Sunday, October 30, 2016

From Preserve Sierra Madre: 1907 Henry A. Darling House Destroyed

Mod: This all went out yesterday to the concerned residents on the Preserve Sierra Madre e-mail list. It is an exceptionally hard hitting report, one that reflects the deep sense of disappointment in this community.

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.


B
ased 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.

Here at Preserve Sierra Madre, we are saddened and shocked about what has happened to this once beautiful home. We are also angry at why the hard-fought rules and regulations that were put in place to protect and preserve our "village in the foothills," were so egregiously disregarded. It seems to us that a mere "slap on the wrist" is not an appropriate penalty for this travesty.

Our Planning CommissionCity 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.

Steering Committee
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.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

140 comments:

  1. This is slightly off-topic, but has anyone ever seen two more arrogant, egomaniacal gasbags than Trumpf and Hillbillary? It's like we're watching Freaks & Geeks and the TV isn't even on. I'm writing in Elaine.

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    1. Preserve Sierra Madre is one of the best things to appear in this town in a while. They have brought issues to the people of our city and fought hard in the various battles over development whether it was the Monastary project, the General Plan update, One Carter or the Demolition Ordinance and finally helping to save the Henry A Darling House. Thanks folks. Obviously that last one didn't quite work out the way they expected.

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    2. 1:13 - Forget national politics for a day. This could harm our city forever if these people are allowed to get rid of a house, and build what I'm guessing is a spec house, like the ones on Santa Anita and Grand View, and Camillo. Come to the Planning Commission meeting Thursday night - 7:00 pm

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    3. There are some great people in this town who don't want to see our cultural landmarks torn asunder. I will be at that meeting to voice my concerns.

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    4. Me too, 8:47. We need some new voices - please show up, everyone!

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    5. If we don't show up it will continue to happen and get worse.

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    6. The pictures don't lie. They tell the whole story. Why wasn't the domolition ordinance followed? 99 percent of this home is gone.

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    7. Where is the Sierra Madre Historical Society in all of this? They mention in their recent newsletter about the Nathaniel Carter Barn but are invisible when it comes to helping out with anything that involves a fight. President Maggie Ellis needs to take a stand or is the historical society only a social club that allows 1907 Craftsman homes like the Henry A Darling house to be demolished without a peep from them. If they continue to stand idly by then nothing historical will be left in town for them to put in their newsletters.

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    8. Amen 2:43. Historical Society never gets involved in preserving anything historical. Go figure.

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    9. The cost to the owners has been too low. For homes designated like the Hart House should not have happened. Their are no teeth in the regulations to stop it from happening. It was too easy... What needs to happen is to make the cost higher than simply preservation , these people are pirates. I would suggest to make it necessary for continuous inspection by a deputy inspector every day. It is done with reinforced concrete structures to insure approved plans are adhered to. I know, everyone will scream it is costly, but if an owner is spending a half million on a property, continuous inspection is going to discourage this.
      The planning commission should be setting up what criteria and building types where continuous inspection is necessary. The Deputy would report on change orders to the City council, and gross violations should be prosecuted. Stop work orders should have more teeth including serious fines, including stopping construction. contractors violating a stop work should have complaints recorded to the state, with possible license suspensions.
      p.s. we have been pretty successful in keeping local governance out of the hands of state and national politics.
      It has been a tradition that local politics is not corrupted by outside political entities, and that national politics stops at the borders of our town.

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  2. Has anyone considered that they've gutted the house so they can build another parcel on the property. If they want to build another addition, a concept quite in vogue in SM currently, they might believe they needed to get the house up to code. This would be a roundabout way to just gutting the property. All in all, just for greed. Just a thought

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    1. The previous owners had hoped to pull off a lot split. The profits from a planned for second house paying for the remodeled home they had hoped to live in. This was shot down. Who knows what the current owner is up to since they won't tell anyone in advance.

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    2. The Buyers, their Realtor and City a Staff all must have known what happened a year or so ago and how many people felt about this house. Yet they completely disregarded those concerns and gutted the house. There's almost nothing left. Drive by the property. As you stare at the timbers remaining pull up the old pictures. Something very wrong happened here and I'm sure there's plenty of blame to go around.

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    3. Looks like the "extensive intact period features" like the box beam ceilings, wainscoting, plate rail, oak floors, river rock fireplace have all been torn out. Who would buy such a home and do this? This is no way to restore a home.

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    4. The realtor accurately described the home that I viewed during an open house. Sure it needed some work. But nobody in their right mind would rip out the kind of architectural details you found in that home. It's like restoring the Gamble House by tearing it down to the studs.

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    5. The present buyers have lost all credibility. They should not be trusted. Maybe they can get on the Tattler and tell everyone what their plans are for the property.

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    6. Judging by what we've seen so far their plans are to make things up as they go along.

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    7. I remember Alan Graves, I think that was his name, defended himself on the Tattler and clarified comments he made at the water moratorium city council meeting. He still got lambasted but at least he was a stand up guy and submitted to some questions. I'd like these buyers to explain what they did and why. The pictures sure seem to suggest that this house should not have been gutted. V

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    8. The buyers had a local realtor, Luther Tsinoglou of Podley Properties representing them. He would have known what happened before. The buyers evidently live in town and they must have known what happened with the previous buyers. City Staff knew the sensitivity with this house. And yet the house was still torn down to the studs. I'd love to hear what was talked about as the buyers were contemplating buying this house. I suspect we would hear something far different from what their public stance is going to be. They are going to try to say the house was too far gone and had "decades of neglect" and it was dangerous and so they had no choice but to gut the property. The pictures tell a different story however and pictures don't lie. A lover of craftsman homes who appreciated its history and character would never have torn it up like this.

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    9. After what happened to this house, every historical home in Sierra Madre is at risk. If you care, show up at the meeting on Thursday, Nov 3rd. People need to send a message before it happens again and again.

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    10. Was a historical review done on this happen? I thought that had to be done before you demolish it. Or did the owners exploit some rule that if you leave just enough of the building standing it's not considered a demolition and thus doesn't trigger that historical assessment.

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    11. These buyers cannot be trusted now. Either can city staff. Something went very wrong here and we need to get to the bottom of it.

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    12. This is bull$&&t. Should never be allowed to happen in a town that prides itself on preservation.

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    13. Alan is a stand up guy who voluntarily submitted to being deposed by Tattler readers. While I disagreed with his defense, I admired his willingness to explain his actions.

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    14. The Brown's obviously were planning a lot split and the house was in the middle and had to go. Mr. Brown said as much when he complained he could not get the second water meter.

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    15. I'm sorry, but it is a little late for the Darling home butchers to be standing up about anything. They can tell it to the Planning Commission.

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    16. Nobody can defend what happened here. The house was unfortunately bought by the wrong buyer. They obviously had no intention to preserve this home. Homes in far worse condition than this one get restored all the time. Taking a home down to the studs is not a restoration unless they have saved every piece they took out and intend to reassemble it later. I suspect that's not going to happen here. It looks like they will leave an exterior facade that resembles what was there before but the entire interior has been ripped asunder. That may be their perogative but it's still very sad nonetheless. This was the wrong buyer for this house.

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    17. The right buyer was free to buy it, but they didn't, right?

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    18. My question is how it reached this point? Was someone asleep at the wheel? Everyone was up in arms about what the Browns were merely contemplating. Yet the Kefales's actually achieved what is a de facto demolition right under everyone's noses. How could this have happened? Who was minding the store?

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    19. Well 7:47. the right buyer would have come along eventually but the Kefales's scooped it up under false pretenses. Why would they be in the market for a house like that if there only intention was to gut it. I don't care how you want to sugar coat it, it was the wrong thing to do. It might not be as bad if what happened to the first buyer never occurred but they were on notice about how so many people felt about the house and proceeded any way. There's a certain arrogance in that which is hard to understand.

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    20. A demolition clearly occurred which should have triggered the demolition ordinance. Was the historical review done and if so who signed off on it?

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    21. I just want to see the historical review as mandated by the demolition ordinance whenever 25 percent or more had been demolished. In this case it's 95 percent gone.

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    22. Luther Tsinoglou is your typical realtor chasing a commission. They don't care what happens afterwards. They move on to their next commission opportunity from the good residents of Sierra Madre.

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  3. Did anyone tell them they could get away with this? Or that nobody would notice? That the city lacked the will to enforce its own codes? It is time for the city to put an end to anarchy development.

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    1. Too much of this is going on and the words gets around fast that you can flout the city's rules with impunity.

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    2. Whatever happened to Salesian and his illegal 2-story house over on Highland. Did he get just a slap on the wrist? And remember how Harabedian tried to intervene to no avail on his behalf. Even Gene Goss to his credit was offended by that blatant disregard of our rules and then all the lying afterwards.

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    3. No one had to tell them they could do this. Can you spell Salisian? That's all they had to know. If they were only restoring, why get rid of all the landscape too?

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    4. You can put all the great rules you want in place but it's meaningless if the enforcement mechanism has no teeth.

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    5. My guess is Harabedian is at the core of much of the code flaunting in this town.

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    6. Harabedian selectively intervened on behalf of Felikian and Salisian. That sets a very bad precedent which is called cronyism. It's also called corruption. I wonder if I get special treatment from Haradedian if my name doesn't end in ...ian.

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    7. Harabedian has always resisted any constraints on development particularly when the rules apply to his buddies.

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    8. You complain about Harabedian but you all reelected him.

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    9. He was reelected but that's because there exists a minority of people who don't mind if Sierra Madre turns into Arcadia.

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  4. So many people came together to save this house and celebrated that it was saved. I feel betrayed by the present owners and the city staff who are paid to protect our interests and enforce the rules on the books. Something went terribly wrong here.

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    1. It was a complete betrayal and also the middle finger to boot.

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    2. Let's see how they defend the indefensible. I hope to god that these owners didn't have the blessing of the city as they torn it down. If so, there's going to be hell to pay.

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    3. I drove by today to see it for myself. Where was the city in all this. There are piles of rubble in front mixed with that wood architectural detailing everyone has been talking about. It's really hard to look at when you know what the inside and outside looked like before. William and Anastasia Kefales have no remorse for what they did. They probably had no hesitation in gutting the house and that was probably their intention from the start.

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  5. I think we all agree that some form of development is sensible and should be permitted in this town (pun intended). However, I think it is way past time that the state of California, and Sierra Madre especially, invested in controlling growth and inveterate real estate habits. Yes, property taxes are important to the functioning of local government, but please Capoccia et al. let us not let fiduciary gain outweigh the character of our town. We need to severely limit lot splitting, house flipping, and other deleterious real estate maneuvers. This may lead to a drop off in property tax income in the short term, but we can easily make this deficit up by limiting local expenditures, waste (e.g. the Hildreth case), and unscrupulous spending in the long term. This Darling House case is a great first step to see if our town is on the right course. We have statutes in place that should be enforced, and all branches of local government (citizenry, city council, and commission) should be in agreement here. Let's not forget the big picture. If an informed citizenry, crafting local statutes in the best interests of the whole tax-paying community, cannot be heard and respected then there is a big problem afoot. This is not just a planning commission issue, this is a Sierra Madre issue. I just hope the city is listening.

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    1. Thank you 7:36 for your thoughtful reply.

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    2. What did they know and when did they know it? The Planning Commission must untangle how this project went terribly wrong. Does anyone know who the architect and contractor are? We will see how incestuous this all is. You have a local owner, a local realtor - who else is involved? The Planning Commission must get to the bottom of it.

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  6. Ok. I am the owner and here is what's happening. By the way this is all public record as well.
    Our plan (up to this point) was to do the following.
    1. Replace the siding, windows and roof
    2. Remodel the interior of the home. Yes we are moving around walls. The fireplace will remain.
    The details will be reconstructed as it is not feasible to retain them as most interior walls will be moved
    3. In the plan, the only wall that is being removed is the rear southern wall.
    4. The foundations will be rebuilt from the inside, leaving the river rock foundations in place. They are close to six feet high in the rear and about four feet in the front.
    5. Raise the house off the foundation to level it and create new supports throughout the house
    6. Add sheer walls and grade beams to create a safe structure. As per code
    7. The exterior of the house is to be put back together with new materials because the old were beyond salvage and mismatched throughout the years. (The second story was a conversion and was little more than a loft, however it is a defining feature of the home.)

    Where are we now.
    After removing the wall coverings (permitted)
    We discovered significant failure with the framing. Many components are missing, and some had been destroyed in a previous remodel. There are no headers, there is no double top plate, the lumber is rotted in many places and worst still, the house is shifted and leaning about 10 degrees to the rear, and a few degrees at the front. The shifted weight has broken the rear footing of the house.

    What are we asking to do.
    We are asking permission to reframe the house exactly as it was. Retaining the same foundation (with the interior reinforcements) the same roof line (we kept templates to match the pitch and curve exactly)
    And continue with the addition to the rear of the house.

    The problem and reason for the red tag.

    In plan check out plan had for sister if the roof rafters which were currently 2x3 32 on center with 2x8. This was needed for title 24 insulation code as the upstairs ceilings were vaulted and to carry the weight of the roof (they were bowed)
    The plan checker did not like the plan as it would have reduced the head by 4 inches.
    He then said to replace the reframe the roof and match it to avoid that issue. Staff concurred and the director signed the change. They are saying now they did not give me permission to remove the whole roof but most of the roof is affected by this issue and you can't reframe portions of a roof with material that is more than twice as big as it is not possible.

    for the record. The city did not stop us. We voluntarily stopped and asked them for direction regarding the structure. The stop work order(s) came after we invited the building officials to the site. I maintain we did nothing off plan and my stamped and signed plans say the same. I will ring them to the meeting.
    Also, pictures indicating the condition of the house for some reason are not being included in the presentation so I have printed copies for all the commissioners and one for the audience to see for themselves what we are working with. If the moderator would like to post those pictures I can provide them. I would also be happy to provide the plans for you to post as well.

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    1. You realize that you are calling Vincent Gonzalez a liar, right? He wrote the staff report that states you did not do what you have claimed here.

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    2. Tell it to the Planning Commission, pal. Bring your checkbook.

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    3. Since when did a staff report become more credible than the actual written document?

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    4. You sound like Jeff Hildreth.

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    5. True. Except Jeff did not destroy an heirloom home and then claim he did it for wonderful reasons. He just dug a hole.

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    6. What happened to all the architectural detailing on the inside that appears from the pictures to be in pristine condition. You like over on Montecito Bill. What do you plan on doing with this house? Give us the plan. Are you into Craftsman restorations? Is that your expertise. How hard did you try to preserve the interior? All those things you mention could have been saved without gutting the interior and taking it down to the studs....that is if you had wanted to. Now you have utterly destroyed a beautiful 1907 Craftsman. I grant you that some work needed to be done. I'm well aware of that. But you could have done that work without gutting the house if you had cared to do so.

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    7. Mr. Kefales it sounds like your plan from the beginning was to gut the interior and utterly destroy all of the pristine architectural Craftsman details. Why did you buy this house if that was your intention? You obviously have no understanding about these houses. If you wanted a modern house, buy one or fix up one that does not have historical significance or one that the community does not care about. You bought it anyway knowing full well that the community wanted to see it preserved. All your modifications could have been done without destroying the interior. Are you saying you didn't know about the packed council meetings and the way the people rallied to rescue this home. Is that what you are going to say? Or, as is most likely, you and Luther Tsinoglau your realtor knew about it anyway and proceeded full steam ahead despite how people felt about this house. Absolutely disgraceful in my view. Maybe I can't do anything about what has already been done but I can show my displeasure by not frequenting your restaurant, The Only Place In Town. Fortunately, its not the only place in town. I want to patronize those business owners who respect the people of this town.

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    8. I don't think the idea for those wanting to preserve the house was only to have a shell of it on the outside. That house was the equivalent of the Gamble House to Sierra Madre and you unnecessarily gutted it. Any one who wanted to save that house could have made all the necessary modifications that you mention without doing what you did. Preservation was evidently the last thing on your mind. What was on your mind was doing the minimum amount necessary to comply with our laws which even that you went beyond and violated. You very cavalierly say that you will "remodel the interior" and "move around walls". That's hardly what preservation is all about. You knew all this and proceeded anyway and the house effectively no longer exists does it.

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    9. What did you do with all the interior woodwork that is reflected in the "before" pictures?

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    10. If you demolish more than 25% of the structure you have to have a historical survey done. Did you do that? You have demolished 95% of the house. When the Brown family contemplated demolishing the 1907 Henry A. Darling House which caused such an uproar in town, that was the catalyst for the Emergency Demolition Moratorium which then was made permanent with the Demolition Ordinance. The house you have now effectively torn down was the very reason we have a Demolition Ordinance in place. Please tell the Tattler readers how you complied with that Ordinance.

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    11. Somebody needs to remind Mr. Kefales to bring his checkbook Thursday.

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    12. Evidently, the Planning Commission was not involved along the way. I heard at the beginning there was some plan to dig out the basement area and the plan seemed ok. How did it morph into what we see now? Who at the city is responsible for this? Where was the oversight? Of all houses, how did this all happen to the very house that was the reason for the demolition moratorium and demolition ordinance? This is probably a combination of dishonesty from the owner and malfeasance from the city. The Planning Commission needs to get to the bottom of this.

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    13. No one's logic is flawed as Mr. Kefales puts it. You never had any intention of saving the interior and preserving this house. Everyone needs to drive by the house now and see how good a job the Kefales's did in preserving and restoring the house. Take a look for yourself and compare it to the pictures from the first realtor that can be googled. Then come to the meeting on Thursday. Either the City staff is going to be lying or the owner will by lying. Have your bulls$#t meter ready to go.

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    14. The silence from Kefales to these further questions is deafening. He doesn't have an answer because it's all been a sham. He knew how people felt before he bought it and yet proceeded anyway. As someone put it, he did so while giving us the middle finger. Such arrogance.

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    15. 10:04 Such arrogance must be met with swift action. See you all on Thursday!

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    16. I don't think our Planning Commission will suffer fools or liars for one second. They are all pretty sharp. They will get to the bottom of this and it won't be pretty.

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  7. The only way the City can save themselves is to start by making the Salesian's tear down their illegal structure. They basically started this rogue movement in Sierra Madre. This, I fear is the tip of the iceberg.

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    1. He must remove the top story. He must remove the east 6 feet of the building, remove and lower the roof, relocated the bathroom and allow for only a sink and toilet, remove all other plumbing, pay 2x permit fees, and the owner will pay for annual inspections. The building is now around 650 sq ft. He also pissed off the Planning Commission a lot. The PC is not going to go easy on the Mira Monte guy.

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    2. We have a great Planning Commission. They have not been wants to put up with liars in the past. John Hutt and Desai and the rest will get to the bottom of this I can assure you.

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    3. The planning commission gave the Salisians the go ahead to have a 1 story exercise room 980 s.f.. They had no choice. There will be an annual city inspection to make sure no one is living there and the Salisians pay thr inspction fee.

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  8. Make Sierra Madre Great Again

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  9. A very insidious element is at work with in Sierra Madre community much like cancer, by allowing a developer or builder to say one thing to the cities powers and public then turn around and do the direct opposite without fear of retribution from city hall or the public at large? Why is that? City Hall has the most to gain from any project consistent with fees and permits that are paid outright, this of course does nothing to sooth the ruffled feathers of the communities view of their own identity which they watch being destroyed. Better standards have to be adopted and put into play when it comes to destroying historic building or communities, a new city manager along with council members who truly embrace the community standard's of preservation for the next generation to marvel at and appreciate as much as this generation and once before did.

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    1. The city has taken a very passive-aggressive approach to all of this. On the one hand they have given the preservationist community the assurances they wanted that such things as the H.A. Darling fiasco would never happen. On the other hand the enforcement of those codes have been ineffective. Something that makes the anarchy development crowd feel like they can do as they want. What we are seeing here is a consequence of all that.

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  10. 7:36 Why??? Why do you feel you need to get rid of the siding, windows, and roof (e.g. everything but the skeleton shown in the picture above). What about a craftsman home do you not understand? Or do you have a financial motive in adding another addition or splitting your lot to flip for financial gain? See my comment at 7:36. You seem to be quite greedy, and it will take a lot for the people of this city and those that wish to maintain its character to just on good faith believe anything you say. There are civil processes and a rule of common decency in this city. You believe you are above these and perhaps wish to 'speed things up.' Good luck, I hope this city does not let you succeed.

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    1. Why. Because they were rotten and could not be saved. Do you think I wanted to spend the money to replace them. If I could have just painted them and replaced a few boards that would have been great. Your logic is flawed.

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    2. You broke the law. You sound like just about every other scofflaw who thought their judgement counted for more than city code.

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    3. Sorry friend but the pictures do no lie. The interior was in pristine condition. I walked through the house. You can shore it up and do alot to the foundation without taking it down to the studs if you had wanted to. You obviously had other motivations. There are many houses you could have bought and torn them down and nobody would have cared. What did your realtor Luther Tsinoblou tell you about what you could do? Did you and your realtor know about what happened with the previous buyer and how concerned the community was about this house. The arrogance is stunning.

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    4. The Kefales's did not buy this house with the intention to preserve it and were later surprised as they proceeded with a true restoration. That is not what happened here. The plan from the beginning was to look for any bogus excuse to gut the house and that's just what they did and what they will tell us at Thursday's meeting.

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  11. I hope the owners were able to save as much of the oak flooring, plate rail, river rock fire place etc. Hopefully the river rock was tagged by each stone so that the re build will go forward smoothly.
    Shocking as the home now appears; safety in this high fire and earthquake zones comes first.
    I can only watch now; the rebuild and restoration of this house. As it was.
    I cannot jump into the "sky is falling" thinking of the Preservation Sierra Madre group; as I don't have all information necessary to make a determination.
    I trust the Planning Commission and their combined knowledge.
    Having a General Plan, is just a Plan of City growth into the future. A template.
    And no, there is not enough protection or teeth, that this City can apply to developers that disregard our City Codes and Ordinances ;as witnessed with Dorn Platts on their weekend Machete and Bulldoze of the Carter Property.
    This is an area that the City Attorney should be given direction.

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    1. 8:11 I agree. However behavior is key here. As another poster has already mentioned it is not for the citizenry to kowtow to those who will do whatever they want willnilly. Righteous anger in this situation is warranted, and I hope the accused has a good defense on Thursday night.

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    2. Woah, check that earlier reply. A general plan is not a template. This is the problem or will be with this city in the future.

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    3. I don't think Preserve Sierra Madre has said the sky is falling. They are saying it already fell. The house is gone. There's virtually nothing left. B

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    4. I don't think they saved anything. There is a big pile of rubble and wood in front of the house. It's like taking a knife to a Monet painting. Stunning and sad at the same time.

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  12. 7:36 - Well said! In my opinion (and apparently, lots of other posters), it all started with City Council, and especially Harabedian giving the Salesians a pass. We MUST show up and speak up not only at this Thursday's Planning Commission meeting, but also the following Tuesday's City Council meeting, and demand to know what is happening with the Salesian illegal compound.

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  13. I still can't believe what was done to our historic KFC a few years back.

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    1. Unlike the demo'd Darling Craftsman, the chicken shack was preserved. Ironic, no?

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    2. This stinks of incompetence(City) and possible deception.
      I own a Craftsman that I restored and it had similar issues.
      I applaud the owner for offering his version of the situation.But he was way too late and combative. Surely he knew this was an incendiary issue and would have made sure his neighbors and other interested parties were fully informed,promptly.A simple progress blog would have worked beautifully. He is not legally required to inform us , it is just stupid not to. And 'stupid' is expensive !Now he and anyone with his distinctive family name will be a Pariah in town for decades to come.
      But despite the suspicious damage done, he will be given a pass by the City and the toothless Planning Commission will be powerless - -despite their wonderfully good actions and intentions.
      Why will be get a Pass from the City? Unlike poor Hildreth he is not a big -time property owner/businessman in town .Follow the money folks ! He pays lots of fees and taxes to the City .He comps City staff meals at his restaurant. He has connections, power,money. Hildreth not so much.Guess who the City chose to go after? And of course SIlesian is Harabedian's ethnic kin do he gets a pass also.
      Please show me I am wrong.This petty corruption has to have consequences or America as we knew it gets destroyed.Let's start with the truth, and Trut but Verify.
      See you all at the Planning Meeting ,I hope.

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    3. If he had followed the rules and stuck to code none of this would have happened. He could have gotten anything he wanted. Instead he got in trouble with the city for beaking the law. That is the issue.

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    4. Exactly right 10:04. We shall see how the connections matter. He used a local realtor Luthet Tsinoglou and I suspect he used a local contractor and architect as well. They will all be pulling some strings here. Let's just hope the Planning Commission can resist the corruption.

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    5. I hope you're wrong 10:04 but I share your concerns. People got too cozy with each other and then they looked the other way as the rules were broken. Now it's a fait accompli and they have the nerve to ask for a demolition permit after the demolition has occurred.

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    6. HISTORIC KFC?????? That is hilarious!! What was that Colonel Sanders' mothers house or something?? You're a Moron!!

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  14. Here you go folks. See the reply at 8:33. The house just could not be saved. Pardon my language, but screw preservation, the logic is flawed. Let's just flout the laws, screw the committee, and let the opinion stand as to whether a historic building is 'up to code' or 'could not be saved'. See you Thursday goodly neighbor.

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  15. Boycott the not so only place in town!

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    Replies
    1. The name should be changed to "Not the Only Place in Town"

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    2. If the boycott takes root it will be "The Lonely Place In Town."

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  16. I do like KFC and the special seasonings that are used; but now I really like Tamales, Potato Tacos, CarneAsada being served there. Also; I wasn't aware that anything historical happened at that location. Is it listed in the State Registry?

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    Replies
    1. It is on the Chicken Checklist.

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  17. My grandparents use to get a bucket to go on Sundays it was a big deal. I will never buy a taco there. Plus they did not participate in the halloween window painting

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    Replies
    1. How about a burrito?

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    2. Actually I will be with both my grandparents Tuesday at the Pioneer Cemetery for Dia de los muertos alas they no longer eat food.

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  18. I guess I'm supposed to boycott;
    Starbucks
    The only place
    Kfc taco place
    Anything else kindly neighbors?

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    Replies
    1. Do whatever you like. Maybe you could boycott The Tattler? You'd make a lot of people happy if you did.

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    2. The Kefales's can try to destroy historical homes but not flout the rules. We are entitled to not patronize their restaurant and give them the financial means to keep destroying our town. Fair is fair.

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    3. If I see you use the word "kindly" in another post I'm going to throw up. The only ones not being kindly are the ones who destroyed the house.

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  19. The big problem is not this one house that has been destroyed.
    I suggest the fundamental problem is an incompetent City that exploits the lack of citizen involvement by pandering to development because that is where the money is. The City needs the money to fund their employment(Ponzi) scheme of self-enrichment.
    That is why Tattler can & does make a difference here.

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    Replies
    1. The bigger problem is property rights and how to force people to do what "The vocal minority" dictates.

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    2. There is no smaller minority than the selfish individual who takes the law into his own hands and in the process violates the rights of hundreds of other. property owners.

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    3. I suspect the vast majority of good people in this town don't want to see it exploited by developers in the name of property rights. There are limits to property rights including the right to tear down historical homes and violate ordinances put in place by the community. If you don't like it then don't buy historical homes. And if you do don't violate a city's rules.

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  20. Maybe they will wait and celebrate The Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos? I didn't put a Scare Crow out this year; maybe next year a Ghosts or two. How ya doing? Feeling better? Just take a deep breath. Wait to hear from all at the presentation on Thursday.

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  21. What ever became of "poor Hildreth" and his "secret dig" ? I haven't followed what the Courts decided.

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  22. 10:53 & 10:56: Are you both trying to explain away what happened to the Monastery Property?

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    Replies
    1. The unused property at the site south of the old monastery will be developed soon. Grading is scheduled for as early as July 2017.

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    2. I don't think so, but thanks for the chuckle.

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    3. The monastery project is DOA.

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  23. 7:36am. New to town? Stay up to date and informed. Attend City Council and Planning Commission meetings. In the very least; read the on line summary minutes; as promised by the Council ;to be on the City Web.

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  24. Again, such a division within the city. You have property rights advocates on both sides. One side says being a property owner gives you the right to do what you choose. The other side says the owner should respect the owners around him. I agree with the latter. This guy bought a house he knew brought out angry citizens. I toured the house when it was for sale. Having had a hundred year old house in my past, I looked at the foundation. They needed work. The inside woodwork was remarkable as were the window casings. Some inside walls needed to be relocated to add space to existing bedrooms or add or enlarge a bathroom. None of the walls with beautiful wood needed to be moved. It's raining, which is a glorious thing, did this guy think to put tarps over this shell he had created? Could a small amount of rain cause damage and Oh! Gee! He needs to tear it down? Harabedian started this, first with Felikian, followed by Salesian and what will he do now? I remember him saying during the council meetin regarding Salesian: (paraphrasing) The guy made a mistake, do we have to punish him? Yes, we did Mr. Harabedian! Be there Thursday to listen to the man who thinks he's the only one in town and hear him wiggle.

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    1. There was obviously no oversight of this project as the Kefales's did whatever they wanted. When the city finally saw the extent of the destruction they went into panic mode. By the time the Stop Work order was issued it was too late. 95 percent of the house is gone. That not the way it's supposed to work particularly with a 1907 Craftsman of historical significance. And of all houses this happens to the very one that became a rallying cry for preservationists just a year or so earlier. The very house that prompted the enactment of the emergency demolition moratorium and later the permanent demolition ordinance. You can't make this up. It's just mind boggling how this could have been allowed to happen.

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  25. Does anyone know which item will be up first Thursday? With a big turnout it would be good to put the HA Darling mess up first.

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  26. I' ll wager five people show for the Planning Commission meeting. The usual excuses of leading a busy life etc....

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  27. I think many of the readers have misssssed another point. A historical house pays 25 percent property taxes, why hasnt the tax assessor / tax collector re assessed the property based on the purchase price? The city and state is missing out on Thousands of property tax dollars each year.....

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  28. Before you grab your pitchforks and torches, you should familiarize yourselves with the discretionary demolition permit. Demolition is defined as exterior walls and roof structure. Windows, doors, wall coverings and roofing material is exempted from the ordinance. Also, and most importantly interior demolition is not covered by the ordinance.

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    Replies
    1. Why did the city put a "stop work" order on this house?

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    2. There is a disagreement about the extent of the roof framing.

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    3. Take a look at the exterior walls and roof my friend. They are already gone. The owners are asking for a permit for something that has already happened. There are no walks and no roof. They've taken the house down to the studs.

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    4. Read the technical definition of "demolition" by mean of Uniform Building Code and City Ordinance. Removing the covers of a wall doesn't constitute demolition. The walls and roof structures are still there. The windows, doorways, and siding were removed by City orders in compliance with the UBOC and will be replaced in kind with non-flamable material. It's the Law, if you know what that is. The house structure was damaged over the years, the house has shifted off its foundation, and walls were leaning and at risk of collapsing if not corrected. The discretionary meating is for the owner to ask for permit to remove the wall and replace it with new material, in kind, and at the same place before covering them and restoring back the house to its original glory, but in a safe way consitent with the Law that governs this type of construction. Get your facts checked and read a book or at least google this subject before start judging others, you may learn a thing or two. I bet you live in an unsafe house, and I saved your response for after the next earthquake hit, maybe we can revisit this subject matter and you'd change your mind. Don't forget to take pictures of this town, cause at the rate they are whining and blocking improvements to the houses, there won't be much houses intact to look at, except in pictures.

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  29. So the ordinance needs an update? I thought that's what is being done now, with the Planning Commision during the water moratorium . Finally available time to close as many loop holes in the zoning and codes and Ordinances; durning the slow time.

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    Replies
    1. We need a citywide historical survey.

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    2. You want the city to dictate what people can do on the inside of their homes?

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    3. There is no inside to the Darling house anymore. It is all outside.

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    4. No @3:58. That's a straw argument. You're either uninformed or being purposely inflammatory.

      Our historic preservation ordinance only regulates the outside. A citywide survey would help with such outside regulation and in no way extend the city's authority to the inside.

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    5. You didn't answer the question.

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  30. what i want to know is when these "before" pictures were taken.. because when i went through the house last year it didn't seem to be in good condition at all.

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    Replies
    1. I looked at it last year and it looked exactly the way it looks in the before pictures. The details were as good or better than any Craftsman home I've seen and I've seen hundreds of them. It was a classic.

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    2. The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge – Stephen Hawking

      5:40PM - Get a life, and don't forget to pick up your dog poop off the sidewalk. We're watching you!

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  31. My favorite part about this feed here is that everyone here,so quick to judge, is an expert at; architecture, historical homes, the law, tax codes, the list goes on and on!!

    I would bet those same people that call this house "pristine", in what day I have no idea, live in rentals that I'm sure are "pristine" but to others may be a hoarders nest and uninhabitable. But I'm sure it's the landlord fault!!

    Also, to the person that said this is a historical property and should be re-assessed...you obviously don't have a clue do you? Do you see a placard or monument on the front of the house/sidewalk that so designates the house? You want to know why you DONT? Because there isn't one because it's not. I don't understand why people are saying this house has some historical significance, is it because someone lived in it when it was new 107 years ago????

    Furthermore, if anyone wants to be mad because of this house, leave Kefalas out of this...you can blame the previous owners who hacked and tore up the house in the first place...making it unsafe and uninhabitable in the first place.....this according to city officials!!!

    This goes out to the 50-60 or so who apparently represent the other 11,000 or so residents of Sierra Madre!!!

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    Replies
    1. Okay, Lecture Person. Here is that question again. Why did the city put a stop work order on the house? Can you put aside your crazy denial long enough to answer that one reality based question?

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    2. Hey Genious at 5:41PM; The reason why was said several times, do you know how to read English, or would you need someone to read it for you... slowly
      !

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  32. My guess 2012-2013 before the browns bought it.
    And they are marketing pictures.
    Magazines make Kim kardashian look like a petite super model.

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  33. 3:47pm. That was done 15 - 20 years ago. Some home owners choose to list the home they are living in, on the State Registry; others do not. Lists of rules and regulations; tax incentives.
    Years ago some in town sent all "historical homes" into the State Registry without the home owners consent. It was very costly for these same owners to de- list; not sure what it cost the City.
    It may apear that the Darling home is bare bones; but the owner has said they wish to restore their private property.
    It is not; as in the past, being done in a "sneaky weekend move" with no one at City Hall to answer the phone.

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