Foothill neighborhood could make history

A neighborhood in North Glendale is well on its way to becoming the city’s largest historic district by far after an outside consultant determined that the proposed area beat certain qualifying benchmarks.

The neighborhood around Rossmoyne Avenue, nestled in the foothills of North Glendale, would include 504 homes — far more than the 131 single-family houses that have so far achieved protected status.

The Rossmoyne Mountain Homeowners Assn. must now collect the signatures of at least 50% of the affected property owners for the final part of the process to move forward. Proponents plan to get signatures from 60% of the homeowners ahead of the April deadline, said Lorna Vartanian, the association’s president.

Once the signatures are collected, the petition will go to the Historic Preservation Commission for review. If the signatures are approved, the commission could recommend approval to the City Council, which would have the final say.

There are currently three historic districts in the city. Ard Eevin Highlands has 87 homes, the Royal Boulevard district has 30 and Cottage Grove claims 14 homes.

The new district proposed in the Rossmoyne area is bounded by Ethel Street, Glenoaks Boulevard, Cordova Avenue and Hillcroft Road, Vartanian said.

The homes in the Rossmoyne neighborhood, built in the 1920s, feature a variety of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival, English Tudor Revival and French-inspired. Nine of the 13 architectural styles included in the city’s historic guidelines can be found in the proposed Rossmoyne historic district, Vartanian said.

A survey of the area — conducted by Los Angeles-based LSA Associates Inc. earlier this year — determined that the neighborhood qualifies as “historically significant” at the local level.

In order to be eligible, 60% of the homes in the proposed district must contribute to the historical significance of the area. The survey found that 82% of the homes in the Rossmoyne neighborhood were historic contributors, Vartanian said.

The fact that the Rossmoyne neighborhood is a good example of an automobile suburb was another reason it qualified, according to the survey report.

Automobile suburbs were neighborhoods that sprang up in the early 1900s in relatively remote areas that could only be reached by car.

The Rossmoyne neighborhood also demonstrates some social history, according to LSA Associates. Through deed and design restrictions, the Haddock-Nibley Co. tried to control the outcome of its development, not just who could live there — a common practice in the 1920s — but also by dictating certain parts of the design process.

For example, property owners were required to spend a minimum amount of money when constructing their new houses, said Harry Zavos, chairman of the historic district committee for the Rossmoyne Mountain Homeowners Assn.

The minimum amounts varied according to lot size, which is why there are larger houses along Rossmoyne and more modest homes along Ethel Street, Zavos said.

“[That] ensured there was a certain minimum quality home on the lot,” he said.

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