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February 16, 2017 Preserve Sierra Madre sent out the following email to its supporters yesterday: After a thoughtful and informed discussion, our City Council unanimously approved the changes to the Demolition Ordinance recommended by our Planning Commission. By law, it will only go into effect after a "second reading", but it's gratifying to have our City Council working with our Planning Commission and City Staff to advance the cause of preservation in Sierra Madre. The Sierra Madre Tattler!
February 15, 2017 The Pasadena Star-News has an article about the historic Henry A. Darling house on 126 E. Mira Monte and about the gutting of the house by its owners William Kefalas and his wife, done without a demolition permit. The Pasadena Star-News.
The Star-News article states that the Kefalas' attorney Scott Carlson, who is representing the homeowners, said in a Feb. 2 letter to the city that there is a question as to whether the demolition permit can be applied to the project at all. The work, he said, proceeded “with an abundance of caution” under an exemption from the permit since less than a quarter of the exterior walls were being replaced.
“My clients have done nothing wrong or beyond the scope of their CUP,” he wrote. “Nonetheless, they were subjected to a myriad of vitriolic attacks by members of the Planning Commission at the last hearing.”
Carlson says it appears the commission intends to ignore the existing entitlements and force the couple into a “costly and unjustified rebuilding of the antiquated structure.”
Kefalas, who owns a local restaurant in Sierra Madre called The Only Place in Town, said Carlson has advised him not to discuss the project.
The Planning Commission will be meeting in closed session today (Thursday February 16) to discuss the recent letter from the owner's attorney. A public hearing will be held sometime in March. We will be sure to let our supporters know once the date is known.
February 13, 2017 On February 2, the attorney for William Kefalas, Scott Carlson of Carlson and Nicholas LLP, wrote a letter to Teresa Highsmith, Esq. the City Attorney for Sierra Madre. As The Sierra Madre Tattler! states It sketches out for us the very apparent threat of a lawsuit, and then suggests an overly plausible fig leaf of an excuse for City Hall to cave in and settle this unfortunate matter out of court. A test of wills, as it were. The Sierra Madre Tattler!
April 29, 2017 Update on the Henry A. Darling House, 126 E. Mira Monte, owned by William Kefalas (owner of The Only Place in Town). This has been a very confusing chain of events as Mr. Kefalas decides on a legal strategy to accomplish his plans for this house.
From what we can understand, the owner is obtaining a new Historic Resources Report - a previous report was already done by Charles Fisher and that report concluded that the house (before it was reduced to its bare timbers) was historically significant. From the December 2, 2016 article in The Sierra Madre Tattler!: Fisher, after having carefully looked the place over, told them that yes, the Henry A. Darling house was a property having some historical significance. And since the Browns, who were apparently not interested in having to come up with the considerable wherewithal it would take to restore the place, changed their minds, abandoned their locally controversial strategy, and sold it. Which brings us to the current owners.
The Planning Commission will take up this matter again on May 4th. Here is the Planning Commission's Staff Report on this issue.
November 6, 2017 While much good has been done in putting in place appropriate guidelines for development in Sierra Madre, a recent law passed in Sacramento threatens to override some of those good measures law. Certain mandates to increase affordable housing and increase density, may tie the hands of our city to stop development which may have ramifications for the current site of the Sierra Madre Library should that site be sold off as well as for other properties including the Monastery property.
It has also come to our attention that Mater Dolorosa has invited city officials to their property to line up support for another attempt at developing that property into one of the biggest housing projects Sierra Madre has seen in decades. We are monitoring this latest threat to the Monastery property very closely and we will alert our supporters of any news in that regard. The Sierra Madre Tattler!
September 2017 Update on the Henry A. Darling House, 126 E. Mira Monte, owned by William Kefalas (owner of the Only Place in Town).
The photo below shows what happened to this historic house. The Sierra Madre Tattler!
On Tuesday July 11, the Sierra Madre City Council overrode a Planning Commission's decision to deny a demolition permit.
The Sierra Madre Tattler! July 13, 2017
As Matt Bryant states, in this Pasadena Star-News article: “I think the decision was made before the meeting. They were going to just put this problem behind them and let Kefalas build what he wants. It was just a mess from the beginning, and the city bears some responsibility. The only good thing is that the Planning Commission changed the demolition ordinance so that it tightened up the loophole that Kefalas used.”
July 10, 2017, letter from Preserve Sierra Madre, posted in The Sierra Madre Tattler!
Click on the 2017 News for further details on The Henry A. Darling House.