What is an HPOZ and how does it work?


An Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, or HPOZ, is an area of the city which is designated as containing structures, landscaping or natural features having historic architectural, cultural, or aesthetic significance.  To receive such designation, an area must be adopted as an HPOZ by the City Planning Commission and the City Council through a zone change procedure that includes notification of all affected and nearby property owners and public hearings.  Once designated, areas have an HPOZ overlay added to their zoning, and are subject to special regulations.  Each HPOZ has a five member Board to review and make recommendations on projects and promote historic preservation within the designated area.  Most types of exterior changes or improvements to properties in an HPOZ area require written approval from the Planning Department.

Possible advantages of living in a HPOZ


  • clear design guidance that enables control over inappropriate alterations
  • enhances sense of community and recognizes the contributions of the residents in preserving the neighborhood
  • increases property values
  • provides eligibility for potential property tax savings under the Mills Act program
  • bolsters neighborhood expertise in its historic and architectural character

Possible disadvantages to living in a HPOZ


  • properties located in HPOZ areas are subject to additional review process.  A presentation may need to be made to the local HPOZ Board
  • most typical exterior changes or improvements must be approved by the Department of City Planning
  • minor modifications may be approved very quickly, but more significant changes may be under review for up to 75 days
  • projects that would degrade the historic character of the structure or neighborhood may not be allowed

(Source:  Los Angeles Department of City Planning, Office of Historic Resources)