Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ)

Plans, pencil and ruler

Plans, pencil and ruler

Just the name alone says it all. The Historic Preservation Overlay Zone was created in 1979 and adopted by the Los Angeles City Council in 1983. Angelino Heights was the first district  in Los Angeles to be designated as an HPOZ. Literally it’s a “Zone on top of a General Plan Zoning designation,” – “An overlay” – its adoption was created in order to protect neighborhoods that represent a style of Architectural and cultural heritage specific to a regional design concept. These neighborhoods depict a style of Architecture from a time gone by, yet are still viable and cherished for their unique aesthetic charm and historic value. They give a character of warmth, and a sense of belonging that makes up the total essence of what we know Los Angeles to be.  - “Victorian homes”, “Craftsman Homes”, “Art Deco”, “Edwardian”, and even “Brick Impressionism”.  There are so many rich styles of Architecture that make up the character and nature of our neighborhoods where we live and they must be preserved. History is a good thing. That’s what the HPOZ is all about and that’s what they do.

Imagine “Knocking Down” a Castle in Spain in order to build a Metal and Glass 40 Story Skyscraper? You just wouldn’t do that – unless, your proposed “Skyscraper” had turrets with a moat and a drawbridge with big guys in silver suits sporting huge swords as part of the Site Plan. Now this could be possible but it would be an extreme example of how the HPOZ functions or operates. – Sort of.

Details – Nothing but details

This is what the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, (HPOZ) does…details  “You want to replace a window in a house built in 1928?” – “That’s fine. Replace it with a window that is exactly what a window in 1928 looks like.” Simple! – Not always. Sometimes materials, hardware or fixtures are not available or simply do not even exist anymore from that time period. This can cause permitting problems and/or extreme expen$e and headaches. The main function of the HPOZ is to maintain a balance of historical character to a neighborhood while at the same time trying to allow development with a sense of history.

It’s just like another type of Design Review Board

The difference from a basic Design Review Board people and the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone people is that the HPOZ people have a lot more teeth in their bite. Seriously. If your property is located in a HPOZ, you must first become a historian in order to do anything to your home or property. Do that first. Find out if you are in a HPOZ. I can do this with you over the phone and advise you as to what kinds of improvements or development is even feasible. You’ll save a lot of grief and tons of cash with a simple call.

(909) 782-2495, ask for John.

The following list is of all existing Historic Preservation Overlay Zones in the City of Los Angeles along with a short list of  those that are proposed. Just remember, if your home was built before you were born – they’re watching you!!!

These are the Existing HPOZs in Los Angeles

Adams – Normandy

Angelino Heights

Balboa Highlands

Banning Park

Carthy Circle

Country Club Park

Gregory Ain Mar Vista Tract

Hancock Park

Harvard Heights

Highland Park – Garvanza – I used to live there!

Hollywood Grove

Jefferson Park

Lafayette Square

Lincoln Heights

Melrose Hill

Miracle Mile North

Pico Union

South Carthay

Spaulding Square


University Park

Van Nuys

Vinegar City

West Adams Terrace.

Now for the proposed HPOZs

Vinegar Hill Expansion

Tifal Brothers East 52nd Place Tract

27th and 28th St. / Paloma Avenue

Carthay Square

Vermont Square

Larchmont Heights

Victoria Park

Wellington Square

Lincoln Heights Expansion

Sunset Square

El Sereno – Berkshire Craftsman and Revival Bungalow Village

Never heard of these districts?

Don’t worry, most people have never heard of these districts. But they are out there and do exist.  I can research the information to find out if your home or business is located in one of these obscure locations that has a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone designation and guide you through the process for your property development.

Hey! I used to live in “Hermon” – who’d have known? “Where’s Hermon?” – It’s right next to Garvanza!!! Oh, where?

The Historic Preservation Overlay Zone does a lot of good for the people in the City of Los Angeles.  Make no mistake, they do – just don’t look-up any information on the Victorian Homes disaster on Bunker Hill. That was just a “Mistake.”

So, no elevators in your Castle… OK? But, be sure that the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone representatives will tell you the rest of the story as to what you can and cannot do to your property or home.

But call me first. (909) 782-2495. It couldn’t hurt. I know the right questions to ask for you.

The Historical Preservation Overlay Zone keeps making the city look old, …and real.

Just how it should be.

Personally, I like that.



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