Historic Preservation

The City Council adopted the Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Survey Report and Historic Context Statement (HCS) on June 7, 2021. Links to the documents and other information are provided here. Additional background information about the process to prepare and review these documents is provided below.

Historic Resources Inventory Property List
Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)
Historic Context Statement (HCS)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Mill Valley's General Plan 2040 includes a variety of policies and programs aimed at protecting and enhancing the community's character and its historic resources. To implement these policies, the City of Mill Valley embarked on a program to enrich community understanding of Mill Valley's history, its important citizens, events, and places as they relate to the building environment of today and to update the informal list of potentially historic structures.

In 2017, the City Council authorized the Planning Department to hire Page and Turnbull, a San Francisco firm of Architectural Historians, Architects and Planners, to help develop a comprehensive report of the City's built history known as a Historic Context Statement (HCS) and also to survey and update the City's only working documents on historic resources that included 176 properties compiled by volunteers and local enthusiasts. Page & Turnbull also prepared a Draft Historic Resources Inventory Survey Report (HRI) that evaluated each property through a reconnaissance-level survey. 

Historic Context Statement (HCS)

Briefly, an Historic Context Statement (HCS) is a document that summarizes the community's history related to its physical development that identifies significant themes, patterns, trends, and property types. The HCS provides a framework for identification, evaluation, and treatment of historic resources.

Historic Context Statements are helpful to better understand historic resources, even in the absence of comprehensive knowledge about specific buildings, and to establish preservation goals and strategies. The Draft HCS will continue to serve as a tool for community education, provide a basis for future evaluation of properties as well as inform planning decisions and development of preservation programs.

History Resources Inventory Survey Report (HRI)

In 2018, Page & Turnbull conducted a reconnaissance level survey of the City's lists of potentially historic properties identified by members of the MVHS as having potential historic resource value. These 176 properties, located within the incorporated boundaries of the City of Mill Valley, encompass representative examples of many of the early architectural styles and building types constructed in the City of Mill Valley, and that are defined in the HCS.

The majority of the properties evaluated in the HRI represent late nineteenth century to early twentieth century architectural styles, with approximately 160 buildings constructed prior to 1930. The purpose of the survey is to determine if listed properties retain historic integrity, as well as their ability to quality for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and California Register of Historic Resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

This list provides responses to questions you may have about the HCS and HRI documents and how they benefit and affect Mill Valley.

Steps in the Process

June 7, 2021 City Council Hearing on the Final Draft Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Survey Report and Final Draft Historic Context Statement (HCS).

City Council Meeting Minutes & Video

Page & Turnbull incorporated the public's oral and written comments from the Planning Commission meeting held on January 26, 2021 into the Final Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Survey Report. City staff prepared a Staff Report and Resolution providing the Planning Commission's recommendation that the City Council adopt both the HRI and HCS documents. On June 7, 2021, the City Council held a public hearing on the Final HRI and HCS and conducted a public hearing. After discussion, the City Council voted to adopt the Final HRI and HCS with modifications to the HRI List of Potentially Historic Properties, as recommended by City staff.

January 26, 2021 Planning Commission Hearing on the Draft Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Survey Report.

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

Planning Commission Meeting Video

Page & Turnbull incorporated oral and written comments from the virtual Community Meeting held on November 9, 2020 to discuss the Public Review Draft HRI (see below) into a January 2021 revised Draft HRI that was presented to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Draft HRI and, after discussion, voted unanimously to recommend the City Council adopt the Final Draft HRI (the Planning Commission previously reviewed the HCS at a June 26, 2018 public hearing).

November 9, 2020 Community Meeting #3 on the Draft Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Survey Report

Community Meeting #3 - Webinar Video
Community Meeting #3 - Presentation

The community was invited to learn about the Draft HRI at a virtual Community Meeting hosted by City staff and consultants on November 9, 2020. Mill Valley residents, civic organizations, design and real estate professionals, and decision makers were invited to attend the virtual meeting. After the presentation, attendees provided comments and questions that were answered by staff and consultants.

June 26, 2018 Community Workshop #2 on the Draft Historic Context Statement

The Draft HCS was made available for pubic review and comment in June 2018 on the City's website, at the Planning Department, and at the Public Library. Following the workshop, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on June 26, 2018. At the conclusion of the hearing the Planning Commission unanimously recommended that the City Council approve the Draft HCS.

September 20, 2017 Community Workshop #1 on the Historic Preservation Work Program

The first Community Workshop was held in the Creekside Room of the Library to discuss the Historic Preservation Work Program to prepare the HCS and HRI. Mill Valley Historical Society (MVHS), Outdoor Art Club (OAC) and other community members attended the Workshop to learn about the process and provide input about the important themes that shaped Mill Valley's history. A lively discussion followed the consultant's presentation and informed their research focus to prepare the HCS.

Managing the Process

City staff formed an Advisory Group consisting of Eric Macris, President of the MVHS, Lauri Harper, MVHS member, Pam Keon, MVHS member, and Kevin Skiles, Planning Commission Chairman, to assist staff and the consultants.

City Staff involved in the project include: Lisa Newman, Senior Planner, Project Manager and Patrick Kelly, Director of Planning and Building. Historic research was conducted by Page and Turnbull staff: Ruth Todd, Principal, Christina Dikas, Project Manager/ Associate Principal, and Hannah Simonsen, Architectural Historian.