Although it was only a study session, members of the City Council seemed to agree on the need and direction for establishing a more concrete historic preservation procedure in town.
“We should make efforts to identify and preserve our historic resources,” Mayor Michael Davitt said. “I think that’s a smart thing to do.”
Wednesday’s meeting previewed further discussion and voting on such an ordinance, and also served to show the City Council and city staff how the city presently addresses the issue. At the moment, only the city’s general plan really addresses the issue, stating that owners of homes that are more than 50 years old need to pay for an evaluation of the home’s significance before a work permit can be issued.
Between the National Register of Historic Places and local homes with Mills Act designation (which grants property tax relief in exchange for keeping up historic homes), there are at least 90 pieces of property in town with some sort of landmark designation, according to Councilman Greg Brown, and potentially as many as 150.
“We’re determining what historic resources are within these 100 or 150 properties,” Brown said. “It brings it from 5,000, or however many, that are 50 years or older down to 150.”
Brown proposed the city create two lists: one of structures that have been fully evaluated and deemed historic, and another of structures with the potential to be determined historic. Councilmen also expressed the desire to include some sort of process by which residents could petition to include or exclude their homes from potential designation.
“I’m not sure if there’s any due process we have to give them up front, but I’ll look into it,” said City Attorney Mark Steres. “We may want to give it anyway.”
Brown indicated some urgency in getting an ordinance on the books, saying some of the homes that had been regarded as potentially significant had been demolished and replaced in recent years.
“This will stop further erosion into these homes that have already been identified,” he said.
Public Works Director Taking New Job
Edward Hitti, the city’s longstanding director of public works, has accepted a job with Glendale, announced City Manager Mark Alexander.
Alexander bid Hitti a bittersweet farewell at this meeting, unless he can persuade Hitti to stay, he said. Hitti has spent the last decade with the city.
“They have been an incredible and outstanding 10 years,” said Alexander. “It’s certainly been a pleasure working with Edward all these years.”
The City Council presented Hitti with a plaque for his work in La Cañada Flintridge.
“It’s been 10 good years,” Hitti said. “This is probably the longest I’ve been holding a position, as well as being with an agency. I wish the city well and thank you to all the staff. Without their help and success, I wouldn’t have been successful or have been able to really serve the city.”
Councilman Jonathan Curtis, who was previously on the city’s Planning Commission, commended Hitti’s work here.
“You can really see the difference in this city — on the roadways, all the public works types of projects, all the diligence that has been put into that,” Curtis said.
• The City Council introduced an ordinance on first reading that would regulate semi-circular driveways in town, while adding a provision to potentially allow existing non-conforming driveways to be altogether replaced with a different material as long as it retains the same footprint.
• The City Council tabled discussion on joining a Community Choice Aggregation program to offer additional energy options for residents, in hopes of soliciting additional information and input from residents.