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Fullerton Historic Districts Recognized

The city of Fullerton has 16 residential areas that are designated Historic Districts. They are of similar age and styles of housing, layouts of streets and alleys, building setbacks, and associated public improvements, such as curbs and gutters, sidewalk patterns, and streetlights.

Over the last 25 years, ten of the 16 Historic Districts have been given special designation as Residential Preservation Zones by the city of Fullerton. In each case, Fullerton Heritage worked with the property owners and City Staff to prepare the necessary petitions and applications to take before the Landmarks Commission and the City Council.  Residents in the neighborhoods gathered the signatures for the petitions and attended meetings with City staff who explained the process and the protections that this zoning designation would provide for the preservation of their neighborhood’s character and compatibility.

Recently Fullerton Heritage designed signs to mark the entry points into these districts.  Fullerton Heritage funded their manufacture, and the City has agreed to install them. The first signs will be installed in the Residential Preservation Zones.

Example of a Historic District sign to be installed.

On April 21, 2020, the City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Mills Act. The Mills Act is enabling legislation passed by the state of California that authorizes cities to offer property tax reduction incentives for property owners to rehabilitate and maintain their historic properties. The incentive and resulting improvements will increase the value of the improved property as well as the neighborhood in which it is located. The purpose of the program is not for assisting in proposed new construction such as room additions, but for deferred maintenance and upgrades to the existing residence, such as painting, window repair, and re-roofing. The reduction in property tax for the participants will result in an overall increase in property tax revenue to the City based on an increase in property values from the improvements in the areas where the program is offered.

Owners of properties within Historic Districts, as well as those designated as National Register, Local Landmark, and Significant Properties may apply to participate in the Mills Act Program. City Staff and Fullerton Heritage have agreed to jointly promote and share administrative responsibilities for its implementation. The city of Fullerton Mills Act Program, Guidelines & Application can be found on the City’s website. There is also a link to this information on the Fullerton Heritage website (fullertonheritage.org).

While the City’s Mills Act Program allows up to 10 properties to be granted Mills Act Agreements per year, the goal for this first year is to limit the number to 3 to 5 to allow Fullerton Heritage and City Staff to work through any unforeseen issues with the application process before increasing the number to the full ten in future years.

Fullerton Heritage will be glad to meet with interested owners to discuss the application process and the scope of work that would qualify under the program.  If interested, please call the Fullerton Heritage hotline at (714) 740-3051 or email to info@fullertonheritage.org.