Our Conservation Plan to Preserve the Historic Architecture and Character of Garfield Heights Landmark District
If your property lies within the GH Landmark District, and it is considered a "contributing" historic property, the City of Pasadena will refer to the following guidelines to approve or deny permits for changes to your property.
ADOPTED BY PASADENA CITY COUNCIL - MARCH 29, 1999
I. INTRODUCTION We, the homeowners in the Garfield Heights Neighborhood submit the following conservation plan and an accompanying petition with at least 51% of the owners of affected properties to the City of Pasadena for the purpose of creating the Garfield Heights Landmark District (District).
Our goal is preserve the historic qualities of this residential neighborhood and to stabilize and enhance the unique character of the area by creating the special protections offered by designation as a landmark district. We recognize that change is inevitable within all neighborhoods, but as a landmark district we can guide those changes over time to ensure that they are compatible with the overall character of Garfield Heights.
II. DESCRIPTION Garfield Heights is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city of Pasadena, with an intact collection of houses built mostly from the late nineteenth-century through the 1920's.
The district is bounded generally by N. Los Robles Avenue on the east, N. Marengo Avenue on the west, w. Washington Boulevard on the north, and W. Mountain Avenue on the south. Properties on both sides of Los Robes and Marengo Avenues are included in the district. This district includes some properties on the south side of Washington. No properties addressed on Mountain are included.
III. CHARACTER The neighborhood retains a distinctive single-family quality. There is a suburban image to many of these houses, some still retaining their original stables and garages and narrow driveways. A defining feature of this neighborhood is the many wood-framed houses with river rock retaining walls, house and porch foundations. In addition, there are a number of small-scale, historic apartment buildings (2-4) units) and mansion-sized houses. Many of the houses are situated on generous parcels of land.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PRESERVING HISTORIC CHARACTER This section of the conservation plan is intended to provide guidance on how to preserve the historic character of the district to the residents of Garfield Heights. It does not give "dos" and don'ts" for every possible building project, but gives general information on appropriate treatments for some of the major projects likely to occur. These guidelines are based on the secretary of the interior's standard for rehabilitation of historic buildings (p. 8) and the illustrated guidelines for rehabilitating historic buildings.
Important physical characteristics of the buildings in the district that should be preserved, where possible, included original wood windows and exterior doors, original siding - whether wood shingles or clapboards or stucco-porches, fireplaces, foundations and roof forms.
EXTERIOR SIDING Original siding should be repaired and repainted (with appropriate surface preparation) rather than covered over with stucco or vinyl siding. Texture coating is an inappropriate surface coating as it alters the appearance of the original finish and it cannot be removed without damaging the wood underneath.
If the original exterior wall finish is stucco, then the stucco should be repaired where needed and the wall surface finish should be applied to match the original surface finish.
WINDOWS AND DOORS Windows and doors are important design features that contribute to the historic character of the district. Original casement double-hung and decorative windows should be repaired, where feasible, or replaced with similar wood windows that match the character of the house. Aluminum and vinyl clad windows are not appropriate replacements especially if they are a different style than the original windows. Original windows that are highly visible from the public right of way should be preserved, if possible. Replacement glass panes or panes in new windows should be preserved, if possible. Replacement glass panes or panes in new windows should be clear rather than tinted.
Window and doorframes should not be covered with vinyl, but should be maintained and protected from environmental wear and tear. Proper surface preparation and painting is, in most cases, the most appropriate treatment for wood framing around doors and windows.
DAMAGED ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Damaged fireplace chimneys, foundations, retaining walls and porches should be repaired using the original materials where possible, rather than completely rebuilt with new materials. If necessary, replacement materials should match the original as closely as possible.
FENCES Although, historically, front yards were not fenced in, modern needs often precluded keeping yards completely open to the street. Four-feet-high front-yard fences are allowed by the zoning code; however, in the landmark district the historic character should be respected with appropriate fencing. L Chain-link fencing and solid concrete-block walls in a front yard do not respect the historic qualities of the neighborhood. Depending on the style of the house, a front-yard fence should be of materials that are compatible with it. Wood fences are primarily wood, metal fencing, other than chain-link, may be used if the material and design are compatible with the design of the house. A combination of natural stone and wood is also appropriate fencing material. A Spanish style house front yard may have a fence or wall with a stucco finish if the design of it is compatible with the design of the house. Any front yard fence in the district should be as open or transparent as possible to preserve the open front yard character of the neighborhood. Although it is appropriate for fence set back from the front of the house, a solid wood-slat fence, or solid stucco wall, does not impart the characteristic open front yard that should be maintained in the landmark district.
ROOFING Roof cladding, whether shingles, tiles or other material, is the most likely feature of a house that needs replacing. Most houses in the district have likely gone through several re-roofing projects. It is appropriate to re-roof a house with the same roof that was original to the house or with any subsequent roof that replaced or covered the original roof (e.g., a roof that has layers of wood and composition shingles can be re-roofed with either). When new roof cladding is installed, it should be similar in appearance to one of the roofs that appeared on the house in its lifetime.
GARAGES Existing garages that enhance the historic character of a property or the district should be maintained and repaired when necessary. The city encourages the retention of historic garages in the district. Additions to historic garages are appropriate if they are compatible with the original design. If a property owner requires a new garage that meets his/her current needs, it should be designed to be compatible with the house on the property. A new garage should not match the design of the house exactly, but may incorporate some of its design features.
ADDITIONS When possible, a property owner should accommodate living space needs within the existing envelope of the house. When additional space is required, it should by constructed so that it is as unobtrusive as possible. Rear additions are almost always appropriate and are not considered a negative impact on the historic character of a district when that addition complies with the zoning code requirements for floor area, height and set backs. New construction should be compatible is massing, scale, materials, craftsmanship and textures. The new design should not match exactly the original features of the house; simplifying original features for the design of an addition is appropriate.
IV. HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE Garfield Heights possess many fine, locally significant, examples of American architecture. In addition to craftsman bungalows, which are the predominate style, there are also excellent examples of Queen Anne, neo-classical, Spanish colonial revival, American Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival style Houses. The majority of the houses were constructed between 1890 and 1918. Garfield Heights is significant because it has one of the city's best collections of late-nineteenth century and turn-of-the-century residential architecture. It is one of the few, mostly intact, remaining areas that link us to Pasadena's beginnings. The houses of this neighborhood are, therefore, a significant historic resource for the city.
There are many architectural contributions by noted architects such as Henry Greene, Arthur B. Benton, Charles Francis Driscoll, D. E. Portly, and Sylvanus B. Marston.
V. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The purpose of this conservation plan is:
a) To promote community pride and unity by recognizing that the area is important as a historic resource.
b) To promote the preservation and enhancement of the historic character and architectural integrity of the district.
c) To assist homeowners and others with restoration, alteration, or new construction to eliminate unnecessary demolition, destruction and neglect and to ensure that the architectural qualities of the district are maintained and preserved.
d) To protect the single-family character of this neighborhood.
e) To enhance residential property values within the district.
VI. WORK REQUIRING DESIGN REVIEW The intent of this conservation plan is to preserve and protect the historic quality of the district, especially those architectural features that contribute to the character of the streetscape. Chapters 2.75 and 17.52 of the Pasadena Municipal code authorize design review within a designated landmark district. This conservation plan specifies work that is reviewed (and not reviewed) in the Garfield Heights Landmark District.
Future new construction or exterior alterations to existing structures, new construction within the areas zoned for single-family and multi-family residential development, and relocation of structures into the district requires a certificate of appropriateness ("Certificate") for the city of Pasadena, before a building permit is issued.
The review applies only to those portions of a "contributing" structure that are visible from the public right-of-way. New construction and alteration to features of a structure that are not visible from the public right-of-way are exempt from review.
VII. CONTRIBUTING STRUCTURES An architectural survey of the area of the Garfield Heights Landmark District (except the Los Robles Corridor) was completed in 1991. An earlier survey in 1984 recorded properties on Los Robles Avenue. The purpose of these surveys was to identify those structures whose historic character had been essentially maintained ("contributing"). Structures that, due to alterations or additions, no longer retained their original historic character or due to a more recent construction date did not have historic architectural features were also identified "(non-contributing"). In the Garfield Heights survey, buildings with National Register status codes (upper right-hand corner of inventory form) of 2S1, 3D, 3S, 4S2, and 5D2 are "contributing": buildings with codes of 6Z1, 6Z2 or no status code are "non-contributing." In the Los Robles corridor survey, all buildings in the inventory are "contributing," unless otherwise determined by staff to be "non-contributing."
The staff shall refer to the adopted architectural surveys in determinations of a building's status in addition to evaluating the building's current status of significance. 1. The following items are not subject to review. If a building permit is required, an approval will be issued without review.
a) Routine maintenance and repairs (including seismic strengthening or reinforcing foundations).
b) All interior alterations (unless there are changes to exterior doors or windows or rooflines).
c) Exterior alterations not visible from the street
d) House painting (including paint colors, stains, carpentry repairs).
e) Landscaping (including sprinkler systems and trees).
f) Screens and awnings; window security grilles.
g) Surfaces of driveways and walkways (E.G., scored concrete, pavers)
h) Rear yard fences
i) Exterior lighting fixtures.
j) Reroofing (including color of composition shingles), unless there is a change of material.
2. The following items, if visible from the public right-of-way, require review by teh planning director (Design & Historic Preservation staff, Planning & Permitting Department).);
a) Flat concrete other than driveways and sidewalks.
b) Rear additions.
c) Replacement of, or alterations to, windows and doors; changes to openings for windows and doors.
d) Replacement of, or alterations to, materials (including siding and trim) on exterior walls, chimneys, and foundations.
e) Changes of roofing materials.
f) Replacement of existing skylights or installation of new skylights.
g) Front yard and side yard fences and walls (including retaining walls).
h) Mechanical equipment in front of house or on roof (including solar collectors).
i) Garages, demolition and alterations to existing garage; new garages.
j) Restoration of historic feataures (including removal of asbestos, vinyl, or aluminum siding).
k) Porches; rehabilitation of existing porches; new porches on side elevations.
NOTE: Certificates for this category of work will be issued upon approval by staff. At its discretion, the staff may refer applications to the Cultural Heritage Commission.
3. These items, if visible from the public right-of-way, require review and approval by the commission:
a) Demolition (except garages).
b) Additions or major alterations to the front or side elevations of a house (including the demolition of infill of front porches and recessed entryways and new front porches).
c) Alterations to the roofline of a house (except re-roofing and skylights).
d) New construction (except garages).
e) Relocation of houses and other structures.
VIII. NON-CONTRIBUTING STRUCTURES Alterations and additions to structures identified as non-contributing to the historic quality of the district shall be exempt from review.
IX. OTHER REVIEWS 1. The Commission shall also be responsible for the following reviews within the district:
a) Advisory reviews (to public works & transportation and Parks & Recreation Departments) for improvements to the public right-of way. Including streetlights and new specimens for street trees.
b) Request for economic hardship waivers (as authorized by section 17.52.080 of the Pasadena Municipal Code).
2. All requests for demolition permits in the district (except for garages) will be reviewed by the commission. Demolition may be approved if the following findings are made:
a) Disapproval will deprive the property owner of substantially all reasonable use of the property; and
b) Approval will not have a significant effect on the achievement of the purposes of the LD overlay district. For example:
® The structure has already been significantly altered and no longer contributes to the historic quality of the district, or
® The structure is less than 50 years old and does not contribute to the architectural integrity of the district.
3. The current zoning requirement for two covered parking spaces (P.M.C. 17.68.020) may be waived by the staff or the commission only for single-family residences and if the existing, covered parking structure is:
a) An integral part of the architectural/historical quality of the residence or neighborhoods; and
b) Visible or partially visible from the street; and
c) Fifty Years old or older.
This waiver ensures that historic garages are not altered or demolished simply to meet the zoning requirements for parking. Alterations to historic garages require a certificate if the alteration is visible from the public right-of-way.
X. THE CITY OF PASADENA The City of Pasadena, as a major property owner in the district, will endeavor to maintain the historic quality of the neighborhood. This objective includes but is not limited to:
a) Repairing and preserving the existing historic street lights;
b) Replacing-when necessary historic street lights that match or are compatible with the exiting historic street lights;
c) Replacing street trees with as large a tree as possible, and in locations that match the pattern, as identified in the city's designated species list and master plan for street trees; and
d) Installing driveway curb cuts to replicate those, which are original to the district, if the owner specifies preference for the historic design.
XI. ASSISTANCE TO PROPERTY OWNERS/APPLICANTS To assist property owners to comply with this conservation plan, the city of Pasadena will make available to property owner's information and resources relative to acceptable methods of construction and alteration. Representatives of the Garfield Heights neighborhood association will be available to assist residents with the preparation of applications for certificates of appropriateness.
XII. DESIGN REVIEW PROCEDURE In reviewing exterior alterations listed in the previous section the commission or staff to the commission will determine whether the proposed alteration or construction is in keeping with the historic quality of the neighborhood and adheres to the most current edition of the Secretary of the interior's standards for rehabilitation and guideline s for rehabilitating historic buildings. The commission (or Staff) may approve, conditionally approve, or deny any application. Approval may be given either by a sign-off of a building permit or a certificate of appropriateness application or by issuance of a letter of a certificate of appropriateness. The following secretary of the interior's standards shall apply unless specifically amended through the conservation plan amendment process:
1. A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.
2. The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided.
3. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken
4. Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own rights shall be retained and preserved.
5. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a historic property shall be preserved.
6. Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of the deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, material, replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical or pictorial evidence.
7. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting that cause damage to historic material shall not be used. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.
8. Significant archeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.
9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated for the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.
10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.
Projects subject to review by the staff may be approved upon application for a building permit, without application for a certificate of appropriateness, when the work complies with the above standards or when staff determines that the work is not visible from the public right-of-way.
If work subject to review by the staff does not comply with the standards or if it only complies if certain conditions are met, and application for a certificate of appropriateness is required. Staff will review the application within ten working days and forward a decision to approve, approve with conditions or deny the project. Staff decisions may be appealed to the cultural heritage commission. Staff decisions are not subject to calls for review by the commission.
A project subject to review by the Cultural Heritage Commission requires an application for certificate of appropriateness and is reviewed by the commission at a noticed public hearing. After review of the application, the decision of the commission is transmitted in writing to the applicant. The decision the Culture Heritage Commission may be appealed to the city council. All commission meetings are open to the public.