December 4, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Landmark Board Plays Demolition Derby: discusses modifications of rules

A 1920s-era Spanish Colonial Revival courtyard apartment complex at 851 19th Street was one of several properties whose demolition was approved  after review by the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission at its Monday night meeting. The 19th Street complex was identified in the Historic Resources Inventory, and had initially  come under consideration for landmark designation in October 2003. Described in a staff report as a one-story front unit, a one-story duplex, and a two-story garage building, the complex boasted such features  as red clay tile roofing, stucco sheathing and chimney, a bay window, and tiled vent openings within the gables. The 2003 staff report discussed the criteria under which the complex might be considered for landmark designation.  Although the buildings exhibited characteristics of a particular architectural style, it was concluded that there are better examples of this style in other parts of Santa Monica. Staff at that time recommended against designation. Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Villa Christina LLC, Patrick Aroff reminded the Commission that the matter of 851 19th Street had been discussed at the 2003 meeting. The Commissioners recalled that they had also considered designating the complex as part of a historic district owing to the presence of an adjacent building by the same builder as 851 but had decided against it. Another complex at 1341 9th Street with four units and a garage was also approved for demolition. It   was not identified in the Historic Resources Inventory.  Speaking on behalf of the owners, Boruch and Rivka Rabinowitz, architect Arnie Levin explained that the property was boarded up, in a state of advanced dilapidation, and that the police had been called to the site several times to deal with break-ins. He said that the owners are seeking to build  a  mixed-use child care center on the site. Other buildings approved for demolition without discussion included 908 17th Street (four units, one story building with detached garage; applicants listed as Maryam Seyedan and Chalous LLC); 1620 Idaho Avenue ( four units, one and two story buildings with detached garage; applicants: Maryam Sedeyan and Chalous LLC); 1902-1914 California Avenue (five units and detached garage; applicant: West Coast B&R Properties LLC); 1027 21st Street ( single family residential with detached garage); 428 16th Street, (one story, single family residence with detached garage); 954 15th Street (two apartment buildings of six or seven units, applicant: Bilet Properties LLC); and 1524 11th Street (single family residence with garage and work shed). A single family residence with detached garage at 1253 18th Street was spared immediate demolition, as the Commissioners reflected on the structure’s features as a Craftsman house and its “context” on a street featuring other picturesque buildings and trees. Action on this property was continued. The fact that many pre-1940 properties slated for demolition might have redeeming historical features concerned the Commission, as they discussed proposed changes to the existing demolition permit review process. At the present time, applicants for demolition permits must go before the Architecture Review Board with their plans first, with Landmarks reviewing the applications when the plans for new projects are already in process. Any change to this procedure would have to be enacted by the City Council. To that end, the Commission appointed a sub-committee consisting of Commissioners John Berley and Colin Maduzia, who will draft language for  a  proposal  to the Council that will address both historic preservation and business concerns. The Commission also heard, during the public comment period (for items not on the Commission’s agenda), from Jerry Rubin, who wondered why the Commission had not acted on reviewing the site of the former Zucky’s Deli as a possible landmark. “The history of Zucky’s is crucial. Don’t let this go!” said Rubin. He cited a letter from the Los Angeles Conservancy to the ARB regarding the historic significance of Zucky’s and he pleaded that at least the Art Deco signage of the building should be preserved, possibly in a museum setting. The ARB is currently reviewing the Zucky’s site for a proposed remodeling and re-use. The Commission noted that newly appointed Landmarks Commission liaison to the ARB Barbara Kaplan is representing  the Landmarks Commission’s interest at the ARB hearings. The Commission took no action on placing Zucky’s on its agenda in the immediate future.In other business, the Commission voted to approve a Statement of Official Action for the Certificate of Appropriateness for revised project design of the R.D. Farquhar House at 147 Georgina Avenue.

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