Historic Landmarks & Districts
Sonoma County Historic Landmarks are historic resources, mainly properties, that the Landmarks Commission has determined to be significant based on specific criteria.
An historic resource can be a building, a structure, a district, a site, an object, or a record. Typically an historic resource is defined as a building, a structure, or a district. In Sonoma County, Historic Landmarks are mainly individual or groups of buildings and/or structures, but also include cemeteries, bridges, a grove of trees, a monument commemorating construction of a road, a statue, and a marker commemorating an outside art installation. Historic Landmark properties are zoned "Historic District" (HD).
Sonoma County has about 190 Historic Landmarks. Most of the Historic Landmarks were designated in the mid-1970s to late-1970s and early-1980s to mid- 1980s. Additional Historic Landmarks will be designated in the coming years under the County’s Historic Preservation Program.
An Historic District is a specific area of the County in which there is a significant concentration or continuity of historic sites, buildings, structures, and objects of historic merit or which represent an historic theme important to Sonoma County, the State of California, or the country.
The purpose of an Historic District is to preserve the design of the exterior of existing structures and regulate the design of the exterior of new structures, accomplished through "Historic District" (HD) Zoning of all parcels in the District and applying specific Historic District Design Guidelines.
HD Zoning protects the existing structures in an Historic District because it requires that the Landmarks Commission review and ultimately approve the design of any proposed project that involves altering the exterior of an existing structure or constructing a new structure. This review by the Commission, which includes applying the pertinent Historic District Design Guidelines, ensures that the design of such projects is compatible with the design of existing structures in the District.
Sonoma County has five area Historic Districts - Bodega, Duncans Mills, Freestone, Occidental, and Penngrove. The County also has a "Glen Ellen Study Area" that is different than an Historic District in that only a few of the parcels within the boundary of the Study Area are zoned HD.
Bodega Historic District. The County adopted Ordinance No. 3217 establishing the Bodega Historic District on October 31, 1983. The boundary of the Historic District encompasses primarily the downtown section of Bodega, along both sides of Bodega Highway from about Bodega Calvary Cemetery northeast to about Salmon Creek, including the north and west sides of Bodega Lane.
Draft Bodega Historic District Design Guidelines are currently being prepared. The Final Bodega Historic District Design Guidelines should be available in July 2012.
Contact Sonoma County Landmarks Commission Staff for design guideline information.
Duncans Mills Historic District. The County adopted Ordinance No. 2949 establishing the Duncans Mills Historic District on March 2, 1982. The boundary of the Historic District encompasses the area on the west side of State Highway 116 from the intersection with Moscow Road to about 1,500 feet northwest; and along the east and west sides of State Highway 116 from the intersection with Moscow Road to about 700 feet southwest.
Draft Duncans Mills Historic District Design Guidelines are currently being prepared. The Final Duncans Mills Historic District Design Guidelines should be available in July 2012.
Freestone Historic District. The County adopted Ordinance No. 1849 establishing the Freestone Historic District on December 17, 1974. The boundary of the Historic District encompasses primarily the downtown section of Freestone along Bohemian Highway from Bodega Road to the northern limits of town. Five buildings in the Freestone Historic District are designated as Historic Landmarks: an 1867 Greek Revival Schoolhouse, 1872 Greek Revival Hotel, 1876 Italianate General Store, and two Greek Revival private residences.
The "Design Review Policy Guidelines for the Freestone Historic District" were adopted on November 21, 1974 subsequent to a petition in 1973 from 22 Freestone property owners to establish an Historic District. These design guidelines are currently being updated. The “Draft Freestone Historic District Design Guidelines” are available. The “Final Freestone Historic District Design Guidelines” should be available in July 2012
Contact Sonoma County Landmarks Commission Staff regarding the "Draft Freestone Historic District Design Guidelines".
Occidental Historic District. The County adopted Ordinance No. 2611 establishing the Occidental Historic District on March 4, 1980. The boundary of the Historic District encompasses generally downtown Occidental, the east and west sides of both Bohemian Highway and Main Street between 1st Street and Graton Road; and extends along the west side of Bohemian Highway from the intersection with Graton Road to about 1000 feet northwest, and along both sides of Coleman Valley Road from the intersection with Bohemian Highway to about 400 feet northwest.
The County adopted the Occidental Town Study Preliminary Report (December 17, 1974) that incorporates "Occidental Design Review Standards". These design guidelines are currently being updated. The “Draft Occidental Historic District Design Guidelines” are available. The “Final Occidental Historic District Design Guidelines” should be available in July 2012.
Contact Sonoma County Landmarks Commission Staff regarding the "Draft Occidental Design Guidelines".
Penngrove Historic District. The County adopted Ordinance No. 3273 adopting the Penngrove Specific Plan and establishing the Penngrove Historic District on April 10, 1984. The boundary of the Historic District encompasses generally the east and west sides of Main Street from the intersection with Old Redwood Highway to Adobe Road; in two locations the Historic District is only on the west side of Main Street.
The Penngrove Area Plan (formerly the Penngrove Specific Plan) incorporates Penngrove Design Standards. These design guidelines have been updated. The Penngrove Main Street Design Guidelines are available.
Contact Sonoma County Landmarks Commission Staff regarding the "Penngrove Design Guidelines".
Glen Ellen Historic District. The boundary of the Historic District encompasses an area on the east and west sides of Arnold Drive from about Sonoma Creek to Arroyada Road; both sides of Warm Springs Road.
On November 14, 1990 the Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance No. 4297 establishing the Glen Ellen Development and Design Guidelines. The Guidelines represent revised goals, objectives, policies, and design guidelines contained in previous versions of the Glen Ellen Town Plan.
Contact Sonoma County Landmarks Commission Staff regarding the "Glen Ellen Development and Design Guidelines".
Russian River. The County has not designated an Historic District in the Russian River area. The Sonoma County Community Development Commission, Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee has prepared design guidelines for the area which address historic resources and preservation. The County adopted the “Russian River Corridor Design Guidelines” on December 14, 2010.
Contact Sonoma County Landmarks Commission Staff regarding the “Russian River Corridor Design Guidelines”.
These documents are saved in Adobe Acrobat format.
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