Updates on City of San José Services and/or Operations . (English | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文)

Historic Landmarks Commission and Design Review Subcommittee

Historic Landmarks Commission 

The Historic Landmarks Commission is required and established in accordance with the Municipal Code (Part 13 and Part 26).The seven members are residents of the City of San Jose (unless specifically authorized otherwise) with a range of expertise related to historic preservation, appointed by the City Council. The Historic Landmarks Commission has the responsibility of forwarding comments and recommendations to the Director of Planning and City Council on:

  • City Landmark, City Landmark Historic District, and Conservation Area Nominations;
  • Mills Act Historic Property Contracts;
  • Historic Preservation Permits for work performed on a City Landmark or within a City Landmark Historic District; and,
  • Preservation, exhibition, and protection of the History San Jose Historical Museum.

The Historic Landmarks Commission also:

  • Maintains the Historic Resources Inventory, utilizing the Inventory as a tool in recommendations and Inventory listings as appropriate, by:
    • Providing comments on land use/development proposals with the potential to impact cultural resources; and,
    • Where appropriate, adding properties identified through those proposals to the Historic Resources Inventory.

The City Council is the final decision-making body on City Landmark designations, City Landmark Historic District designations, Conservation Area listings, and Mills Act Historical Property Contracts. The Director of Planning is the final decision-making body on Historic Preservation Permits. The City Council serves as the appellate body for Historic Preservation Permit decisions. The City Council has authorized the Historic Landmarks Commission to list properties on the Inventory without requiring Council approval. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement serves as the Secretary to the Historic Landmarks Commission.


  • 6:30 pm
  • First Wednesday of every month
  • City Council Chambers


  • Edward Saum, Chair
  • Paul Boehm, Vice Chair
  • Harriett Arnold
  • Eric Hirst
  • Stephen Polcyn
  • Anthony Raynsford
  • Rachel Royer

If you are interested in becoming a Commissioner and would like more information about the application process, please contact the City Clerk.

To contact the Commission, please contact Historic Preservation Officer, Juliet Arroyo, at (408) 535-7847.

For additional information, please visit the Official Roster.

Design Review Subcommittee

The subcommittee's purpose is:

  • To provide a public forum for discussion of complex historic preservation permits early in the design process and prior to review by the Historic Landmarks Commission, or;
  • To provide a public forum for discussion of projects involving the rehabilitation of historic resources not reviewed by the full Historic Landmarks Commission.

The discussion is focused on developing projects that will comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Standards). Generally, a project that follows the Standards;

  • Is considered as mitigated to a less than significant impact on a historic resource that is eligible for the California Register of Historical Resources, the National Register of Historic Places and a candidate City Landmark, and;
  • Retains the integrity of a resource listed on the City’s Historic Resources Inventory as a structure of merit or contributing structure to a conservation area, so that the resource can continue to become more significant with the passage of time.


  • Third Wednesday of every month
  • 1:00pm
  • City Hall Tower Room T-332


The Design Review Committee (DRC) is a three-member subcommittee of the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC). One member serves as chairperson of the committee.

Application Review

Projects with the potential to benefit from discussion are referred to the DRC for review at the discretion of the planning director. Project managers coordinate the referral of the current historic preservation permit, development permit, and preliminary review applications that impact historic resources. Examples include:

  • Any alterations that may have a significant effect on the façade of a historic resource
  • Any change to a historic resource that might result in loss of integrity of character-defining features
  • Substantial expansion of a historic building
  • New construction in a historic district or conservation area

Meeting Materials

Agendas are available prior to these public hearings. To request an accommodation or an alternative format for printed materials, please call Support Staff at (408) 535-7721 or (408) 294-9337 (TTY) as soon as possible, but at least three business days before any hearing. To be placed on a list to receive email notification when a meeting agenda is posted please email Commission support staff. Also, you may wish to contact the Planning Division at (408) 535-3555 the week of a public hearing to verify that an item will be heard and is not scheduled for deferral to a later date.

View the Agendas and Minutes

Audio recordings of Historic Landmarks Commission hearings are sorted by date and are also available.