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Historic Preservation Grants

Historical Preservation Grant Application for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is now available!

Deadline for application submittal extended to February 28, 2019.

View instructions below on how to apply.

Apply Now

Sonoma County Advertising and Promotions Program

The County Administrator’s Office (CAO) established the Community Investment Program in 1986. The program uses funds from the collection of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) charged for accommodations at lodging and camping facilities in the unincorporated area. This program uses TOT revenue to encourage tourism, economic development and community engagement through a variety of grant award and funding avenues.

On a yearly basis the Landmarks Commission applies for a grant under the Advertising Program’s Category D “Historical Commissions.” The Commission has used the grants for the following types of historic preservation projects:

  • Historic resource surveys and evaluations needed to designate additional Historic Landmarks and/or Historic Districts
  • Historic district design guidelines for four multi-parcel Historic Districts
  • Subsequent grants to non-profits, and government agencies for historic rehabilitation or restoration projects on buildings open to the public
  • Developing the Sonoma County Historic Resources section of the Permit Sonoma website
  • Cost-sharing for constructing plaques for properties containing Historic Landmarks

The County Administrator’s Office also administers a grant program for Category E “Local Events” separately from the Landmarks Commission. “Local Event” grants are intended to support small cultural, artistic, and countywide events and organizations as well as events occurring during the off peak tourism season (November 15th through April 15th) with funding for advertising and economic development efforts that promote Sonoma County. Visit the Community Investment Program website for application information for the “Local Events” grant program.

How to Apply for a Landmarks Commission Grant

The Board of Supervisors allocates funds each year from the County’s Community Investment Program to the  Landmarks Commission.  The amount for the 2016-2017 fiscal year was $50,000. Notices are mailed to owners of the approximately 425 sites in the unincorporated area that have County Landmarks or have Historic District Zoning in the fall. In addition, organizations related to historic preservation are notified by email of grant availability.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects include the following:

  1. Restoration and rehabilitation of designated historic resources at the local, state or federal level (first priority given to non-profits and government agencies, projects by individuals are limited to those resources that have public access such as a commercial or recreational building).
  2. Cultural resource interpretative projects such as walking brochures with markers, or interpretive signage.
  3. Projects undertaken by the Landmarks Commission to protect historic resources and ensure alterations and adjacent new development are compatible. These projects have included update of:
    • Historic Resource Inventory
    • Design Guidelines
    • Historic Surveys and Evaluations
    • website improvements

Application Process

Priority: Grant applications that include matching funds or contributions are more competitive.

Confirm Eligibility: Applicants are strongly encouraged to send a one page “Letter of Intent” to Landmarks Commission staff prior to preparing the application to confirm project eligibility.

Application Submission Period: Grant applications are submitted directly to the Landmarks Commission staff in the fall.

Presentation: Grant applicants are invited to make a 5 to 10 minute presentation at the Landmarks Commission meeting where the grant applications are considered.

Review and Decision-making: The Landmarks Commission reviews eligible applications and makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. An Ad Grant Subcommittee administered by the County Administrator’s Office will review the Landmarks Commission grant applications and make further recommendations to the Board in the winter. The Board of Supervisors makes preliminary budget approval for use of the majority of the Ad Grant funds in the spring, and finalizes the budget in June.

Grant Funds

Successful grantees receive the monies after the beginning of the following fiscal year (typically August) and after the execution of a Grant Agreement which includes meeting the County’s insurance requirements and other contract document requirements. Grant funds must be spent within the fiscal year that the money is awarded. A final completion report and all receipts and invoices must be submitted to Landmarks Commission staff within 3 months following the end of the fiscal year in which the grant money was received. Per the terms of the grant agreement if the project is not completed within the term of the agreement, funds shall be returned to the County. Grant projects may be audited by the County Auditor’s office.


The following documents contain more information about the implementation of this grant program:

Grant Program Timeline (PDF: 45 kB)

Board Guidelines for the Use of Landmarks Commission Grants (PDF: 231 kB)

Documents required if grant awarded:

Sample Draft Agreement (PDF: 129 kB)
Grant Agreement Exhibit B, Insurance Requirements (PDF: 59 kB)
Grant Expense Report Spreadsheet (PDF: 80 kB)
California Department of Finance Payee Data Record (PDF: 104 kB)
Withholding Exemption Certificate Form 590 (or 588 if out of state) (PDF: 72 kB)

Contact Information

Contact us by Phone
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

Landmarks Commission

Designates historic landmarks, reviews historic property development proposals, and administers the Historic Preservation Program.

More Information