ANAHEIM – A city often criticized for ignoring history when it redeveloped its downtown has approved the first comprehensive
plan to help save its remaining “historic gems.”

Anaheim’s Citywide Historic Preservation Plan took 18 months to compile and lists 1,263 properties – mostly residential and a few commercial ones – with historical significance.

The Citywide Historic Preservation Plan took 18 months to compile the list of properties with historic significance.

The plan places no restrictions on what owners can do with their properties; it merely lists guidelines for owners to follow if they want to restore their homes or businesses to original standards. In some cases, homes could be eligible for property-tax breaks through the Mills Act.

The one restriction:  listed properties cannot be razed for at least 60 days after an owner applies for a demolition permit.  That time would allow city staff and preservationists to talk to the owner about buying or moving the property before it’s bulldozed.

“This is Anaheim finally realizing the significance of its past,” said Gail Eastman, a member of the committee that put together the 74-page report and list.


“It wasn’t just Anaheim that in the ’70s and ’80s got caught up in the exuberance of redevelopment and moving forward.  A lot of significant
buildings were lost during that time,” she said.  “You might say this is
making up for some of the sins of the past.”
The plan, unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday night, lists homes deemed to be significant, either because of their architecture or because a person of significance lived there – or both.It includes an updated list of homes within four previously established historic districts. The committee also identified 109 structures outside of
those districts.

The Ramon Peralta Adobe, for instance, is the first home in Anaheim Hills to
be included as “historically significant.”  It was built in 1871 and is the lone
adobe left standing in the Santa Ana Canyon.

The list includes homes from the 1950s and ’60s that are representative of the architecture of their eras.

About 240 homes throughout the city have already been awarded Mills Act contracts, ranking Anaheim with the third most officially designated historical homes in California – behind Los Angeles  and San Diego.

Still, many of the city’s downtown historic buildings were demolished in the 1970s and ’80s during redevelopment.

Several property owners said they think Anaheim is striking a good balance with the preservation plan.

“It seems like they are fully respecting property rights, while at they same time letting property owners know, ‘Hey, you’ve got something special here. You might want to fix it up and protect it,'” said Mike Garcia, who owns a home listed in the plan on Sycamore Street.

Councilwoman Lorri Galloway said the plan honors “a taste of generations before us” and encourages preservation as a gift to generations still to come.

“Our heritage is of key importance to us,” she said.  “We are very proud of it.”