Santa Monica Cottages Saved from Razing – Santa Monica Real Estate

The neighbors of two vacant turn-of-the century cottages in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood narrowly won over the City Council Tuesday in their pleas to keep them from demolition.

Diamond-paned windows boarded up, the two clapboard cottages at 2501 Second Street were fated to be razed to make room for a new multi-family residential development. The Victorian vernacular cottages—an increasingly rare architectural style once popular in Los Angeles—were built in 1902 and 1907.

But the Landmarks Commission swooped in. After it reviewed permits from the Plaster Family Trust seeking to demolish the bungalows, the city’s Landmark Commission gave the homes special protection by designating them historical structures.

The Plaster Family Trust attempted to appeal that decision Tuesday, saying the cottages were unkempt beyond repair. The City Council’s vote to deny the appeal was 4-3.

There are 21 better examples of vernacular cottages in Santa Monica, most of which are in the same Ocean Park neighborhood, Harding added, suggesting those ones be protected instead.

“The city has many better examples of these types of cottages… this is not the right one to preserve, because, in effect, it won’t be preserved… ,” Harding said. “Even if my client was willing to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars that his consultants advised him it would cost to rebuild this cottage… you won’t end up with a cottage with the integrity required for a landmark designation.”

But neighbors overwhelmingly voiced their support for protecting the bungalows. They admitted the homes suffer from deferred maintenance and neglect, but refuted Harding’s argument that they are lost causes.

One resident said the neighbors, galvanized by the teardown of another home at 2513 Second Street, are looking into forming an historic district there. Another demolition would have a huge impact on the character of the area, they said.

In addition to the unique architecture, the bungalows are symbolic of the history of residential development in Ocean Park, Landmarks Commissioner Ruthann Lehrer said.

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