By Martha Groves
6:55 PM PST, January 17, 2014
The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission has voted unanimously to designate a Brentwood house designed by famed architect Paul Revere Williams as a historic-cultural monument.
Among those who testified in favor of preserving the house at 7 Oakmont Drive were Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger, a neighbor who lives in a restored Williams house, and Karen E. Hudson, Williams' granddaughter.
In November, Iger alerted the Los Angeles Conservancy and the city of Los Angeles that workers hired by the owner, Robert Hanasab, were beginning to demolish the traditional, one-story house, built in 1940.
Proponents noted that the house is a relatively rare example of a smaller home by Williams, the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects. Williams designed parts of the Beverly Hills Hotel and homes for many Hollywood celebrities.
The city had issued permits for the demolition of the existing 3,900-square-foot structure and for the construction of a new 23,000-square-foot house with a five-car garage.
Commissioners recently toured the property and agreed that it was "an excellent example of a traditional ranch house and a notable work of a master architect," said Ken Bernstein, principal city planner and manager of the city's Office of Historic Resources.
The City Council is expected to vote on the designation in March. Designation would not necessarily forestall demolition but would require the owner to go through a review process.
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