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The Downtown Community Plan and Preservation

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The draft Downtown Community Plan (DCP), now targeted for adoption in the spring of 2017, proposes, among many other things, strengthening policies in several key areas “to ensure preservation of character in the Downtown.”

The draft plan recognizes the use of the Historic Resource Inventory (HRI) as an important planning tool and proposes to extend some protections for historic properties to those not yet designated – buildings that provide important context and sense of place in our downtown. This is especially important because many of the buildings on the HRI are listed as contributors to a potential historic district that is unlikely to be created because so many of the identified buildings have been altered or demolished.

downtown santa monica, dtwt, guaranty building

The plan also recommends an update to our Landmarks Ordinance to improve designation of different levels of classification and protection for historic resources, addressing the longstanding request of the Commission that the Structure of Merit designation be strengthened or replaced. It recommends use of the California Historical Building Code for properties on the HRI, providing alternative ways of addressing code issues where adaptive reuse, rehabilitation or maintenance would otherwise require more extensive changes that threaten historic character.

Finally, the plan describes goals for additional programs that convey and celebrate the history of downtown and the need to identify a dedicated funding source to enhance and maintain our historic resources.

The Conservancy Board is highly supportive of these objectives, but questions how these goals will be achieved without an ongoing source of funding that does not rely on development agreements and additional professionally-trained staff dedicated to the preservation program. We are also concerned that protection of the downtown’s historic properties has become more difficult because the Landmarks Commission is no longer permitted to proactively initiate designation. We hope the final DCP will address these concerns so that the city can realistically enable implementation to match its lofty goals and policy objectives and assure us that historic resources will be protected.

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June 2016 Newsletter Now Available

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The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Upcoming Conservancy Tours Featured during COAST Open Streets
  • The Gussie Moran House Tour
  • Historic Resources Inventory Update
  • Progress on the Downtown Community Plan
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Download the June newsletter and 2016 Preservation Awards or view past issues here.

Our newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. If you’d like to become a member, please join today!

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter |

ASID-LA Donates $2,000 to the PRC

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The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) held a Green Art Competition on St Patrick’s Day benefiting the Conservancy’s Preservation Resource Center (PRC). The contest was held at a Pirch showroom in Glendale, California and challenged ASID designers and industry partners to create artworks out of recycled materials. The winning projects were featured during the recent LA Design Build Expo at the Los Angeles Mart.

Cynthia Burnett, past president of ASID-LA, reached out to Sarah Barnard, an interior designer and LEED Accredited Professional, to recommend a nonprofit beneficiary headquartered in a LEED-certified building with a mission related to housing and community service. Barnard made the recommendation for the Conservancy’s Preservation Resource Center (PRC).  ASID raised $2000 in entrance fees, and donated this sum to the Conservancy .

Posted in Preservation Resource Center |

Santa Monica Conservancy Announces 2016 Preservation Awards

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The Santa Monica Conservancy recognized ten exemplary contributions to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage Continue reading →

Posted in Preservation Awards | Tagged |

March 2016 Newsletter Now Available

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The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Upcoming 2016 Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards
  • The Grand Opening of the Preservation Resource Center at the Shotgun House
  • Happy Birthday, Marion! at the Annenberg Community Beach House
  • Updates on the Downtown Community Plan
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Download the March newsletter , or click here to view past issues.

Our newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. If you’d like to become a member, please join today!

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter |

Preservation Resource Center Now Open at 2520 2nd Street!

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Open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm, and by appointment.

For years, it was the dream of Conservancy leadership and many community members to save and rehabilitate Santa Monica’s Landmark Shotgun House as a Preservation Resource Center for our community. Now that dream is a reality! (Read about the Shotgun House in the Los Angeles Times!)

Preparing the shotgun house for its first move.

Preparing the shotgun house for its first move.

Early one morning in 2002, a small house was under siege. A bulldozer arrived its front door and workmen began to dismantle the structure by hand. But community members intervened, and strengthened by the authority of the City of Santa Monica, the house was moved and saved from demolition more than a century after it was built.

Shotgun house, preservation resource center, photo by david kaplan

House turning the corner by the Library. Photo credit David Kaplan.

Over the next sixteen years, the house became the property of the City, and was relocated two more times before a permanent location was found in the parking lot across from Norman Place and the Ocean Park Library. Under the guardianship of the Santa Monica Conservancy, an adaptive reuse plan was developed, a lease was negotiated, and funds were raised to sensitively rehabilitate and transform the little shotgun house into a Preservation Resource Center.

Photo credit Carol Lemlein.

Docent training. Photo credit Carol Lemlein.

Today we are proud to present a model for adaptive reuse that showcases an important piece of our city’s history. The Center will provide residents and visitors with practical, user-friendly information about historic resources in Santa Monica as well as the methods and benefits of preserving older buildings. An interpretive program has been developed, and docent volunteers will welcome and inform visitors.

PRC, shotgun house

The shotgun house nearly ready for visitors.

2520 2nd St, shotgun house, map

Posted in Preservation Resource Center |

San Vicente Courtyard Apartments Historic District Approved!

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Santa Monica has its first new historic district in fifteen years.  The City Council, on the recommendation of the Landmarks Commission, voted unanimously on December 15, 2015 to designate the iconic courtyard housing on San Vicente Boulevard from Seventh Street west. (Read the City’s staff report here.) Through the grassroots efforts of the Historic San Vicente Coalition, assisted by the Conservancy and endorsed by many local community organizations, this district will be the third historic district in our city, joining the Third Street Neighborhood District and the Bay Street Craftsman Cluster.

The next step is for staff to draft an ordinance with input from stakeholders regarding guidelines for changes to the properties within the district. Interiors are not subject to restrictions.

Congratulations to all those who worked hard to successfully shepherd this designation through the landmarking procedures!

HSVC, historic san vicente coalitiion, historic district

Historic San Vicente Coalition and community members on the night of the designation.

 

The San Vicente Historic District Moves Ahead (November 2015)

The proposed San Vicente Courtyard Apartments Historic District moved a step closer to designation at the November 9 Landmarks Commission Meeting when, after a public hearing, the Commission voted to recommend district formation to the City Council. The Council hearing to make a final determination on the formation of the district will be held on December 15.

The Conservancy, in collaboration with the Historic San Vicente Coalition, offered a series of free walking tours to educate residents and the public about the proposed district, which stretches from Ocean Avenue to Seventh Street. Each of the three tour dates was quickly filled to capacity, attracting more than 200 people interested in learning about the proposed district and its distinct form of housing. The San Vicente Courtyard Apartments are characterized by multi-unit buildings configured around lawns and gardens set back from the street, and comprise the most significant and cohesive concentration of courtyard housing in Santa Monica.

More than half of the buildings in the corridor, constructed between 1937 and 1953, are considered significant contributors to the potential historic district. The neighborhood’s architectural character, harmonious scale and abundant landscaped green spaces have generated both public appreciation and concern that this important collection of courtyard housing might be lost to redevelopment. If designated, the San Vicente Historic District would be the third in the city, joining the Third Street Neighborhood District (formed in 1990) and the Bay Street Craftsman Cluster (2000).

San Vicente courtyard. Photo credit Douglas Brian Martin for the Historic San Vicente Coalition.

San Vicente courtyard. Photo credit Douglas Brian Martin for the Historic San Vicente Coalition.

 

The San Vicente Courtyard Corridor (September 2015)

Characterized by buildings configured around lawns and gardens set back from the street, the San Vicente Courtyard Apartments between Ocean Avenue and 7th Street are the most significant and cohesive concentration of courtyard housing in Santa Monica. Rapidly increasing in its public appreciation and value, this distinctive neighborhood possesses a harmonious scale, architectural character,  and abundant landscaped green spaces. More than half of the buildings in the corridor, constructed between 1937 and 1953, are considered significant as contributors to a potential historic district.

How Historic District Designation Works

While an application for a historic district may be submitted by anyone, the application for the San Vicente district is being initiated by the Landmarks Commission. It has requested consultant and staff reports, expected in May or June, to determine if the San Vicente corridor courtyards meet the City’s criteria for designation. The procedures require property owner and neighborhood noticing, a public meeting, and public hearings before the Landmarks Commission and City Council. If the Landmarks Commission finds it justified, it will make a recommendation to City Council, which may then adopt an ordinance to create the district, and establish design standards and district guidelines concerning permissible alterations and maintenance.

Historic District designation is the strongest tool that exists to conserve the unique character of a neighborhood. If Historic Designation is approved, it would protect the scale and plan of the courtyards, the open landscaped spaces, the distinctive architecture, and the multi-family housing from demolition or significant change. Official recognition of these special qualities typically enhances property values, highlighting those neighborhood amenities that make the San Vicente corridor an attractive place to live.

Benefits and Incentives for Restoration and Renovation

The Landmarks Ordinance defines certain benefits for owners of contributing properties. These include eligibility for Mills Act contracts, which provide reduced property taxes in exchange for a written plan for preservation, restoration and/or maintenance of a historic property; fee waivers for applications; priority permit processing; and professional expertise from staff to advise applicants on issues related to their historic properties. The Zoning Ordinance allows many exemptions and waivers for designated historic properties so that nonconforming conditions may continue to exist. Owners may also request use of the State Historic Building Code, a tangible benefit that can result in considerable cost savings when remodeling or renovating.

Individual Properties

For more about individual properties in the proposed district, view the San Vicente Courtyard Historic District assessment.

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy | Tagged |

Call for Nominations: 2016 Preservation Awards

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Call for Nominations: 2016 Preservation Awards

Every year the Conservancy presents Preservation Awards to individuals and projects that represent exemplary contributions to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage. These awards showcase the accomplishments of those who have invested time and resources in the revitalization of Santa Monica’s historic places.

Since 2004, award-winning projects have included residences, commercial and institutional buildings, and places of significance ranging in scale from small to large. They have included restoration, renovation, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and contemporary additions to historic buildings and homes. Awards are also presented to individuals for their stewardship of historic properties as well as for community service contributions as volunteers and as advocates of preservation. A complete history of the Preservation Awards can be found here.

 

2424 Fourth Street, Brecht House, Horation West Court. Photos courtesy of DUB Architect and Brian Thomas Jones.

Past winners: Horatio West Court, John and Anna George House, and Brecht House. Photos courtesy of DUB Studios and Brian Thomas Jones.

 

Nominate a person, structure or group for a 2016 Award! Send an email to awards@smconservancy.org and include:

  1. A brief description of the individual, organization or project, and why you believe it warrants an award. A specific award category can be included in your proposal, but is not mandatory.
  2. Your contact information (name, address, phone number).
  3. A photo if possible.

This year’s awards jury – Margaret Bach, Mike Deasy, Barbara Flammang, David Kaplan, and Ruthann Lehrer – is eager to hear from you.  Deadline for nominations is January 15, 2016.

The awards presentation will be held at the Conservancy’s 2016 Annual Meeting on March 12 in the Grand Pavilion at Saint Monica’s Church. It’s a not-to-be missed event, as we celebrate, recognize, and are inspired by, the people and the projects that bring preservation to life in Santa Monica.

Preservation Awards Guidelines:

You don’t need to specify what category you think fits your nomination, but the definitions below may be helpful:

Restoration: work to bring a building back to its historically authentic condition.

Rehabilitation: a broad term meaning bringing a historic resource back into service.

Renovation: includes remodeling and renewing, and can include the addition of contemporary design elements to a historic structure.

Adaptive Reuse: the adaptation of a historic structure to a new use, ideally with minimal impact on the structure’s character-defining features.

Stewardship: long-term care and maintenance of a historic building or place.

Volunteer and Service: recognition for outstanding contributions by individuals and groups in preservation efforts with the Santa Monica Conservancy.

President’s Award:  recognition for an outstanding contribution by an individual or group that exemplifies excellence in commitment to preservation, stewardship, and/or promoting Santa Monica’s history.

David G. Cameron Preservation Award: an exceptional honor, named in memory of one of Santa Monica’s pre-eminent preservationists, presented only when the occasion merits – “to individuals or organizations in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments in preserving Santa Monica’s unique heritage, and for promoting the value of historic preservation in the City.”

Posted in Preservation Awards, Santa Monica Conservancy | Tagged |

December 2015 Newsletter Now Available

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The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Upcoming Holiday Party
  • Call for Nominations for the 2016 Preservation Awards
  • The Preservation Resource Center at the Shotgun House Grand Opening
  • New LA County Preservation Ordinance
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Download the December Newsletter and its accompanying insert with updates about the Preservation Resource Center, or click here to view past issues.

Our newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. If you’d like to become a member, please join today!

Posted in Uncategorized |

Conservancy Announces Fall Salon at Award-Winning Mid-Century Home

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We are pleased to invite you to explore the renovation and expansion of a rare Santa Monica mid-century home at the Conservancy’s Annual Salon on Saturday, October 10, from 4 to 6 pm.

The Vukadinovich residence received a Preservation Award from the Santa Monica Conservancy this year, and was featured in a recent Dwell on Design tour.  Designed in 1950 by Frederick Monhoff, the house contains classic International Style features, along with architectural innovations such as angular walls and ceilings.

Photo credit Chang Kyun Kim.

Photo credit Chang Kyun Kim.

At the time of the Vukadinovich purchase in 2008, the home was deteriorated but intact, as the original owner/builder had lived in it until 2006.  The Vukadinoviches selected Abeer Sweis of Synthesis as their designer-builder to restore the house, include renovations in the spirit of Monhoff, and add on a new wing for their family’s needs.

Chang Kyun Kim, 420 7th St, Vukadinovich

Photo credit Chang Kyun Kim.

The Salon will include a talk by Ms. Sweis about her work on the house, ​and​ fabulous food curated by the talented Phyllis Conkle, ​as well as a wine bar. Tickets are $150 for members​ and​ $175 for non-members, with proceeds benefitting the Conservancy’s educational programs.  Click here to purchase your tickets online or send your check with your name, email and phone number​ to the Conservancy at P.O. Box 653, Santa Monica, 90406.

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