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New fees for ‘historic’ buildings in Newhall

Posted: September 7, 2008 9:30 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.

City Council members will decide Tuesday on whether owners must get permission from the city before making any significant changes to historic buildings.

Six homes built between 1910 and 1946 are included on the list of 62 historic sites within the city.

Other sites include the old jail in downtown Newhall, the Queen of Angels Church on Walnut Street, Newhall Ice and the Canyon Theatre Guild.

While local historians tout the proposal as a necessity to preserve Santa Clarita's rich history in the California gold rush, the oil industry and early western cinema, a few residents living in old houses objected to having their property rights compromised.

Newhall resident Molly Hodson told the Planning Commission in July she was "a bit offended" the city wants to control what she does with her 95-year-old house on Market Street just because the house is old.

"If you have property listed because of its age, hell, I'm old. Put me on the list," she said.

Residents also objected to the $2,300 fee that accompanies the minor use permit.

The Planning Commission voted to include a fee waiver for residents.

City planners prefer a review process for three years while planners set a more comprehensive and permanent system. The city would establish further criteria to determine what is considered historic. The staff would also complete a thorough survey of potential historic sites in the city.

Under the proposal, demolition requests would require approval of the Planning Commission. Property owners would need to get a permit to make any modifications that would affect the structure's historical significance. The permit would be subject to approval by the city's director of Community Development.

Minor changes like replacing carpeting, hardwood flooring, countertops and shelving are excluded from the requirement.

Property owners who fail to get the appropriate permits prior to demolition would be denied requests for building, construction and use permits for 10 years.


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