Dear Supporters: Many of you will recall the herculean effort to save the 1907 Craftsman home located at 126 E. Mira Monte known as the "Henry A. Darling House." At that time, the new buyers for the home were proposing its demolition and there was a huge outcry in the city as people rallied around its preservation. In fact, concern for this home prompted the City Council's enactment of an Emergency Demolition Moratorium and later the permanent Demolition Ordinance that provided protections for homes built before 1940.
Because the first Buyer couldn't do what they wanted to this home, it was sold to a second Buyer who we all understood wanted to preserve the home. You will see from the pictures below that didn't happen. In fact, they tore the home down to its studs and demolished it to such a degree that the City had to issue a "Stop Work" order.
Now it transpires that this second Buyer, after completely disregarding the City's building and demolition rules regarding this historic property, is going to appear before the City's Planning Commission on Thursday, November 3rd at 6:30 pm to evidently ask for forgiveness and apply for an after-the-fact permit to continue their destruction.
Based on the above pictures, it appears to us that this project has gone beyond a mere "restoration" and has now become a demolition. When the property was sold to the first buyer back in 2015 (and before it was resold), here is how the Realtor described it:
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.
Our Planning Commission, City Council and City Staff need to be united in sending a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in the City of Sierra Madre. Keep in mind this now has a significance beyond just the destruction of this house. All eyes will now be on our Planning Commission on Thursday, November 3rd at 7:00 pm.
The question to be answered is whether any owner, contractor or developer ever needs to ask permission again and follow the rules found in the our General Plan and Municipal Code.
Meanwhile, the damage has been done and the Henry A. Darling House has been destroyed - very, very sad.
Thank you for your support.
Preserve Sierra Madre
Tattler Bonus Coverage: Demolition as defined by the City of Sierra Madre
Mod: Anyone feeling especially adventurous this morning can look up how City Hall views the capricious demolition of homes of a certain vintage by clicking here. We'll get into this a little more thoroughly in the days directly preceding this Thursday's Planning Commission meeting.