Mission Hills Heritage


1900 block of Fort Stockton, 1919

Historic Districts

A historical district means a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects that are united historically, geographically, or aesthetically by plan or physical development and that have a special character, historical interest, culture or aesthetic value, or that represent one or more architectural periods or styles in the history and development of the City. (San Diego Municipal Code, Section 113.0103)


The primary objective of historic districts is to maintain the scale and basic character of such districts by:

  • Protecting and preserving the basic architectural features of the homes in the neighborhood.
  • Discouraging demolition and alteration beyond recognition of the exteriors of qualified (known as contributing) homes in the neighborhood.
  • Helping to uncover the important historic past of the neighborhood.
  • Encouraging redevelopment of incompatibly developed properties in accordance with the character of the area.
  • Making Mills Act property tax relief available for qualified homes in the neighborhood.
  • Boosting property values of all homes through the prestige that comes with being situated in a historic district
  • Facilitating pride of ownership and understanding of the deep historic roots of our neighborhood. Due to lack of financial resources, the City of San Diego has indicated that it will not be initiating new historic districts for the foreseeable future, but will process nominations brought forward by the community. To facilitate any such efforts in Mission Hills, Mission Hills Heritage has prepared this pamphlet (6-page pdf) with an overview of the historic district application process.


Mission Hills Historic District
This district, consisting of 75 homes along the 1800 block of Sunset Blvd, Sheridan Ave. and Lyndon Road, was approved by the Historic Resources Board in July 2007. The district was appealed, but the City Council upheld the district in January 2008.

Historic home on Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton Line Historic District
This district, consisting of 107 homes along parts of Fort Stockton Drive, West Lewis and Pine Street, was approved by the Historic Resources Board in July 2007. It was not appealed and became effective 10 days later.

Mission Hills Historic District Extension

On June 26, 2014, the Historic Resources Board (HRB) approved an expansion of the Mission Hill Historic District, adding 99 homes to the district. The expansion area boundaries are Sunset Boulevard on the south, Witherby Street on the west, Hickory Street (both sides) on the north, and St. James Place on the east. (See map below.) The extension area falls entirely within the first Mission Hills Subdivision, Map No. 1115. The HRB approval follows a several year effort by a team of residents living in the area.

Map shows the two approved historic districts.


The City's Planning staff has mapped out a larger potential Mission Hills Historic District, based on the entire area of the original Mission Hills subdivision map. This potential district may eventually encompass all of the original Mission Hills subdivision maps recorded in 1908 by George Marston and his partners. Additionally, several other potential historic districts have been identified for the Mission Hills area. In 2015, the City updated a historic survey of the Uptown area and identified 19 potential historic districts for all of Uptown, of which 8 are located in Mission Hills. Community groups, including Mission Hills Heritage, also identified additional potential districts, which have not yet been included in the City's list of potential historic districts. In the fall of 2016, during the hearing process for approval of the Uptown Community Plan Update (Uptown CPU), the City deleted Presidio Hills from the list of potential districts due, leaving seven potential districts in Mission Hills.

Unfortunately, the City did not adopt an enforceable schedule for implementing the identified potential historic districts as part of the Uptown CPU. This leaves open the prospect that the historical integrity of the homes and buildings in the areas will continue to erode over time. We have filed a legal challenge to the City's approval of the Uptown CPU and one of our goals will be to hasten the process of implementing the identified potential historic districts.

Inspiration Heights
This potential district is based on the Inspiration Heights subdivision map filed by Harry L. Miller in 1909, which is based on the earlier Johnston Heights subdivision map filed by his mother, Sarah Johnston (Cox) Miller, in 1886. The district is roughly bounded by Sunset Boulevard on the north, St. James Place on the east, Witherby Street on the west, and includes Orizaba Street, Miller Street and portions of Arden Way, Bandini Street and Couts. With assistance from MHH, a committee of residents began exploring the potential for this historic district several years ago. The committee hired a consultant, prepared a historic district nomination proposal and submitted to the City a draft of a context statement for the potential Inspiration Heights historic district. Unfortunately, since 2013, City Planning staff has been non-responsive to inquiries from the committee. The potential historic district is currently on hold, waiting for input from City staff in order to move the project forward.


To learn more about Historic Districts, the Mills Act, the National Secretory of the Interior Standards and the City of San Diego's HRB Historic District website, please click on the following links.


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