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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Preserve Sierra Madre