VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting provides a full range of architectural history and historic preservation consulting services from our offices on the eighth floor of the historic Mechanics' Institute Building, in downtown San Francisco. The firm consists of Chris VerPlanck and Stacy Farr, both of whom understand the unique aspects of property development in San Francisco and the Bay Area, specifically as it intersects with historic preservation and urban planning issues.
If you have found our website, you probably know that the San Francisco Planning Department (as well as many other local governments) requires environmental review for projects that could impact any building over 45 years old. Our firm has been certified by the San Francisco Planning Department as an approved Historic Resource Evaluation (HRE) consultant, and a significant part of our business consists of preparing CEQA planning documents required by the Planning Department, including HREs and Supplemental Information Forms for Historical Resource Determination (SIF). Please visit the Planning Department's Historic Preservation FAQ page for more information on these reports and assorted regulations.
Over the past two decades, the firm's historians and planners have completed hundreds of HREs and SIFs, and we are really very good at them. Our reports are thorough, accurate, and of the highest quality. Other firms may offer lower prices or a quicker turn-around time, but their reports are often flawed, incomplete, or their conclusions suspect, forcing the Planning Department to ask for time-consuming (and potentially expensive) revisions. In contrast, our reports virtually never come back from the Planning Department for revisions, saving you time and money in the long run.
The firm's staff members got into this business because we love old buildings, but this doesn't mean we aren't on your side when it comes to making changes or updates to your property. However, we are honest, and we make professional findings based on over 20 years of experience working with the Planning Department. We aren't going to tell you what you want to hear just to have the Planning Department disagree with our findings and stall your project. Instead, if we determine that a building may be a historic resource, we will suggest ways to achieve your goals without running afoul of the City's complex web of historic preservation regulations. We know these regulations like the back of our hand, and the Planning Department respects us because they know that our opinions are well-reasoned, objective, and can't be bought.
You can often avoid major pitfalls by calling us before you hire an architect because we can tell you, (a) whether your property appears to be historic or not, and (b) what type of interventions would be possible without you having to pay for drawings that may not be buildable. Once the design process begins, we can work with your architect by reviewing drawings and suggesting appropriate revisions that can prevent you from getting bogged down in endless Planning Department review.
In addition to HREs and SIFs, VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting provides a wide array of other preservation consulting services and preservation planning report types, including: Historic Context Statements, Historic Resource Inventories, Section 106 Historic Property Survey Reports, Historic Structure Reports, Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit applications, and Mills Act applications. We perform all of these reports in-house, but if other specialized skills are required for your project we can call upon well-qualified specialists in a range of allied disciplines, including architecture, landscape architecture, structural engineering, archaeology, conservation, and cost estimating.
VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting is certified by the City and County of San Francisco as a San Francisco Local Business Enterprise (LBE), and also as a Micro Local Business Enterprise, which makes us a good addition to teams bidding on RFPs issued by city departments and agencies.
When you hire VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting you can be assured that you will receive a thorough and accurate report for a reasonable price, prepared quickly and efficiently by experienced people who are passionate about their subject matter. In addition to being thorough and accurate, our reports are genuinely enjoyable to read, and will teach you fascinating things about the history of your property and your neighborhood. Whether you live in San Francisco, Sausalito, Oakland, Menlo Park, El Cerrito, or anywhere else within the nine-county Bay Area (and we love our occasional work on the Central Coast and in Los Angeles and San Diego too!), we look forward to assisting you with whatever historic preservation consulting services your development plans require. Call or email us today!
“In addition to being a consummate professional, Chris is a pleasure to work with. He is extremely detail-oriented (his research skills are superb) while at the same time able to keep on eye on the "big picture." He always meets or beats deadlines, works very well with Planning Department staff and is extremely adept at providing expert testimony. In short, I would highly recommend working with Chris.”
—Josh Smith, Walden Development
“Working with Christopher VerPlanck was a real pleasure. He immediately appreciated the charm, beauty, and historical importance of our Victorian buildings, and the nominations he prepared conveyed his enthusiastic commitment to the project. In the written statements he demonstrated highly professional style, knowledge, research, analysis, and interpretation, and at the same time his writing was lively and interesting, and thus persuasive and successful. Christopher VerPlanck was scrupulous and fair in accounting for his hours and expenses, and he completed the work under estimate.”
—Ms. Judith Collas, Redwood City
VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting is founder/owner Chris VerPlanck's first solo venture. Between 2007 until 2011, he was a partner in the San Francisco-based architecture and consulting firms of Kelley & VerPlanck Historical Resources Consulting and Knapp & VerPlanck Preservation Architects. Prior to that, from 1999 until 2007, Mr. VerPlanck founded and led the Cultural Resources Studio at the San Francisco-based preservation architecture firm, Page & Turnbull. From 1997 until 1999, he was the preservation coordinator/architectural historian at San Francisco Architectural Heritage, a local non-profit.
Chris VerPlanck earned his MArch (with a specialization in Architectural History) and a Certificate in Historic Preservation from University of Virginia's Graduate School of Architecture in 1997. While at UVA, he interned as a conservation assistant at Monticello, where he restored four sets of mahogany sash windows and learned historic masonry techniques. After graduating from UVA, he earned the prestigious Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship with the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER). Mr. VerPlanck meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for History and Architectural History.
Mr. VerPlanck's primary areas of interest include San Francisco's nineteenth-century industrial architecture and associated workers' housing; rural western cultural landscapes; postwar suburban development in California, including tract housing, "Googie"-style coffee shops and bowling alleys, and Polynesian Pop (aka Tiki) lounges and hotels; and civic architecture of any era. He has lectured widely on these topics and many others at conferences, including the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), the California Preservation Foundation (CPF), and the Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement (DoCoMoMo).
VerPlanck is a board member of the Northern California chapter of DoCoMoMo. He is published in professional journals and he co-authored an essay in Ray McDevitt's Courthouses of California. Chris VerPlanck has won several awards for his work, including the 2002 Robert C. Friese Award for Neighborhood Conservation from San Francisco Beautiful, a 2003 California Preservation Foundation Design Award for a Historic Structure Report on Sonoma's Blue Wing Inn, and a 2005 California Preservation Foundation President's Award for the Dogpatch Neighborhood Survey.
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