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Historic Preservation

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What is the Historic Preservation Program?

The Historic Preservation Program is the Town’s comprehensive effort to update the Downtown’s historic preservation programs, standards, and guidelines. The Community Development Department and Downtown property owners and business owners are working from a historic resources inventory that was completed in 1981, historic design guidelines adopted by Nevada County in 1987, and interim historic preservation standards adopted as part of the Downtown Specific Plan in 1997. Accordingly the Town Council has made the Historic Preservation Program an “A+” priority for the community, but more importantly, the Council has said we have to fundamentally change the way we approach historic preservation in Truckee.

Historic Design Review Process

The intent and purpose of the Historic Preservation (HP) District are to ensure the protection of the historic and cultural old-town character of Downtown Truckee. The Historic Preservation District development standards and Historic Preservation District Design Guidelines protect this character by preserving and enhancing historic structures and sites, encouraging complementary and compatible new development, and fostering a pedestrian-oriented downtown.

 All exterior improvements, other than paint modifications, to structures located within the HP District, require the submittal of a Historic Design Review application to be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission and approved by the Community Development Director. The Historic Design Review Information Handout lists the submittal requirements for a historic design review application and the review process. 

Historic Design Guidelines 

These design guidelines apply to properties in the Historic Preservation Overlay District in the Downtown area. They apply to new buildings and structures, modifications to existing buildings and structures, historic buildings, and other site features. The Historic Design Guidelines are part of the Development Code and Downtown Specific Plan.

Historic Preservation Advisory Commission (HPAC)

A citizens advisory committee that assists and advises the Council and Town staff on historic preservation matters. The Commission also reviews and makes recommendations on historic design review

 HPAC Streamlining - Use the Green Light-Yellow Light-Red Light Handouts below for a guide to exterior modifications in the Historic District that may be exempt from HPAC review:

Fencing and Walls
Outdoor Dining
Retaining Walls

 Historic Resources Inventory

A Historic Resources Inventory, which surveyed all buildings and structures in the Downtown area older than 50 years.  was completed in 2003. This inventory established categories for these buildings and structures based on their historical significance and provides suggestions for potential restoration opportunities: 

  • Category A (Essential) – These buildings are the Town’s best examples of representing Truckee history. They are individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and meet strict criteria for exemplifying the history of the
    state and nation.
  • Category B (Contributory) – These buildings contribute significantly to the historic character of the Downtown area. They are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places if the community wishes to establish a National Register District
    much like Nevada City’s National Register District.
  • Category C (Supporting) – These buildings do not meet the strict criteria for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. However, they still convey the history of the building and enhance the historic character of Truckee and they remain an important part of our local community.
  • Category D (Non-Essential) – Although these buildings are older than 50 years, they are such in poor condition or so many alterations have been made to the building that they no longer convey their history. These buildings are not considered historic for the purposes of the Historic Preservation Program.

To check the status of a particular property, please reference the following link:  Historic Resources Inventory Summary Table. Contact the Planning Division at (530) 582-7820, extension 2 for specific inventory information.

Historic Recognition Program
HPAC kicked of the Excellence in Historic Preservation Award in 2018 to recognize the hard work and effort on outstanding projects and incentivize future preservation projects.. 

Development Code
The Development Code contains other historic preservation regulations addressing historic buildings and new development in the Downtown area. These include:

Chapter 18.20 - Historic Preservation Overlay District

Chapter 18.26 - Historic Preservation Design Guidelines

Chapter 18.77 - Historic Design Review

Chapter 18.82 - Historic Variances

Chapter 18.83 - Demolition Review

Do you have a property in the Downtown area and want to know if it was designated as a historic building? The historic resource inventory record for each property is available at the Town of Truckee Planning Division. Please contact the Planning Division at (530) 582-7820, extension 2, for further information.

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