Mill Valley Historic Context Statement & Survey Update

Historic Context Statement and Update to the List of Historic Structures

Summary of Community Workshop #1, September 20, 2017

The first of two planned Community Workshops was held in the Creekside Room of the Library to discuss a new work program initiated by the City to prepare a “Historic Context Statement” and update the City’s “Partial List of Historic Structures.” MVHS, OAC and other community members attended the Workshop to learn about the process and provide input about the important themes that shaped Mill Valley’s history. A lively discussion followed the consultant’s presentation that is available for review.

Click here to review the presentation.

We are at the beginning of a creative process that will enrich our understanding of Mill Valley’s history, its important citizens, events and places as they relate to the built environment of today. Community participation is important to help shape the research underway by Page & Turnbull to prepare the Historic Context Statement. We encourage you to submit your photos, documents and memorabilia related to Mill Valley’s history for scanning to Cate Mayfield, History Room Librarian at Your materials will be returned to you.

What is a Historic Context Statement?

During the Workshop, Page & Turnbull presented a slide show that describes the purpose of a Historic Context Statement. Briefly, it is a document that summarizes the community’s history, specifically related to its physical development; identifies significant themes, patterns, trends, and property types; and provides a framework for identification, evaluation, and treatment of historic resources.

Historic Context Statements are helpful to better understand historic resources, even in the absence of comprehensive knowledge about specific buildings, and to establish preservation goals and strategies. The Historic Context Statement will be used to support and update the City’s inventory of historic properties and can provide the basis for future preservation planning decisions and programs.

Please contact Lisa Newman, Senior Planner and Project Manager for the City at with any questions about the project.


The City of Mill Valley has contracted with Page & Turnbull, a San Francisco firm of Architectural Historians, Architects and Planners, to help develop a comprehensive report known as a Historic Context Statement (HCS) and also to re-survey and update the City’s only working document on historic structures, which is known as the “Partial List of Historic Structures” that was developed by community members in 1998.

The Planning Commission has put historic preservation on their work program as a step toward implementing the policies adopted in the City’s General Plan. Specifically, the General Plan Land Use Element policies:

  • LU.6 Resources Inventory
  • LU.7 Protection of Historic and Cultural Resources
  • LU.8 Education and Appreciation

The public draft of the HCS report will be reviewed and discussed at a second Community Workshop that will be scheduled in the Winter 2018. Following that, a final draft of the HCS report will be presented for review and comment at a Planning Commission hearing and afterward, will be considered for adoption by the City Council in the Spring, 2018.

This work program is being supported by the following community representatives, City staff and consultants:

Advisory Committee: Eric Macris, President of the Mill Valley Historical Society Board of Directors, MVHS Board member Betty Goerke, MVHS members Lauri Harper and Pam Keon, and Planning Commission Chairman Kevin Skiles, will be assisting City staff and the consultants throughout the project.

City Staff: Cate Mayfield, History Room Librarian and Sean Mooney, Community Engagement Supervisor, are helping to publicize and coordinate the Community Workshops. The History Room is actively providing resources for Page & Turnbull’s historic research, which will in turn benefit the City’s archive of Mill Valley’s history.  Lisa Newman, Senior Planner, is serving as Project Manager to coordinate the work effort on behalf of the Planning and Building Department.

Page & Turnbull: Ruth Todd, Principal, and Christina Dikas, Project Manager, are overseeing the research and writing of the Historic Context Statement and Survey Update effort. Page & Turnbull is a prominent California firm that specializes in Architectural History, Planning and Preservation Architecture. The firm has prepared many Historic Context Statements for local government agencies. To learn more about Page & Turnbull’s work, please visit their website.