Two key developments moved the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District (IHPD) closer to becoming fully functional. One involves the county’s retaining a contractor to draw up the IHPD design guidelines and the timeline for completing them. The other is the opening of the application process for selecting the five members for the local IHPD board (see sidebar).

The county issued a sole source contract to LSA Associatesin October to complete design guidelines for the Idyllwild district. Prior to approval of the district, LSA surveyed 152 properties within the Idyllwild district and determined that 65 qualified for one or more historical registers. LSA photographed all the buildings within the district that met certain standards for historical registry inclusion.

“The contract was issued to LSA because of economies of both time and money,” said Keith Herron, county historic preservation officer. Herron explained that since LSA surveyed the district and catalogued the resources that qualified for historic register designation, it made sense for them to draw the guidelines. “They really saved us a lot of money,” he said. “Anyone else would have had to start from the beginning.”

LSA is working with Herron to produce a design guideline draft by end of December. The draft would be presented to the community at another town meeting.

Residents could view the draft and offer comments sometime in January, Herron estimated. Prior to the town meeting, the county will post on the planning department website salient elements of the guidelines that will be up for discussion, including lighting, signage, fences, and facades. The draft will also contain diagrams and drawings on how to complete additions and alterations that would likely be approved by the county planning department.

In the future the IHPD board will be responsible for administering the planning and permitting requirements within the district. Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone is now seeking interested applicants for the board. They must live within a three-mile radius of the approved district boundaries and be willing to serve without pay. At least one of the five board members, according to the ordinance, “Shall be knowledgeable in architectural and construction techniques and all members shall exhibit an interest in and knowledge of the history and architecture of the Historic Preservation District.” Applications are due Jan. 5, 2012.

The local review board acts in an advisory capacity with the county planning director in processing IHPD alteration permits. It reviews applications, based on district design guidelines, and make recommendations to the planning director. The board is also responsible for preparing a district plan that, at minimum, contains goals for the district. These goals can include maintaining original qualities of buildings, structures and facades; retaining distinctive stylistic features; and encouraging alterations that don’t compromise significant historical or architectural materials and designs. The board is also tasked to maintain a list and description of all historical resources within the district and draw up or approve a set of design guidelines and criteria that reference applicable preservation laws and standards.

In February or March, the IHPD board will convene. Its first duty will be to review the LSA draft guidelines, the suggestions of residents in response to the draft guidelines and then send board recommendations to county planning. Finally, the Planning Department will approve the final guidelines that will then serve as the blueprint for the local board to review all future applications for alterations and/or additions.

SEE ALSO: Volunteers with knowledge of Idyllwild history needed