San Juan Residential District - Application of the 2000 General Use Permit (GUP) Conditions of Approval Relating to Cultural Resources (Condition O)

This webpage describes the application of the 2000 GUP Condition O relating to cultural resources to Stanford San Juan Residential District (“SJRD”) and the permitting process for residential building projects.

Members of the SJRD community have asked the Department to clarify how the 2000 GUP Condition O applies to the SJRD due to the ownership structure of residential properties within the SJRD:

This webpage provides information regarding:

  1. Application of the 2000 GUP Condition O to the existing permitting process;
  2. Potential changes to the permitting process following completion of the SJRD Historic Survey.



The Stanford General Use Permit (GUP) was adopted in 2000 by the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors and covers all Stanford University lands within the unincorporated county, including the SJRD. Therefore, the 2000 GUP Condition O applies to the SJRD. Following the adoption of the 2000 GUP, the SJRD was rezoned from a General Use Zoning District (A1) to a Residential Zoning District (R1E). This rezoning created a misunderstanding that Condition O(2)(b) (see box below), was not applicable to the SJRD. Although the County clarified in a 2004 memorandum that the 2000 GUP conditions of approval are applicable to the SJRD, the misunderstanding persisted, and the Department did not fully apply Condition O(2)(b) to building projects within the SJRD.

As part of the Department of Planning and Development’s work on the San Juan Residential District Historic Survey & Development Standards Study, the Department recognized that Condition O(2)(b) (see box below) applies to the SJRD residential building projects.  For residences that are 50 years or older and not listed on the County’s Historic Resources Inventory (HRI), Condition O(2)(b) requires the applicant to submit a historic assessment along with the permit application to the County Planning Office. County staff reviews the assessment to determine if the residence is eligible for listing on the Federal, State or Local (including the County’s HRI) register. This assessment must be prepared by a qualified architectural historian in accordance with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards (SIS).

Condition O.2: Cultural Resources

  1. For any building project that involves demolition of a structure that is 50 years old or more, Stanford shall submit an assessment of the structure regarding its eligibility for listing to the County Planning Office. If the County Planning Office determines that the structure is listed or potentially eligible for listing on a federal, state, or local list of historic resources, or is a potential historic resource, then a site specific analysis of the impact and any feasible mitigation measures shall be prepared as part of the environmental review of the project and the demolition will be referred to the Santa Clara County Historic Heritage Commission for its recommendation prior to County consideration of approval of a demolition permit.
  2. For any proposed building project that involves remodeling, alteration, or a potential physical effect on a structure that is 50 years old or more, Stanford shall meet the following requirements:
    1. If the structure is included in the Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory (HRI), or is determined by the County Planning Office to be eligible for listing or is a potential historic resource, the remodeling shall be conducted following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings, or the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (1995).
    2. If the structure is not on the County Inventory, but is 50 or more years old, Stanford shall assess the structure to evaluate whether it appears eligible for inclusion in the Inventory and will submit its assessment to the County Planning Office. If the County Planning Office determines that the structure is potentially eligible for the Inventory, or is a potential historic resource, the County Planning Office will submit the assessment to the Santa Clara County Historic Heritage Commission for review. If the structure is determined to be eligible for listing on the County Inventory, then the mitigation described in Condition O.2.a shall be required.

2000 GUP Conditions:

Application of the 2000 GUP Conditions to the existing permitting process.

  • For most permit applications involving demolition, alteration, and remodeling, located in the SJRD, the permitting process will not change.
  • For maintenance, repair, and minor demolition, alteration, or remodeling (see Small Project definition below for minor projects) of structures 50 years or older, the permitting process includes:
    • Stanford Faculty Staff Housing (FSH) Office reviews demolition, alteration, and remodeling projects located in the SJRD to determine if the proposed development is consistent with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards (SIS). If the proposed design meets the SIS, Stanford provides a letter in support of the project (which is included in the County building permit submittal packet) and a FSH Office stamp on building plans that are submitted to the Department of Planning and Development.
    • Department staff confirms if the Stanford letter supporting the project is present and the FSH Office stamp is on the project plans and if these are provided, the project proceeds as a regular building permit application (If necessary, the Department may require a peer review).
  • The Department has created a Small Project classification for minor single-family residential building (50 years or older) projects that are unlikely to have any historic resource impacts. The Small Project classification is modeled off the County’s small project definition for Landmark Alteration Permits (typically required for designated landmark buildings and for demolition of buildings on the HRI list) within the County’s Historic Ordinance. A Small Project includes:

    • Demolition or removal of non-contributing features, including, but not limited to, non-contributing additions, garages, accessory structures or incompatible, previously replaced windows, doors, or siding material;
    • Any undertaking that does not change exterior features, including but not limited to, re-roofing if the roofing material is compatible in appearance, color and profile to the existing or original roofing material;
    • Replacement of windows and doors if the proposed replacements match the existing or original windows and doors, and;
    • Addition of less than 500 square feet proposed for side or rear elevations.

    Small Project will require the Stanford FSH Office review, letter of approval and stamp on the submitted project plans. For any demolition and addition categorized under the Small Project, County staff will confirm if the project meets these criteria.

  • Permit applications for large partial/complete demolitions of buildings 50 years or older that do not qualify as a Small Project will require submittal and review of a historic assessment by a qualified architectural historian.

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