Certificate of Appropriateness (General)

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Bailey House and Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

Types of Projects That Require a Certificate of Appropriateness

The Certificate of Appropriateness Application process was established to ensure that any alteration to a historic resource or vintage building (constructed prior to 1941) is in keeping with its historic character and does not degrade its integrity.

No permit shall be issued for work on a historic resource or vintage building until a Certificate of Appropriateness Application has been approved by the City of Whittier.

A Certificate of Appropriateness Application is required for such activities as:

  • Alterations, additions, restoration, rehabilitation, remodeling, demolition or relocation of a historic or vintage resource. Approval of such work shall be required even if the City requires no other permits;
  • Work to the exterior of any non-contributing resource within a historic district;
  • Infill construction within a historic district; and,
  • New improvements within a historic district.

Common projects that typically require a Certificate of Appropriateness include (but are not limited to):

  • Comprehensive window, door or siding change-outs to a building or structure;
  • Additions 500 square feet and greater;
  • Additions under 500 square feet that are visible from a public street;
  • Alterations to a street-facing building facade;
  • Demolition of a building or structure;
  • Changes to the roof pitch of a building;
  • Any alterations to important character defining features of eligible and designated historic landmarks; and,
  • Any work that requires a building permit within a designated historic district.


A Certificate of Appropriateness Application submitted to the Community Development Department is reviewed by the Department’s planning staff within 30 days of its filing.

If an application is deemed “incomplete” for processing, the planning staff will contact the applicant, in writing, to identify the additional information necessary to make their application complete. Once the application is deemed “complete” for processing, it will be scheduled for review by the Historic Resources Commission.

In advance of the Historic Resources Commission meeting, a public hearing notice for the project will be published in the Whittier Daily News and mailed to the surrounding property owners near the project site at least 10 days prior to the public hearing date. Interested property owners and the general public are invited to attend and comment on the project application during the public hearing.

After a duly noticed public hearing is held on the project and all information concerning the Certificate of Appropriateness Application has been reviewed and evaluated by the Historic Resources Commission, the Commission will vote to approve, conditionally approve or deny the Certificate of Appropriateness Application based on the findings of fact that constitute the basis for their decision.

All Commission decisions are subject to a 15-day appeal period to the City Council.


A Certificate of Appropriateness Application may be granted upon the Historic Resources Commission’s findings that the proposed project, in whole or in part, will not:

  • Detrimentally change, destroy or adversely affect any significant architectural feature of the resource;
  • Detrimentally change, destroy or adversely affect the historic character or value of the resource;
  • Be incompatible with the exterior features of other improvements within the district;
  • Adversely affect or detract from the character of the district.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to comply with the City’s Historic Resources Ordinance?

    Compliance with the City’s Historic Resources Ordinance is mandatory for:

    • All “vintage” properties developed prior to 1941;
    • All eligible and designated historic landmarks; and,
    • Properties located within a historic district.
  • What is the difference between a “historic resource” and “vintage” building/structure?

    A “historic resource” means any improvement, historic landmark or district, or other object of cultural, architectural or historical significance to the citizens of the city, the region, the state or the nation, which is designated or eligible for designation and determined to be appropriate for historic preservation by the Historic Resources Commission or by the City Council upon appeal. “Vintage buildings and structures” are improvements that were constructed prior to 1941 that are not currently identified as an eligible or designated historic landmark.

  • Is a Certificate of Appropriateness required for interior work?

    Interior work which does not result in any alterations or changes to the exterior of a building or structure is not subject to a Certificate of Appropriateness Application.

    Cool-a-Coo Ice Cream Plant and Former Citrus Association Packing House

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