Duboce Park Landmark District

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Duboce Park: Proposed Landmark District

Check this section frequently. We will continue to add links based on issues and requests made at community meetings and events.

Project Updates

UPDATE (JUNE 28, 2013)

The Duboce Park Landmark District is San Francisco's newest Landmark District. Mayor Ed Lee signed legislation designating the District, effective July 12, 2013. Once in effect, the Department will send a notification mailing to property owners and residents.

UPDATE (JUNE 25, 2013)

Thank you to all who participated in the Duboce Park Landmark District Mills Act Clinic. The Department is currently coordinating with the Assessor's Office to create an FAQ sheet in response to your questions. The following link is an abbreviated version of the PowerPoint presentation that was given at the Mills Act Clinic.

If you have additional questions, or would like to schedule a Mills Act Application meeting, please contact Preservation Planner Susan Parks at susan.parks@sfgov.org or by phone at (415) 575-9101.

Documents from this Event:

UPDATE (MAY 24, 2013)

On May 21, 2013 the full Board of Supervisors voted to approve the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District.  A second hearing at the full Board of Supervisors will be heard in the coming weeks, possibly as early as June 4, 2013, and the proposed legislation will be forwarded to Mayor Ed Lee shortly thereafter. There are no opportunities for public testimony at full Board hearings, nor will the Planning Department make a presentation. Board agendas are found here: http://www.sfbos.org/meeting.aspx?page=2315


On May 13, 2013 the Land Use and Economic Development Committee voted to forward a recommendation for designation of the Duboce Park Landmark District to the full Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Scott Weiner added an amendment to extend the Mills Act application deadlines to October 2013 for contributing district properties.

The proposed District will be considered by the full Board of Supervisors at a May 21, 2013 hearing. There are no opportunities for public testimony at full Board hearings, nor will the Planning Department make a presentation. Board agendas are found here: http://www.sfbos.org/meeting.aspx?page=531


Board of Supervisor's Land Use Hearing
– 1:30pm, May 13, 2013 (confirmed):

Supervisor Scott Wiener has scheduled a hearing at the Land Use Committee to consider adoption of the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District. Residents, property owners, community stakeholders, and members of the public are invited to share their opinions at this public hearing. A meeting agenda and location information are found on the Board of Supervisors website: http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=531


Board of Supervisor's Land Use Hearing – May 13, 2013 (tbc):

Supervisor Wiener has tentatively scheduled a hearing at the Land Use Committee to consider adoption of the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District. Residents, property owners, community stakeholders, and members of the public are invited to share their opinions at this public hearing. The Clerk of the Board of Supervisors will send a hearing notification mailer to property owners and residents 10 days in advance of the confirmed hearing date.

Department Response to Recent Flyers

The Planning Department developed a response to address inaccurate information contained in a series of flyers circulating the neighborhood regarding the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District. The goal of the document is to correct the record and provide information to assist residents and property owners in understanding the review process for alterations in landmark districts and in developing an informed opinion regarding the proposed district.

Download a detailed update of the Duboce Park Landmark District: April 2013

 Update (January 22, 2013)

At the December 19, 2012 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to recommend designation of the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District to the Board of Supervisors. At the January 17, 2013 hearing, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend designation of the proposed district to the Board of Supervisors.

Links to the Department's case reports, which include results from the online questionnaire and a draft of the Landmark District Designation Report, are found here:

Historic Preservation Commission Case Report - December 5, 2012
Historic Preservation Commission Case Report - December 19, 2012
Planning Commission Case Report - January 17, 2013
Designation Ordinance

The Board of Supervisors will consider the proposed designation at a future date. Residents and property owners will be notified by mail of this future hearing.

Update (December 6, 2012) Historic Preservation Commission Hearings 

At its December 5, 2012 hearing, the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) initiated designation of the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District. A second hearing to consider a recommendation of approval of the designation to the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19th, 2012. See notification flyer for details. At the December 19th hearing, the HPC will review and discuss the proposed levels of review, crafted with neighborhood input, for future alterations to buildings within the district. Property owners, residents, and other stakeholders are encouraged to participate at this hearing.

Update (November 6, 2012) Historic Preservation Commission Hearings

Online Questionnaire

Share your views on the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District designation. The Planning Department has created an online questionnaire for residents and owners of buildings located within the proposed landmark district. Results will be presented at all public hearings where the proposed landmark district is under consideration. The online questionnaire will be available through November 26, 2012. Participation is limited to one questionnaire per owner household and one questionnaire per tenant household. Residents and property owners were mailed a postcard containing a web link to the online questionnaire on Monday, November 5th. Please contact the planner listed below if your household did not receive this postcard.

Final Community Meeting

The Department and Supervisor Scott Wiener hosted the final community meeting focused on the proposed designation on November 1, 2012. Topics included:

  • The recently adopted amendments to the Mills Act to facilitate access to the program. The Mills Act program allows owners of landmarks and buildings that contribute to landmark districts to receive a property tax reduction to offset costs to rehabilitate, restore, or maintain their historic property, such as roof replacement, seismic strengthening, or general maintenance and repair. At the request of many property owners within the proposed district, Supervisor Scott Wiener sponsored legislation to amend San Francisco's Mills Act Program to make the application process quicker, cheaper, and more predictable. We are pleased to report that the improved program became effective in October 2012. For an application guide, click here.
  • The upcoming hearing schedule. The Historic Preservation Commission may consider initiation of the proposed hearing as early as December 5, 2012. Property owners, residents, and other stakeholders will be notified of the confirmed hearing date by mail the week of November 13th, 2012.
  • Updates to the proposed review process. Since the previous hearing, the Department has updated the review process, including new provisions that address economic hardship, solar panels, rear yard visibility, and more.

Update (October 12, 2012)

Drop by for the final community meeting on the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District designation. Department planners and Supervisor Scott Wiener will be on hand to discuss recently adopted amendments to the Mills Act and expanded access to property tax deductions, the proposed alteration review process, the upcoming hearing schedule, and opportunities for public comment, including a community poll.

The final community meeting is Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 6:30pm-8pm at the Gazebo Mtg. Room at the CPMC Hospital, Davies Campus. The Gazebo meeting room is located between the main hospital building (North Tower) and the South Tower. For more information, contact Mary Brown at 575-9074 or mary.brown@sfgov.org.

Update (December 12, 2011)

In the coming months, Planning Department staff will follow-up on issues raised at the December 7, 2011 Drop-In event and community discussion. These issues include, but are not limited to, clarification of "visibility" at the rear of certain buildings adjacent to the park; potential fee caps; the visibility of solar panels; and potential means to ensure neighborhood input on the proposed landmark district designation.

Also, given the number of Drop-In attendees who expressed concern about issues that are not impacted by landmark district designation, the Department will produce an FAQ specific to the proposed Duboce Park designation. Key facts to be included in the FAQ: 

  • In no circumstance will landmark designation increase property taxes.
  • Studies indicate that landmark designation does not decrease property values and that property values trend slightly upwards in designated districts.
  • Landmark designation will not require review of exterior paint color or any interior alteration.
  • The Planning Department's Window Replacement Standards discourage the use of vinyl windows on visible façades of any historic property in San Francisco. Vinyl windows are rarely approved regardless of landmark designation.

The Department is also working with Supervisor Scott Wiener, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Assessor's office to improve the process and number of Mills Act contracts. The Mills Act is a statewide preservation program that can provide substantial property tax deductions for owners of buildings located within landmark districts.

Update (November 30, 2011)

On November 30, 2011, the Department mailed residents and owners of properties located within the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District a packet of materials related to the proposed designation, including a framework for review of future alterations to district properties. Click here to download the documents included in the mailing packet: 11-30-2011 Mailer Update.

All residents, owners, and stakeholders are invited to the December 7th Drop-In event at the Harvey Milk Center. Planning Department preservation planners will be on hand to answer questions and hear feedback regarding the revised framework for review of alterations. See calendar listing for event details.

Update (October 17, 2011)

On September 20, 2011, the Department hosted an interactive workshop focused on proposed levels of review for alterations to properties included in the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District. The goal of the workshop was threefold:

  1. To gain a better understanding – at an open, public forum – of the types of alterations that stakeholders prioritize for additional review
  2. To gauge community support for review of Park features, in particular the steps and rock retaining walls at interior block entrances
  3. To use this feedback to tailor a designation ordinance that aligns with community needs, provides a clear and predictable review process for specific scopes of work, and protects the character of the neighborhood

The feedback we received at the workshop and the subsequent Ask a Planner event was invaluable and is being used to guide revisions to the designation ordinance. Many scopes of work were identified that will not harm the character of the district. The Department is proposing to significantly scale back the level of review for these scopes of work, including proposed alterations at the rear of properties. The Department is also proposing to clarify and simplify definitions of specific terms and scopes of work.

The Department plans to mail these revisions to all property owners and tenants in November and to host a neighborhood drop-in event in early December. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Mary Brown, Preservation Planner, at (415) 575-9074 or mary.brown@sfgov.org.

Preservation Easements

Questions about preservation easements were raised at the July 16th Walking Tour and the July 18th Kick-Off Community Meeting. Preservation easements are legal agreements between a property owner and a qualified nonprofit organization to preserve and protect a building's character-defining features in perpetuity. In exchange for this protection, property owners are granted a one-time tax deduction and the qualified nonprofit has the right to review any changes to features covered by the easement. In San Francisco, the qualified non-profit San Francisco Architectural Heritage (Heritage) has managed preservation easements since 1974.

San Francisco Architectural Heritage's website includes an overview of the preservation easement application process.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation also provides a detailed overview and resources section focused on preservation easements.

Preservation easements will be discussed at an upcoming community meeting related to the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District.

Federal Tax Credits

The Federal 20% Tax Credit for Historic Preservation offers significant tax savings for substantial rehabilitation projects of income-producing properties. The tax incentives program is a partnership program among the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), the National Park Service (NPS), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The National Park Service has produced a comprehensive guide to the Historic Preservation Federal Tax Incentives Program for Historic Preservation.

Additional information on the 20% Tax Credit and other financial incentives for preservation are included in the National Park Service's Historic Preservation Tax Incentives brochure.

The  First Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit (conducted by Rutgers) analyzes the economic impact of the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) since its inception in 1976 and concludes that the HTC is a highly efficient job creator—accounting for the creation of 2 million new jobs over the life of the program, 145,000 of which were generated between 2009 and 2010. The  2009-2010 update is now available for download. http://ntcicfunds.com/rutgers-report/

Walking Tour & Historic Maps

Over 50 people joined the Planning Department on July 16, 2011 for three walking tours highlighting the development history and architectural styles of this unique neighborhood. Historic maps from the walking tour are now available for download. See download materials below.
Group of people on a walking tour
Duboce Park Walking Tour - July 16, 2011.

Overview of the District

During the recent Market and Octavia Area Plan survey effort, the Duboce Park District was identified as a historic district for its exceptional and remarkably intact architectural character. On June 15, 2011, the Historic Preservation Commission added the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District to its Landmark Designation Work Program for local designation. Properties that are designated local Landmarks are regulated under Article 10 of the Planning Code.

The proposed Duboce Park Landmark District contains nearly 90 residential buildings and the park itself. Construction dates for the vast majority of contributing buildings within the proposed Landmark District range from 1899 to approximately 1905 – this short period of development resulted in a remarkably uniform streetscape of Victorian- and Edwardian-era houses and flats of similar design and proportion. Buildings within the proposed Landmark District were constructed on land originally set aside as a public park. Litigation related to squatter's rights resulted in the partial subdivision of the original park (Duboce Park) into smaller, builder developed parcels. Many of the houses and flats were developed by Fernando Nelson, a prolific Victorian-era builder known for his exuberant ornamentation.

Over the summer months, the Planning Department will host a series of meetings and events related to Landmark designation. To receive advance notice of these events and future Commission hearings, please subscribe to the RSS feed of our Upcoming Events above.

The Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Department, and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association invite you to participate in this community-initiated effort to tailor a Duboce Park Landmark designation that celebrates and preserves the history and exceptional architectural character of this historic neighborhood.

District Map
Map of the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District.
  Example of a Queen Anne-style house
Many buildings in the proposed District are designed in the Queen Anne style.
Example of house abutting the park.
Several buildings in the proposed District directly abut the park. This relationship of buildings to the adjacent park is highly unusual for San Francisco -- it is one of the few parks without a roadway separating the buildings from park land.
  A row of houses on Pierce Street
A row of houses on Pierce Street built by Fernando Nelson.


Download Materials


Houses on Duboce   Park sign   Historic District Sign
Duboce Park DPR523-D Form
This district evaluation form provides a detailed history of the development of the Duboce Park neighborhood and includes a list of identified contributing properties. The Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board adopted the survey findings in 2009.
  Duboce Park Fact Sheet
This document provides some quick facts on the proposed Duboce Park Landmark District.
  Existing Local Landmark Districts
This brochure provides information related to existing Landmark Districts.



Golden Gate Bridge   Hand holding a microphone   Historical Sanborn Fire Insurance Map example
Landmarks FAQ
This FAQ provides an overview of the Landmark designation process and includes answers to common questions related to how designation impacts individual properties.
  August - September 2011 Community Events
This flyer has info on the next Duboce Park Historic District community meeting and other related events. Please forward widely.
  1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
This map provides a snapshot of the neighborhood in 1905.



Large Victorian house   New York brownstone houses    
Property Value Study: Houston
Last year, the University of Houston's Hobby Center for Public Policy (HCPP) released a study illustrating the impact of historic district designation on property values. The results of this study clearly illustrates the positive impact historic district designation has on property values in Houston.
  Property Value Study: New York City
The New York City Independent Budget Office conducted a financial study to determine the correlation between historic district status and property value. The study found that Landmark designation did not decrease property values and that property values trend slightly upwards in designated districts.



Other Downloads:


Building Evaluations

Properties within the proposed Duboce Park Historic District were surveyed in 2006 as part of the larger Market and Octavia Historic Resource Survey. All 88 buildings within the proposed Historic District were documented on DPR-523A forms. A searchable map contains links to PDFs for each building's DPR-523A form.

Duboce Park Historic District: Building Evaluations Map


Get Involved

The Planning Department is working with residents, property owners, and neighborhood organizations to create a community-supported Landmark designation for the Duboce Park neighborhood. We invite you to get involved.

Things you can do:

  1. Attend a community meeting to get informed about the Landmark process.
  2. Drop by an "Ask the Planner" night at the Duboce Park Café.
  3. Spread the word about upcoming community meetings. Contact the Planning Department if you can help post flyers, send emails, or participate in door-to-door flyering.
  4. Contact the Planning Department to share historic photographs, water tap records, maps, architectural plans, building permit histories or other relevant information regarding your building or neighborhood.


To be added to the mailing list and kept informed of the Landmark designation progress, please send an email request to tim.frye@sfgov.org


This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Department of the Interior.