Historic Preservation

Thank you for your interest in preserving Brea's historic resources. Brea contains a rich history, celebrated through events that took place at original sites and structures that exist today. Brea, and the land we occupy, has a long and rich history spanning hundreds of years. From the Gabrielino / Tongva people, our first caretakers of the land, to the Basque sheepherders who grazed our hills; from oilfield wildcatters who helped fuel the country, to agricultural workers who helped feed the state, our city, and the land we occupy is chock full of history. Preserving it is important and we thank you for your interest in preserving your historic resources.

Historic Resources Register

The Historic Preservation Ordinance establishes the Historic Resources Register and describes the procedures for the designation and/or removal of individual historic resources. Identifying sites and structures with historical significance protects these resources from potential destruction and creates added awareness of historic resources that residents may not know exist. The Planning Commission is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Register, with input from the Historical Society. Structures and/or sites listed in the Register are eligible for a variety of preservation incentives provided by the City and various other State and local agencies. 

For more information on the procedures to designate your property please view the following program guidelines, application, and exhibits as shown below. 

Historic Preservation Pilot Program

On September 19, 2023, the City Council approved a Historic Preservation Pilot Program, which would authorize the Community Development Director to waive staff time associated with processing a Historic Preservation Application, up to two project applicants on a first-come, first-served basis per year for next two fiscal years (FY 23-24 and FY 24-25). More details can be found here. Please contact the Planning Division at (714) 990-7674.

Mills Act Program:  

Enacted in 1972, the Mills Act grants participating local governments the authority to enter into contracts with property owners of qualified historic properties who actively participate in the restoration and maintenance of their historic properties in exchange for potential tax reductions. Find out if the Mills Act is right for you by viewing the following program guidelines, applications, and exhibits. 

Brea Historical Society: 

The Brea Historical Society, founded in 1971, collects, preserves, and displays the heritage and history of the City of Brea. Through educational programs, research studies, exhibitions, and workshops, the Brea Historical Society continues to document and promote Brea’s unique contribution to an ever-changing world. Located in the former American Legion Building at City Hall Park, the Society maintains permanent and traveling exhibits and a collection of over 45,000 artifacts including rare photographs, city documents, newspapers, and various ephemera. The city works in partnership with the Brea Historical Society when working on matters of historic relevance including new development, restoration/maintenance of historic sites, Mills Act and Historic Preservation applications and more. The City encourages contacting the Brea Historical Society for any available resources, information and archival records that may exist for your historic property. Please visit their website here.