People who turned out at the Landmarks Commission’s December 8 meeting to comment on the proposed designation of an apartment building at 301 Ocean Avenue learned they would have to wait, as the Commission continued the item to next month at the request of the property owner.
The property, located on the southeast corner of Ocean Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard, is a post-World War II multi-family complex with a landscaped courtyard and pool. Supporters have cited the building’s style as well as its former ownership and residency by former Santa Monica Mayor Clo Hoover.
City staff prepared extensive paperwork on the property, including a report from PCR Services. According to the owner’s legal representative, Ken Kutcher of Harding Larmore, the owner had requested the continuance in order to read the numerous reports and be able to formulate responses. Kutcher pointed out that the building is in no danger of demolition and that members of the public would not be prevented from commenting at that time if they were unable to attend the following month’s meeting.
Prior to the vote to continue, a few advocates of designation were granted time to speak to the continuance. They asked that it not be granted because they believed the owner was trying to erode their momentum.
The Commission granted the request for continuance, as they agreed that time was needed to absorb all the data provided by City staff and residents’ letters.
Given the option of speaking on the designation at that time or at the continued meeting, most of the community members who had submitted chits to speak opted to wait. The few people who did speak following the decision to continue urged the Commission to deny the designation, saying that the building was an “eyesore.”
The Commission also discussed the potential nomination of the South Beach tract of Ocean Park as a historic district. This issue has come up many times and an ad hoc subcommittee has been formed to look into it.
Michel Feinstein, who lives in the South Beach tract and who last month, received approval of a Structure of Merit designation for his residence, urged the Commission to move forward on designation for the district. But he was reluctant to take action himself, as he is a renter and said that he found the local property owners seemed resistant to designation.
The Commission discussed how the City might initiate action on the historic district project by holding a preliminary “study session.”
In other actions, the Commission heard a detailed report from architect Robert Chattel on the shoring and stabilization plans for the onetime Mayfair Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard in the downtown area. The building is slated for adaptive reuse as a residence, retaining the original façade. Chattel outlined how care is being taken to restore the “crown” at the top of the façade.
The Commission also received a preliminary presentation of the design plans and Draft Environmental Impact Report for the apartment complex planned to incorporate the Horizons surf shop building at 2001 Main Street.
No date has been set yet for the Commission to discuss the Certificate of Appropriateness for the project. At this stage however, some Commission members wondered about how the new project would commemorate the Z-Boys who are connected with the building. Ken Kutcher, representing the owner, said that the Z-Boys are very protective of their logos, which might prove problematic for the commemorative design scheme of the new project.