Development Services

Certificate of Appropriateness

To make any exterior changes to a designated historic landmark or properties in historic districts, you must submit an application called the Certificate of Appropriateness for review. The type and/or scale of proposed work will determine whether you must fill out an application for a minor project or a major project. Ordinary maintenance and repair are excluded, and minor changes that meet the design guidelines are typically approved immediately. Major projects and applications that are inconsistent with design guidelines are scheduled for a Cultural Heritage Commission meeting. Applicants may appeal decisions to the Planning Commission. 

Minor Projects

Small-scale alterations may not require a building permit, but they must still be reviewed by the Cultural Heritage Commission or, in some cases, by City staff. Re-painting, re-stuccoing, and installing fences are some examples of minor work. Interior alterations are not reviewed, nor is ordinary maintenance and repairs with no physical changes.

Please use the application form to describe your project. Your description should include every alteration, as well as specifications as to materials and color.

Your application must contain the following information: (we will accept digital files)

  • Photograph of the subject property
  • Photograph of adjacent properties
  • Photograph of specific areas of the building to be modified
  • Site plan
  • Clear description of modification(s) proposed, with specifications of material and color
  • Drawing or photograph of the modification(s) proposed
  • Copy of catalogue depiction of modification, if available
  • Sample of colors proposed, from paint supplier

Environmental regulations according to the California Environmental Quality Act may also require an additional review. Depending on the scope of work, some projects can be approved administratively by staff, while others may require review by the Cultural Heritage Commission.

Major Projects

Examples of major projects include adding a second level or new room to a property, knocking down walls, or other efforts that include more extensive demolition and renovation. The Cultural Heritage Commission must review all exterior environmental changes to the designated historical landmark or property. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that the proposed project conforms to the City’s zoning and  building regulations prior to Cultural Heritage Commission review. Environmental regulations according to the California Environmental Quality Act may also require additional review.

Your application must contain the following information: (we will accept digital files)

1. Photographs

  • Show the subject property by itself and in the context of adjacent properties.
  • Key photograph view on site plan.

2. Site Plan

  • Drawn to scale indicating the property line, building, and setback dimensions.
  • Delineate new and existing structures.
  • Identify streets and significant landscape features.

3. Floor Plans

  • Scales drawings with dimensions indicating the overall plan and clearly delineating existing and new exterior walls, doors, windows, patios, and stairs.
  • This plan can be combined with the site plan on small projects.

4. Roof Plan

5. Exterior Elevations

  • Scale drawings with a dimensions of all sides of the building indicating new and existing height, floor lines, and finish grade.
  • Delineate and identify all exterior finish’s type, texture, and color.
  • Delineate and identify all windows and doors including type, materials, and detailing.
  • Delineate and identify all special or historic features and details.

6. Building Section

  • Required in large buildings or additions for clarification.

For major projects, projects that are inconsistent with the previously referenced guidelines or projects requesting demolition of a historic resource, the Certificate of Appropriateness application shall be placed on the agenda of the Cultural Heritage Commission. Applications need to be submitted at least three weeks prior to the Cultural Heritage Commission Meeting, which is the third Wednesday of each month. If the application is considered complete, it will then be place on the next agenda. The Commission meeting takes place at the Main Library Meeting Room, lower level across from the Auditorium, at 8:30 A.M.

Decisions on Certificates of Appropriateness may be appealed to the Planning Commission. Action by the Planning Commission on appeal is final and cannot be further appealed to the City Council. An environmental review in compliance with CEQA requirements may also be required.

Contact Information

Submit the completed application with appropriate fee to:

City Hall, Historic Preservation Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd., 2nd Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802
Phone: 562-570-6194

Applications will be given a preliminary review by the Historic Preservation Office prior to any decision being granted.