Thursday, December 1, 2016

Preserve Sierra Madre: Historical Resources Report Completed on Darling House

 
First, thank you to all of our supporters who sent emails or attended the last Planning Commission meeting that dealt with improvements to the Demolition Ordinance. The Planning Commission will continue to discuss that important issue at a future meeting.

Meanwhile, this Thursday, December 1st at 7:00 pm and the first item on the agenda, is what to do about the devastation done to the 1907 Craftsman home well known as the Henry A. Darling House located at 126 E. Mira Monte. The present owner has almost completely gutted the interior and virtually the only thing left of that magnificent home is the framing.

The reasons our City Council worked so hard to save that particular home by passing an emergency Demolition Moratorium has now been substantiated by the conclusions found in the after-the-fact Historical Resources Evaluation Report done by Architectural historian Charles Fisher who fortunately had toured the home before it was torn down. It can be found as Exhibit B in the Staff Report on the city's website (link).

Mr. Fisher reveals in his report that he was actually called out to the home by the previous owners who were proposing to demolish the home but were stymied by Mr. Fisher's verbal conclusions that the home appeared to have architectural significance. Evidently no report was prepared at that time because a demolition was no longer deemed a viable option.  

The home was then re-sold to the present owners who are now applying for an after-the fact demolition permit which requires a written report under the demolition ordinance. The report speaks for itself and explains in great detail what everyone had already suspected about the home's significance.
 
An important question is whether Mr. Fisher's prior visit and verbal conclusions to the old owners were disclosed to the present owners when they bought the house and before the "deconstruction" began. In other words, were the present owner's put on notice that the home they were buying had architectural significance which would constrain them from making certain modifications to the home as it constrained the prior owners?

The last question to be answered is what our Planning Commission will do to maintain the integrity of our building codes and prevent historically significant properties from being demolished? What message will their actions send to others who may not value our historical resources the way we do.
 
 Here's how you can help:

1. Send an email to Leticia Cardoso at lcardoso@cityofsierramadre.com and address it to the Planning Commission. She will forward it to them. If you sent an email about this previously, please forward it again so that it will have an impact on the particular decision to be made for 126 E. Mira Monte.

2. Attend the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1st. It's the first item on the agenda and so you won't have to wait long.

What happens at that meeting will set the tone for historical preservation in Sierra Madre long into the future. We have every hope and confidence that our great Planning Commission will do the right thing but they need our support.

Thank you for your support.
Steering Committee
Preserve Sierra Madre

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

41 comments:

  1. What piece of the puzzle am I missing on this home, that the Preserve Sierra Madre group understands and I do not?
    The report says: some historical significants.
    The new owners are re constructing with new and up to code materials, using the exact foot print of the home.
    Maybe because this sort of re construction hasn't happened in some time?

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    1. I believe the delay was caused by the house being red tagged for some rather serious code violations. This has been discussed quite often, both here and by the Planning Commission. I believe you are being disingenuous when you claim you don't known any of this.

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    2. I don't think it's considered to be preservation when you just make a Disneyland replica of the house.

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    3. The owners violated the demolition ordinance. They are supposed to apply for the domolition permit before the demolition just as with all permits.

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    4. They broke the law, letting them get away with it is not in the best interest of preserving our town. Make them hurt in the pocketbook, And hold strictly to building codes with no variances.No other structures should be allowed on the property. Taking the profit incentive away from lawbreakers is the only way to stop the activity.

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    5. I totally agree 6:55. Make them hurt in the pocketbook, and don't forget to spread the word that they are the owners of The Only Place in Town. I've already told my friends, family, and every organization that I belong to to boycott it.

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  2. There was a reason the Planning Commission was so angry about what happened. They were lied to. I will go to The Only Place in town again. That's how I can send a message to William and Anastasia Kefalas about what happened here.

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    1. ¨I will go to The Only Place in town again¨ also that will show ´em..........

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    2. He leaves with the silverware.

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    3. Until this wooplah started, I haven't visited The Only Place In Town. So I got curious and decided to try it out. The owner and family were there, and they are the nicest people I ever met in this town. The place was packed, and there was a long line waiting. The food was exquisite, and tge service excellent. I will go again and again to this place, and for thise who are whinning and crying about the lost termite heaven, go to hellen and stay there and away from TOPIT. With all my due respect to other religions, unlike you all stone fireplaces and old buildings and bear poop worshippers, the Kefalas are true devout God loving Christians by all means. Get a life, ignorant loosers.

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    4. "Ignorant loosers."
      Take a look in the mirror. That is what's looking back at you.

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    5. If he is such a God loving Christian, Why is he unable to tell the truth to the planning commission?

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  3. That report by Charles Fisher is devastating to the owners. This home was a jewel and should have been restored and not replaced. A fake replica is no substitute for the real thing.

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  4. A city that will not defend its laws and codes is not really a city at all. Rather it is merely an organized opportunity for wink and nod backroom deals with unscrupulous local players interested in just one thing, making easy money. You can write all the General Plans and fine preservationist ordinances you wish, but unless you back them up with significant consequences to those who would so badly abuse this community and its irreplaceable heritage for narrow personal gain, you have achieved absolutely nothing.

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  5. I like the idea of locking the project down for two years. The only thing I would ask is the city put up a sign telling people why.

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    1. I totally agree. It seems a paltry fine and a 2 year moratorium are the only options, so it seems the moratorium will be the only way to show the city is serious about people respecting codes and laws. If you break the law you need to pay!

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  6. They should be tar and feathered then banished from the kingdom of Sierra Madre. How dare a property owner exercise his constitutional rights and not respect his master's will.A harbinger of things to come in the new Trump epoch?

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    1. You are right. I am going to buy the house next to yours and open up a sewage procesing plant.

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    2. Ok sewage plant,remodel in pre Victorian style same thing exactly,good point.

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    3. I do like surprises!

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    4. 7:04A Property rights go both ways. If a small town wants to preserve its history why is that wrong? What does it have to do with Trump? These people broke the law. They live in town and no the history of that house. I don't think there is a constitutional right to demolish a house. If you want a out with the old in with new attitude, then you seem to be more in line with Trump!

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    5. Homeowners have rights too, and it is perfectly appropriate for them to have input on what is being built in their neighborhood.

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  7. I would venture to say this is the most egregious example of violating the building codes in my 30 years in Sierra Madre.

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  8. I want to know what the Brown family realtor when they bought it and sold it to the Kefalas's disclosed to the present owners. Did she tell them about the visit from Charles Fisher who told the Browns the home has architectural significance. It certainly should have been disclosed to all buyers.

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    1. That would be local realtor Reni Rose. She's too experienced not to have made these disclosures.

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    2. Her account of this process would be beneficial.

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  9. If the city does anything more than carry out the prescribed punishment we will be sued and lose.

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  10. What did all parties know, and when did they know it ? We need this in writing.Hearsay won't work well.
    None of this matters.Keflas is way ahead of you all. This was part of his alternate game plan from the beginning

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  11. The most egregious example I can recall, was the weekend bulldoze and machete clearing of One Carter without any permits, and zero responce from City authorities.

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    1. City staff is recommending that the after the fact demolition permit be issued for 126 E. Mira Monte. Obviously not much has changed.

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  12. The red tag was issued when a section of the roof was removed ahead of the permit. That's what I took away from viewing the Planning Commission meeting.

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  13. The recount in Pennsylvania hasn't even begun yet and Trump's lead is shrinking. Trump’s lead in PA has shrunk to 46,435 votes, down from around 68,000, so these figures from Philadelphia make up the bulk of the ~21,500 drop.

    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/12/1/1606087/-Updated-election-results-in-Philly-Clinton-nets-17-873-votes

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  14. Trump is now taking legal action to stop the recounts. Anyone wondering why?

    Trump’s 36-page objection asks the Board of State Canvassers to reject the recount on grounds that the statewide recount would be costly to taxpayers to complete facing a Dec. 13 deadline and that it likely won’t change the election’s outcome. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has estimated the total cost at $5 million, with the state and counties picking up $4 million of the tab and Stein about $970,000.

    Trump won by 10,704 votes over Democrat Hillary Clinton, getting 2.27 million votes, or 47.5 percent, of the vote to the former secretary of state’s 2.26 million votes, or 47.27 percent. Stein received 51,463 votes, or about 1.1 percent.

    The Board of State Canvassers, a panel of two Republicans and two Democrats, has scheduled a 9:30 a.m. Friday hearing at the Lansing Center for the Trump campaign’s appeal.
    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/01/recount-objection/94734556/

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  15. The frame of a house (something no one sees) is pretty much meaningless as it concerns our community's interest in its history. If the issue was conforming to a historical DESIGN like in, say, Philadelphia - where even new structures in some parts of the city must be built in a colonial style - then keeping the frame might have some relevance. But Sierra Madre? Historical significance isn't about style. We need the actual history or it's pointless. The walls. The doors. The stuff that's seen from the street. The stuff you feel and think, wow, I just touched an actual piece of 1907. I realize this particular case is complicated - how much historical protection did this property really have, what the owners knew, etc. My point is just that if our local law is going to protect historical value at all, it has to protect more than the frame.

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  16. You can touch "old" City Hall, use to be the Police and Fire Station. You'll have three touches for the "old" but brought up to code building. Ask to see the towns orginal jail; now a bed and breakfast.

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  17. Highsmith just admitted that Sierra Madre's code enforcement is a joke.

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  18. so its not on cable internet?

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    1. Go here. KGEM is useless.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e_i2XcffKQ

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  19. This bastard is going to get away with it.

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  20. I had to work late & couldn't watch. What did the commission decide to do?

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  21. The Planning Department never asked for a historical study when plans were submitted. The loop hole was uncovered by this project.
    City Council inadvertently created this gray area that will now be corrected.

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