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Planning Historic Preservation Cultural Heritage Commission
Cultural Heritage Commission

The Cultural Heritage Commission is one of eleven (11) Commissions appointed by the City Council to carry out a variety of delegated functions. The City Manager, Department heads, and other City staff who work for the City Council provide staff support to the Commissions. The Community Development Department provides primary staff support to the Commission, although depending on the issues, other Departments provide support as well. The Community Development Department also provides primary support to the City’s Planning, Architectural and Design Review Commissions, and as with the other Departments, provides support to other Commissions and to the City Council.

There are five Cultural Heritage Commission positions serving staggered, two-year and four-year terms with a possible single, four-year reappointment. Commissioners generally serve until their replacements are appointed. An application form for appointment to the Cultural Heritage Commission may be obtained in the City Clerk’s office in Room 290 of City Hall, or by telephoning 310.285.2400. When there is an anticipated vacancy, the City Council publishes the upcoming vacancy and invites interested persons to submit application forms. A subcommittee consisting of two City Council liaisons and the Chair and Vice Chair (after initial appointments) of the sitting Cultural Heritage Commission then conducts informal interviews of the candidates. The subcommittee recommendation is made to the City Council, and the City Council appoints the successful candidate at a formal public meeting. The City Clerk will swear in new Cultural Heritage Commissioners, sometime before their first meeting, but generally immediately prior to their first meeting.

Operation, Staffing, and Time Commitment

The Cultural Heritage Commission regularly meets once a quarter, with additional meetings as may become necessary. The regular meetings are held in Room 280-A of the City Council Chambers at Beverly Hills City Hall and generally begin at 1:00 p.m. The meetings are conducted by the Chair, or in his/her absence, the Vice-Chair. From time to time, Commissioners may serve on subcommittees of two appointed by the Chair to study particular issues and make recommendations to the full Commission. The Chair and Vice-Chair positions are rotated on an annual basis. On those occasions where a Commission decision is appealed to the City Council, the Chair or Vice-Chair represents the Commission at those City Council meetings.

On the Thursday or Friday before each meeting, Commissioners receive an agenda and binder of staff reports, including plans. Depending on the length and complexity of the agenda, Commissioners can expect to spend between two to five hours preparing for the meeting. City parking passes are provided to Commissioners so that members can park and view the properties from the public right-of-way prior to each meeting.

The presence of at least three Commissioners constitutes a quorum and is required to conduct a meeting and make decisions. The Commission must conduct its meetings and formulate its decisions in accordance with its own set of operating rules and with the State law (“Brown Act”), which requires all meetings to be open to the public.  Annotated meeting minutes are taken by staff. State law requires compliance with conflict of interest requirements, which include filing a financial disclosure form with the City Clerk, which is available to the public to inspect. Interested persons may contact the City Clerk’s office to inspect a sample report. Commissioners may not deliberate or participate in any case in which the Commissioner has an interest. The City Attorney’s office, which also provides staff support to the Commission, can provide guidance to individual Commissioners who may have questions on a case-by-case basis. Commissioners will find that interested parties to an application (both pro and con) will attempt to engage them in conversation about a pending case; it is nevertheless important for Commissioners to maintain an impartial distance from those interested in applications coming before the Commission. The Commission must maintain this impartiality, sometimes in the context of impassioned pleas from their fellow residents, business colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. Commissioners are required to attend at least one informational or educational meeting, seminar, workshop, or conference per year in accordance with the requirements of the Certified Local Government program.

Appendix A to Part 61­­ Professional Qualifications Standards

In the following definitions, a year of full­time professional experience need not consist of a continuous year of full­time work but may be made up of discontinuous periods of full­time or part-time work adding up to the equivalent of a year of full­time experience.

(a) History. The minimum professional qualifications in history are a graduate degree in history or closely related field; or a bachelor's degree in history or closely related field plus one of the following:

(1) At least two years of full­time experience in research, writing, teaching, interpretation or other demonstrable professional activity with an academic institution, historical organization or agency, museum, or other professional institution; or

(2) Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field of history.

(b) Archeology. The minimum professional qualifications in archeology are a graduate degree in archeology, anthropology, or closely related field plus:

(1) At least one year of full­time professional experience or equivalent specialized training in archeological research, administration or management;

(2) At least four months of supervised field and analytic experience in general North American archeology; and

(3) Demonstrated ability to carry research to completion.

In addition, to these minimum qualifications, a professional in prehistoric archeology shall have at least one year of full­time professional experience at a supervisory level in the study of archeological resources of the prehistoric period. A professional in historic archeology shall have at least one year of full­time professional experience at a supervisory level in the study of archeological resources of the historic period.

(c) Architectural history. The minimum professional qualifications in architectural history are a graduate degree in architectural history, art history, historic preservation, or closely related field, with coursework in American architectural history; or a bachelor's degree in architectural history, art history, historic preservation, or closely related field plus one of the following:

(1) At least two years of full­time experience in research, writing, or teaching in American architectural history or restoration architecture with an academic institution, historical organization or agency, museum, or other professional institution; or

(2) Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field of American architectural history.

(d) Architecture. The minimum professional qualifications in architecture are a professional degree in architecture plus at least two years of full­time professional experience in architecture; or a State license to practice architecture.

(e) Historic Architecture. The minimum professional qualifications in historic architecture are a professional degree in architecture of State license to practice architecture, plus one of the following:

(1) At least one year of graduate study in architectural preservation, American architectural history, preservation planning, or closely related field; or

(2) At least one year of full­time professional experience on historic preservation projects. Such graduate study or experience shall include detailed investigations of historic structures, preparation of historic structures research reports, and preparation of plans and specification for preservation projects.