Downtown Station Area Historic Resource Evaluation
The City of Santa Rosa recently updated its Downtown Station Area Specific Plan (DSASP) with the objective of increasing housing units and streamlining development. The DSASP includes a policy that requires the City to prepare an historic context statement and complete a comprehensive historic resource survey (also known as an Historic Resource Evaluation, or HRE) to locate, identify, and document structures and sites within the Downtown Station Area that may qualify for nomination to the California Register of Historical Resources or the National Register of Historic Places, or that may otherwise be of local significance.
The HRE will allow Santa Rosa to identify, within the Downtown Station Area, significant cultural and historic resources which encourage tourism, economic development, and the celebration of the City’s unique character. The work will also increase understanding of and appreciation for the built environment as a tangible reminder of Santa Rosa’s heritage. The HRE will also serve to streamline infill housing development by showing which Downtown Station Area sites are historically significant and which sites do not require additional historic resource evaluation.
Ways to Get Involved
Identify housing development sites in the Downtown while preserving important historical and cultural community spaces!
The City’s Planning and Economic Development Department is performing a historic resource evaluation for portions of downtown to determine which downtown spaces hold historic or cultural significance. This evaluation is meant to streamline housing development on sites which are not found to contain historically significant properties, as well as provide the opportunity to protect historic resources. Tell us your story about a significant, or overlooked, landmark or site and use the interactive map to plot places you believe helped mold the City into what it is today by going to our Let's Connect SR page.
- Why is the City doing this survey?
The updated Downtown Station Area Specific Plan, adopted October 2020, seeks to guide and manage intensified development in this rapidly changing neighborhood. The Downtown area has numerous known historic resources but has many more buildings over 50 years old – and therefore potentially historically significant – which have not been identified or evaluated for significance. The Specific Plan calls for a comprehensive update to the 1977 and 1989 historic resource surveys of this area to address these properties, in keeping with current best practices.
The survey will provide the Santa Rosa Planning and Economic Development Department with baseline information on the Downtown area's historic resources, including whether a property appears to be a historical resource under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This information will provide a basis for future planning and development activities, such as proposed modifications to historic properties, and consideration of new development proposals. As a result, it will streamline the development process for projects proposed for parcels which are confirmed not to contain historic resources.
- When and how is this survey happening?
Work on this project, including background research and historic context writing, started in early spring 2021 and will continue through early 2023. The initial field survey(External link) is in progress and expected to be complete by summer 2021. This reconnaissance survey – sometimes called “windshield survey,” has surveyors drive every street in the project area to identify potentially eligible properties and conduct preliminary documentation of all age-eligible properties. Follow-up will be done on foot.
The next survey phase will be an intensive survey, when the potentially eligible properties are documented in more detail and evaluated for significance. This phase is done on foot.
- Will surveyors come onto my property?
No. All survey work will be conducted from the public right-of-way.
- Is my property a historic resource?
Download and search the 1989 survey results for your address or street to see if your home or business is listed in this prior historic resource survey.
Some properties were evaluated for significance as part of other, smaller compliance projects and may not be listed in the 1989 survey results. You can search the State Office of Historic Preservation’s Built Environment Resource Directory for Sonoma County for additional information on previously surveyed properties.
- Will the survey update affect my property or me?
The historic resources survey may provide you with historical and architectural information about your property; if the survey identifies your property as a historic resource, you will have a head start on eligibility for preservation incentive programs like state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
The survey will not landmark any properties or districts; this is a completely separate process subject to public notification, participation, and review.
The information gathered by the survey may affect future Planning and Economic Development Department decisions regarding proposed work to properties; this will be on a case-by-case basis, and will depend on the nature of the proposed work.
- How do I participate in the survey process?
The City encourages everyone to share their knowledge of Downtown’s properties and history – the project needs your input! Learn how to participate by checking out the Engage in the Historic Resource Survey Evaluation section and share information using the various engagement tools on this site. Make sure to "Follow Project" to receive notifications when this website is updated with new information.