WeHo Council to Hold Public Hearing on Moratorium for Craftsman Homes

Craftsman style houses on Lexington Avenue in West Hollywood.
Craftsman style houses on Lexington Avenue in West Hollywood.

The West Hollywood City Council will consider tonight whether to put a 45-day moratorium on the demotion or exterior alteration of Craftsman style houses in an area of the city’s Eastside.

The proposed moratorium will be the subject of a public hearing at the Council’s meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica.

The idea for a moratorium emerged in an earlier meeting at which the Council considered a proposal by Councilmember John Duran for a survey to identify culturally significant Craftsman houses in area zoned for single-family or duplex houses centered on Lexington Avenue. The Council decided to extend the survey area to include homes on Hampton, Lexington and Norton Avenues between Genesee and Gardner avenues. It also agreed to consider enacting the moratorium that will be on the agenda tonight

The moratorium will not affect internal renovations of Craftsman buildings or limit renovations for buildings whose owners already have received approval of an application to make changes.

The Council may extend the moratorium after another public hearing for a total of 365 days. After one year, the Council may adopt another one-year extension, for a total maximum moratorium period of two-years.

A building designated as a cultural or historic resource cannot be demolished unless its owner can prove that keeping it as it is will cause him financial hardship. Any proposed alterations to such buildings must be reviewed by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Craftsman-style homes typically have a low-pitched roof, wide front porches, exposed beams and natural looking materials and earthy colors. According to a report prepared for the council, there currently, there are 16 Craftsman structures designated citywide. Five are in the city’s Craftsman District, an historic district on North Hancock Avenue and North Palm Avenue. Eight are part of the Old Sherman thematic grouping, which covers the area once occupied by the Town of Sherman.


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Nick
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Nick

I think the first sentence is meant to read “demolition” rather than “demotion”.

Justine Habib
Guest

As an affected property owner in the new historic survey area, I support the temporary moratorium. Depending on the survey results/future recommendations, I would also support the potential designation of a new historic district to better protect the remaining Craftsman houses in our neighborhood. These homes contribute to the charming character and nostalgia of our neighborhood, which make it a desirable place to live. I join others in the community who are pleased to see that City Councilmember John Duran initiated discussion on this important issue, and am encouraged by the City Council’s action last month to approve the survey,… Read more »

Lynn
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Lynn

It would be good to know exactly what are the determining factors or standards for “financial hardship” and who makes the determination.

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

I am neither entirely in favor of nor entirely opposed to the proposed moratorium and a potential ban. What I am asking for, if the temporary moratorium is passed, is that the City do specific targeted outreach to each and every property owner who would be affected. By that I don’t mean a post card or letter (although those could be used to start the conversation), but a one on one conversation by staff with each property owner. I doubt if there are more than three dozen properties that might be affected, so it’s a do-able number. The City needs… Read more »