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All About Historic Districts


Riverside's commitment to historic preservation began in 1969 with the adoption of a preservation ordinance and creation of the Cultural Heritage Board. Since that time the program has grown to include an ongoing process to survey, record and designate historic resources, an award-winning historic resources inventory database, historic district design guidelines, educational programs, and a historic preservation plan.


"Local historic districts usually enjoy the greatest level of protection" legally from any threats that may compromise their historic integrity because many land-use decisions are made at the local level. There are more than 2,300 local historic districts in the United States. Local historic districts can be administered at the county or the municipal level; both entities are involved in land use decisions. Most local historic districts are constricted by design guidelines that control changes to the properties included in the district.

According to the National Park Service, historic districts are one of the oldest forms of protection for historic properties. The city of Charleston, South Carolina is credited with beginning the modern day historic districts movement. In 1931 Charleston enacted an ordinance which designated an "Old and Historic District" administered by a Board of Architectural Review. Charleston's early ordinance reflected the strong protection that local historic districts often enjoy under local law. It asserted that "no alteration could be made to any architectural features which could be viewed by the public from the street."

It is common for Historic Districts to not allow architectural changes to the exterior of a property such as replacing original windows with vinyl. 

For more information on what is and is not allowed in Riverside Historic Districts you can contact City Historic Preservation Assistant Planner, Scott Watson at (951) 826-5507.

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