Historic preservation on Planning Commission agenda

Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction in Newhall. 043021. Dan Watson/The Signal

The city of Santa Clarita’s historic preservation grant funds may soon become available to help maintain local buildings with historic designations from the state of California and the federal government. 

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission is scheduled Tuesday to consider amending the city’s historic preservation code to make the annually budgeted $25,000 in historic perseveration grant funds available to the city’s three historic sites with either a state or federal historic designation and any future properties that receive one of those designations. 

Pioneer Oil Refinery on Pine Street, the Saugus Station at Heritage Junction, and portions of the railroad tunnel through the Newhall Pass located adjacent to Pine Street are the only historic sites in Santa Clarita with a state or federal historic designation, according Jason Crawford, the city’s planning manager. 

These sites are not on the city’s register of historic sites, which totals nine locations in Santa Clarita. 

The city’s historic preservation code, last updated in 2013, limits the city to providing historic preservation financial support to buildings on the city’s historic designation list. 

“For us to be able to use the historic preservation funds in the future for that, we’ll need to have, and want to have, the ability to use these funds for the federal- and state-designated (sites),” said Crawford. 

The city started in 2013 budgeting $25,000 each year for the historic preservation grant, which reimburses owners of the city’s nine locally designated historic properties for repairs, such as a roof replacement. 

The city has used most of the funds each year, according to Crawford, who also noted that the Santa Clarita City Council recently approved $125,000 for emergency seismic upgrades to the Saugus Train Station and other historic structures at Heritage Junction. 

“This emergency need reinforced that we should add these properties to the grant program,” he said. “And we’re realizing that we want to be able to help with the Pioneer Oil Refinery site.” 

If the Planning Commission recommends approving the proposed change, the City Council is tentatively scheduled to consider this change at its meeting on June 8. The City Council would need to approve the amendment for it take effect. 

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