Preserving Belvedere's History
Belvedere's history has had many periods of significance with the incorporation of the city, the prosperity and social reforms of the turn of the 20th century, and post-World War II growth. In 1993, the City of Belvedere decided that the public generally, would be well served by the protection and preservation of significant sites and structures that impart a distinct aspect and ambiance of the City, serving as visible reminders of the historical heritage of the Belvedere. With this goal in mind, the City Council established Title 21 of the Belvedere Municipal Code (PDF), the Historic Preservation Ordinance. The Ordinance established the Historic Preservation Committee and established its authority to review applications for changes to local Belvedere historic properties, review applications to designate new historic properties, and implement the Mills Act tax abatement program.
Title 21 can be divided into six main purpose areas:
- To maintain and contribute to the character of Belvedere by protecting, enhancing and perpetuating sites and structures having special historical, aesthetic and architectural value;
- To allow changes to such significant sites and structures while ensuring that such changes are made with sensitivity to the significant features of the site or structure;
- To serve as a reminder of the historical background of the City;
- To give owners of designated properties the ability to take advantage of laws pertaining to sites and structures having special historic, architectural and aesthetic value;
- To provide the Planning Commission and the City Council with objective criteria and specific information for use in making decisions concerning sites and structures having special historic, architectural and aesthetic value;
- To help prevent the inadvertent loss or inappropriate alteration of sites or structures having special historic, architectural and aesthetic value resulting from the absence of this Title.
Process of Preservation
A site or structure must fit specific criteria in order to be considered as having historical significance. This includes satisfying three or more of the listed criteria found under Section 21.20.07 (PDF) of the Municipal Code. There are currently 49 properties listed on the Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) that are located in Belvedere. These are listed on the Historic Properties Data File for Marin County that is maintained by the California Office of Historic Preservation. To learn more information about the criteria and process of historic designation, email planning department staff.
The unique aesthetic that is Belvedere came as a result of the historic sites that were built here during the City's creation. Learn more about the history of Belvedere.