The Historical Preservation Commission is set to decide the fate of a Ranch-style home on Thursday that the owner wants to demolish, even though it’s located in a historic district.
The proposal to raze the 1954 home in the 1500 block of Valley View Road has angered neighbors, who worked for years to establish the Brockmont Park historic district to protect 59 homes built between 1910 and 1954. The Glendale Historical Society is also concerned about the possible demolition of the house.
It has also prompted city officials to consider amending its historic preservation ordinance, which doesn’t specifically outline what happens when a demolition application is deemed complete just months before a new historic district is approved.
That’s what happened in this case. The owner of the 2,399-square-foot home, Erik Yepes, completed his demolition application in February, two months before the district was approved by the City Council.
City officials have long touted the importance of preserving neighborhood character and the number of homes protected by Glendale's historic district ordinance. The six districts, such as Brockmont Park, Royal Boulevard and Rossmoyne, cover more than 850 properties.
At first, planning officials said the application timing nullified the preservation rules set in place by the overlay zone, sending the demolition request to the Design Review Board, a lower-level commission that oversees general property changes.
After complaints from preservationists, however, city officials reversed their decision and sent the demolition application to the Historic Preservation Commission, which reviews proposed changes to historic properties.
“They are definitely the review authority at this point,” said Senior Planner Jay Platt. “They have binding decision-making authority.”
The five-member commission appointed by the City Council can either deny the demolition or approve it, with conditions, such as requiring the owner to change the planned 4,530-square-foot home’s design to incorporate new roofing, a decorative driveway, and reduce the size of and eliminate certain windows, among other modifications.
Yepes has said he wants to replace the smaller Ranch-style home, which last sold for $1.2 million, with a larger Spanish Colonial Revival-style property to accommodate his growing family of four. Yepes said the new design would be in character with the neighborhood.
The district’s 59 homes include a mix of Spanish Colonial Revival and Ranch-style properties. Although Yepes’ home retains its historical character and integrity — a reason to deny the demolition — the building has a “simple design that lacks many of the character-defining features of the style,” according to a city report.
In addition, the house’s loss wouldn’t “significantly dilute either the style’s representation in the district or other homes’ ability to convey aspects of the taste and aspirations of [the] area’s new home buyers in the post-WWII era,” the report states.
The historic ordinance does permit demolition, but its main goal is to preserve contributing homes, according to the city report.