The Santa Monica Landmarks Commission Monday reaffirmed its support for the preservation and rehabilitation of the historic “Shotgun House” that is still without a permanent site. The pre-1900 structure, formerly located at 2712 Second Street, was saved from demolition in 1998 when the Landmarks Commission designated the building as a landmark. (The term “shotgun house” refers to the ability to fire a gun and have the bullet pass straight through from the front door to the rear door of the building.) It was purchased by the Ocean Park Community Organization (OPCO) in July 2002 and was taken to the Santa Monica Municipal Airport while OPCO looked for a new permanent site for the building. City staff and OPCO eventually agreed that the community garden at Main Street and Hollister would be a viable site for relocation of the small house, which could be used as a storage shed and restroom for the gardeners. However, people with gardens have been concerned about the proposal, as the relocation of the building would require the sacrifice of both garden and parking space, while supporters of the move are concerned about funding the project. Rehabilitation and moving costs are estimated at $400,000. The Commission heard statements from several members of the OPCO subcommittee who reminded them of the shotgun house’s historic status. The Commission reaffirmed its commitment to preserving the house but reminded the advocates that the Landmarks Commission, having already given the building protection via its landmark designation, does not have the authority to help with funding or finding a permanent site. However, the Commission did agree with the OPCO members that a resolution stating its support might help the project receive funding. The Commission then voted unanimously to support the project and proposed the preparation of a consultant’s report on the appropriateness of the proposed site, to be presented at a future meeting. The Commission also recommended that city staff meet with the gardeners to work out differences and prepare a future course of action. OPCO has until April 15th to obtain financial support for the project. The Commission heard a report from former Landmarks Commission city staff liaison Elizabeth Bar-El regarding the “Shape the Future 2025” project. This two-year project will update Santa Monica’s General Plan land use and circulation elements, which are basically blueprints for future development. The last update was done in 1984. City planners are now soliciting comments and ideas from the public via workshops for residents, a “walking guide” that invites citizens to assess various neighborhoods, and a youth planning project for students at Santa Monica schools. In addition to charting future development, the revision should enable the City to more accurately anticipate future needs and understand what the community wants and does not want (More information on the Shape the Future project can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org). Landmarks Commissioner John Berley followed Bar-El’s presentation with a supplemental presentation by the Commission’s subcommittee for the Land Use Element project, and noted six goals that the subcommittee suggested for incorporating historic preservation into the Land Use Element: 1). Develop a citywide preservation program. 2). Identify historic resources. 3). Increase public awareness. 4). Protect historic resources. 5). Promote preservation through incentives 6). Integrate historic preservation into economic and community development strategies. Berley noted that several of these goals are already being met or can be met by the Landmarks Commission. In other actions, the Commission agreed to inquire about the availability of city funding to photo-document the Christian Science Church at 505 Arizona Avenue. The building is slated for demolition and is not eligible to be designated as a landmark due to its status as a religious institution. The Commission also discussed the issue of potential landmarks in Palisades Park, some of which are in a state of deterioration. It was agreed that the Commission meet with Parks and Recreation to create a plan for designating the most critical problems and planning repair actions. Commissioner Nina Fresco requested that an ad hoc subcommittee be formed to study ways in which historic preservation-related printed materials could be made more available and understandable to the public. The subcommittee was formed with Fresco and Commissioner Debra Levin as members. In addition, a revision of a certificate of appropriateness was approved for a project design for the R.D. Farquhar house at 147 Georgina Avenue. At a previous meeting, the Commission expressed concern over the height of a proposed rear setback as well as problems with the design’s fenestration. The architect made the suggested changes and the resulting design met with the Commission’s approval. In other business, the Commission approved in one motion three statements of official action, approving a sign application for proposed signage at 1449 4th Street (the ground floor of the Lido Hotel), approving demolition of the police station wing of City Hall, and approving temporary installation of window air conditioning units, cable conduits, and window tinting film on two windows overlooking the City Hall courtyard. No action was taken on demolition permits for the following structures: 2015 Idaho Avenue, 148 Hart Avenue, and 2406 21st Street.
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