The local review board of the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District met in its nominally monthly session with little business before it.

At its Thursday, Sept. 29, meeting at the Idyllwild Library Community Room, the board voted to change its scheduled monthly meetings to quarterly — with the next meeting being at noon Thursday, Jan. 26. The board noted that when they have a project before it, they could resume meeting on a monthly basis.

Said Keith Herron, county historic preservation officer, “The level of business we have before us does not warrant monthly meetings.” Herron serves as chief of natural, cultural and historic resources for the county’s Regional Park and Open Space District and in that capacity, oversees the work of Idyllwild’s Historic Preservation District.

In another matter, any local petitioning for Mills Act tax status was taken off the table because of lack of community interest. The Mills Act provides tax relief for owners of historic properties in exchange for their contractual agreement to restore and maintain those properties according to agreed standards.

Board member Ron Kammeyer asked what the board could do to help the community and raise interest about Idyllwild’s historic district. Herron suggested the board solicit historic status nominations for buildings not currently within the district, including private residences, as well as commercial buildings. Herron noted that May 2018 is the 125th anniversary of the Riverside County’s split from San Diego County and that nominating more Idyllwild structures would be a great way to highlight the county’s historic identity. “We could ask the county Historical Commission to meet here with individual nominations for additional Idyllwild structures as the focus,” suggested Herron.

Designation as an historic site carries certain benefits under California law, including “alternative regulations” under the California Historical Building Code, which are designed to “facilitate repair designed to preserve a historic resource’s original or restored architectural features;” federal tax credits, if qualified under National Historic Registers; and tax savings under preservation easements.

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