There is interest in re-establishing the Lake County Heritage Commission so it can create and maintain a Register of County Historic Resources. Such a register would allow county agencies to apply for preservation and rehabilitation grants, allow owners of historic sites to enter into “Mills Act” preservation contracts lowering their property taxes, and make the job of determining historic site significance much easier for land use planners during the permit process.

To assist in the process, we are presenting the following historical perspective, so past pitfalls can be avoided.


Four years of Heritage Commission efforts stymied by the Lake County Community Development Department, County Council, and Public Services Directors.  Heritage Commissioners finally give up and leave.  Lake County’s Heritage Commission no longer exists.


Lake County’s Heritage Commission was created in 1986 by the passage of Article 38 of the Lake County Zoning Code. That article created a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone to assist landowners and the county in protecting historic and prehistoric sites. The ordinance also created the Cultural Resource Commission (made up of knowledgeable citizens) to create and maintain a Register of County Historic Resources and to review and comment on planning applications for projects that may impact heritage resources.

In 1993, County Supervisors passed a resolution combining the functions of three different commissions (including the Cultural Resource Commission) into a newly named County Heritage Commission. The resolution also took away the commission’s authority to create and maintain a County Historic Register.

In the 26 years that Article 38 has existed, not one single parcel in Lake County has been given the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone; not the Historic Lake County Courthouse, not the Historic Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum, not the National Historic Landmark Borax Lake Site, not the National Register Anderson Marsh Archaeological District, and not the National Register Rattlesnake Island Archaeological District.

Timeline of Actions Leading to Commissioners Giving Up