Thursday, June 1, 2017

Preserve Sierra Madre's Letter to the Planning Commission

Mod: Here is what Preserve Sierra Madre has to say about the big issue under consideration at tonight's Planning Commission meeting

Dear Planning Commissioners: It has come to our attention that the Planning Commission will take up the issue of William Kefalas's request for a Demolition Permit for the home located at 126 E. Mira Monte better known as the "Henry A. Darling House" this Thursday, June 1st at 7:00 pm.

Here at Preserve Sierra Madre, we are not sure now whether we should be more outraged about what has been done to that once beautiful pre-Craftsman style home or the fact that our own City Staff has recommended that you approve the Demolition Permit request.  This recommendation comes despite the public outcry manifested in wide-spread attendance at repeated meetings about this issue at both the City Council and Planning Commission levels, and despite the receipt of numerous emails expressing outrage at what was done to that house. This resulted in Commissioner Spears saying at one meeting that he had never seen such an outcry for any other issue that came before the Planning Commission during his tenure as Planning Commissioner.

We all know the story of this house so we will not repeat that sordid history again except to say that the first Historical Resource Report confirmed what everybody already knew who had either stepped inside that house or saw its pictures - the house had historical significance.

Now it appears that because the conclusions of that first Historical Resource Report that found the Henry A. Darling House to be historically significant did not suit the applicant's purpose to demolish the home, he has miraculously found a new "expert" who makes the farcical claim that although the property "may or may not" have been eligible for designation, in its current condition "it does not have the required physical features allowing it to be considered historical now, even if reconstructed with like-kind material as a "new copy" of the original.

Is any one surprised that's in its current skeletal condition it does not have the required physical features now - that's because the home was already destroyed by the applicant. We know how the legal system works. No matter how obvious is someone's guilt or how incriminating the evidence may be, it is remarkable how a defense lawyer can come up with an "expert" who gives an opinion the opposite of what is right there before our very eyes. It happens in every courthouse in every city where winning is more important than truth.

We would submit to the Planning Commission that the first report is more trustworthy because that expert had been invited to the house by the former owners, the Brown family, when they had intentions to demolish the house as well. Unlike the person who produced this new report, the first historical architect was actually inside the house before it was destroyed and saw first-hand the remarkable architectural features of this once beautiful home.

We conclude by saying that our opinions have not changed. Our attendance at meetings voicing our outrage, the emails from our supporters have not been swayed by the passage of time or a cherry-picked Historical Resource Report that just happens to reach the same conclusion as what the applicant had desired all along.

By the way, what happened to the Certificate of Appropriateness that the applicant was supposed to produce?  Evidently they just refused to comply with what you had requested. We assume that was not done because it would have created further obstacles to the applicant's plans.
 
The Planning Commission is one of our last lines of defense against those who don't care about preserving what makes Sierra Madre the town that it is and why we all chose to live here. This applicant knew the history of this house and knew about the public outcry when the previous owner sought to demolish the house but proceeded forward with his plans for demolition in spite of that.  An applicant who doesn't care about preserving our city and a clever out-of-town lawyer should not be allowed to make up their own rules.

We urge all of you to deny the request for a demolition permit that would erase virtually every last remnant of this once majestic home, rescind the CUP that was obtained before the house was deemed to be historically significant, make them salvage as much of the house that is still left and reproduce the look of the house using a historical architect and penalize the applicant for violating the demolition ordinance.

Thank you for your consideration.

Steering Committee
Preserve Sierra Madre 

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

78 comments:

  1. Kefalas should not be able to get his way just because he pays a lawyer a couple of hundred dollars to write a scary letter on his behalf. The Planning Commission needs to stick to their guns.

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  2. Arizmendi. Capoccia. Delmar. Goss. Harabedian.

    That's it. Don't mess this up. It's easy. We all know what the PC feels.

    What will you do? The city is listening.

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  3. After the Brown's wanted to tear down 126 E Mira Monte there was a huge blowback. It was the catalyst for the City Council enacting the emergency demolition moratorium and later the permanent demolition ordinance. I scratch my head and wonder how that very house was able to get reduced to its framing. How could that have happened? We know what Kefalas wanted to do but where was the city?

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  4. The way I make a statement is by not eating at his lousy restaurant. I don't want to provide the money to allow him to destroy our town.

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    1. You also need to show up at the meeting.

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  5. People need to spend one minute and write an email to the Planning Commissioners, City Council and City Staff. Otherwise this stuff will just keep happening. Asking forgiveness and not permission will continue to be the modus operandi for developers. They seem to get a mere slap on the wrist for egregious violations of our building codes.

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  6. You all are the reason that makes this town a farcical place. Fisher has prostituted the truth for the benefit of few members of this town who have more interest at politicizing the truth and making a farce out of this town and the contitution of this country. Shame on all of you.

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    1. I know Fischer didn't tell you what you wanted to hear Mr Kefalas but calm down. You were not the right buyer for this house. V

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    2. this is not kefalas. believe it or not there are plenty of other people who disagree with your point of view.

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    3. And more who disagree with yours.

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. Bunch of uneducated losers.

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    1. Somebody is unhappy today. I wonder who it could be.

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  8. How did Kerfuffle and his attorney get City Staff to rewrite history? Free cheeseburgers?

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  9. There most have been many on this blog, including the "Preserve Sierra Madre" bunch, that drank the tainted Brown water gushing fourth from last year's "Preserve our Water" with chemicals.
    Nothing else can explain the lack of knowledge and the approach taken with city zoning and codes, as to be reduced to " feelings".
    Attend meetings, gain a real understanding of how municipalities are run from a legal standpoint.

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    1. Cheeseburger Boy is really full of himself today.

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    2. Hello, 7:09? Who do you think attends the meetings, speaks up, informs themselves and their neighbors, serves on committees and commissions???

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    3. Sorry 7:09 am. The people on the Planning Commission are experts including John Hutt, Bob Spears and Manish Desai. They weren't fooled by Mr. Kefalas at all. They know what happened and they sure seemed mighty angry when I attended a few meetings on this issue.

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    4. If you really want to piss off the Planning Commission, lie to them. Mix in a generous helping of arrogance and your chances of getting what you want will sink to nil. Which is what K-Floss is going to get tonight.

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  10. The fact that someone comes into town, buys a restaurant, joins the FIRE DEPARTMENT and then thinks the law doesn't apply to them is SO WRONG. Just because a merchant knows all the past and present Council, Police, Fire and City Hall employees they think they can get there way on this could be an example of what has plagued Sierra Madre for years. The Darling House was a beautiful example of our past and now someone wants to tear it down for profit. Do we need better legal representation? Do we need a different Law Firm? We do need the Henry A. Darling house to be put back to original condition. Everyone should send / email the pictures they have so the house can be put back to it's original design.

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    1. Hey mod, why haven't you posted my response to this nonsense. Is truth not something you are interested in?

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    2. Try leaving the personal insults out. You might have better luck.

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  11. Where would we send pictures of the Darling House? Can they be sent anonymously? If you had seen that place you would know we need to restore not loose such beautiful craftsmanship.

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  12. 7:09 is right, we need residents to get more involved. We need residents to attend city hall meetings and we residents need to know the whole story. When us voters don't get all the facts, wrong decisions are made at the voting booths. It was poor decisions from city hall that put that awful water in our homes.

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  13. Decisions have been made and are being made that insures we stay connected to outside sources for our water. Talking about water, what ever happened to that law suit about Arcadia taking Sierra Madre's water????????? Had our water source been handled right Sierra Madre would not be in this mess. We use to have the best drinking water around, now we don't. It's about time better decisions are made, decisions that preserve our way of life here.

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  14. The Darling House was always going to be rebuilt to it's original "look", using updated, and up to code new materials.
    Moving forward, this has been a learning curve for all.
    This village is all inclusive and will continue to grow as a uniquely quiet and querky town, that each of us love in our own fashion and outlook of what makes this "our town".
    Thank you to those that serve on the Planning Commission and City Council, and those that voice their concerns at the podium.
    The city of Sierra Madre is known for strong community involvement, I hope that will always remain.

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  15. Sure, it's the fault of the City Council that we had a five year drought, drained our wells. My next door neighbors used to water their lawn twice a day. My gripe is that they hired that ding dong woman who said she she couldn't figure out why our water was brown and stank, and, oh, yeah, "I need more money to keep studying the problem."

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    1. The woman they hired was an expert in tropical water borne diseases. That is what she focused on. Just in case you were wondering just how bad things had gotten.

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  16. Just think, the brown water ate holes in city and taxpayers metal pipes, what do you think it did to those who drank it?

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  17. It would be beneficial to all, especially those that are empassioned by this house, to get the facts. Actually read the application, the CUP, the staff reports(s) presented to the commission from which they voted and approved this project. I find it outrageous that "preserve Sierra Madre" would write such a letter to the city based on such a misrepresentation of the facts. All he has done is created angst for no reason. The owner is not requesting to remove every last remnant. Again if you read the report you would see that he is asking to replace the framing. It is not safe. That conclusion was come by the engineer responsible for the calculations as well as the city building official and the historic architect the planning commission requested. As for Fisher, he also suggests rebuilding the house. so to summarize, kefalas is requesting to rebuild the same house on the same visible foundation, keeping the iconic stone fireplace, because it is not safe, and preserve Sierra Madre has a problem with this why? They would prefer it be left in its current state? They loved the interior the way it was? That's their opinion, and not only is the interior of a home not subject to any ordinance, it was specifically approved to remove it all. This is the best case scenario for preserve Sierra Madre. Rebuild the same house.

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    1. Blah blah blah. What a load of bollocks.

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    2. Sorry Mr. Kefalas or rather 8:58. There was a reason that the members of the Planning Commission were so angry with you, I mean Mr. Kefalas. They are experts. They felt he lied to them. They felt he wasn't being forthcoming. I attended several of those meetings. I did not trust him or that sleezy contractor of his who was making faces in the back. You can say Preserve Sierra Madre doesn't know what they are talking about. Fine. But what about the experts on the Planning Commission like Hutt, Spears and Desai. I'd say they know something about the codes in the city. They didn't seem too excited about what Mr. Kefalas has done to this home. Based on what happened when the Brown Family tried and failed to demolish the home, Kefalas must have known how the community felt about this home and yet he gave everyone the middle finger as he demolished it. Kefalas is a bad actor and I wouldn't want someone like him cooking my food either. That's why I don't go to The Only Place in Town. That and because the food sucks.

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  18. The demolition that was done to the house far exceeded that which was allowed under the approved plans. I am sure that they owner knew what he was doing. And what he was doing was wrong.

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  19. Is this the work of our new City Manager?

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    1. Good question. The other Staff Report was written when Elaine was still in charge.

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    2. What is so totally disingenuous (to use Bob Spears's word) 8:58, is that anyone who bought that property would know that the Browns were already denied what Kefalas did.

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  20. 9:47am so say you.
    The demolition did not far exceed ...
    Only a small portion of roofing, that should have been checked by City Planner and given clearance, before moving forward.
    There were many lost opportunities from this house on procedures that should have been followed. They have been noted, corrected.
    Lessons learned.

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    1. I'm sorry, but your BS just doesn't fly. The house has been reduced to a bunch of sticks. There is nothing left. Even Kefail's so-called historian admits it.

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    2. but what you don't get for some strange reason, is that all that was approved. Prove me wrong. just saying what you feel is not proof of anything.

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    3. senseless comment. the city red tagged the place.

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    4. Oh I thought we couldn't rely on city documents. At least be consistent in your nonsense.

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    5. The first agenda report was honest. The second one is obviously cooked up nonsense.

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    6. whatever...

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    7. Truth lacks relevance when you're trying to scam yourself a few bucks on a sleazy real estate deal.

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  21. MAGA. Out of the Paris Accords.
    The negotiator may take a second look, but today America is put first.
    Joe Bass/Wall Street Journal good read (approx. 2 yrs ago) fact check.
    The USA will NOT fund every other nation of the 200 signed, the US has already reduced "our" emissions.
    The deal should benefit America, not add more regulations.

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    1. Trump is a destructive fool.

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    2. Magalomaniac troll doesn't understand how treaty works. Trump put trump first today. Troll got trumped again

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    3. Cut-and-run coward, followed by pension-fund trolls like Neville Chamberlain.

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    4. Did someone hit you with an umbrella?

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    5. Not so fast, 2:51. That idiot you are championing has made yet another empty gesture. There's a 3 year pause and a 1 year disentanglement in place, and that sorry excuse of man will no longer be president when that period of time is up.
      Another meaningless act by an insignificant fool.

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  22. You really should stand under the umbrella, deflect all those loose carbon emissions floating throughout the shared air space. Think about that fool!

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    1. Trumpers are cranky lately.

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  23. Trumpers are unwilling to hear insanity of hysteria from the left without calling out the lies.

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  24. For trumptards who refuse to accept climate change- try this experiment: Park car in garage. Sit in car. Turn on ignition. Stay there and take a long nap. Report back tomorrow if you feel any different

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  25. The meeting has a good turn-out in the audience for the demolition jerk. Looks like lots of cheerleaders. Not so many for the preservation side, but that should be alright - the law is on our side. And the commissioners are not fools.

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    1. The Kefalas lawyer is earning his keep.

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    2. It will take a lot of cheeseburger sales to pay that pettifogger.

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  26. Joe Catalano did a great job of pointing out the incorrect use of code reference the historical report writer made.

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    1. His contribution had a big impact on the discussion, and the decision.

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    2. The historical writer was given a conclusion, and then cooked up an argument around it.

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  27. Gina just schooled the lawyer to watch who he criticizes as unqualified.

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    1. She's great.

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    2. We've got to get her to run for City Council if Denise and Rachelle don't.

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  28. It's a pleasure to listen to our planning commissioners -smart and direct people who don't have to try and manipulate words to get what they want.

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    1. Maybe we should get them all to run for City Council as they term out on PC.

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  29. Desai and Pevsner sound like they're for Kefalas.

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    Replies
    1. They're trying to be as fair as they can.

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  30. So more information needed before decisions will be made. More meetings.

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    1. The Kefalas lawyer says he doesn't accept the commissioners' decision to not make a decision. And that all Kefalas wants to do is make the house look like it did before. Poor Kefalas.

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  31. By the way, to those who want a piece of the craftamship of this house, I was able to recover most of the interior wood of the house after they were disposed off. It wasn't too long that I realized that the wood was all pitted with termites and wood parasite dug deep inside the planks from the inside out. The finished surface is what attracted me, and I surely regret it getting those bugs in my garage, which I had to tent. If anyone wants those woods, just let me know where I can dump them for you. It is all yours.

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    1. You loaded up a bunch of infested lumber and didn't notice? Were you doing it in the dark?
      Maybe the type of lumber used in the Craftam style isn't as durable as that used in the Craftsman style, which is often Redwood, and impervious to termites..

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    2. Where did you get it? Old growth rarely gets termites

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  32. So the applicant presented two contradictory reports to the commission and is now whining because they want the commission to pick one instead of the other. The commissioners want another "tie-breaking" report. The applicant doesn't want to do that.

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  33. Kefalas, his lawyer and the guy trying to defend his report are all deeply committed to historical preservation. Really.

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  34. Another knock down drag out night with the planning commission being brilliant.
    Now Kefalas will do what he always intended, city council appeal next stop.

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    1. Harabedian will be for it. Wanna bet?

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  35. 6:11 bad idea, trumpetards aren't bright enough to understand that.

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