Neighborhood Assistance

The Castro neighborhood. Photo by James Gaither on Flickr.

The Heritage office handles phone inquiries from the public seeking information about buildings, including those referred from the Planning Department regarding guidance in determining the architectural and historic significance of a building.

Training and Assistance

One of Heritage’s top priorities is to provide education and assistance to those interested in exploring the history of their communities, as well as ways to preserve and protect them as development pressures sometimes threaten buildings and landscapes that are important to the people who see and use them daily. More often than not, we learn about threatened places after a proposal to demolish or alter them is already underway. Concerned neighbors will contact us looking for options to stop a project. Heritage works with neighborhood groups to explore some preventative measures that can help assure your neighborhood retains its character as the City continues to grow.

The North Beach neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Ian Ransley Design + Illustration on Flickr.

As every neighborhood in San Francisco is unique, each has its own particular concerns or priorities. Heritage can offer information and help in a variety of areas:

  • Neighborhood surveys
  • Nominating properties to the Local and National Register of Historic Places
  • Creating historic districts
  • Easements and tax deductions
  • Mills Act contracts and tax credits
  • Help navigating the Planning Department process (Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission)
  • General information about the Secretary of Interior Standards, a series of guidelines for maintaining, rehabilitating, and renovating historic properties

More than anything, Heritage aims to provide the community with a broad preservation perspective: education on the different protections available for property owners, and the tools with which to utilize them.

Planning Tools

Heritage works closely with local Planning Department staff regarding review of projects affecting historic resources. As such, we can help residents navigate the complicated permitting and environmental review processes at the local, state, and national level.

For additional information, contact Preservation Projects Manager Desiree Smith.