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Another landmark quest

Burbank officials are pursuing regulations that would allow for historical districts after the city’s first residential landmark was approved last year.

Residents Greg Rehner and Kirk Solomon — owners of the historical landmark Rock House — asked the Heritage Commission last week to explore incorporating historic-district guidelines into an updated Preservation Regulations ordinance.


Rehner and Solomon will be working with the subcommittee formed by the commission to research a possible historic district ordinance.

The process, spurred by the designation of the Rock House as a Burbank historical landmark and the City Council agreeing to provide property tax breaks to owners of historic sites, may lead to the protection of many more historic Burbank homes, supporters said.


“People are looking to maintain the character of their neighborhoods,” said Amanda Klotzsche, assistant planner for the city. “An ordinance like this would provide protections for a neighborhood as a whole.”

The Los Angeles Conservancy Report in 2008 gave Burbank a “C-minus” due to its lack of landmarks and property-tax-break-related incentives such as those designated under the Mills Act.

A petition of more than 200 signatures from Burbank residents who support researching historic district regulations was provided to the Heritage Commission.

In 1999, the city identified 87 commercial and residential properties as potentially being historically significant. More than a decade later, about 20% of those properties have been torn down or are no longer recognizable, officials said.


Glendale has 67 landmarks designated, 28 Mills Act properties and three residential historic districts. The city earned a “B-plus” in the Los Angeles Conservancy Report report for its efforts to protect the properties.

“People want to give themselves a sense of certainty that the neighborhood won’t change,” said Jay Platt, Glendale’s historic preservation planner. “People buy into neighborhoods they really love; they don’t want to see them changed dramatically or inundated.”

Glendale established its historic-district ordinance in 2006, but the number of historic districts may double before the end of the year, with two under consideration for approval and a third currently being researched.

Many other residences, which were not on the original list, may also be eligible for protection because many properties from the postwar era are being designated as local landmarks, according to the conservancy report.


Cities such as Burbank have a number of properties that reflect mid-century architecture and are beginning to be recognized as being historically significant, officials said.

“If neighbors want to build a mansion next to one of these sites, they would have to take into account the character of the neighborhood,” Klotzsche said.

A small group of Burbank citizens has also expressed interest in design review guidelines to protect the heritage of the community.

“Many Burbank homes have a unique quality, and there is a wide range of residential property types in the city,” Solomon said. “The first step is to better educate the community about these measures and the relationship to their properties and neighborhoods.”