Planning and Development

Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation FAQs

Benefits of Designation as a Historic Resource

What are the benefits of listing a property on the Local Register of Historic Resources? Besides designation being an honor, a building owner may use the more flexible California Historical Building Code when making repairs or alterations. In addition, a historic property can qualify for exemptions under the City’s zoning ordinance (i.e., property development standards). Commercial property owners may apply for a 10 percent or 20 percent federal tax credit for income producing properties that were put into service prior to 1936. A designated historic property is protected under both the local ordinance as well as the California Environmental Quality Act. In addition, historic designation normally raises the property’s value, helps to stabilize a neighborhood and is an important aspect of heritage and cultural tourism. For additional information please call 559.621-8520. What follows are a few frequently asked questions about the City’s Historic Preservation program.

Is my building or site on the Local Register of Historic Resources?

The list of Local and National Register properties for Fresno can be found in “A Guide to Historic Architecture in Fresno, California” ( One can also access this website through a link on the City’s historic preservation page.

How do I list my building on the Register?

For buildings, structures, objects or sites to be considered for listing on the Local Register, they must (usually) be at least 50 years of age and have historic significance. The City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance also includes the criteria for listing.

True, or not: I have been told that if my property is 'historic,' that I can't paint it without someone looking over my shoulder!

Not exactly true. Only activities that require a permit are reviewed by the Historic Preservation staff and, on occasion, by the Historic Preservation Commission. Application of exterior and interior paint does not require a permit, nor does general maintenance, trimming of vegetation etc.

Are there funds to restore historic buildings?

There is currently no specific source of funds for historic preservation in Fresno. However, a property owner may qualify for the Senior Paint or minor rehab program or, for “commercial” properties, claim the 10% federal tax credit.

I am thinking about changing out my windows in order to save energy.

The California Energy Commission has shown that windows are NOT a major culprit in energy loss, or gain. Rather look to your roof insulation, leaks around duct work etc. In addition, it will take up to 20 years to recap the expense of the new windows through savings on your energy bill. Changing out windows can also be detrimental to a home’s historic look and thus its resale value.

The Legacy of the New Deal (walking tour guide)

In the wake of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt instituted a series of programs aimed at economic recovery. Some of these programs resulted in new buildings in Fresno.

Walking Guide