Community Development

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.


If the property is a Historic Landmark or within a Historic District you must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) approval prior to applying for a building permit or this may delay the process. To verify the status of the property, please visit the Zoning and Land Use Map or call the Planning phone line at (562) 570-6194.

Cultural Heritage Commission Approves Use of Substitute Materials On Non-Contributing Structures

On April 26, 2022, the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) approved the use of substitute materials within historic districts on non-contributor buildings outside the period of significance and for detached new construction, subject to review for compatibility of materials through a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). The CHC has held two study sessions related to the discussion of this matter. During the study sessions, the Commission was provided feedback from property owners, neighborhood historic preservation groups, various residents and stakeholders in the community. The Commission gave direction to staff to return with a memo to memorialize the discussion. The memo is linked here for 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 meets on the last Tuesday 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 at the Long Beach City Hall Civic Chambers (411 W. Ocean Blvd.) at 5:00 p.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.


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.