Manhattan Beach | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photos (l-r): Manhattan Beach Pier by Moritz Hammer on Flickr; Marian and John Scott House by John Scott, courtesy Manhattan Beach Cultural Heritage Conservancy

Manhattan Beach

Following a year and a half of preparation, the City of Manhattan Beach passed a new historic preservation ordinance on February 16, 2016, marking a major milestone for preservation in this 3.9-square-mile city in the South Bay.

To reflect this major progress, the Conservancy has assigned Manhattan Beach a new grade of “C-” (up from “F”).  We anticipate the grade to continue to rise in the year ahead, as the city begins to implement or fulfill key aspects of its historic preservation program. It will receive more report-card points for steps including establishing a historic preservation commission and designating landmarks.

The new ordinance went into effect on March 17 for most of the city, though it will take about five more months for the ordinance to be certified by the California Coastal Commission and take effect in the city’s Coastal Zone.

The ordinance becomes the central fixture of Manhattan Beach’s historic preservation program, which also includes the Mills Act property tax abatement program. The city also plans to conduct its first-ever citywide survey of historic resources.


The scoring details for this community appear below. To see scores for all communities, compare specific communities and categories, and learn more about the Report Card, visit our Report Card microsite.

Category (points available)
Total Score (out of a possible 245, plus Extra Credit): 
Historic Preservation Ordinance (150) / Honorary Ordinance (10): 
Dedicated Historic Preservation Commission (5): 
The new ordinance calls for the creation of a dedicated Historic Preservation Commission, which the city plans to establish in 2016.
Dedicated Preservation Staff (15): 
The city is planning to hire an additional planning assistant in 2016 that will dedicate approximately three quarters of their time to preservation related review.
Ability to Designate Historic Districts (15): 
The ordinance contains an ill-conceived provision allowing property owners in pending historic districts to opt out, which is self-defeating and goes against the very goals of establishing a historic district. No jurisdictions in Los Angeles County with historic preservation ordinances include that type of language.
Active Landmark Designation (at least annually) (5): 
Survey of Historic Resources: Citywide (15) / Partial (10): 
The city has plans to initiate its first-ever citywide survey of historic resources. A volunteer survey prepared by the Manhattan Beach Conservancy will be utilized as baseline information.
Survey Updated Within Past 5 Years (5): 
Mills Act Incentive Program (10): 
Additional Incentives (5): 
Certified Local Government (5): 
Historic Preservation Element or Plan (5): 
Extra Credit (1-25): 

If you'd like to get involved in preservation in Manhattan Beach, we suggest the following resources:

City Representative

Angelica Ochoa
Assistant Planner
(310) 802-5517

Express your interest and ask about opportunities, particularly in helping to create a preservation ordinance if the city doesn't have one.

Local Groups

Manhattan Beach Conservancy

Manhattan Beach Historical Society

Visit their websites to learn more about their work and find direct contact information.

If any of this information is out of date, or to suggest additional ways to get involved, please contact us at or (213) 623-2489.

The first two resources listed below are specific to Manhattan Beach. For general resources related to local preservation and our Preservation Report Card, please visit our Report Card microsite.

Historic Preservation Ordinance

Landmark Designation Process

Guide to CEQA (Conservancy website)

If any of these links are broken or incorrect, or if you would like to suggest other resources for preservation in Manhattan Beach, please let us know by emailing