The State of Preservation Policy in L.A. County: Not Great (with Some Exceptions)
A new L.A. Conservancy report reveals that more than half of the county's local governments have no protections for their historic places.
The most effective protections for historic places often lie in the hands of local government. Los Angeles County has eighty-nine local governments: eighty-eight cities, plus the jurisdiction over the county's unincorporated areas. Each of these communities operates independently and has its own preservation protections—or lack thereof—for historic places.
The Los Angeles Conservancy’s 2014 Preservation Report Card “grades” the historic preservation programs of each jurisdiction based on specific elements, such as a preservation ordinance, surveys of historic places, and preservation incentives.
"It's a snapshot as to how well preservation is improving in L.A. County," said Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the Conservancy. "We want it to be used by communities as a tool so they can start assessing how they're doing."
While some communities have made great progress since the last Report Card was issued in 2008—particularly Beverly Hills, Burbank, and Calabasas—the overall outlook is less than rosy: More than half of the county’s communities have no protections whatsoever for their historic places. Progress in preservation programs has slowed in the past five years for reasons including staffing and program cutbacks during the recession of the late 2000s.
To help communities create or enhance their preservation programs, the 2014 Report Card includes innovations such as a new point-based scoring system, practical tips on how to improve, an interactive Digital Report Card chart, and web pages for each community with preservation contacts and resources.