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Victorian Goode House in Glendale : Developer Seeks Demolition of Landmark

November 24, 1988|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

A Glendale developer who planned to restore the historic Goode House as the centerpiece of a senior housing project now wants to demolish the Victorian landmark instead because of delays caused by preservationists.

Joe Ayvazi of the Cedar Broadway Partnership of Glendale said he applied for a demolition permit after he learned last week that a few members of the Glendale Historical Society had filed another appeal, further delaying his project.

The appeal challenges a variance and conditional-use permit issued by the planning director Nov. 2 after months of negotiations between the developer and city officials.

Marlene Roth, a consultant representing Ayvazi, said the request for a demolition permit is a backup against further delays in plans to restore the 101-year-old house at 119 N. Cedar St., considered one of the most important historical landmarks in Glendale. "Ayvazi would rather not tear the building down," Roth said.

But the developer, in an interview Tuesday, took a dimmer view. He said the latest appeal "was the last straw" in his 18-month battle to win approval of his preservation plan. "I'm sick and tired of all of this nonsense," Ayvazi said.

The developer said the repeated delays and resulting costs have rendered the restoration project economically unfeasible. He said he "would gladly give the house away" to anyone willing to remove it from the site. Barring that, he said he is prepared to knock it down.

Getting permission to demolish the landmark also could be time-consuming, city officials said.

Under the city's Historic Preservation Ordinance, which protects such historic sites as the Goode House, a demolition permit may be issued only in the event of an undue hardship, determined by hearings before the city's Historic Preservation Commission and the City Council.

In addition, the city Environmental and Planning Board could require that a time-consuming and costly study be done on the environmental impact of demolition.

Permit Process

In all, the process for obtaining a demolition permit could take anywhere from two months to a year or more, city officials said.

Ayvazi's request to demolish a historical building is the first under the preservation ordinance, which was adopted in 1985 after another developer threatened to demolish the Goode House. Ayvazi had proposed to restore the Goode House--at a cost of $250,000 to $300,000--and convert it into offices. He had also proposed to build a 40-unit senior housing complex in the shape of a horseshoe around the back and two sides of the building.

Historical Society members, led by President David L. Smith, have doggedly fought to force Ayvazi to scale down the size of the housing complex. The group, which calls itself "Friends of Heritage," has vowed to delay the development indefinitely and has threatened legal action.

They charge that the development would be too dense and too close to the historic house and will overwhelm and impair views of the architectural features of the building. They also maintain that the development plans would disqualify the house from eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places.

Sue Lazara, co-chairman of Friends of Heritage, said the group was not surprised by the developer's request for a demolition permit because they expected it. But she said it raises the question of "whether the developer is showing good faith in this project."

The house, which was once the home of E. D. Goode, a Glendale pioneer, is the last example of Queen Anne-Eastlake architecture on its original site in Glendale.

The latest appeal by preservationists will be heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals at 2 p.m. Dec. 8 in Room 105 of the Municipal Services Building, 633 E. Broadway.

The outcome of that hearing could again be appealed to the City Council, which had twice approved the developer's proposal.

The tenacity of Smith and others in the Historical Society has caused a rift among those who have urged that the developer be allowed to begin work on the house.

Vonnie Rossman, a member of the society and the city's Historic Preservation Commission, warned that the rapidly deteriorating house may collapse if repairs are not done soon. "The house is being held together by termites. . . . A good wind will take it down," she said.

City council members have also been critical of preservationists for forcing delays.

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