The Santa Monica Landmarks Commission approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for a new addition to City Hall at its October 8 meeting.
The new addition will include an accessibility ramp and new entry door, an exterior elevator shaft, and a one-story electrical room. The additions will be built in the rear of the north wing of City Hall, as an adaptive re-use of the old jail area.
Because City Hall is a historic building with a Streamline Moderne style, the project’s compatibility with the main building was a major issue.
Some Commissioners questioned the materials and colors to be used. The project called for “in kind” replacement of 17 windows in the rear of the north wing. These windows were to contain clear glass and the same mullion configuration as the existing windows. The elevator tower was to contain tinted spandrel glass.
Commissioner John Berley thought the glass looked too dark and requested that gray or bronze tints be used instead of the blue or green tints originally proposed.
The design was approved with several modifications that included a suggestion that the doors be painted white, that the elevator tower use alternating panels of spandrel glass and clear glass, and that the window replacements be done in a manner that does not change the mullions of the original design.
The Commission also considered a Certificate of Appropriateness for construction of a two-story single-family residence on a property in the Third Street Historic District at 2642 2nd Street.
While everyone had praise for aspects of the project’s contemporary design, some members of the Commission were concerned about its compatibility with the style of the neighborhood. The design had been discussed with the Third Street Historic District’s CPC (Citizen’s Participatory Committee) over the summer. According to CPC member Larry Graber, the design had been modified by neighbors’ suggestions and there had been no opposing input at that time. However, at the meeting, several residents of the District spoke to the Commission about their opposition to the project.
Elements of the proposed design such as a skylight were of concern to some members of the Commission. The building’s height and mass also seemed inappropriate to some members.
Commissioner Ruthann Lehrer said, “It’s a beautiful building but it threatens the District because it makes a strong statement.”
The property owners agreed to return to the Commission with revisions based on the Commission’s suggestions that the height and massing of the project, and the materials used, be more in accord with the District.
In other actions, the Commission asked for more information on three industrial properties slated for demolition at 3030 Nebraska Avenue, 1815-1833 Stanford Street, and 3026 Olympic Boulevard.
Another trio of industrial properties, 1550 5th Street, 1554-1558 5th Street, and 417 Colorado Avenue, had been pulled from last month’s demolition permit review in order to obtain further information. But the Commission was not satisfied with the preliminary report, which did not give them enough information to proceed with consideration for designation.
A Quonset hut at 829 Broadway was nominated for designation. The Commission approved statements of official action for lighting fixtures for 415 Palisades Beach Road (the 415 PCH Marion Davies project), and for the designation of Palisades Park.
During public input, Jerry Rubin, Scott Smith, and Susan Hartley of Treesavers also asked the Commission to allow their application for landmark status for the ficus trees on 2nd and 4th Streets to be filed. The application had been “lodged” as of Friday, October 5, but the activists were concerned that the City staff was not moving forward with their action.