City Staff Balks at Owner's Request to Demolish 1916 Bungalow

Published : Monday, June 3, 2019 | 5:08 AM

A City department has asked a Pasadena commission to delay granting a South Robles Avenue homeowner permission to tear down his house in order to build a new one.

The Pasadena Department of Planning and Community Development is recommending a delay in the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness for a plan to demolish the house at 980 South Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena, to allow time for “exploring other alternatives to demolition.”

The owner, who first applied for a Certificate of Appropriateness to add a two-story section in the rear of the residence, now wants to build a new house in place of the structure that was built in 1915. Since the City has said the house is a historic resource and has been recommended for designation as such, the matter will be taken up during a meeting of the City’s Historic Preservation Commission on Tuesday, June 4.

Planning Director David Reyes, in a staff report for the Commission, said they are recommending a delay period of 180 days, up to December 4, 2019, before the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness. During the period of delay, staff will be working with the owner to identify alternatives to demolition.

Reyes is also recommending that a subcommittee in the Commission be organized to also help in identifying the alternative measures, the report said.

The one-story, 1,946-square-foot house was nominated for listing in the National Register of Historical Places, according to an undated memo on file with the City which also shows the nomination was withdrawn “due to unavailability of owner to complete documentation.”

The withdrawal does not affect the house’s being a historical resource, the report indicated, as well as the fact that the property is within the boundaries of the eligible but undesignated Madison Heights District in Pasadena.

The Madison Heights Neighborhood Association is actively promoting its designation and is working towards obtaining sufficient support by property owners in the area to apply for designation, according to the report.

The house, which features four bedrooms, 1.75 bathrooms and sits on a 0.3-acre lot, sold for an estimated $1.2 million in July 2018. It could be worth about $1.3 million now, according to a real estate listing by Redfin.

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