The Planning Commission has endorsed an amendment to the Whittier General Plan which would lay the groundwork for saving historic buildings. The commission voted 4-0, with Charles Rollins absent, to recommend adoption of the Historic Resources Element. The issue now goes to the City Council, which will hold a public hearing on the amendment at its Oct. 22 meeting.
While the document is not binding, it could clear the way for an ordinance that would require a 6- to 12-month review of any plans to modify, move or demolish buildings considered historic. Without such an ordinance, this century-old city is essentially powerless to stop a developer from leveling a historic structure even if it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
If the council adopts the amendment, city officials say a historic preservation ordinance could be presented to the council before the year’s end. Preservationists say several historic buildings, including Union Station, have been needlessly demolished because the city does not have such an ordinance.