|xxxxxxx Candidate for Demolition: The 1907 Henry A. Darling House @ 126 E. Mira Monte xxxxxxxx|
Two days ago, on January 8th to be exact, the City of Sierra Madre Planning & Community Preservation Department sent out a memorandum that not only set off shockwaves throughout this community, but also encapsulated for many the acute need for an immediate moratorium on home demolition permits here.
This memo came out just two days after the City Council had decided to move forward with its plans to create an ordinance that would place most home demolitions on hold for as long as two years. Which is approximately how long it will take to get the new General Plan finished and in effect. A process that will have then taken City Hall a ridiculous 8 years to complete, just so you know.
As we noted earlier this week, apparently there were 14 home demolition permits issued in 2014, with 4 additional ones in the pipeline now. Not a particularly huge amount, but not a good thing, either. And you never can tell, perhaps what follows could be much worse. Like today's case, for example.
With entire neighborhoods being visited by "name your price" realty agents from other places making unsolicited and inappropriate offers on existing homes, including some of this community's architectural treasures, some kind of protection needs to be put into place, and quickly. At least until the long anticipated new General Plan becomes the law.
Here is the memorandum:
If you need an example of why the creation of an ordinance to halt home demolitions is essential, the proposed razing of the Henry A. Darling house should do the trick.
The Henry A. Darling House. This home exudes a kind of permanence and sense of place that can only be earned. On nearly half an acre this historic 3Bed/2Bath Craftsman style residence is located on one of Sierra Madre's most desirable streets. A full-width front porch, wood siding, and clipped gable roof announce the character of this Arts & Crafts period home. Original features continue on the interior with an impressive river rock fireplace, oak floors, built-ins, and wood wainscoting with plate rail. Beautiful wood windows look out onto lush greenery from every room, enhancing the relaxed Southern California feel of this home. Extensive intact period features make this home the perfect restoration project. The rear garden is planted with specimen plants and mature foliage creating a private and unique outdoor environment.
I can't help but note the irony in this Realty Concern's use of the phrase, "This home exudes a kind of permanence and sense of place that can only be earned." Certainly the permanence part must now be questioned.
That this real estate agency would then turn around and sell this historic "exudes a kind of permanence and sense of place that can only be earned" type of home to what is apparently a demolish and flip Mini-Mansion builder shows a certain level of cynicism and hypocrisy on their part. Especially after a lead Sierra Madre agent at Podley Properties had stood before the City Council recently and expressed her horror at just that very kind of thing.
As someone I know in the real estate field pointed out to me when I e-mailed for his take on this lamentable situation, you can't claim to care about Sierra Madre and then make a big profit at the expense of the community at the same time.
Obviously we need that moratorium on demolition permits put into place now. The barbarians are at the gate.