News & Advocacy

Landmarks Commission Report

December 1, 2018

by Ruthann Lehrer and Carol Lemlein, Advocacy Co-Chairs

The long-anticipated update to the Santa Monica Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) was released to the Landmarks Commission and to the public in September. The HRI is a survey of all buildings 40 years and older that rates their architectural significance and indicates their potential eligibility for listing as a landmark, Structure of Merit, or contributor to a potential historic district.

Recipient of a Mills Act contract, Purser Apartments located at 1659 Ocean Front Walk. Photo:
Ostashay & Associates Consulting

The survey is updated approximately every ten years by professionals. The new survey was conducted by Architectural Resources Group and Historic Resources Group, with consultation and input from the community. The Historic Context Statement provides a detailed overview of the main themes of Santa Monicaโ€™s development, such as residential development, commercial development, institutions and social and cultural history.

Some of the main findings included: 855 individual resources rated as significant, of which 337 were not on the prior survey; 20 historic districts identified, of which 8 were not previously listed; and 103 properties appeared individually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and/or the California Register, of which 39 were not identified in previous surveys. The updated survey is available on the Cityโ€™s website:

The Landmarks Commission approved the designation of Carousel Park near the pier as a cultural landscape in September. The Conservancy joined with the Cultural Landscape Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to making our shared landscape heritage more visible, and preservation consultants Chattel, Inc. in co-sponsoring a designation application for the park.

In October the Commission reviewed concept plans for a new three-unit condominium project to be built behind the landmarked Deodar Cedar tree at 918 5th Street. Because the tree occupies one-third of the site, the applicant is requesting several zoning modifications in order to create a viable project. The zoning code permits such flexibility as incentives for projects that are constrained by the preservation of a historic resource; this request must be approved by the Planning Commission.

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