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Will Monrovia City Council Adopt a Moratorium on Demolition of Old Homes?

According to an historic preservationist writing on the Nextdoor network, Monrovia's Historic Preservation Commission decided at its Oct. 29 meeting to postpone a decision on the status of a craftsman-style house at 118 N. Alta Vista until after the Nov. 4 City Council meeting at which, she said, Councilman Tom Adams plans to propose a demolition moratorium. She encouraged preservationists to attend that council meeting to influence city policy on pre-1940 homes.

Comment: I'm kind of middle of the road on preservation; I think some old buildings should be preserved and I think others are junk, but it would help me - and perhaps others - to understand why preservationists are using 1940 as a cutoff. Is that a special year in architecture? Is a date even the right approach? or should we try to protect buildings on the basis of historical significance, noteworthy architecture, or other non-date reason? I'm not saying, I'm just asking. Feel free to respond in comments section.

- Brad Haugaard


  1. Brad ... I appreciate you comment. However ... historical value is established by many factors. Case in point would be the new Bowden home on the southeast corner of Foothill and Canyon. That beautiful house meets all Historical requirements, in my view ... excepting the date of construction.for sure. My best answer is ... nobody really knows the best methods to judge historical significance because true beauty will always be in the eye of a beholder with an opinion. BTW ...My Monrovia house was built 7 years before my birth. Now that is old.

  2. Preservation means so many different things. For me it means preserve the nature and style of our neighborhoods, not so much about the saving of pre 1940 houses. There are so many recent homes built in Monrovia that fit right in with the neighborhood. I think that's preservation. McMansions and box houses that tower over their poor neighbors are not.

  3. Brad, I thought the Historic Preservation Group was wishy-washy with their agenda when it first voiced its opposition to the demolition of 270 N Myrtle Ave and then turned around and included the new house on its Mother's Day home tours. For me, it was a case of crying wolf and them sleeping with the wolves. As a result, for me the group has no credibility.

  4. Seems like a silly reason to shun the group. Don't you take into consideration the good things they have done? It sounds like you are for preservation. Why don't you join the group and make a positive impact?

  5. If we have to attack this problem from the historical perspective I like the date approach, I don't know if 1940 is the correct year, but I think it's better than using something like "historical significance" or "noteworthy architecture" simply because those are terms that are too open for debate. What is significant or noteworthy is different for everyone, but we can all agree that 1936 happened before 1940.

    Clearly this will create some issues with pre-1940s structures that are either dilapidated or just plain ugly and out of date, but I think it's easier to get variances for those types of situations than it is to prove historical significance or community character for every building the City wants to keep.

    However, I would prefer the age of the houses left out of the debate and the focus be on the size of the house in relation to the size of the land plot. To me, that seems like the real issue, it's sad to lose a 100 year old house, but it's angering to replace it with a house that's twice the size of all it's neighbors with an ugly second floor jutting out in the sky alone. If the historical moratorium is passed, developers will just start buying houses from the 50s to replace with these out-of-character monsters.

  6. Date of home should be one factor but also does the home have a rare and unique history or architecture style? If so the home should be placed on the historical register and saved but also given the tax break to aid in the maintenance of the home. Otherwise the home should be fair game for demo.

    As others have mentioned the issue for me is living space compared to lot size keeping the density down.