927 Palm Avenue (Ed Levin)
Preservation Alliance board member Susana Miller spoke to the West Hollywood Planning Commission on behalf of the board and Alliance members. Here’s what she said:
Good Evening, Commissioners. I am Susana Miller of West Hollywood speaking on behalf of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance on whose Board I serve —
Unfortunately, not much has changed during the past three years to lessen concerns that both the Historic Preservation Commission and the community have previously raised about the massing….the height…..the look and feel…. and the impact on cultural resources and on the environment of this project in our historic Old Sherman neighborhood.
The HPC first voted 4 to 1 to not recommend a certificate of appropriateness for the project. Then three years went by until this past July when the HPC’s 3-3 vote again resulted in no recommendation to you. Such lack of support is distressing and NOT alleviated by the findings in the resolution.
You should reject the resolution to approve the project because:
1. The proposed development does not meet the National Park Service’s guidelines on New Construction within the Boundaries of Historic Properties. Those guidelines say that new construction should not be permitted on the same property if the new construction would obscure, damage, or destroy character-defining features of the building or the site. Such new construction should not remove a landscape feature that is important in defining the historic character of the setting such as the vegetation and open space that have been present on the property since the days of Old Sherman.
2. Federal Standard 9 for Rehabilitation as a Treatment says that: Related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work should be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.
It’s important to note that the parcels of land upon which the two historic bungalows sit are themselves rare remaining examples of residential life ….on relatively large plots of undeveloped land that were typical in Old Sherman. WHPA believes that the setting has NOT been compromised as the resolution findings state.
Furthermore, a City Architect’s report for your Commission Design Review Subcommittees stated that From a scale perspective, the building looms over the bungalows… and the form of the structure is a block mass.
“Looms” and “a block mass” are not terms that instill public confidence. Let’s preserve not only the historic structures themselves but also the last vestiges of the physical and spatial environment of Old Sherman. Please do not approve this ill-conceived project.
NOTICE: Due to the death of community leader Duff Bennett, the public hearing on this project has been rescheduled to Thurs., Nov. 19 at 6:30pm (participation instructions still to come). To see community reaction so far, go to correspondence links within Item 10.B. HERE [PDF]
WEHOVILLE: “With a unanimous vote Thursday night, West Hollywood’s Planning Commission delayed a hearing on a controversial senior living project on Palm Avenue for a month due to the sudden death of the project’s chief opponent.
“Duff Bennett, who has spearheaded opposition to the project for the past four years, died on Monday night after a sudden illness. Others opposed to the project petitioned for the continuance while they grieve Bennett’s death and regroup for their fight against it.”
8001 Santa Monica Blvd. before (left) and after
Dear Mayor Horvath, Mayor Pro Tem Heilman, and Councilmembers D’Amico, Duran, and Meister:
The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) is disappointed that the City issued a building permit in 2017 for 8001-8003 Santa Monica Boulevard without considering that the building was identified by the City Council as being potentially eligible for cultural resource designation and required consideration under CEQA. This error may have resulted, at least in part, because the “Primary Record” for 8001-8003 Santa Monica Blvd., which was generated by the 2016 Historic Resources Survey, incorrectly identified the property as 1105 N. Laurel Avenue (an adjoining, non-historic building).
8001-8003 Santa Monica Boulevard – before the alterations
Regarding Item 8.A. on the Historic Preservation Commission’s (HPC) agenda for January 27, 2020, the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) is quite dismayed with the recommendation that the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) REMOVE the building located at 8001-8003 Santa Monica Boulevard from the 2016 Commercial Historic Resource Survey’s list of potential cultural resources. There are already so few of these resources left in the city, and those that remain need particular care and attention.
Photo by Tony Coelho, from his Historic WeHo exhibit at the library
NOTE: The West Hollywood Library will be closed until March 31.
About the “Historic WeHo” exhibit:
West Hollywood’s heritage is a rich inheritance of traditions, attributes, and cultural resources. Architectural heritage includes much more than preserving, displaying, or restoring a collection of historic buildings. It is both tangible and intangible. Ideas, stories, and other elements of who we are and how we identify ourselves are essential to the understanding of our place.
Preserving West Hollywood’s architectural and cultural heritage is integral to the growth and identity of West Hollywood. Through historic preservation, we are able to tell stories of times that preceded Cityhood and of people, events, and ideas that embrace the vibrancy of our City.
The City of West Hollywood has recognized the importance of preserving its cultural resources since its incorporation as a City in 1984. The City adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance in 1989 and has designated over eighty historic and cultural resources, including six historic districts.
In 2015, arts and planning staff began a project of documenting all of the City’s designated historic properties. This exhibition shows a selection of photographs from the over 80 properties that were documented by West Hollywood photographer Tony Coelho, representing a wide array of architectural styles and associations with well-known architects and builders. These images celebrate West Hollywood – recognizing our past, present, and future.
1251 N. Detroit Street
From WEHOville.com: “On a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, the West Hollywood City Council denied an appeal of a historic designation for a Craftsman duplex on Detroit Avenue. With this vote, the Council granted historic designation to the house and upheld an October 2019 vote by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.”
1251 N. Detroit Craftsman Duplex, Built 1914
The WHPA is seeking help from members and the public to designate as a local cultural resource the rare 106-year old craftsman duplex at 1251 N. Detroit in West Hollywood.
City staff, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the WHPA all support this designation. But one outside developer opposes it and has filed an appeal which we hope the City Council will deny and then approve the property as a local cultural resource.
ACTION: Speak out or submit a citizen position slip on Agenda Item 3.A. supporting city staff’s recommendation.
WHAT: West Hollywood City Council Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 6:30 pm
WHERE: City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.; free validated parking in adjoining garage
Here is the official statement from the WHPA to the City Council:
The board of directors sent this statement to the West Hollywood City Council in advance of the council’s meeting tonight:
The West Hollywood Preservation Alliance (WHPA) urges the City of West Hollywood to purchase the two parcels of land at 617-621 North Robertson Boulevard. That purchase would help preserve the 2,000+ square foot historic log cabin building that has served the recovery community for many years and would enable the city to plan for future community uses – perhaps affordable housing? – on the remaining nearly 13,000 square feet of land.
Furthermore, the fact that the city’s 2016 commercial survey considered the log cabin property eligible for historic designation not only on the local level but also on the California Register and the National Register attests to the property’s architectural, social, and cultural significance. It’s that rare “trifecta” of designations that few buildings can achieve.
It’s time to make a deal with the City of Beverly Hills and to purchase this precious land that comes with so much history and so much future potential use by the city and its residents.
From WEHOville.com: “621 N. Robertson Blvd. (today home to the local Lions Club and a meeting place for recovery groups) is a one-story clubhouse in the Log Cabin style built in 1936 by the Boy Scouts of America Troop 27 as a clubhouse.
West Hollywood City Council members and members of the recovery community are expressing feelings of shock with the announcement that the City of Beverly Hills intends to demolish the historic log cabin on Robertson Boulevard that has long been the home for drug and alcohol recovery groups.”
In the city’s 2016 survey of commercial properties, the building was deemed eligible for the “trifecta” of designations — as a local cultural resource designation as well as California state and National Register designations. Designation at the local level is often key to protecting and preserving a building.
The property is owned by the City of Beverly Hills and may have originally been used by the city’s water department. The lease on the property expired more than 40 years ago, and now Beverly Hills plans to develop the lot for other uses.
West Hollywood residents are encouraged to express their concerns to Beverly Hills officials:
Beverly Press updates the current status of renovations to the El Mirador, a seven-story apartment building on Fountain Avenue at Sweetzer. The city designated the building as a cultural resource in 1992. It has been closed since 2010.
The article includes a quote from WHPA Board Pres. Victor Olmenczenko:
“The El Mirador is an architectural treasure whose current rehabilitation and restoration bode well for historic preservation in West Hollywood. For over 90 years, the El Mirador has caught the eyes of both tourists and residents alike as they travel along Fountain Avenue. The building’s ornate ‘Churrigueresque’ Spanish Colonial Revival style is quite rare nowadays … The El Mirador could garner even additional recognition at the state and national levels, which if achieved, could also result in some fine tax benefits.”
Jerome Nash, the owner the building, has yet to say whether he intends to convert El Mirador into an urban inn or condominiums or resume renting the its 32 units.
Renovations are expected to be complete in early 2021.