Saturday, November 5, 2016

More Henry A. Darling House Investigation: The Red Tag

Mod: The following screenshot comes to us courtesy of the William Kefalas Facebook page, which you can conveniently link to by clicking here. Heartfelt thanks to the kind reader who discovered and sent this and other related material our way. We (heart).

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Judging by what we have repeatedly seen in the comments here (presumably written and rewritten ad nauseum by the same obsessed reader), this has been the owner's consistent defense for essentially razing the entire Henry A. Darling house all along. 

The claims being there was rotten wood, the place was dangerous, the house was collapsing (but not, of course, because of the demolition), and this was all done to protect those who would supposedly someday live there. That is, if there was still a house left to live in. Which there isn't.

According to the owner this was all done with the approval of City Hall, as detailed in those now legendary (but as yet actually produced) plans and permits. Despite the Red Tag pictured above, of course. Something that belies the basic premise of the owner's entire narrative. After all, why would the city Red Tag a largely demolished structure if they had already issued the necessary documents approving that demolition?

You know what I'm saying?

Should you go to the Planning Commission document poetically entitled "Conditional Use Permit 15-23 (CUP 15-23) 3 November 5, 2015," you'll find that the story is a decidedly different one. Here is how the parameters of the city's approved menu of demolition were originally laid out. Link here.

DemolitionThe project will require demolition of 39 linear feet (approximately 23 percent) of the 172-foot long exterior walls along the rear of the residence to accommodate the addition, and it will not impact the original front façade of the structure. The total square footage of the area proposed for demolition is 670 square feet.

The proposed demolition does not require a discretionary demolition permit or a historic resources survey. Pursuant to Code Section 17.60.056.F, a project requiring demolition of less than 25% or less of the existing walls is exempt from requiring a discretionary demolition permit if the following conditions exist: a) the demolition is required for an addition/alteration to the structure that is permitted by code; b) the addition is permitted at the same time as the required demolition; c) neither the demolished portion of the structure nor the addition impacts the original front façade of the structure; and d) the site plan and all required permits for the remodel have been approved by the applicable city reviewing authority.

The eventual demolition, as seen in the photos we ran in the previous installments of this drama (and especially the one reproduced below because you just can't use such content enough), being far closer to 100% than the 23% discussed in the city's version of the Conditional Use Plan.

And obviously that bit about not impacting "the original front façade" is completely out the window now. Along with the windows, that façade, and whatever credibility the owner might have once had.


I don't want to appear too critical, but it does seem fairly clear that the front façade was impacted by the demolition. With an extreme and lasting prejudice, too. Despite what the City's CUP had to say.

Of course, maybe the owner was talking about an Unconditional Use Permit? I've never seen one of those UUPs, but who knows? Because that is pretty much what it would have taken to legally allow the destruction of what was once known as the Henry A. Darling house.

But is no longer.


sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

57 comments:

  1. By all fairness, can you also post the definition of "Demolition" as per the Building Code which governs the actual permit? I believe part of the permit, which was approved by the city, the outside revetment including windows and doorway have to be replaced with fire rated material in kind and shape per Fire Code, due to the location of the property in fire prone area. Also demolition per code definition and CUP provisions does not restrict the removal of any inside walls, partitions, and wall and ceiling revetments. The dispute is over the roof. It might be shocking to see the house gutted, but with the exception of the roof, all other work was permitted.
    This is a wake up call to all to get familiar with the Law, Building Code, City Ordinance, and technical aspect of the rules and regulations surrounding zoning and building permits. The Law can be disputed and changed in a civilized way, but at the end of the day and until then, the Law prevails, and everything else is just venting. It is what it is!

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    1. Can you explain for us the difference between 23% and 100%?

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    2. Something illegal occurred here and the Planning Commission needs to get tot he bottom of it. There has to be consequences.

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    3. The arrogance of Kefales is stunning. I will not go to his restaurant, The Only Place in Town, anymore. The food wasn't that good anyway. Why do I want to put more money in his pocket so that he can use that money to tear down more homes.

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    4. To Anonymous November 5, 2016 at 5:52 AM
      Can you explain for us the difference between 23% and 100%?

      I am glad you askef - to answer you, you need to first define the unit that is being measured. In this case it is the perimeter lineal footage of structural walls. If you click on the link that was provided with the original article above (thak you author), you can access the full CUP along with the plan and permit calculation. Remolition is defined as the removal of a load-bearing structure or member. Outside windows, doorways, and facia had to removed and replaced per building and fire code (stated in the CUP and permit). The interior revetments and drywalls are not considered load bearing structures. So for as long as the studs are kept in place, the structure would not count toward demolition percentage. Now accounting for the unpredictable factor, once walls are opened, and sometimes it is required, other issues are discovered that would need to be addressed by Code. This is such as Crippled Walls (google it if you don't know what is it), which would need to be seismically retrofitted by Code, which is inherent to living in earthquake-prone Southern California. Rotten wood that weakens any load-bearing structure would also be required to be removed and replaced by Code enforcement.
      You can only imagine what comes out of a 100-year old house that was not properly maintained (structurally speaking, and not by mean of ornate dressing) can hold, and keep in mind that not everything old is historic.

      Now, with that in mind, I trust that ou can go back and find out for yourself what is the difference between 23% and 100%, but you may need to mastercthe myriads of codes and regulations first.

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    5. Jackals!!!! One and all!!!! Leave them be you Jackals as you have no proof!!

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    6. The proof will come out Bill.

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    7. The key is the historical assessment. It was required for it to be done and you didn't do it. The reason you didn't do it is because the home would have been deemed historically significant and that would have impaired you ability to completely demolish the home the way you have already done.

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  2. You may want to ask the inspector Marty to explain what the dispute surrounding the roof issue is all about. You might be surprised!

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    1. I believe the roof issue is that it is no longer there. There are other things that are gone that should still be there as well.

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    2. Maybe the owner installed an invisible roof, one that is only visible to those who have ordered the Cobb salad.

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  3. Excerpts of the CUP...

    The existing structure is an example of Craftsman style architecture. According to the
    applicant, improvements to the exterior materials of the existing structure will be made
    to rehabilitate the appearance of the residence, and the areas of new construction will
    include materials that are appropriate to the Craftsman style so as to blend in with the
    existing structure. The windows will be replaced, as will the casings and frames. The
    balcony, eaves, porch, and columns will be repaired where feasible or replaced and
    painted.

    Looks from the permited plans and rendering provided, the new house will be more darling than the old one.

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    1. Unfortunately the owner demo'd the place and the city was forced to red tag the project.

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    2. "The existing structure ..." What existing structure?

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    3. What about the historical resources survey that was supposed to be done. If the house comes back as historically significant than you can't just do whatever you want to with the house including building some cheesy replica. That's the whole purpose of the demolition ordinance. The owner demolished the house without getting prior approval and without doing the historical resources survey. Its call illegal and Kefales should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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    4. Kefales is one bad apple. Too bad he had to buy the house. He didn't give a second thought to gutting the inside and he didn't give a damn what the people who eat in his lousy restaurant thought about it.

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  4. "All other work was permitted" according to 5:32 AM. IF that's true, then why was Kefalas called on the carpet in a public meeting for lying?

    Permit or not, why did Kefalas knowingly destroy a house that the community wanted preserved? If he wanted to build something new, there are other sites to build on. Why go out of his way to demolish a historic property?

    Even the Beverly Hillbillies weren't that dumb.

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    1. Kevales is a liar just as Commissioner Hutt said. Commissioner Spears said he lost all credibility. That's a pretty harsh but accurate assessment. Kevales wanted to avoid getting the historical resources assessment so he destroyed the house which limits or removes the ability to have one done. Very calculating and very shameful.

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    2. The Beverly Hillbillies were simple country folk the were not dumb(they were able to speak) and did things logically.Specially Jeb a real man,pioneer spirit and all that

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    3. To Anonymous November 5, 2016 at 6:59 AM
      Can you read English and read the entire paragraph, i.e. it was said "with the exception of the roof". The roof is the issue that was the subject matter of the stop order. Talk to Marty.

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    4. To Anonymous at 6:59 AM - Permit or not, why did Kefalas knowingly destroy a house that the community wanted preserved?

      If the community is so eager at preserving houses, then enter a bill for the City to raise taxes, collect money, and purchase all those properties that need to be preserved, then transform them into museums, libraries, and whatever the city dwellers want them to be. Then raise more taxes to rehab them, and let embezzelment takes its course. I am not the owner, but certainly I don't fathom why the few in town have that sense of entitlement to rule how other people should live. I trust our voted-in City Officials to enforce the Law, and most importantly to unite the community together.

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    5. I wrote the post at 6:59 AM and I hereby apologize to the entire Clampett Family. I spoke without thinking. Jeb and his kinfolk would have been a credit to Sierra Madre. They were good people. They were good neighbors.

      That Kefalas bunch is the opposite. To 8:22 Am and 8:42 AM: you can split hairs all day and still not justify the disgusting conduct of Kefalas and whoever helped him commit lasting and permanent harm to Sierra Madre.

      Kefalas is a resident of the town. He knew the Darling House was an important historical property that Sierra Madre wanted to preserve. And he deliberately destroyed it.

      There. Are those English words understandable?

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    6. I'm at least glad that Kefales had the equivalent of a public flogging by our Planning Commission. It's all on tape. Go to the city website and watch that weasel squirm.

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  5. Let's have a pool: I bet it will be on the market for sale within 10 days of the final inspection. Any takers?

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    1. Possibly the city could buy it with all the revenue from the UUT? Call it Darling Park House get rid of the Richardson shack across the way....

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  6. Yup, we've been to this rodeo before: i.e. Planning Commission meeting where applicant tells a bald-faced lie about the "mistakes" I mean "misunderstandings" I mean "didn't mean toos" until we are beyond fed up--as expressed by Hunt and Spears. Geezeus people, we have to get these ordinances right someday. How about now?

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  7. You say potato, and I'll say potatoe; lets call the whole thing off.
    There were two 100 year old bungalows torn down 6 or 7 years ago; on Monticito ave. Making way for a 5 unit Townhouse. Where was the uproar? No historic study done on what clearly were the first homes built in the downtown area.
    Yes; someone cannot read or understand directions (perhaps not chosing to understand) we will never quite know.
    Thank you 5:32am. This is a tremendous wake up call, to put some teeth into the codes, ordinances, preservation of what is still standing.
    I will fight to keep Kersting Court from becoming a Star Bucks patio with a Fake Tree representing this "Tree City".
    I would have also argued for the Bear no longer having his Porta Potty; but the new owners have now given themselves a new name: does a Bear sh*t in the woods? No; he Sh*ts at the Darling/Kafelas house!
    A reminder to not have this happen again in this town.

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    1. The demolition moratorium was not in effect when the Monticito condos were approved.

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    2. Based on what happened here please explain to me what difference it made when the demolition moratorium was in effect.

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    3. None. Laws that are not enforced aren't laws at all.

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    4. The penalties for breaking the building code laws must be increased to the point that they are a deterrent.

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  8. I could be wrong, and someone will correct me I hope, if I am. I thought I heard the owner mention that he didn't tear down the back of the house. Or maybe he said he only tore down a portion of it. If that was said, did he mean since he didn't tear down what he was allowed, that % should go toward what he did tear down? My biggest concern, and I know there is no law governing it and I think there should be: if he was into preservation, why did he gut the inside?

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  9. This is the product of the city not properly enforcing its codes and ordinances in the past. Some people took note and figured they could do as they like. This is the consequence.

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  10. This guy, this smoker with a sweet tooth, is the kind of person who enjoys standing up in a town's city hall and lying, who is now probably enjoying this dust up very much. I doubt there was a minute in which he wanted to actually preserve that house - he just liked where it was, so he took it, and tore it down.

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  11. We are wasting energy here.
    He has long term connections with City Hall. They will give him a pass.
    The problem is corrupt City Hall

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    1. That's it. You said it straight and simple. We all feel angry and helpless now. The way we take some control back is to BOYCOTT THE ONLY PLACE IN TOWN. That restaurant should be sitting empty day after day. Give them the bad ratings they deserve on Yelp, for the awful food and service. Put them out of business.

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  12. Hey; periodically I smoke. I enjoy sweets and salty foods; everything in moderation.
    Nobody really knows what someone else is thinking. If we could do that, we would understand Hillary supporters.
    Kefalas now has to show goodwill and rebuild with new materials. Maybe the flooring was termite riddle.
    Who will the responsibility of Photo Archiving a older home fall? A historical Study should be done on these homes before a sale can occur as a condition. The inside should be recorded; but this is a grey area under any Cities jurisdiction. Private property is Private property.
    Just as Private emails are Private? and unless you work for the Government; then they are the "Peoples email".

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  13. 9:21am & 9:52am. Now you understand Hillary. She is Politically Calculating; it has now been verified that she says one thing to her supporters , but has been recorded as to keeping her large doners demands.

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    1. This election has been an eye opener for me. I have become convinced that many Trump supporters are mentally unhinged.

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    2. Yes she is quite masterful at negotiating and will be a great president.Thank you

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  14. I love Doners it's hard to find a good one around here.Berlins in Venice,Ca. has one of the best I've found in the area.Although they are not very large their only demand seems to be that they make me kinda gassy.

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  15. City Hall is to blame for not doing there job. City Hall never takes blame for not doing the job they get paid so little money to do. Glad the city manager is leaving, wonder if were going to do worse than Elaine?

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  16. Let us not forget the wonderful job the Police Chief has done. What a great department we must have with 40% of the force being new.

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  17. Let us not forget the wonderful job city hall has done with our water problem, a problem that has been on going for the last 20+ years. They screw up and we cough uut. Makes you proud city council, past and present????????

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    1. Let's not forget that they are our elected,unpaid representatives and we elect them.
      Also the majority of council members now serving were supported by the anon. commentators here who crucify anyone that makes hard decisions that they are elected to make.
      Blame Jesus for the lack of water
      If the Police Dept. was made up of older officers you would be wining about that.The new younger under paid well trained officers are an asset to the community

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  18. 3:32pm. Jesus had nothing to do with very poor City Planning; but you could thank him for removing you from the Gene Pool; vote for Prop 60.

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  19. 3:32,,, those elected, unpaid representatives are part of the problem you fool. Give me an older experienced Sheriff any day. Blaming Jesus, you poor uneducated soul, sounds like your working with a dirty bunch in town.

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  20. Incompetent City planners and plan checkers are the core of the problem. Pointing to a problem and not offering a solution is just a sign of ignorance and lack of practical problem solving intelligence. Lacking thorough knowlwdge of the prevailing Law, codes and regulations will lead you nowhere. Noble as it is in essence, the recent efforts of Preserve Sierra Madre to oust the owner out of business and out of town is doing nothing but dividing the community and in the process destroy the noble cause of the group to the ground (I am leaving this group). The community wanted the house, then they should've bought the house ant let it rot for another decade or so until it start crumbling, otherwise spent million of dollars on rehabbing it, turning it in the process into a money pit to no end. Yeah yeah, you saw the pictures and the house was fine! Maybe it would be cheaper for you to keep retouching these pictures. The commissioner was right on the spot when he offered the community to gather their photos and store them in the library. Nevertheless, after seeing the plans and the rendering of the finished house and going over the provisions of the permit, I agree the house character and outside look are preserved, and I am confident the house will be restored to its original glory. The interior of the house is none of anybody's business except the owner's. what gives you that entitlement to this supremacy at ruling people's life?

    Yeah, yeah, and more yeah... keep whining, and all you'd be doing is alienating the town and destroying yourself, you fools. Get a life, and drink plenty of fluid (not the type that Lucky Baldwins serves).

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  21. If the Kefalas' are reading this, your connections won't matter, you've got more friends and supporters than you think. Thank you for making our town beautiful... again!

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    1. The H.A. Darling house looks like a carcass after the vultures got finished with it. If that is your idea of beauty, then you're an odd one.

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    2. I bet you didn't even bother looking at the approved plans. check them out at this link (copy and paste this link to your browser http://cityofsierramadre.hosted.civiclive.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=1355811) these are publuc records of the approved plans by the City. You can see that the intent of the owner is clearly to restore the house. The rendering of the finished house clearly restore it to its original beauty and beyond. If you cannot read the plans, then just look at them or ask someone who knows how. I can't imagine how someone in your capacity would be entitled to legislate ordinances and building codes, and evaluate any aspect of a house without being able nor willing to read codes and plans. Look at yourself in the mirror, and you will see an ODD one, indead.

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    3. Dude broke the law.

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  22. Which specific section of the law, I'd like to read it. You have no clue whatsoever what you are blabering about.

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  23. Guilty until proven innocent, that's not what America stands for.

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  24. The house is a pile of rubble, everyone can plainly see that. The owner was publicly called out for lying to the Commission, which is a matter of public record. The Darling House was marked for preservation, and that too is a matter of public record. The facts of the case paint quite a disgusting portrait of Kefalas & Co.

    If the Kefalas do have connections with city government, and those connections let them get away with this crime, then something is rotten in the town of Sierra Madre.

    It does baffle some of us, that the owner of a local greasy spoon (let's face it, the food is mediocre at best) could wield such political clout. An opportunity for an enterprising investigative journalist to explore, perhaps?

    Sadly, though, nothing will bring back the historic property that this burger-flipper smashed to dust. He apparently destroyed the original materials as well. An irreplaceable piece of history, gone forever. Such arrogance is hard to swallow. Just like the rubber chicken at the Only Place in Town.

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