WeHo Puts Craftsman District Project on Hold

The West Hollywood City Council last night put the brakes on a survey of homes on the Eastside intended to create a “thematic district” of Craftsman-style houses.

craftsman house
Craftsman-style house

The survey, which was proposed by Councilmember John Duran last year, already has identified 30 of 164 houses as eligible for that “thematic grouping” designation. A building in the area ultimately designed as being in the Craftsman style would be considered a cultural resource and could not be demolished unless its owner could prove that keeping it would cause him or her financial hardship. Any proposed alterations to such buildings would have to be reviewed by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

A standing-room-only crowd turned out at a March 15 hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission. https://www.wehoville.com/2017/03/16/residents-object-to-craftsman-designation-of-eastside-homes/ Most of those in attendance declared their opposition to the district, citing the impact it would have on the value of their property and their ability to alter it as they pleased. The Craftsman thematic district is supported by the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance.

Councilmember Duran suggested last night that the Council create a subcommittee composed of him and Councilmember John D’Amico to work with local residents on their concerns. Meanwhile, he said, the city should “put the brakes” on the process of designating Craftsman houses.

But Councilmember John Heilman objected to that, citing complaints he has heard from many residents of the survey area, which is bounded by Genesee Avenue on the west, Norton Avenue on the south, Gardner Street on the east and Hampton Avenue on the north.

“I would like to ask that this be brought back to the Council for some discussion rather than have some subcommittee work with the neighbors,” Heilman said. The Council needs to decide whether we want to move forward, whether we want to mothball it …” Heilman said that one option should be to completely end the project.

City Manager Paul Arevalo agreed that no further work would be done on the Craftsman assessment until the City Council gets another chance to consider the project at a future meeting.

  1. Rent control is bad enough! Government, stay out of people’s lives. Stop constantly trying to impose your will on other people. Have your home declared whatever you want.

  2. This should really be a decision for the homeowners involved ..
    There are only three people in favor so it seems majority should rule. It’s unfair to the owners who have worked hard to maintain their home and not be able to do what they want with it.

  3. Romeo, what’s your address so people can judge your house too? Not everyone has the resources you may have, to fix up their properties. That’s actuallly one reason this could be a good opportunity- wouldn’t it be good if the City provides funding for rehab of designated properties as part of this process? Also, I don’t think you’re talking about my house but I will say that it was a run down fiixer when purchased. It’s been fully restored and landscaped.

    If affected houses here were designated as cultural resources, I think this would be good for the long-term appreciation value of our houses and neighborhood. On Vista and Genessee, where houses were designated or listed as potential cultural resources, the Craftsmans were beautifully fixed up and this instills a sense of neighborhood pride.

    Neighbors, have all of you read the survey? Again, I realize many folks already closed their minds to this proposal. But before writing City Council again, I still urge other homeowners to read the survey if you haven’t and to genuinely consider points other than the opposition. At least consider allowing staff to respond to homeowners concerns, before killing all the work that’s been done.

    Thanks again for all respectfully considering my comments. Also sorry for any duplication of points. When I checked at 11am today, Wehoville had not posted my 4am comments so I posted similar points again.

  4. My question is this: why did you buy this style of home in the first place. It is a very specific style and not very accommodating by today’s standards. I love it – but why did you choose it in the first place? Coziness? It has that but spacious is not it’s strong suit. Did you buy it as a future which ticket flip or resale? If so be honest. But if you simply want to see the neighborhood remain unique but dislike the idea of a landmark status – present an alternative. Meet in the middle. If indeed the majority of homeowners do not support this move – what is the roadblock and what is another way to approach it. Would it enhance the values of the homes? If not, why not. Check across the street in “Spaulding Square” – perhaps the residents can tell you thew pros and cons of the designation. If it’s as simple as not wanting to obey the guidelines for upgrades – then say so. Nasty rhetoric is not needed now. Why not just negotiate outside the CC and then present ideas that reflect compromise. And expect angry words if a situation like 7701 Lex reappears. It was a hideous plan and I was the first to say so. I would also say that talking down to Ms. Block, Esq., is antagonizing (something I am also guilty of at times) and really doesn’t help a bit. And that goes for me too. I am probably old enough to be your mother.

  5. I recognize a majority of affected homeowners spoke at HPC and signed a petition opposing a historic district- I was at the meeting. I felt the climate was intimidating for any one to speak against the angry majority. I see the same climate on posts here attacking me and others who don’t agree.

    I ask that opponents recognize the good intentions behind efforts last year to save the remaining Craftsmans. Again I have NOT heard anyone come up with a better way to protect them than the process currently underway, which started with the survey ordered by City Council. Again, our community asked for the City to better protect these homes last year, including other homeowners. I included homeowners’ prior comments in support of these efforts in my letter submitted to HPC (in the record of their last meeting).

    My apologies for not canvassing the neighborhood and talking to more homeowners. At the first outreach meeting, I shared a handout of benefits information and materials I got from the City’s website. I asked staff questions too, but they didn’t get back to us yet on a lot of points raised.

    I encouraged everyone since the 1st outreach meeting to give staff a chance to respond to questions/concerns raised. Why not reasonably consider views other than the opposition? The draft survey was just released a few days prior to the HPC meeting. Why not consider any other information than opponents’ views?

    Without the survey, you will be left to battle against demolitions project-by-project. This is how it was with 7701 Lex. Again, as explained in prior posts- it takes immense time and resources to fight this way. Next time I will not be helping.

    Well, to those who recognize good intentions and the work involved with saving 7701 Lex and supporting preservation of these beautiful homes in our neighborhood, you’re welcome.

    1. 1) I’ve noticed some comments about the fact that the survey was “finalized” only recently – that’s not really accurate. That’s really immaterial since people have known which homes would be targeted well before the HPC meeting. The city released a map of the completed survey long ago and many of us obtained our specific defining characteristics from the city before the finalized survey was officially released.

      2) No one is intimidating anyone, either here or at the HPC meeting. People are just mostly against this thematic grouping and are voicing their opinions. If that’s intimidating, then I don’t know what to do about that – a public discourse requires everyone’s input.

      3) Again – there is this sense I get from supporters of the thematic grouping that this is the ONLY way to prevent demolitions and inappropriate development. So – they argue that we need to impose horribly overbroad regulations on homeowners to achieve their goals. It’s just not true. There are always alternatives. We should come up with all available options and get the community’s buy-in BEFORE trying to impose it on the community. Justine – you are an appointed member of the Eastside Working Group. I notice that the draft of the Eastside Community Plan that you are working on includes the concept of developing Design Guidelines that would incorporate community input.
      Isn’t that an available option to curb inappropriate development in our neighborhood?
      I know that’s something we’ve spoken about previously, so it’s frustrating that you’ve stated that no one has raised viable alternatives to a thematic district when even your own Eastside Working Group has contemplated some possibly more appropriate options

      No doubt the initial effort to impose the thematic district was made with good intentions – but as the quote goes – “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The thematic district is not the ONLY way to curb inappropriate development – and in fact, it’s an entirely round-about way to do so. (Designating homes as historic for the underlying purpose of curbing inappropriate development really dilutes the entire purpose of historic designation – we should be carefully designating only truly historic cultural resources, not just homes that are old – otherwise those 70s apartments are going to be historic themselves in a few years)

      Let’s go back to the drawing board and find a solution that the neighborhood supports.

  6. Wow, I’m shocked by comments by my neighbors. This is just an angry mob mentality. Why should only the majority views be considered? I asked people to be reasonable and give staff an opportunity to respond to your concerns. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I expect people to show appreciation for good intentions to save remaining Craftsmans, and all the hard work that specifically went into stopping demo of 7701 Lex. For the future, if the survey is killed, you will have to battle project-by-project again, and it takes a lot of time & resources. I definitely won’t be helping next time.

    I expected Staff to provide outreach and info. Didn’t realize it was too late for homeowners to consider any other info. As I said, the survey was just posted before the HPC Meeting a couple weeks ago. Yes, Matthew did a good job organizing opposition quickly. I’m sorry not to have talked to more homeowners sooner. Thank you for respectfully considering my posted comments.

    The survey was unfair because homes covered by foliage were not even considered.
    I never thought that homeowners would be forced to be involved. I thought there would be an OPT OUT for those who were against the concept of their homes being historically designated. I WOULD NEVER BE IN FAVOR OF SOMEONE BEING FORCED INTO SOMETHING THEY DISAGREED WITH.
    As I now see that the majority of designated homeowners are in opposition of a historic survey & of having their homes designated, I feel that I must go along with the majority. Democracy is based on majority decisions & I see that the majority of designated homeowners are opposed to this concept.

    When I first became involved with volunteering to help save the Craftsman homes, everyone I spoke to was on board, loved the idea & thanked me for my volunteer work! I had no idea that some owners didn’t live in these houses & that they would be opposed.
    I would never want to tell my neighbors what they can & can’t do. They would HAVE TO AGREE THAT THEY WANTED THIS FIRST.
    Perhaps there is a way to prevent demolitions of architecturally significant homes by some other method.
    Micky Mars

  8. I am a homeowner in this neighborhood and I oppose the thematic district. I also stood in front of city council a year ago, but I was in opposition of the moratorium. I was the only one in opposition at the time. But do you know why? Because the organizers of this movement, along with the city, FAILED to communicate what was happening in our neighborhood and what impact it would have on property owners. I said it then, I said it at the HPC meeting, and I’ll say it now; this thematic district does not resolve the issue of over-development and bulldozing down houses. As Adam pointed out, we are willing to work towards a different solution but a thematic district is not the answer.

    It is disheartening to me that the three individuals who started this entire wasteful and expensive survey are still supporting this effort. You are the only ones.The MAJORITY of this community does not want this thematic district to proceed, that was very clear at the HPC meeting. Who do you think you are to tell us what we can and cannot do with our property? Especially if you don’t even own a home in our neighborhood? You have no fiscal responsibility here. You don’t directly pay property taxes, you don’t have a mortgage payment, an investment, an asset or anything at stake. The rest of us do, and WE DO NOT WANT THIS.

    In response to Justine – JP and Mathew are not intimidating anyone. They are doing what the three of you failed to do; educate, ask questions,organize our neighborhood, LISTEN, and push our voice as a community to our city council that WE DO NOT WANT THIS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!

  9. Justine, it is you that have tried to impose your opinion on others. You lied in saying that you thoroughly canvassed the neighborhood at the beginning. It has become evident that you avoided homes lived in by owners. You focused on renters and who knows what you used as your rallying cry…educated guess is eviction. You used your connections and lied to the city to get this ridiculous study started. The full outrage now shown is exposing you misrepresentation. Mothball this absurd waste of time and money. #justinesalternativefacts

  10. Over a year ago, I stood in front of city council and spoke in favor of a moratorium. My understanding at the time was we could press pause and figure out how to stop any further demolitions in the neighborhood. Had i known that the end result would be the loss of the ability to choose the plants in my front yard or the color of my house I would have stayed home. I love my 1913 craftsman and take pride in what neighborhood we have left. There has to be a better way than this. I strongly oppose this thematic district!

  11. I’m a homeowner in the proposed area. I have to say that Rob’s comments are truthful and consistent with the opinions of the majority of homeowners opposing this survey. To be clear, the homeowners concern is that the survey even exists.
    Whether intentional or not, the city did not do appropriate community outreach in advance of initiating this process. As the HPC pointed out, they too were concerned about the apparent failure in community outreach prior to survey being ordered. The HPC also posed an important question to the city regarding the simple existence of the survey and its impact on property owners. This question drew blank stares and a reply of “we’ll get back to you”. If the very people who ordered this survey were not aware of the consequences, is there any wonder why there is such emphatic and passionate opposition?
    There is not any confusion, nor are any of the homeowners in need of additional information. They were all forced to do their own research and have made an informed decision: “this survey was an unwanted imposition and it needs to go away”.
    Let’s talk about the neighborhood, it’s a polka dot of Craftmans, apartment buildings, Spanish, modern, etc. As far as a “historical theme” goes, that horse left the barn years ago, and the barn has been renovated. The integrity and charm of a neighborhood does not come from the architecture, it comes from its people.
    WeHo is city where freedom of expression and acceptance has always been encouraged. We are only asking the city to honor and support what already exists.

  12. I wish I could impose my wishes on some of the people that are the proponents of this district because I will get bulldozers and tear down their rat infested, overgrown and unkept homes. With their ilegaly rented garages.
    But I like to live and let live.
    So, don’t ask me to live by your standards or your ideas of how to keep my neighborhood beautiful.
    If you want to do that, you should start with your own house

  13. Why were TAX DOLLARS spent commissioning this study? I believe residents’ due process rights were violated in carrying out this study! How much did the City pay for all this so far?

  14. The notion that opponents are yelling louder than everyone else is ludicrous. I attended the recent Historic Preservation Commission and saw firsthand the overwhelming opposition from a very full room of property owners and neighborhood residents who vehemently oppose the adoption of the Thematic District. It is hard to come to any other conclusion after you see essentially the entire room stand when attendees were asked who opposed the district.

    It was abundantly clear from the comments and statements that no one is anti-preservation, but the vast majority of property owners are opposed to the proposed district and the subsequent restrictions that would be placed on a select few homes. To suggest anything else is misleading and simply untrue. There is no other logical course of action at this point than to listen to the homeowners who have overwhelmingly spoken up and mothball the Thematic District.

  15. Justine – can you really say that the majority of residents are not opposed to this thematic grouping? That’s patently untrue and you know it. At the HPC meeting, a total of 3 people (of which only 2 live in the neighborhood and only 1 (which is you) live in one of the 30 homes) supported this measure. The other countless residents spoke out against it. Basically, the entire room stood up (and it was standing room only) when asked who was against. Read the WEHOville article on the HPC meeting if you want an accurate perception of the public outcry against this process. Or read all the emails, letters, and phone calls which made it into the public record. The petitions and support you obtained was for stopping demolitions and inappropriate development. Many people who signed the petitions had no idea it was to support a historic district – they were confused, and a lot of them are now against this thematic grouping.

    Re: HPOZ. If you can tell me the difference between an HPOZ and a thematic grouping, go for it. They both regulate what homeowners can do to the facade of their home, which is what homeowners are against. What these restrictions are called are so much less important than how they impact homeowners.

    Re: the thematic grouping not impacting the other 130 properties, please read the code: . “Non-contributing resources are not subject to the requirements of [historic designation]” There is no mandate that demolitions or facade changes to the 130 be prevented if they are on the “same street”. It’s just not there.

    Re: property value. Every expert we have talked to says that this will reduce home value. Certainly historic districts have been found to reduce property values particularly in cities with high home values. For example, historic districts in New York have lowered property value for homeowners (but ironically RAISED property value of owners adjacent to districts since they benefit from the designation but don’t have to comply with the restrict rules). Studies conducted on areas like Spaulding Square don’t apply to our neighborhood which is already interspersed with ugly apartment buildings from the 70s.

    What you are not telling people is that you are attempting to use historic designation as a BACK DOOR to preventing demolitions and inappropriate development. That is like using a sledge hammer instead of a scalpel for a surgery. You don’t need to tell me what door I install to stop demolitions and inappropriate development. If you want to prevent those things, let’s go back to the drawing board and find targeted solutions to those problems.

  16. I am an owner in the neighborhood and I fully oppose this “thematic district.” I love the neighborhood, my children were born here, but to claim this designation on this neighborhood feels disingenuous. Look around. The ship sailed 25 years ago.

    I have no plans to change or sell my property, but I’d like to decide what to do with it should the time come, and not the city.

  17. Justine, with all due respect, you are the only affected home owner who is still in support of this thematic district and as you’ve said yourself, this isn’t about preservation, its about ending demolitions. we all want to protect our neighborhood but this certainly is not the right path. we understand that you’ve put a lot of work into this proposal and have done a lot of good for the neighborhood but the thematic district is unwanted, unwarranted and ill conceived for our neighborhood. we will gladly work with you to find another solution but this isn’t it.

  18. I’m concerned opposition organizers, Matthew and JP, seem to be forcing their views on all of us. Why should we believe their information? If people ask the City Council to kill the survey at their next meeting, we might as well just put up a “Welcome” sign for the bulldozers!

    Again, the historic district idea was initiated to protect the charm and integrity of our neighborhood. Staff initiated the survey as the first step in this process. Opponents have not come up with any better ideas to protect the Craftsmans from demolition. I also question the sources of information.

    Matthew is a new homeowner in our neighborhood who bought his Craftsman on Lexington last summer during the Moratorium. The home was built in 1910 and is one of the first Craftsmans built in our neighborhood. The last real estate sales description touted a “welcoming East Coast-style “screened-in front porch” and oodles of nostalgic charm.” Now he’s upset, as I understand, because the City indicated his screened-in front porch is a historic feature of the home and asked him to modify his plans to enclose the front porch as an entry room addition. I don’t think it’s so horrible for the City to question plans that may involve destroying a historic feature of the Craftsman house.

    Matthew and JP’s opposition campaign has spread fear among homeowners. From the beginning Matthew told us that an HPOZ was proposed. That turned out to be UNTRUE. Then he said property values of designated homes wouldn’t appreciate as much as non-designated homes. That’s not true- one previously designated historic designated home at 1241 N. Vista last sold for more than neighboring comparables. HPC agreed the outreach to homeowners was deficient and staff should provide us with expert real estate data and more benefits information. But now that’s on hold, per John Heilman’s direction for staff to stop work and bring this issue back to City Council.

    Additionally, JP said that projects on the over 130 properties not designated in the survey area won’t have to comply with historic preservation rules. That’s not accurate. Projects on non-designated properties that are on the same street as a designated cultural resource, would be subject to review too. Finally, they said there aren’t enough benefits to designation. However, this process presents an opportunity to request that the City budget funds for renovations of designated historic properties. So I don’t think we should be so quick to kill this entire proposal, that may end up having real benefits to us.

    It’s also NOT true that most of our community oppose the district. As discussed in other comments above, many homeowners and tenants submitted comments to City Council last year, in support of the survey and for preserving the Craftsmans. More recently, as part of the Eastside Community Plan outreach, neighbors indicated historic preservation should be a top priority in our planning work. Here are relevant comments from outreach this past fall:

    “Love historic charm of buildings”
    “Put some signs on historic district”
    “Yes, make it a ‘District’ we can see”
    “Great idea!”
    “Preserve, please!”

    Now, I think opponents are just yelling louder than everyone else, and we should be open to hearing both sides before asking the City Council to kill the survey entirely. I suggest we urge the City Council to order staff to address the important concerns raised by homeowners during this process, including providing real estate data (e.g., comparing historic designated home values to non-designated home values), further surveying homes that may not have been surveyed (due to shrubbery, etc), and benefits information (will the City allocate any funding for renovations of historic designated properties?)

  19. To set the record straight regarding Mr. Bergstein’s recent comments that – ”This thematic district came about when one homeowner and long time tenant of an apartment building in the area came together to oppose the demolition of one house to be replaced with two rental homes….they went into a complete lather saying it would ruin parking in the neighborhood (I didn’t get their logic…going from one house with two parking spaces to two houses with four parking spaces & driveway space for guests……)” Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually a group comprised of HOMEOWNERS and TENANTS approached us and we came together out of concern for not only the “boxy McMansion” style of the proposed development as well as parking issues on a street that was already choked with vehicles from both the fire department and residents plus a proposed rooftop entertainment area that would have impacted nearby homes, and a basement that could have been used for adding additional bedrooms. Had he bothered to reach out to any of the people involved, or attended any of the neighborhood meetings, he would have been more aware of the actual facts. In actuality, the homeowner he refers to owns one of the properties identified in the new Lexington-Curson Residential Historic Resources Survey

    Comment letters plus a petition were submitted in opposition to demolition of the Craftsman house located at 7701 Lexington. We gathered nearly 100 signatures on a petition to appeal the Director’s approval of the project which is indicative of both homeowners and residents support for protection of the Craftsman houses that contribute to the charming character of the neighborhood. Similarly, just a few blocks north of us lies Spaulding Square which was also afforded historic significance and protection by the city of L.A. they have not lost property values, but actually properties gained in value!
    You may recall that in September 2016, the city held an Eastside Community Plan Event at which the overwhelming top priorities cited by residents of the area were Housing Variety and a Historic District.

    I have seen our established residential neighborhoods shrinking rapidly and losing single family homes to apartment buildings & condos that are becoming unaffordable. We now have an opportunity to save some of our history with these few Craftsman homes while preserving what is left of a neighborhood.

    In speaking with the residents of our neighborhood regarding this issue, I was not surprised at the number of residents that want to preserve these homes, so our small neighborhood is not lost along with most of our Eastside history.

    With rents rising very quickly, many younger people want to become homeowners, and these homes are a perfect way to offer them not only a beginning to their dreams, but retain the history of the Craftsman homes and maintain the sense of neighborhoods.

    History has proven over and over that neighborhoods with single family homes have more of a tendency to work together to preserve the quality of life, come together for neighborhood watch issues, and so forth. 7701 Lexington is in excellent condition and stands proudly at the corner as a gateway to the Craftsman era. It should not be replaced by one of the ugly box style computer generated Mc Mansions that are going up all around us in L.A.

    These are just a few more reasons why we need to protect and preserve our Craftsman homes,

    Respectfully submitted,
    Ruth Williams

  20. Regarding Rob B.’s comment, perhaps he did not see the proposed plans for the Lexington-Spaulding corner lot. The Craftsman home would have been demolished & each section of the “Duplex” would have 3 bedrooms, making a total of 6 bedrooms plus two, 800 sq. ft. “basements”. This could mean that there would be as few as 8 tenants & as many as 16 tenants on that property.

    The initial concept for the historic survey was to save our very quaint, charming & architecturally & historically significant Craftsman neighborhood from being bulldozed as was the Craftsman home at 7724 Lexington this summer.
    Before cancelling this project the city council members should understand the tremendous volunteer effort that went into making this opportunity happen in the first place:

    1. Last January, 2016, volunteers got over 70 signatures of WEHO RESIDENTS on a petition to stop the demolition of the Craftsman home at 7701 Lexington. This enabled the new homeowner to buy this home & enjoy living in an architecturally significant home with a front & back yard- real home, not just a rented box. THIS CRAFTSMAN HOME WOULD HAVE BEEN DESTROYED WITHOUT MONTHS OF WORK TO SAVE IT!

    2.Without work to propose & encourage the city council to declare a moratorium on destruction of Craftsman homes in this district other homes would have destroyed by now. What you see in this neighborhood NOW is not a neighborhood created by chance. It is something created by EFFORT.

    The City council should know that many of the owners of the proposed designated properties DO NOT LIVE IN WEST HOLLYWOOD. THEY DO NOT VOTE IN WEST HOLLYWOOD. They look upon these properties only as income.

    The staff not including homes that were obstructed by foliage is COMPLETELY UNFAIR & this in itself is causing anger among some of the proposed designated homeowners. Staff should go back to these homes, stand on the sidewalk in front of the the driveways to photo the homes.They will NOT be walking on private property. This is the only way to be FAIR.

    The staff should alleviate all homeowners concerns by addressing ALL of their questions.

    Most importantly, the staff should consult with unbiased real estate experts experienced in historic homes values to give correct & current information concerning APPRECIATION of historic homes. We have already seen appreciating values of historically designated homes on Vista across from Plummer Park, so getting this information is crucial to the support of this project.

    All homeowners should know that EVERYONE, whether they are in a historic district or not has to go to the Building & Safety counter at City Hall before changing the facade of their home. Also they should know that this survey is only concerned with the OUTSIDE of the home, not the inside.
    This survey should NOT be eliminated just because people are reacting emotionally to hearsay information. It took much effort backed with much goodwill to get to this point & that effort should be valued.
    MIck Mars

  21. I’m an affected homeowner of one of the 30 properties identified as potential cultural resources in the recent survey.

    I’m troubled by Rob’s comments which are like the opposition leaders, spreading misinformation. We should give staff a chance to address homeowners concerns. There should be reasonable discussion instead of just getting information from ONE side!

    The campaign to kill the historic district proposal began BRFORE the survey was even made available to the public! The survey was published just before the HPC meeting last week. To be fully informed, I think we should review the new survey & let staff respond to questions raised by concerned homeowners BEFORE trying to kill the survey entirely!!

    Anyone who thinks that opponent leaders are right about protecting these homes with “don’t worry” handshakes from neighbors, should look at the demolition photos of the Colonial Revival Craftsman at 7724 Lexington. Built in 1919 (originally part of the Cahuenga Township development), the prior owner Kip lost the home in bankruptcy. The new owners quickly obtained a demo permit, and by the time neighbors found out about it, the deadline to appeal had passed. The beautiful Craftsman house was destroyed just before the new Moratorium, and a year later, there’s an eyesore dirt lot.

    For the last proposed demolition of the corner Craftsman at 7701 Lex, I worked with neighboring homeowners and residents to organize opposition. Last year at City Council meetings between Jan- April, many homeowners and tenants submitted comments and spoke up in support of more protection for the Craftsmans and for the survey, which staff indicated was the first step in studying a potential historic distinct.

    My understanding is that Historic Preservation is a tool to protect the integrity of our neighborhood. The charming character of these homes is largely what makes our neighborhood a desirable place to live. I haven’t heard anyone come up with a better idea to protect these homes from demolitions or major remodeling projects that destroy historic features of these homes!

    I’ve seen NO Evidence that our home values will be negatively adfected by historic designation. On the contrary, historic designated homes on Vista have appreciated as much as neighboring properties, and were run-down eyesores before they were designated.

    At a minimum, we should give staff an opportunity to provide property value data, benefits information and respond to homeowners other concerns (there may even be City funding made available for renovation projects)- before asking the City Council to kill this survey!

    If these 30 homes aren’t designated as cultural resources, DEVELOPERS, not our neighborhood will have won this battle. Don’t be fooled! As you can see with the houses on Lexington- one destroyed, and one saved after a big fight that was NOT easy (I won’t be helping with letter-writing next time)! Your neighbors WILL sell their homes to developers who want to tear them down so they can piece together lots for larger projects.
    That’s what we fought so hard against!! Remember, the City Council listened to our community and ordered the survey last year, and now we could lose an opportunity that will NOT come again.

  22. Chloe – the problem is that you are conflating two different concepts. Yes, most homeowners are against demolitions and inappropriate development. But those same homeowners (I have signed petitions from 2/3 of them) are against the thematic district because that is an inappropriate method to control demolitions and inappropriate development. The thematic district at issue here is both overbroad (what door I install has nothing to do with demolitions and development) and not targeted enough (it wouldn’t apply to nearly 130 properties in the neighborhood who have not been identified as historic).

  23. We, the majority of home owners will not accept such an intrusion on our rights!
    The city NEEDS to stop this stupid idea .
    We don’t understand the reason why it has not been “mothballed” yet.
    We are well informed of the restrictions this will impose on our rights.
    Mr. Hellman. Please stop this insanity!!’

  24. Did anyone see the renderings? Anyone? The proposed rental properties were hideous and not at all appropriate for the neighborhood. The traffic issues were real and the expedient money prospects of the developer were quite obvious. As I was a resident who was initially part of the earliest effort to resist these eyesore, I do not see what the issue is. The location of the Bungalows and their design and background has placed its character on the streets and area involved. Mr. Bergstein is trumping his comments with a single phrase “This district didn’t come from the area’s property owners” It did indeed and so Mr. Bergstein should fact check before he declares,as fact, this statement. Clearly a revenue stream is the motivation for the proposed sore thumbs designed for ‘not there’. I said it first at the “Reveal” to a room full of local residents. They seemed to agree. May I suggest you request to see the renderings and then take a short drive in the area. Consider the aesthetics ask yourself how these two apt. houses enhance the landscape. My opinion hasn’t changed.

  25. There are pages of city regulations in place already to protect what can and cannot be done in our neighborhoods. Adding more “guidelines” serves no purpose except punishing homeowners who already spend thousands of dollars to insure their Craftsman homes maintain their unique heritage in the first place.

    The Survey from the beginning was unfairly administered. Many Craftsman-style homes were not included in the Survey because they are obscured from the street by fences or hedges. This project has gone on long enough and the vast majority of targeted residents have unified together in speaking out against it.

    The only way the Council can truly move forward now is to please mothball this Thematic District project.

  26. This thematic district came about when one homeowner and long time tenant of an apartment building in the area came together to oppose the demolition of one house to be replaced with two rental homes….they went into a complete lather saying it would ruin parking in the neighborhood (I didn’t get their logic…going from one house with two parking spaces to two houses with four parking spaces & driveway space for guests…..). This district didn’t come from the area’s property owners and in fact, it appears that far more property owners are opposed than are in favor. Either the City needs to do far more significant research/one-on-one conversations with the property owners to determine what they do or don’t want, or just put the issue to bed.

  27. John Heilman did an excellent job of framing this issue and listening to the residents concerns. The preservationists who pushed this measure showed a lack of concern for these homeowners rights and property values.

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