Friday, April 17, 2015

Prices Slashed On Camillo Road Twin Carbuncle Castles


The Carbuncle Castles at 319 and 321 Camillo Road have now seen their initial price offerings slashed. Why is that? Rather simple. Despite all the specious claims of cutting edge modernity and sustainable energy efficiency, nobody seems to want to buy the weird looking two story things. Money talks, the buyer balks, and Long Dragon walks.

Pictured above is 319 Camillo Road, and the price of this cutting edge wonder wickiup has now been hacked from $1,650,000 to $1,480,000. Its 'buncled brother next door at 321 Camillo Road has also plummeted in price, from $1,750,000 to $1,588,000.

When walking on Camillo Road, please wear your safety helmet. Certain things are falling very quickly there.

Nobody seems to want to buy the heavily plastic hogans. And considering that these houses went on sale in February, this is quite a rapid and radical decline in price for them. Especially when you consider how both had hit the market with so much fanfare.

Here are the "price modification" notices for these twin lulus.


The big question that remains unanswered at this point is can homes that remain unsold be considered sustainable? If not in the environmentally friendly sense, at least in a financial sort of way? Because that is certainly the kind of sustainability the individuals who built these things were interested in. Electric car plug-in stations and all.

You know, maybe if these two houses had gone before the Planning Commission, rather than being given an E-Z quick over the counter ole' by City employees who couldn't care less, the developer might have gotten some good advice and these places would have been sold by now.

Instead they didn't, and are today being roundly ridiculed on The Tattler.

The Realtor for these failed miseries, Robert Ho of Long Dragon Realty fame (or, as their competition calls them when they are not around, "Short Snake"), originally described the double 'buncle houses this way:

Featuring 2 energy-efficient contemporary homes in beautiful Sierra Madre in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Adjacent to the coveted Arcadia Highlands Neighborhood, these sustainable homes are on a quiet neighborhood street surrounded by mature oak trees and have an amazing view of Angeles National Forest.

Both double story homes feature an open floor plan with large atrium spaces to maximize the flow between both levels. Additionally, large sliding doors, which connect indoor and outdoor living spaces. Carefully placed windows allow air circulation, let in optimal natural light, and frame the outstanding views. 

Secluded backyards with native and drought tolerant landscape are maintainable, generous spaces for play and entertainment. Both homes are equipped with solar system, top of the line appliances, Scavolini Cabinet from Italy, security cameras, and delicate circuit for plug-in electric vehicle charging station.

Whatever, dude.

Here are my observations about some of the claims made for the Carbuncle Castles:

1) They might have an amazing view of the Angeles National Forest, but some of the other homes on Camillo Road now only have an unappealing view of the backsides of a couple of weird looking space station buildings.

2) I have electric car charging stations in my house. They were installed by the late Ed Clare shortly before his passing. And I have never heard the term "delicate circuit" before. The whole thing, including the specially designed cables needed for my two 240 volt stations, cost me about $1,900. Relatively cheap when you consider what Short Snake is asking for the same kinds of so-called sustainability accouterments.

3) The reason why being adjacent to the Arcadia Highlands is so desirable is because it's a neighborhood that, up until now at least, has not yet succumbed to the cancer of mansionization. Apparently, and like Camillo Road itself, this may soon no longer be the case. And it is the same predatory developers that are responsible.

4) There were supposed to be people in this world stupid enough to swallow all of the above boutique blather and pay $1.7 million for these lulus. Guess what? No dice, dude. All sustainable meant in this case is that they have solar panels and a place to plug in a godforsaken Prius. That hardly makes them worth the additional money you would have had to pay for all this pretentious and common nonsense. They have houses like these down in Venice. You can sit in your atrium and watch as the garbage floats by on the canals. Move your stupid self there.

5) The security cameras discussed here are the kind you can hot wire into any smartphone. International buyers from certain cultures use this kind of technology to keep an eye on their young mistresses. Trust me, it's all the rage in Arcadia. In a town with as many handsome men as Sierra Madre, this would be considered a must.

6) "Secluded backyards with native and drought tolerant landscape are maintainable." That means you can plant cactus and aloe plants in your backyard. You can plant cactus and aloe plants in a maintainable trailer park, too. Or even a landfill.

7) I knew someone who had Scavolinis. The remedy for the itching is calamine lotion.

We'll be keeping an eye on this story. My advice to you is once the price falls below $500,000 per 'buncle, buy them. You can then demo these Carbuncle Castles and build single story, 1,700 square foot ranch homes. Be sure to include a white picket fence and a detached garage with a swinging barn door that squeaks when you open it.

Here is some Good News

The Henry A. Darling house has a buyer. Hopefully the primary Realtor explained to the persons purchasing the place that there are certain responsibilities that come with owning a Sierra Madre legacy home.

Barry Gold's Letter Thanking the Planning Commission

(Mod: This e-mail made the rounds yesterday and I thought I should reprint it here. The Planning Commission did a great job on the needed changes to the R-1 building codes, and this is a well-deserved shout out from Barry.)

Dear Planning Commissioners,

I am out-of-town and cannot be at the Planning Commission meeting tonight, so I write to you instead of speaking to you in person to thank you all for sending to the City Council the recommendations to change the R-1 codes concerning lower allowable floor area, lower CUP threshold, and second story CUP reviews.

These well thought out changes will be an enormous step forward in the preservation of the unique character of our precious town.  You are all to be commended for you efforts on behalf of all who live in and love Sierra Madre.

I especially commend Chairman Desai and Commissioner Frierman-Hunt for their most courageous appearance at this week’s City Council meeting to urge the council members to approve your recommendations.  I believe that their comments were instrumental in getting the council to narrowly pass the changes.  I cannot tell you how proud I was of these two commissioners for speaking with conviction and an expert knowledge of the subject.  They are truly both treasures of Sierra Madre.

Cities all over the country are waking up to the destruction uncaring developers are doing to their communities.  Judy and I were at the Grand Canyon Tuesday.  The residents in the small town just outside the Park were complaining about over development there.  We are now in Sedona and here too the complaints are the same.  We saw a 14,000 square foot house with bright green lawns, trees, indoor pool, and an observatory with a telescope that rivals most universities.  All on the side of the most beautiful red rock mountains you will ever see.  The residents just shake their heads and cannot tell you how this happened.

IT IS EVERYWHERE.  Except Sierra Madre. Thanks to our Planning Commission, the Preserve Sierra Madre Coalition, three of our Council Members, and the many residents who support the preservation cause, Sierra Madre will not be destroyed like so many other cities.

Respectfully, Barry Gold 

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

53 comments:

  1. Carbuncle fire sale!

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  2. Who would want to own the two ugliest homes in Sierra Madre? Not only that, they are still way over-priced. They should both be under 1 million and any buyer who pays a penny more is an idiot because then that buyer would be stuck with a problem if they ever were to sell.

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    1. This is called karma.

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    2. Arrogance and ignorance, coupled with money.

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    3. I have wondered about that 6:24, who wants to buy and build a house that all of the neighbors dislike - there are people who thrive on negative attention, or who interpret any criticism as jealousy, so their egos get all puffed up. A lose-lose situation for anyone who lives next to pretentious boxes.

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    4. The Camillo Road carbuncle castles are so bad even the negative attention crowd is staying away.

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    5. Those houses are way over-priced. Only a fool would be them.

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    6. Especially in this town with the worst school district in SoCal, highest UUT in state currently, and top ten rip off water rates.

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    7. Then move, Chauncey.

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  3. Who from the city signed off on those houses?

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  4. When you build lousy homes to try to cater to a certain international buyer, it will not work in Sierra Madre. They are going to learn that the hard way. This is where the Planning Commission could have made them alot of money by making some much-needed improvements. What a disaster for the owner. But its also a disaster for that street and neighborhood that have to live next door to those monstosities for eternity. That's really the problem here. I don't care if builders want to do stupid things. I do care though when it effects other people as it has clearly done here.

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  5. That's great news about the Henry A. Darling House. Let's hope the new buyers care a little more about vintage craftsman homes than than the Brown family did. Let's also hope that Reni Rose finally learned her lesson and told the new buyers that they can't tear down historical 1907 homes in Sierra Madre.

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    1. Finally the Henry A. Darling House found the right buyer. If they fix it up, they will have a beautiful house and Sierra Madre will retain one of its architectural treasures. Everybody wins win people do the right thing.

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    2. This was a big victory for Preserve Sierra Madre.

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  6. Good point. Because the Builder built a bad home that isn't worth much, all the surrounding neighbors have to pay the price. That more than anything makes the case for why we need Planning Commissons, the CUP process and hopefully someday a Design Review Committee.

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    1. The Design Review Committee is a must. If anyone asks you why point to the Camillo Carbuncles.

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  7. Barry and Judy Gold are absolutely right in their letter to give alot of credit to the Planning Commission for all of their great recommendations to preserve our city. There should also be a plaque somewhere for Planning Commissioners Gina Frierman-Hunt and Manish Desai who defended those recommendations to the City Council and under a barage of hostile questions from the two council members who voted against it - Harabedian and Goss.

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  8. If you read the Star News article that came out Thursday about results of Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Harabedian is quoted as saying that some of these issues will be re-visited. That is why we have to be vigilant. Mayor Harabedian and Gene Goss were advocating hard for the pro-development interests who don't want to see any rules in place to impair their ability to build what they want to at the expense of the neighbors.

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  9. We need to stay vigilant because Mayor Harbedian was quoted in the Star News article from Thursday that announced the results of the recent City Council meeting as saying that some of what was approved is still open for discussion. The most important recommendaton that was approved is the mandatory CUP for 2nd story new homes or 2nd story additons. This doesn't mean you can't build a 2nd story it just means that if you want to do it, you can't do it in such a way as to destroy the value, light, privacy and views of your surrounding neighbors. The neighbors will now have input. Based on what they said at the City Council meeting about this issue, Mayor Harabedian and Goss do not think the neighbors should have any input - that an owner of property is entitled to build whatever they want on their property. As Goss said at the meeting, you basically need to just grin and bear it because that's the American Way. In other words, Goss and Harbedian believe that a property owner should be allowed to build that 2nd story to enhance the value and views of their own property no matter the damage to the value, views, light, privacy and emotional well-being of the neighbors who bought there home because it had those very features that will now be taken away. That is the mindset of the developers and contractors who want the unfettered ability to build Arcadia-like McMansions in Sierra Madre and it is evidently also the mindset of two of our council members - one of whom is the Mayor. Pretty scary in my view. This fight will never be over so long as you have tose people lurking out there waiting to change the rules again. All it takes is one bad Planning Commission and one bad City Council to undo all the fine work of those who want to preserve this town.

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    1. Harabedian will never tell us what is really going on. We are going to get fog banks of lawyerese that will have nothing to do with his real agenda.

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    2. Absolutely right 7:38. Harabedian and Goss took a stand for the property rights of the owner of one lot as being somehow more important than the property rights of any owners around that one.

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    3. Anything a good council does, a bad council can undo.

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    4. Existing property owners have rights, too. Also, and unlike a lot of the developers Harabedian and Goss favor, they can also vote in this town as well.

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    5. Yes! "Anything a good council does, a bad council can undo" but it is not the other way around! A bad council can make destructive decisions that are permanent.

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    6. "Mayor Harabedian and Goss do not think the neighbors should have any input - that an owner of property is entitled to build whatever they want on their property." This is why there are zoning laws, "Let's put a Pig Farm next to Johnny"s home"

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    7. Everyone should understand that a CUP doesn't stop anyone from building a new 2-story home or 2-story addition. Sure, there is a cost involved but its not that significant. Why should anyone be afraid of that if you aren't going to do damage to your neighbors. Heck, if its a good project, none of the neighbors will protest. But the neighbors bought their homes based on what things look like at the point in time. They paid more for thier views, light and privacy. Why should all that be destroyed because someone wants to build thier dream home or a developer wants to build thier spec home? The burden should be on the person who wants to change things and a 2-story new home or 2-story addition is a significant change.

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  10. Thoughout southern California there are cities that are facing down these monster intrusions in traditional neighborhoods. The Camillo grandiosities were the tipping point for the Planning Commission to get these R-1 changes crafted for the City Council to act on. The 3-2 vote is a shame that it was not a 5-0 to protect Sierra Madre with a united City Council vote.

    The real tell in the in the Short Snake languge to advertize these hyper-modern exotics is the "adjacent to the coveted Arcadia Highlands neighborhood..." So what is that implying? You can get your kids into the Arcadia school system? And by the way that neighborhood is Highland Oaks, not Arcadia Highlands! Same name as the elementary school: Highland Oaks.

    The tiny cottage on one lot and garage/workshop on the other lot were due to be torn down, but what went up in their place is just modern rubbish with no lasting since of time or place.

    How do you keep a straight face about environmental sustainability when you don't factor in the huge carbon footprint represented in dragging in cabinery from Italy. The bathroom fixtures were something else to consider. Pure bletch!

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  11. Ugly faux-luxury-modern home or boring fake ranch home with detached garage. Either way Sierra Madre loses

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    1. What would you build?

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    2. I know of a 1953 canyon house that got some new kitchen cabinets 10 years or so ago. The installation team that loaded the plain, unadorned ("boring" was the description used) cabinets into the truck wondered where they were headed. Then they made the quiet trek into the canyon to install them and were mesmerized by the ambiance of the canyon, the house and the modest kitchen improvements that fit.

      What would you build? Something that considers time and place and is not the Tuba solo in the string quartet!

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    3. Let me think about it. What if we started with the house we live in, the one that we thought fit our needs some few or many years ago, and then found a second or third house in Sierra Madre that we would also say "I like that house, too" and amassed a portofolio of a large range of house style and types that "fit" our traditional town. I think from my even outlining this proposal you can mentally picture the wide variety that we have in town and we like and appreciate living next door to. None of us have the Camillo Carbuncles in that line-up I am absolutely sure.

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    4. What is wrong with returning something to those two lots that would fit in with the character of the neighborhood?

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    5. Because a new owner simply might rightfully not care about what your house looks like.

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    6. Sometimes respect must be learned. Thus the new owners of the Henry A Darling house.

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    7. 3:19 - I agree that McMansion owners don't give a damn about the community or their neighbors.

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    8. I have a novel idea. If you don't generally like the house the way it is (not talking about remodeling and perhaps a reasonable addiiton), then don't buy it. Buy a home that's more suitable to your needs. Don't assume you can just tear it down.

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    9. I won't buy it. But I will complain anyway.

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  12. Sadly we residents are stuck with the "Carbuncles on Camillio" .The people who designed,approved and built them - not so much.BTW , carbuncles -splendid turn of phrase Crawford !
    So what to do? There is only so much utility to carping. Now it is time to put some lipstick on these pigs? All I can suggest is ivy. There is some evidence that a complete covering of red/green ivy is an effective thermal barrier.
    Anything that softens those sharp edges and helps it blend with the landscape.......

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    1. How about a termite tent?

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    2. A red tag would be a nice addition.

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    3. A sign out front that says "Welcome To Buncleberg" would be a treat.

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    4. Doctors bury their mistakes, architects plant ivy

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    5. I like the idea of a permanent termite tent with a little flap so that you can go inside and out. That would be an improvement to the outside and based on what I saw at the open houses, an improvment on the inside as well.

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    6. This negative comment emanates from a resident whose landscape and dwelling looks like something out of the high desert on the city's preferred tear down list.

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    7. I think you've been bitten by the termites.

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  13. The part I really don't get is the carport. How tacky is that for your high-end electric car? As for the view of the Angeles National Forest. Bah humbug! Chaparral covered slopes, not forest as the name vainly implies. Set to go up in smoke again with the drought and red flag days such as we just had.

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    1. Those remarks are such a stretch. Ho ought to be ashamed of himself.

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  14. Now the community will have the distinct pleasure of watching the price of those butt-ugly carbuncles sink throughout the summer. Some poor slob(s) will eventually buy it cheap, when the developer realizes it's a total loss. What a nightmare for all involved. But it will provide a real lesson to folks in the development game.

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  15. There are more houses at Buncle Gate than there are at Stone Gate.

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  16. Unfortunately, there are a lot things that don't happen in Sierra Madre that are happening elsewhere. Like a rise in the demographic profile and education level of the residents. I feel like I moved into Rock Ridge from Blazing Saddles and will be stuck in a time warp until I escape.

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    1. Obviously you are a clueless idjit.
      From CityData.com
      For population 25 years and over in Sierra Madre:
      High school or higher: 97.5%
      Bachelor's degree or higher: 58.1%
      Graduate or professional degree: 27.3%
      http://www.city-data.com/city/Sierra-Madre-California.html#b#ixzz3XeP449Wv

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    2. Clueless idjit - furthering your Sierra Madre education:
      Sierra Madre Education Statistics
      No High School 201
      Some High School 193
      Some College 1,814
      Associate Degree 600
      Bachelors Degree 2,345
      Graduate Degree 2,167
      http://www.sfrealtors.com/US/Neighborhood/CA/Sierra-Madre-Demographics.html

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    3. One more for you, Clueless Idjit:

      Sierra Madre is a decidedly white-collar city, with fully 92.96% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Sierra Madre is a city of professionals, sales and office workers and managers. There are especially a lot of people living in Sierra Madre who work in sales jobs (14.81%), management occupations (14.60%) and office and administrative support (11.26%).

      Of important note, Sierra Madre is also a city of artists. Sierra Madre has more artists, designers and people working in media than 90% of the communities in America. This concentration of artists helps shape Sierra Madre’s character.

      Also of interest is that Sierra Madre has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.

      Telecommuters are a relatively large percentage of the workforce: 7.55% of people work from home. While this number may seem small overall, as a fraction of the total workforce it is high relative to the nation. These workers are often telecommuters who work in knowledge-based, white-collar professions. For example, Silicon Valley has large numbers of people who telecommute. Other at-home workers may be self-employed people who operate small businesses out of their homes.

      In addition, Sierra Madre is home to many people who could be described as "urban sophisticates". Urban sophisticates are people who are both educated and wealthy, and thus tend to be older, richer, and more established than young professionals. "Urban sophisticates" is not just about being educated and well-off financially: it is a point of view and state of mind, one that you might call 'urbaneness'. But such people can and do regularly live in small towns, suburbs and rural areas, as well as in big cities. They read, support the arts and high-end shops, and love travel.
      http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ca/sierra-madre/

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