Nominate a Property for Landmark Status
If you think a Berkeley property is a historical resource and should be protected, nominate it for City Landmark or Structure of Merit. Learn the criteria and steps for nomination and designation.
Nominate a structure or site in Berkeley for Landmark or Structure of Merit status to grant it special benefits, such as regulatory protections and possible property tax reduction. The property owner or a group of at least 50 Berkeley residents can petition for designation. Before you can do so, familiarize yourself with requirements for eligibility and the steps needed to initiate a request.
Know the criteria for designation
Berkeley closely follows the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources to determine eligibility. To be considered for landmark designation, the structure or resource must demonstrate significance in one or more of the following topic areas: architectural or design merit, historical or cultural associations, or educational value. Specifically, the property or resource must:
- Be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of local or regional history or the cultural heritage of Berkeley or California or the United States.
- Be associated with the motive or evolution of cultural, or with the lives of persons, that are important to local, California, or national history.
- Represent an architectural style that is: the first, last, or only of its type; the work of a master; or worthy of preserving for its value in its neighborhood.
- Have yielded, or have the potential to yield, information important to about prehistory, pre-colonial history or the local area, California, or the nation.
Register for nomination
Once you’ve determined the property meets the criteria, you need to download and complete the application for designation and make an appointment with the Landmarks Preservation Commission staff. Verified and complete applications will be scheduled for consideration during a public hearing before the Commission.
Complete the nomination packet
- Download and fill out the nomination packet. Be sure to include the City of Berkeley Landmarks Application form and Checklist for Submission.
- Complete the application. Include all necessary information, documentation in support of statements made and conclusions reached, photographs, and a bibliography of the references cited. The following resources can help you in your research:
- National Park Service - has several helpful technical bulletins that explain how to measure or assess historical importance.
- Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association - a non-profit preservation organization in Berkeley.
- UC Berkeley Environmental Design Archives - UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design houses a non-profit research facility for architectural and design research.
- Reach out directly to the Landmarks Preservation staff with questions or seek advice before submitting the application.
Designation confers benefits
If designated, the historical resource will receive the following benefits:
- Future exterior alterations to the resource will require prior approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission in accordance with Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 3.24.
- An environmental review may be required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) if a project threatens the property. Contact the Landmarks Preservation Commission Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Local building inspectors must grant code alternatives provided under State Historical Building Code.
- Property owners may request to enter into a contract with the City for property tax reduction (Mills Act)
To take advantage of Mills Act tax breaks, apply for a property tax deduction benefits contract with the City that enables rehabilitation work on the structure or resource.