The Idyllwild Historic Preservation District Review Board announced a community meeting to acquaint property owners, especially those within the district, with what has been called “the single most important economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners.”

The Mills Act, enacted in California in 1972, gives authority to local governments — on the Hill, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and responsible agencies — to enter into contracts with private property owners to receive tax credits of up to 50 percent each year in return for owners restoring and maintaining their historic properties. To qualify, a historic property must be listed on a national, state, county or city register or designated as a “contributing resource” within a historic district. Mills Act contracts are initially for 10 years with automatic yearly extensions that stay with the property when transferred.

Keith Herron, chief of resources and planning in the Riverside County Parks and Open Space District, said a mailing announcing the meeting, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29, would be sent to more than 50 property owners in the Idyllwild Historic District. All are urged to attend, given the potential for owners to receive significant reductions in property taxes. The meeting will be held in the Community Room of the Idyllwild Library.

Even for buildings currently outside present historic district boundaries (both businesses and residences), there is a procedure to individually nominate buildings and receive historic designation and Mills Act property tax reductions. Nomination procedures may be found at www.rivcoparks.org/wp-content/uploads/landmarks-application-1-15-09-adobe-form.pdf.

For more information or for questions prior to the meeting, email Herron at [email protected] Since December 2004, the city of Riverside has had a Mills Act program in place. Visit www.riversideca.gov/historic/mills.asp to view how it has worked in Riverside.