The Coastal Commission weighs in on the historical significance of the home and decides remodels have destroyed its essence.
Property owner John Meehan can demolish a house on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach that has fallen into disrepair and build anew.
The California Coastal Commission sided with previous Design Review and City Council determinations that the single-family house at 31381 Coast Hwy., referred to as Stonehenge, had not maintained its historical integrity and unanimously denied an appeal by preservationist groups South Laguna Civic Assn. and Village Laguna at a hearing in Long Beach last week.
“[Commissioners] agreed with the position we’ve taken all along, that this house was not the house built in [the 1920s],” Meehan’s attorney, Larry Nokes, said of the 12-0 vote.
Commissioners agreed with the agency staff’s recommendation that the residence, which also includes a guest house, detached two-car garage and beach access stairs, has lost its architectural integrity and is not historically significant, the staff report said.
The house, listed on the city’s historic inventory, endured several remodels through various owners before Meehan purchased the property in 2011, and no longer depicts the original structure, Nokes said.
All that’s currently left of the house are wood frames — inside furnishings and walls were illegally removed within the last five years. Police do not know who performed the unpermitted acts, though officers were called to the house 16 times since 2007 for reports of loud drumming and trespassing, Capt. Jason Kravetz wrote in an email.
South Laguna Civic Assn. and Village Laguna representatives claim the house, which they say was built by Guy Skidmore, who helped dedicate nearby West Street and Camel Point beaches, still has enduring qualities reminiscent of yesteryear.
“The steep pitched roof … and chimney that appear in the 1920s photographs and that are characteristic of the period revival style in Laguna are still there,” according to a March 10 letter from Bill Rihn and Ginger Osborne, presidents of South Laguna Civic Assn. and Village Laguna, respectively. “The form and shape, the framing and foundations of the house also correspond.”
Members of the city’s Heritage Committee said they were saddened by the Coastal Commission’s vote, but not surprised.
“If people don’t do what they’re supposed to be doing to keep the historical character, there needs to be consequences,” Heritage Committee member Anne Frank said.
Code enforcement officers were aware of the exterior demolition, according to a city staff report prepared for the December 2011 Design Review meeting on the matter. Authorities issued a citation to Chase bank, property owner at the time, when the home was in foreclosure.
Even with the remodels, the house was still included in the historic inventory, said Ann Christoph, South Laguna Civic Assn. emeritus board member and a former Laguna Beach mayor.
The Environmental Coalition of Orange County listed the site on the historical inventory in 1981. The city annexed South Laguna six years later, and the property was added to Laguna Beach’s historic inventory in 1991, the Coastal Commission staff report said.
A house can not be taken off the inventory for any reason, said Heritage Committee Chairman Jon Madison, who added that he doesn’t believe the house deserved to be preserved.
Two historians, including one from a peer-reviewed consultant, evaluated the property and deemed it not suitable for rehabilitation because “the property is not historically significant due to compromised integrity issues,” according to a city staff report.
“Why do you hire [a historian] and not go with them,” Madison said. “It didn’t need to go as far as the Coastal Commission.”
It’s rare that the commission hears this type of case, Christoph said.
“Historical preservation is not a coastal issue,” Christoph said. “We made the argument that Laguna Beach is a historically based tourist town. To be able to explain the history of the coast, we need to preserve historical buildings.”
Madison, owner of Madison Square Garden & Cafe, cast the lone dissenting vote in 2011 when the majority of the Heritage Committee recommended the house be restored.
“You can’t save every home, nor should every home be saved,” said Madison, who urges residents to inform the Heritage Committee of homes that fall into disrepair.
“Don’t blame code enforcement,” Madison said.
A historian hired by the city is evaluating all properties in the current historical inventory to ensure that addresses match records and to identify homes that might have fallen into disrepair, Madison said.
While the house can be demolished, Meehan still has to get permits for construction and take into account an appeal of his plans that has been filed with the Coastal Commission.
Meehan wants to build a 4,821-square-foot home, which is larger than the current 2,654-square-foot structure, and 730-square-foot garage. The construction is being challenged by Rihn and resident Mark Nelson.
The appeal, filed in July, claims Meehan needs to have a 5-foot-wide sidewalk along Coast Highway for pedestrians to access public beaches at Camel Point and south of Laguna Royale.
Meehan said he discussed the issue with city staff, and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk would either jut into Coast Highway or, if moved closer to the property, create an overhang that could impede emergency vehicles from accessing the driveway.Read the full article →
33672 Blue Lantern unit 6 Dana Point Ca 92629
Amazing panoramic ocean, coastline and city lights view.
3 bedrooms 3 baths 2,165 sqft. Main floor Master bedroom
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Tucked into the coveted front row of Montage Residences, this contemporary home seamlessly interfaces interior and exterior spaces for a luxurious seaside living experience. Mahogany and glass doors disappear into the walls, merging indoor areas to the ocean view lanai. High ceilings complete the airy ambiance perfect for enjoying the golden hues of each Pacific sunset. No feature or amenity has been forgotten. Electronic systems for lighting, environment, and audio visual are integrated for convenient monitoring. Owners enjoy access to all Montage amenities: Spa Montage, Mosaic Pool, dining at the Loft and Studio. Personal services such as concierge, housekeeping and engineering support are also available. Truly a unique and tranquil opportunity.
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The Stanaland GroupRead the full article →
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Spa Gaucin celebrates the Mediterranean climate of Monarch Beach with a Mediterranean spa that brings exotic Spain to your Orange County backyard. The signature Mediterranean Massage uses the fresh scent of Chardonnay message oil to completely relax your body and mind. Other services include facials, scrubs, wraps, baths and fitness programs. If youâ€™re a member of the Monarch Bay Club, you receive 10% off some treatments, Sunday through Thursday. Of course if you are a member of the St. Regis Resort and Spa you receive 20% off all restaurants and every spa and salon treatment. If youâ€™re not a member, sign up today and receive a complimentary Champagne Brunch when you reference â€œBlakely.â€
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Because housing prices are at virtual all-time lows right now, and so are mortgage rates, now is a great time to be looking at real estate in Dana Point. This is a wonderful area of southern California and if you are looking for the right home, either for your primary residence or an investment property, there has never been a better time than right now.
If there is one problem with real estate in Dana Point, it is that it can be hard to find. Although this is a small town of only about 35,000 people, there are many areas of the town that are gated, which means you will never have access to the homes for sale unless you get the help of a qualified real estate agent.
Another factor is that because there is a very limited supply of homes for sale in Dana Point at any one time, you should be prepared to move fast on any potential purchase. This means that you will need to have your financing lined up and have an agent ready to help you.
Many people have chosen to make their home in Dana Point because it is such a spectacular area with a small town feel but all of the amenities of a large city. With its view of the Dana Point Harbor and Capistrano Beach, and its proximity to a wide variety of natural regional parks and golf courses, there is simply no better place to live in Orange County.
When you buy real estate in Dana Point, you can generally expect it to retain more of its value even in these hard times than homes in other parts of the country, while you will still get to enjoy all the benefits of living in a temperate climate by the beach.
CLICK HERE for a list of homes currently for sale in Dana Point under $750,000
Many people who are in the market to buy or sell a home will often ask a friend or family member who has a real estate license to help them out with the process. While on the surface it may seem like there’s not much expertise needed to buy or sell real estate, the fact is that expert real estate agents really do bring something more to the table. You may think you are helping a friend or family member out by using them as your agent, but the fact is that this line of thinking could end up costing you money.
Expert real estate agents are those who really have a pulse on the market, and they also have worked with other local agents on numerous transactions in the past, too. These are professionals who don’t just take a quick peek at comps to ensure the value is in line, but instead they can really analyze the property and use their own knowledge about the market to get you not just a fair value but the best price possible for your purchase or sale. There will not be money left on the table, so to speak.
In almost every real estate transaction, there are negotiations that take place. These negotiations may be about the sales price, but they also could be about which party pays for closing costs or fixes the air conditioning units. Being able to value a property correctly and to sway that value in your favor is only one aspect of being a great real estate agent, as negotiating ability is critical, and the results can save or cost you money.
Until the End
When you work with expert real estate agents, you are working with a real professional who is committed to getting your purchase or sale executed. These are professionals who are devoted to seeing your transaction through to the very end and are not professionals who you have to worry about not showing up or being there for you when they are needed. Inevitably, issues will arise during the sales process, and experts will be by your side every step of the way to ensure the process goes smoothly and snags are handled as efficiently as possible.