Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

The Landmarks Commission will consider protecting a 105-year-old Craftsman on Monday at the request of a neighbor of the structure.

A historical consultant says that the building is potentially significant because it is the last example of a Craftsman single-family home within the Green Acres tract, a 10-block tract between Wilshire Boulevard and Washington Avenue, originally subdivided in 1909 and 1910.

“Development of the tract was initially slow but significantly picked up in the boom years of the 1920s through the 1940s, with rising numbers of single-family residences, bungalow courts, and small apartments,” city officials said in a report to the commission. “In the Post World War II, increased demand for housing in Santa Monica caused many of the single-family residences and smaller multi-family properties to be replaced with larger apartment houses in the Green Acres tract. The subject single-family residence is the one of the last extant buildings from the pre-boom years.”

The residence, the consultant said, is associated with the earliest pattern residential development and eastward expansion in the city.

It is also the oldest house in the neighborhood.

“Its comparatively large lot is indicative of Green Acres’ initial period of development, as the tract was originally subdivided into acre and half-acre parcels (which were re-subdivided in the 1920s to accommodate the city’s substantial population growth),” city officials said in the report.

The property was neither constructed by a notable builder (J.B. Longley) nor lived in by notable residents.

The current property owner, Joseph Levy, does not appear to be in support of the requested designation, city planners said in the report.

“They have spoken with staff on numerous occasions to express disappointment and frustration with the subject application and the overall designation process,” they said.

Nevertheless, city planners are recommending that the commission designate the building.

“Staff believes that it is important for the history of all of Santa Monica’s neighborhoods, both large and small, to be documented and represented with important examples,” they said in the report. “To this end, staff concurs with the consultant’s recommendation to designate as a Landmark. Although the ‘Green Acres’ tract name may not have relevance or recognition today, the building is still representative of the early development of the north of Wilshire area, where intact vestiges of its earliest history are limited.”

Once designated, it becomes much more complicated for the landowner to tear the property down or make substantial changes. Any proposed changes would have to go before the commission for approval.

Should the commission green light a designation of the building, the property owner could still appeal the decision to City Council.

dave@www.smdp.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *