Neighborhood suggested for historic designation

CITY HALL — City officials overwhelmingly backed a request to start the process of designating 179 North Cumberland Heights homes as a historic district.

The Historic Preservation Commission on Monday agreed with proponents that the neighborhood fit the criteria set for historic designation, and authorized residents to circulate a petition supporting a study to determine the area's architectural and historical significance.

"It's delightful," Commissioner Michael Morgan said. "It's not just one area. There are all different types of houses. It's just unique, everywhere you turn there is something new and interesting and great."

The Cumberland application would add a significant chunk of North Glendale to a growing set of historic boundaries that have been either approved or are under consideration.

Three neighborhoods — Royal Boulevard, Cottage Grove and Ard Eevin Highlands— have secured the historical designation, which limits what homeowners can do to their facades. The Rossmoyne neighborhood — which at 509 homes would be the largest district in Glendale — is going through the evaluation process.

The North Cumberland Heights neighborhood has 179 homes from the south at Cumberland Road, to the west at Grandview Road, north at Mountain Avenue, and to the east at Crestview Avenue and Matilija Street. The application would also include several blocks of Ben Lomond Drive.

Most of the homes were developed in the 1920s to 1955, said Jay Platt, the city's historic preservation and urban design planner.

The homes in the neighborhood incorporate a range of architectural styles, including Spanish colonial, Monterey, Mediterranean, American colonial and English Tudor revivals, minimal traditional, ranch-style and French eclectic.

"We thought this neighborhood really does obviously have the consistency and the sense of districtness that we expect from districts in Glendale," Platt said.

City officials and independent consultants have for years recognized the neighborhood's historic preservation potential, he added.

The neighborhood, he said, has a solid boundary and a logical and appropriate district name.

"It tells us a lot about how people lived, how the city developed, what our tastes were and what our aesthetic choices were throughout the early decades of the city's development," Platt said.

Resident Gloria Sander, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1988, told the commissioners that she and her neighbors discovered that they also had an interest in seeing the area become a historic district.

"It's a very substantive group of people who are very interested in your examining and hopefully supporting our request for historic overlay for North Cumberland Heights," she told commissioners.

Robert Farkas, who recently moved into the area with his wife, said he supports the idea of a historic district.

His 1929 Spanish colonial revival home, which is called the Lombardi House, has been protected by the Mills Act, which provides property tax relief to homeowners who register their houses in exchange for a commitment to keep the property maintained and historically accurate.

"I think that having this district is a great thing for the area," he said. "I think it gives you an additional measure of pride…that you are in a historical district and that you want to maintain the historical pattern."

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