Building and remodeling is already a giant project requiring meticulous planning as is, but if you are in Long Beach, chances are you’ll have to keep something else in mind: Countless city ordinances and regulations. Our beloved LB city is famous for its strict zoning laws, going so far as to cause the creation of a separate city simply for the purpose of avoiding being subject to Long Beach building code (looking at you, Signal Hill.) While there are plenty of potential pitfalls for builders, one is especially relevant for your typical home remodel – The Long Beach city historic districts.
A total of 17 Long Beach neighborhoods are designated historic districts. The city defines them as ‘neighborhoods that contain groups of older, unaltered houses that preserve the visual qualities and ambience of the past.’ It does not have to be entirely preserved, it is enough if two thirds of the homes are historically accurate, and streetscape elements, such as lamp posts and greenery, can further impact the borough’s status. The size of designated historic districts varies – they range from a narrow block to entire streets, less than 20 houses to almost 1,500 – but what they all have in common is that they consist of homes constructed during the same historical period, often even in a similar architectural style. These districts serve as a sort of collective memory, as live snapshots of a Long Beach of past days, and therefore, they enjoy strictly enforced protections by the city.
So how does this impact your remodel you ask? Typical restrictions include, of course, that the exterior remains historically accurate and consistent with the neighborhood’s design. This process requires obtaining a “Certificate of Appropriateness” from the Cultural Heritage Commission for any changes made to the exterior: placement, material and color of fencing, outside paint (which has to be matching the color palette of the surrounding homes,) and even original landscaping. Noncontributing structures already in place at the time of designation generally do not have to be held in the same style as the adjacent buildings, but just be consistent in itself. However, should one of these structures be demolished, the new home is required to be a good fit in both style and scale.
As you can see, being located in a Long Beach historic district makes a difference when it comes to building, demolishing and remodeling your home! Here at Zieba Builders, we are highly experienced in historic remodels and have excellent relations with the appropriate authorities. Call now to schedule your free design consultation at (562) 439-5294!