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What is a Mills Act home in Coronado?

You may have heard of the Mills Act and potential tax savings this historic home designation can provide. Curious to know more? Let's take a closer look!

Enacted in 1972, The Mills Act is an economic incentive program for the restoration and preservation of certain historically designated properties between homeowners and local governments in California. Restoration and preservation work and activities are incentivized directly through property tax relief. Local governments, like Coronado, establish their own criteria and determine the number of contracts they will allow in their jurisdiction.

In Coronado, a home must first go through the historic designation process prior to applying for the Mills Act. To be designated historic, a home in Coronado must be at least 75 years old and meet at least 2 of the following criteria:

  • A. It exemplifies or reflects special elements of the City's military, cultural, social, economic, political, aesthetic, or engineering history;

  • B. It is identified with a person(s) or an event(s) significant in local, State or national history;

  • C. It possesses distinctive characteristics of an architectural style, and has not been substantially altered;

  • D. It is representative of the notable work of a builder, designer, architect, artisan or landscape professional.

Once a home has been designated historic in Coronado, that designation is tied to the property in perpetuity, even upon sale or transfer of the property. In addition, owners of a historic property are required to maintain and preserve the exterior of the property. There are not requirements for the interior of the property unless modifications affect the exterior.

To help offset the cost burden of maintaining and preserving a historical home in Coronado, the city allows homeowners to apply for a Mills Act contract for property tax savings. The Mills Act is a 10 year contract with the city that is renewed annually and in Coronado, the tax savings can be substantial. Beginning in 2011, the City of Coronado set new framework for the Mills Act and the average homeowner can expect to save approximately 40%-50% of their property tax bill or less depending on the property. It is extremely important to note that a Coronado historic designation is not an automatic entitlement to the Mills Act. Applications for the Mills Act are approved individually, on a case by case basis by the Historic Resource Commission and ultimately, the Coronado City Council. Reasons that a Mills Act application can be denied include substantial alterations of a property differentiating from the original architecture and design.

Many homes in Coronado were built well beyond 75 years ago so a thorough understanding of the implications and benefits of Coronado's historical preservation priorities is advantageous. For the right buyer, purchasing a historically designated home provides a dream scenario offering the change to preserve and maintain a piece of Coronado's history while possibly benefiting from real tax savings in the form of Mills Act. Many people fall in love with the charm of Coronado and much of this can be traced back to Coronado's priority for preserving its historical heritage.

If you would like to read more about historical preservation in Coronado, visit this link: - There is even a map of all the historically designated properties throughout the Island.

If you are looking to purchase or sell your home in Coronado, contact me today at 619-972-7364 or via email at

I would love to be a part of your 92118 story!

- Remi

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