A 1911 Craftsman house at 514 Palisades Avenue has been designated a City Landmark, with the property designated as a Landmark parcel.
The Landmarks Commission voted unanimously on Monday, May 12, to designate the two-story F. R. Seibert House, which at one time was considered for a potential historic district for the Palisades Tract. Although the land that the house stands on was designated as a parcel, a recently constructed two-story addition to the house at the rear is not included in the designation.
The house retains enough physical integrity as an example of the Craftsman style to qualify for landmark status, according to the City staff report. Its aesthetic value, history, and character-defining features such as a cross-gabled roof, projecting overhangs, Tudor-style half-timbering, a deep-set front porch, and cobblestone pedestals supporting the porch roof, satisfied designation criteria 1, 2, and 4.
The Commission had some concerns about the landscaping elements, which include four mature Canary Island Date Palms, a mature Sequoia and a Eucalyptus. As Commissioner John Berley put it, there had to be some way to “recognize salient features but not make them part of the findings.” Trees, as features of the parcel, cannot be landmarked themselves, but the Commission believed that there was a need to protect them.
The City Planning Commission had sent a memo to the Landmarks Commission with additional information and clarification of some of the property’s features. These included a stained-glass window on the east elevation (which the owners preserved by building around the window for the new addition) and a front door originally designed as a two-part “Dutch” door. The Commission added these elements under Criterion 4 (distinguishing architectural characteristics) and, as long as they were adding elements from the memo, decided to add the trees under Criterion 2, inasmuch as the Canary Island Date Palms were already mentioned in the findings.
In other actions, the Commission nominated the former J.C. Penney Building at 1202 3rd Street for designation, but asked City staff for clarification of questions about certain elements of the building’s design.
The Commission approved three Statements of Official Action: for approval of a new entry door and accessibility ramp for the courtyard of City Hall, for a single-family residence at 2101 La Mesa Drive, and for the commercial property at 312 Wilshire Boulevard.
During her report from staff, Senior Planner Roxanne Tanemori said that staff had met with the City Forester regarding the Moreton Bay fig tree at the Fairmont Hotel, which had applied for a permit to prune and do maintenance on the tree. Approval was given for this work to commence.
The Commission’s City Council Liaison, Kevin McKeown, reported on the two recent City Council meetings at which the proposed project at 2617 Third Street was remanded to the Landmarks Commission. McKeown suggested that the Commission might seek, this time around, to try to create more dialogue between the building owner and the neighbors, with more involvement of the Third Street Citizens Participation Committee. A date has not yet been set for the item to come again before the Landmarks Commission.
No action was taken on the following proposed demolitions: 1615 San Vicente Boulevard, 1028 21st Street, 1719 Pine Street, 521 Georgina Avenue, 704 15th Street, 2412 22nd Street, 1337 23rd Street, and 614 Grant Street.