February 25, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Fate of Dogtown in Commission’s Hands:

The building that houses the Horizons West surf shop and Zephyr skateboard shop at 2001-2011 Main Street will be the subject of a preliminary report to the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission regarding its potential for landmark designation.

The one-story commercial building was on the list of proposed demolitions that was reviewed at Monday’s Landmarks Commission meeting, but was given a stay of execution after the Commission heard comments from several speakers who said that Horizons/Zephyr is part of the City’s cultural heritage and should not be demolished.

One speaker, Gail Davis, characterized the surf and skate shops as “a cultural mecca for surfers and skateboarders all around the world,” adding, “We’ve got to start keeping what we have instead of giving it all away.”

Said Troy Hyatt, “I’m seeing an alarming trend of demolitions of historical structures. The charm of our city is being eradicated.” He also said that he had seen comments about the shop “all over the Internet” and that people around the world are “alarmed that this place, the birthplace of skateboarding, is slated for demolition.”

The Horizons/Zephyr stores were featured in the 2002 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys as well as in the 2005 fiction film, Lords of Dogtown. According to the speakers, the building originally housed Zephyr’s surfboard factory during the 1970s and later housed a surf shop which became Horizons West.

Everyone on the Landmarks Commission agreed that the building itself does not represent any significant architectural contribution but its cultural significance cannot be overlooked.

“I completely agree [with the speakers],” said Commissioner Deborah Levin. “There’s a spirit of Santa Monica that I feel when I look at that building.” It was also mentioned that artists John Baldessari and William Wegman had studios in the building at various times.

The Commission voted to ask for further investigation into the cultural history of Horizons/Zephyr. The preliminary assessment will be read at the November 13 meeting.

In other actions, the Commission approved designation for a three-building complex at 423-431 Ocean Avenue. The buildings, consisting of two 1936 structures and one added in 1950, form a U-shape around a courtyard and have been assessed as a “very good example of American Colonial Revival style.” The architect, William E. Foster, also designed the Streamline Moderne Shangri-La Hotel on Ocean Avenue as well as the Pilgrim Lutheran Church on Wilshire. A staff report maintained that the buildings met four of the six criteria for designation. A number of speakers, including tenants and neighbors, spoke to the Commission in support of designation.

The only opposition was voiced by a representative for the property owner, who cited that of five experts who submitted reports on the worthiness of the buildings, there were too many disagreements about the various criteria under which it qualified, and that the buildings did not qualify as a true courtyard complex due to the fact that one building was erected at a later date.

The Commission, however, voted to designate the complex as per the staff report’s recommendations.

The Commission also moved to approve Certificates of Appropriateness for new lighting and design elements at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, and for landscaping plans, materials and color selection for the adaptive reuse of the former Marion Davies estate at 415 Pacific Coast Highway. A Certificate of Appropriateness application for design approval of a public restroom facility and ice cream kiosk on the Pier was continued to the next meeting because of debate over design elements.

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