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Demolition of Elks Lodge Hits Snag

December 05, 1985|MARTHA WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

City approval for the Glendale Elks Club to demolish its lodge appeared to be a fait accompli last week. But city officials this week said the club will have to overcome a fewmore hurdles before its request is granted.

The Historic Preservation Commission last month unanimously recommended that the City Council delete the Elks' 67-year-old lodge at 120 E. Colorado St. from the city's list of historic sites, saying club members would suffer financially if not allowed to raze the deteriorating building.

But, on Tuesday, City Manager James Rez, citing technical misunderstandings, said removal of a site from the historic list would require an amendment to the municipal general plan, a time-consuming procedure.

He recommended instead that the Elks seek a demolition permit, which would allow the club to destroy the building but retain the "historic" designation. That would make the site eligible for a plaque noting that the lodge once stood there.

The Elks' request was the first seeking demolition under the new historic preservation ordinance and neither the club nor the commission, formed in August, was familiar with procedures required for demolition. The Elks had asked only that the building be deleted from the historic list, rather than specifically seeking permission to demolish it.

City Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg said she opposed eliminating any sites designated as historic from the general plan, even if the buildings that merited that attention are no longer standing. Several spots were chosen for the historic list after their original buildings were destroyed, and others have since been demolished.

'Would Have Been Granted'

"If you had asked for a demolition permit, it would have been granted," Bremberg told Elks officials Tuesday.

The Elks want to sell part of the building site and use the funds to build a smaller lodge on the remaining property. The property was in escrow earlier this year but the sale agreement ended when the lodge was designated a historic site.

However, the ordinance allows City Council to permit demolition of a building if preservation places an undue hardship on owners. Property owners must apply for a demolition permit from the city building department, which refers the request to the historic commission for recommendation to the council.

The Glendale Historical Society has argued that alternative uses could be found for the Elks Lodge, including sale to a developer for renovation.

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