Town’s historical districts expanded

By From page B1 | March 03, 2014

Placerville City Council approved a resolution of interest Feb. 25 to establish a downtown Placerville Historical District and expand the current Placerville Historical District to include four properties on Cedar Ravine Street.

The unanimous vote directed city staff to initiate changes to the  city’s Zoning Map, creating a Downtown Historic District that would stretch from Spanish Ravine and Broadway Court on the east end to just beyond the 1906 railroad bridge over Hangtown Creek on Lower Main Street on the west end. Four additional residential parcels just south of the Druid Monument on Cedar Ravine are to be added to the Cedar Ravine Historical District as well.

Currently, the city’s four historical districts are the Coloma-Spring Street Historical District, from Highway 50 north past Bee Street; the Bedford-Clay Street Residential Historical District from Highway 50 north of Pleasant Street; Sacramento-Chamberlain Street Residential Historical District from Rector Street to Benham Street and the Cedar Ravine Historical District from Main Street south to Wall Street.

The draft Downtown Placerville Historical District Map, which includes multi-residential zoned properties adjoining St. Patrick Catholic Church, was approved by the Historical Advisory Committee on June 6, 2012.

“This approval allows us to initiate the formal process of applying for amendments to the zoning map,” said Community Development Director Pierre Rivas. “We will do all the environmental review documents and submit the application to the Planning Commission and they will make recommendations to the City Council.”

During the review process, the public will have opportunity to make comment during the 30-day environmental document review, during the Planning Commission’s review and during City Council’s review.

“I’ll have a lot of questions during this process, ” said Councilwoman Wendy Thomas. “This is a long boundary. What are the benefits, the regulations, the drawbacks and the options if we regulate Main Street as a historical district? We don’t want to make the costs of making improvements to downtown buildings so onerous that our rental rolls don’t support it.”

Councilwoman Carol Patton suggested getting business and property owners involved right away in the process. “This has been talked about for years; why is it being done now?”

Rivas quoted from Policy 4 of Goal G of Section V of the Placerville General Plan that stated the city shall designate the historical section of downtown Placerville as a specific design review area. He also quoted Goal B of Section VII to protect and upgrade the visual and historical character of downtown.

“I know we’ve lost some funding opportunities in the past because it wasn’t officially designated an Historical District,” said Councilwoman Patty Borelli.

Adding Main Street as a historical district would not force business owners to renovate to meet historical design guidelines said Rivas, but the guidelines would be in place for new construction or for remodeling. “Renovation projects or new construction would require a review of the design against the city’s guidelines.” The current design guidelines will be updated and revised by the Historical Advisory Committee.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Wendy Schultz

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