It’s taken three years for volunteers to finish work on a preservation plan for the city’s downtown historical district,
but their work paid off Tuesday night when the City Council adopted the plan.
“This area has a lot of old houses, and we want to make it something special,” said Mitch Caldwell, one of the
residents involved in the effort to recognize the old neighborhoods downtown.
“We want to get young families to move back in here.” Anaheim now joins Orange, San Juan Capistrano and other
cities that have drafted plans to preserve their vintage neighborhoods.
The plan unveiled Tuesday was drafted to help residents and property owners understand why they should keep the
historical character of their buildings intact – and how to do it.
In 1997, the council passed the city’s first preservation ordinance, creating the Anaheim Colony Historic District
within the boundaries of the original 1857 township settled by Germans who arrived here to make wine.
Some 1,100 buildings within the boundaries of North, South, East and West streets are designated historical
structures.
Anaheim’s preservation ordinance, unlike that of Orange, is strictly voluntary. Owners are free to remodel or tear
down if they choose.
Before the owners of a historical structure within Anaheim Colony can remodel, though, they must meet with city
officials and review the preservation program. Demolitions must be delayed 60 days while the possibility of moving a
home is explored.
The plan approved Tuesday explains how the consultation process works, recommends types of architectural and
landscape designs that are consistent with the historical period, spells out the types of assistance available to
homeowners, and provides a list of resources to help owners learn about restoration and preservation.
A 40-page color booklet will provide voluntary guidelines for property owners and explain how the city’s preservation
rules work.
It will be available to the public this year.
The plan seeks to educate owners about the financial and social value of maintaining the vintage architecture of their
buildings, particularly the facades.
Research done in Beaufort, S.C., indicates that houses within a historical district tend to appreciate in value faster
than those in surrounding neighborhoods – but only if they maintain their original form.
Modern alterations often look out of character and tend to lower the building’s ultimate resale value, researchers
found.
Preserved porches, balustrades, and wooden sash windows and front doors are particularly important to potential
buyers, who can lose interest in purchasing a home if it has been remodeled too extensively.
Mike Tucker, who owns a vintage bungalow on Zeyn Street, said his neighborhood has changed for the better since
the drive for historical preservation began.
“The neighbors all know each other,” Tucker said. “It has a small-town feel. We have neighborhood barbecues, and
people gather on each other’s porches.”
For more information about the historical-preservation program, call (714) 765-4340.
The City of Anaheim’s entire Preservation Plan book is available
for viewing online.  CLICK HERE to go to the Plan.