LA Conservancy Rates West Hollywood A+ in Historic Preservation

Sun, Mar 16, 2014   By Staff    14 Comments

west-hollywood-collageThe Los Angeles Conservancy has given West Hollywood an A+ rating in its 2014 Preservation Report Card.

The Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to recognize and preserve the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County, rated the county’s 88 incorporated cities and the county itself. It awards cities points based on such factors as whether they have a historic preservation ordinance and a historic preservation commission and whether they have conducted a citywide survey of historic resources.

West Hollywood scored 254 out of a possible 254 points. Other A+ cities were Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Claremont, the City of Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Monica and South Pasadena. The County of Los Angeles was graded F.

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14 Comments

  1. LynnSun, Mar 16, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Although well meaning, this award appears to be based on thin criteria. A more meaningful standard would be how WeHo, as a city adheres to the implied spirit standards and proactive applications of the preservation interests. Having an ordinance, commission and a survey are all lovely, noble concepts that require thoughtful, proactive engagement and the wherewithall to accurately gauge the effectiveness of Mills Act conformance and strong code compliance.

    Perhaph Weho could move into phase two of the concept by engaging the community by increasing sources of information that would be useful in protecting potential resources and increasing overall awareness.

    Unfortunately this award had no way to measure the city’s lack of respect for some of its landmarks, notably El Mirador and Plummer Park’s landmark, Long Hall/Great Hall. For this misguided venture the only suitable grade would be an F.

  2. chloe rossSun, Mar 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    And I was too was quite stunned to see this grade.

  3. CathyMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 12:16 am

    So well stated, Lynn.

  4. Chris SangerMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Congratulations to the City of West Hollywood. One more reason for me to be proud to live here.
    This clears up the issue for any discerning resident about the values of our elected officials. Why would this group, dedicated to preservation, give an undeserved A+?
    The haters will always hate, but this pretty much clears up any doubts about the city’s priorities.

  5. Mike WilderMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with Lynn, and no, I’m not a “hater.” I have friends on the council, but I think their priorities have become skewed.

  6. RileyMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Is the Conservancy joking? Are you joking @Chris Sanger? Tara at Laurel Park and Great Hall/Long Hall in Plummer Park are two of the only historic buildings OWNED by the City and the City has done everything they can to get rid of them. The CITIZENS of West Hollywood should get the A+. If not for the public, one of the most important pieces of history (local, state and national), the WPA buildings, would be a big pile of rubble. Now I read the city wants to cut it up and store it? Can that be true?????

  7. LynnMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you Mike,

    Like wise I have enjoyed a mutually respectful relationship with all the council members on a variety of issues. It has also occurred to me that many policy issues germinate from the City Manager’s pervue because of their comprehensive nature primarily regarding development. Likewise our fully functioning Historic Preservation is a bit late out of the gate with not all council members having the opportunity to be fully informed.

    Other cities definitely have a better handle on it and cam fully appreciate the dynamic of resources both city and privately owned. There could be a possibility of city to city mentorship in this area. After all, cities like Beverly Hills were way late to even get to the table. With our former Community Development Director, Susan Healey Keane at the helm, they are now on board, but only after significant losses.

  8. SnarkygalMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I think the Los Angeles Conservancy’s requirements for an A+ rating are way too loose. There is no way West Hollywood deserves this grade giving the attitude of “tear them down” our City Council has. If not for the public’s involvement, there would be NO historic properties preserved in this City.

  9. Chris SangerMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    It just seems that on issue after issue the same people take the same positions opposite whatever the council does. It hurts their credibility big time when an actual recognized preservation group takes a different position. As a taxpayer, part of me resents that city funds are likely going to be wasted moving a minor building of no apparent major architectural value so as to pacify what I expect includes a lot of people who had zero interest in the building until it became the anti-council rallying cry du jour. That’s the pattern than is obvious around these parts.

    Haters is a little harsh as a general description, but is meant to convey the irrationality that I see from a lot of the small # of people who post here over and over always assuming the worst in motivations and policies of the people who were elected fairly by our citizens.

  10. LynnMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Chris,

    It is unfortunate that so much time, money and newsprint has been consumed by ill conceived projects that ran mercilessly amok. Informed, open minded decision makers seeking the most appropriate solutions from informed sources help to foster thoughtful, cohesive projects that so not rob a community of certain values attached to the structures. In the case of Plummer Park and Laur Place I was never aware that the city had either location evaluated from the standpoints of what they were, landmark properties and structures. Proposals came from sources as far away
    from the insrindic genre of the architecture and each property’s sense of place.

    Neither design was in harmony with or complemted the original as adaptive reuse or refurbishment. Money was spent going down unfortunate paths from the onset.

    You hear from the most vocal supporters too often because often it takes that to turn something around and leave everyone’s ego and sensibility in tact. No one likes to beat a dead horse deader than dead but the point is no one called an equine vet at the start.

  11. IsaMon, Mar 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Chris, you stand alone. Solid disagreement is not hate. I too agree with all other comments. Perhaps high visibility seems to be a major the criteria for a high grade from the conservancy. Great Hall/long Hall should stay put and get all the deferred updated maintenance that planning department/community development requires from a private resident individual owner.

  12. Rudolf MartinWed, Mar 19, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    I agree with most commenters.

    Chris, you must not have read past the headline. The “values of our elected officials” do not factor into the Conservancy’s point system. Letting historic buildings rot also does not factor into the point system. We do have an ordinance, a commission and a register and that’s why we get an A+.

    The fact is that this city council has tried hard to demolish our city’s historic buildings after a long history of neglect. But they haven’t succeeded so far and therefore we keep our A+ in this point system. Now you can call me a hater if you want but that would be irrational. I am merely pointing out facts.

  13. Rob BergsteinThu, Mar 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Or perhaps it’s because the Conservancy recognizes that in the case of Great Hall/Long Hall…..they are just old buildings of no architectural significance. As for El Mirador, City Council was held hostage by a wealthy (and he got his money the old fashioned way…from his family) landlord who didn’t care about evicting all of the tenants & leaving the building empty until it deteriorated to the point where it would have to be torn down. Am I happy that Council caved into his demands? Nope…..it sets a dangerous precedent to a man who is dedicated to ending rent control in West Hollywood.

  14. Rudolf MartinThu, Mar 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Uh… Rob Bergstein, actually the LA Conservancy wrote several letters in support of GH/LH to our city council, in strong support of its nomination into the National Register of Historic Places (which the city opposed), in support of its repair last December and in strong opposition to its demolition back in January. It’s in the public record.
    Since you proclaim your opinion as fact, may I ask what is your expertise on “architectural significance”?

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