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Updating Inventories Historic Resource Status Codes

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The majority of Sonoma County’s historic resource records were prepared in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Many of the records for historic resources on the Sonoma County Historic Sites Inventory, including those designated as Historic Landmarks, did not include an historic resource evaluation assessing its historic status and may not have been prepared by a qualified professional. In some cases an evaluation has been prepared but it does not meet current standards. The surveys were conducted at a time when the State of California evaluation form (DPR 523B Form: Building, Structure, and Object Record) had not yet been developed, and there was only a small space on the survey form (DPR 523A: Primary Record) for the evaluation of resource significance. The majority of these older surveys were prepared at a very loose “reconnaissance” or “windshield survey” level. They were also prepared at a time when the Sonoma County Landmarks Commission did not require a separate, comprehensive evaluation of the significance of an historic resource in order to approve its designation as an Historic Landmark or to inform their review of exterior alterations to the resource.

The Landmarks Commission now requires that an historic resource evaluation be prepared by a qualified professional and include an assessment of the resource’s eligibility for listing as a historic resource in local, state or national registers. The purpose of the Landmarks Commission’s current requirements for the preparation of historic surveys and evaluations is to be more consistent with the State Office of Historic Preservations standards and best practices and to better inform their decision making and ensure appropriate protection of historic resources