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Oldest Home in Santa Monica’s Century-Old 'Green Acres' Set to Become Condos

 
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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

August 3, 2017 -- The Ford Motors Company’s “Model T” was replacing horses and buggies and open spaces were still plentiful in Santa Monica back in 1910, when a Craftsman-style home on the 1000 block of 21st Street in a new tract called Green Acres was built.

More than a century later, the modest brown-shingled family home is the oldest left in 10-block Green Acres, in northeast Santa Monica.

But not for much longer.

The single-story house, partially shaded by a towering Yucca tree just as old, will become a two-story condominium complex with three units, following approval of the project by the City’s Planning Commission in February.

Craftsman House at 1035 21st Street
Craftsman House on 1000 of 21st Street (Courtesy of Tricia Crane)

On August 7, it receives another review -- this one by the City’s Architectural Review Board.

The public hearing is at 7 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers, at 1685 Main Street.

Walking her dog past the house on Wednesday, resident Tricia Crane said she cringed. A notice of the hearing is posted on the property, which these days looks care worn and weedy.

“I’m so tired of seeing these notices,” said Crane, a frequent critic of City development and a member of the Northeast Neighbors Association.

The commission’s approval marked the end of a house which survived the wrenching days of the Stock Market Crash, the Great Depression and other bad times.

It was also part of a vanishing breed, bucking soaring real estate values which spell the financial bounty tied to becoming condos.

Prevalent in Santa Monica neighborhoods in the 1910s and 1920s, City officials note, Craftsman-style homes started disappearing in the 1960s.

They became “increasing rare due to the demolition of older, small-scale residences to accommodate higher-density residential development,” a memo by City planners on the fate of 1035 21st noted.

Two-story multi-family housing complexes are on both sides of the old home, and the area is zoned for low-density residential development, not just single-family homes.

The property has a lot size of 9,374 square feet. The home, which has two bedrooms and a bath, is approximately 1,622 square feet. It has changed little in its 107 years.

At least one neighbor tried to protect the home from demolition by winning a type of historic status for it, but was unsuccessful.

A November of 2015 assessment by Architectural Resources Group, Inc., in Pasadena, said previous consultants found the property worthy of landmark status as “an excellent example of the Craftsman style and for representing Santa Monica’s earliest patterns of development.”

Resources Group found the home met the criteria for a “structure of merit,” a similar category for potentially historic buildings being considered on appeal.

Either would have prohibited demolition, in part of whole, of the house.

Ultimately, however, the Landmarks Commission voted against designation.

The house was “not a rare example of a Craftsman style house, it concluded.

"While exhibiting some of the character defining features of the Craftsman style, the building and its materials are not fully authentic to the Craftsman style,” the commission wrote in making its determine in December of 2015.

The property “is not fully representative or true to the style,” the commission said. “Due to alterations, there are many better examples found throughout the City.”

It also noted the neighborhood, which has a variety of housing types and styles, had not been identified as a potential historic district.

Green Acres, a residential subdivision in northeast Santa Monica, comprises ten blocks bounded by 22nd Street, 17th Street, Washington Avenue and Nevada Avenue (renamed Wilshire Boulevard in 1913).

Land was subdivided into acre and half-acre lots, which were then sold to individuals for “fine residences” and in later years subdivided into smaller parcels.

According to a City report, the owners will pay a Condominium Facilities Tax of $1,000 per unit, a Parks and Recreation Development Impact Fee of $13,839, a Child Care Linkage Fee of $144 per unit, Transportation Impact Fee of $7,148 and in-lieu fee for affordable housing.

 


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