Requirements to designate buildings as landmark structures have been eased under a new ordinance, which also allows for more buildings to be preserved.
The City Council Tuesday night introduced for first reading an ordinance that shortens the process for landmark designations and includes incentives for preservation, including waiving building permit and other fees.
The ordinance also enables the city to give owners property tax breaks to preserve, maintain or restore the historic structure.
The criteria for designating landmarks and historic districts are also expanded to include buildings that are of rare architectural design, historical type, or have a unique location.
The ordinance creates a new category for structures of merit, which are not significant enough to be designated as a landmark, but contribute to Santa Monica's cultural identity. This designation can delay demolition of buildings that might be part of a historic district for up to 360 days.