that heritage and exploit it to help change the image of our city, enhance local pride, attract visitors and spur economic development. 

Anyone interested in seeing Richmond have a healthy historic preservation program should come to the meeting and be heard. It is important to understand that in this time of tight budgets, historic preservation will not require any additional funding by the city. In fact, it will attract additional funding. The regulatory activities of historic preservation are paid for by project applicants, and members of the Design Review Board and Historic Preservation Advisory Committee serve as volunteers.  

Pertinent files are attached. Please read them.