Neighborhood gets historic approval

Adjacent to Brand Park and nestled beneath the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains, North Cumberland Heights took one of the final steps to becoming the city's fifth historic district Tuesday night.

The Northwest Glendale neighborhood of 179 homes is one portion of a larger area that first prompted the city to revamp its historic districting process more than a decade ago.

“What you've done is to really give the whole city a gift in preserving this neighborhood,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman as the City Council gave initial approval for the historic district.

The final vote will come next week, but council members told 15 public speakers who supported the designation that the outcome was all but assured.

The facades of properties within the district — which features Period Revival, Minimal Traditional and Ranch style homes popular in the 1920s through 1940s — will be protected by a layer of oversight rules when the area officially is deemed historic 30 days after next week's vote.

“We were drawn to the neighborhood by the very character that is being hopefully validated by this effort,” said resident Charles Hartwig, who's lived in North Cumberland Heights for 16 years.

The neighborhood is bounded by Grandview Avenue on the west, Mountain Street to the north, Ben Lomond Drive on the east and Cumberland Road to the south.

North Cumberland Heights and an 87-home historic district known as Ard Eevin Highlands make up about half of the original area proposed as the city's first historic district in 2000. But back then, 100% of property owners had to be on board with the historic districting process before it could be approved by the council.

In 2006, the council reduced the threshold to 50%. Of the property owners in North Cumberland Heights, 74% wanted the historic district, according to a city report.

“It's a little area, but it's big in community,” said resident Betsy Aster, who lauded neighborhood block parties and a book club.

The original proposed district was composed of about 500 homes, roughly the size of the city's largest historic district, Rossmoyne, which was approved in July. The other historic districts include Royal Boulevard and Cottage Grove.

It's possible that the original district, known as Cumberland Heights, eventually will become historic piece-by-piece, but it's up to residents to apply, said Historic Preservation coordinator Jay Platt.

“We don't know what will come next,” he said.

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