Two garden apartment buildings, at 301 and 301A Ocean Avenue, will be under consideration for nomination as City Landmarks, thanks to a vote at the June 9 Landmarks Commission meeting.
The Commission voted to continue the discussion on filing for designation of the buildings, pending a report on the properties. They also expressed interest in the properties’ potential as contributors to a proposed San Vicente Historic District,
Several neighbors expressed support for designation of the Ocean Avenue complexes. Ty Wapato, a resident of 301 Ocean, noted that Clo Hoover, the City’s first female mayor, built and lived at 301 Ocean in the year after World War II, and that the buildings were designed by Joseph M. Estep, who also partnered in the design of Santa Monica City Hall. Architect Louis Scaduto praised the complexes as “super swinging, space age inspired…with an intact pool cabana and requisite kidney-shaped pool.” Kit Snedaker, who lives at the already designated Teriton, added that the buildings provide a “gateway to San Vicente.”
The Commission felt no need to rush into a nomination, as the buildings are not under threat of demolition at this point. However, as the owner is planning a future project and a demo permit will eventually be applied for, the Commission decided to at least initiate action by asking the staff for a report, which could be delivered as early as the July 14 meeting, but will not be mandatory, as it is more important, in the words of Commissioner John Berley, to have “a thorough report. “
It was a busy evening for the Commission. A Certificate of Appropriateness was granted to the owner of a house at 2402 4th Street, in Hollister Court, for design approval of reconstruction of brick work on the house’s front porch.
A Certificate of Appropriateness was also granted for design approval of a new awning and signage for the Edwin Building at 312 Wilshire.
A Spanish Colonial-style house at 733 19th Street was denied landmark designation. The City Staff report had not found the house to be significant, although it said that the structure might possibly contribute to a potential historic district. In discussion, the Commissioners, despite their interest in houses of this style, decided that there are many more outstanding examples in the City.
Several members of Treesavers spoke to the Commission about the need for a separate Tree Commission.
Seeking the Landmark’s Commission’s support, Jerry Rubin pointed out that other cities have tree or urban forestry commissions and that a body is needed that will be concerned solely with trees, and not be part of another commission.
City Council Liaison Kevin McKeown commented that the Landmarks Commission’ s purview does not include their assessing trees that are not of a historic nature, and that for this reason, it might make sense for them to ask the City Council to find another solution for the problem of tree policy, with a commission as one possible solution.
The Commission decided to draft a letter (via email) to the Council, asking them to consider “what means are available to clarify issues regarding the urban forest” so that the Landmarks Commission will not have to struggle with issues outside their purview.
In other actions, the Commission heard two presentations. The first, presented by the consultant team Jones & Stokes, gave information on the update to the Historic Resources Inventory. The second presentation dealt with the LUCE Shape the Future Strategy Framework. The Commission concluded that the presentation’s information was what they “would have liked to see in the actual document,” and asked that revisions be made to give more emphasis to the historic preservation elements.