New Landmark District Proposed

New Landmark District ProposedNew Landmark District ProposedNew Landmark District Proposed

Article and Photography by RACHEL YOUNG

5:09 am | November 14, 2013

A neighborhood in Southwest Pasadena brought forward a request to become a landmark district to the Planning Commission on Wednesday where it was approved 5 to 1 and will be sent to the City Council.

The neighborhood consists of 23 homes on South Grand Avenue and Covington Place that were built between 1905-1965. Three of the contributing houses were built in the Arts & Crafts Period, four in the mid-twentieth-century period and the other 11 in the period revival era. Four properties in the district boundaries are non-contributing.

“It’s the architectural quality that has pulled us together as a neighborhood,” resident Tim Walker said.

Since 1989, the City has formally designated 19 landmark districts.

To be eligible for a landmark district at least 60 percent of the properties must qualify as contributing. The South Grand-Covington Place Landmark District has 80 percent of the homes contributing with 19 of 23 considered historic. The proposal must also gain written support by at least 51 percent of the parcel owners.

Three signatures were not obtained, still leaving a 78 percent agreement by the neighborhood. However, Planning Commission Vice Chair Ann Marie Hickambottom said she was not satisfied that the staff had made sufficient efforts to reach out to the other homes.

“My comfort level would be something from staff that tells me what efforts were taken to contact that property owner. Nothing in the staff report says it,” Hickambottom said.

For that reason Hickambottom had to vote no. Mic Hansen had to recuse herself from the Commission conversation because she had helped with the effort, but spoke as a member of the public.

“I would like to support the neighbors and say they had a long and arduous road to reach this point. They worked very hard and they’ve had many challenges, and I commend for their tenacity, for their hard work and for their stick-to-it-of-ness, because they really had a rough path,” Hansen said.

Becoming a landmark district protects the historic and architectural character of a neighborhood by requiring a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior changes that are visible from a public street. The districts also review demolitions, relocations and new construction. The district would prevent a significant construction from happening without a majority of signatures from the neighbors.

The neighbors brought in pictures of a modern house that they would not want in their neighborhood and of the construction going on down the street that has been disruptive and a sore to the eyes several neighbors said.

“It’s an interesting representation of evolution of a Pasadena neighborhood, in this case in southwest Pasadena. Some homes are multi-generational owners. The neighborhood does have a warm and rustic feel and we cherish its atmosphere and we cherish its charm. Were here to make sure that its preserved. We want to make sure our neighborhood is not diminished or disturbed with construction,” Robert Bonner, one of the residents said.

Pasadena Heritage wrote a letter of affirmed support and came to the meeting to express their strong recommendation of the plan.

Robert Holmes of the West Pasadena Residence Association also spoke highly of the possibility, ““We all look forward to maintaining our neighborhoods and maintaining our property values and were certainly in favor of this landmark district.”

Commissioner Vince Farhat was impressed, “This is an outstanding application, this is a model of how the process is supposed to work. It’s a slam-dunk, in terms of the number of contributing homes, support of the neighborhood, and the fact it is a historical linear walk through Pasadena. I seconded this motion because I think its an outstanding application.”