Historic property to be reviewed

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Warren Monroe, chair of the Local Review Board for the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District, holds his phone up for the entire board to hear applicant Paul White discuss his property. Minutes later, White and his wife Katherine arrived at the board meeting in person.  Photo by J P Crumrine

Warren Monroe, chair of the Local Review Board for the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District, holds his phone up for the entire board to hear applicant Paul White discuss his property. Minutes later, White and his wife Katherine arrived at the board meeting in person.
Photo by J P Crumrine


The Local Review Board for the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District discussed the status of work at 54200 N. Circle Drive (the front building of the Village Lane community) last week, a property that is a contributing resource within the district’s boundaries, according to the original historic property survey of September 2009.

Possible changes were briefly discussed at the June meeting and then again at the Aug. 28 meeting, when the board met the owners of the proposed new enterprise — a bakery and pub.

A formal application has not been submitted, but both owners — Paul and Katherine White — discussed their plans for Idyllwild Bake Shop and Brew with the board.

The building’s style is consider Arts and Crafts and was probably built in the 1940s or 1950s. The historic survey stated, “[the property was] converted to [an] arcade of shops by 1958, … but the property is otherwise intact from the 1950s.”

County Historic Preservation Officer Keith Herron stressed to the Whites only modifications to the building’s exterior, such as siding, windows and signage, come under the Review Board’s province. Submitting a plan of the proposed changes with a drawing would be sufficient.

Board Chair Warren Monroe did raise a hypothetical question for Herron: “What happens when a project might change the look and feel of property, yet does not require a building permit?”

Herron did concur that if a property owner did not go through the county Planning Department process, then the board would not be aware of it. ”What we’ve seen in these two projects is a hole in the process,” he said, and agreed to discuss the problem with the Planning Department.

Both concurred that utilizing Code Enforcement officers would be the last choice. “It’s much better to engender cooperation,” Monroe said.

“But if [people] avoid the [historic alteration] permit process, there are consequences,” Herron stressed. “They need to submit a planning consistent with the design guidelines. There is a lot of flexibility. They just have to do something that is in keeping with the spirit of the building.”

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  1. What’s the point of having an Idyllwild Historic Preservation District if in the end the Review Board allows owners to make any changes they like?

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