By David Jerome
Thursday, Jan. 27, the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District (IHPD) Local Review Board (LRB) met at the Idyllwild Library for its quarterly meeting with board members Chair Warren Monroe, Nancy Borchers and Terry Shirley. Absent were directors Ron Kammeyer and Leslie Mouriquand. Historic Preservation Officer Antone Pierucci represented Riverside County. As well as Town Crier’s reporter, community members Marge Muir and Steve Moulton also attended.
Monroe reminded the other members that that meeting would include electing a new chair, and that while he would continue to serve as a member, he had no intention of filling that role for another term. Later in the meeting, when the matter arose, Borchers nominated Shirley, Monroe seconded the nomination, and after brief inquiry into Shirley’s coffee-making skills, a vote was held and Shirley accepted the chairmanship. Monroe continued to wield the (figurative) gavel for the remainder of the meeting.
Pierucci went over some background about the LRB for anyone new: The board is merely advisory and does not make judgements, levy fines or enforce ordinances. Their advice is passed to the planning director. The director usually (in the past always) goes along with their suggestions, but they are just that, suggestions.
Monroe rehashed the story of the transformation of the old Hidden Village restaurant into Ferro’s,” explaining how even though the building was extensively renovated, it conforms in outer appearance to the original 1920s visual. The old building had been a cabin, a dress shop and, according to Muir, a doctor’s office.
LRB has a subcommittee that will meet with the local realtors Monday, Feb. 21, to help them understand what IHPD is and isn’t, and what they need to know and tell prospective buyers. They are developing materials to this end.
Members of the public asked about their own buildings within the district, and it turned out both were “non-contributors,” in other words, not held to the standards of preservation, but also not eligible for the tax benefits available to owners of contributing properties. Pierucci highlighted that although “over 100 buildings are within the district, only 57 are ‘contributing.’”
Other questions included the number of seats on the board (county set at five) and eligibility (must live within 3 miles of IHPD, so Mountain Center is out, but Pine Cove is in.)
Shirley also mentioned there may be grants or other avenues to obtain funding for better business signage … apparently signs are not allowed on roofs, but it is not uncommon for HPDs to get help from the county with new compliant signs.
Monroe said he would like these meetings to include a “roundtable for the good of the community.” Pierucci pointed out the agenda item “New Business,” expressly for this purpose.
The matter of the Wild Idy murals was briefly discussed. Pierucci noted that the proprietors of Wild Idy are still in the process of filing for a permit, and when it is completed and reviewed it will be discussed, either at the next regular meeting or a special meeting.
Monroe and Borchers expressed interest in the status of the fence itself (whether it required and had a permit), and Pierucci promised to ask about it at his next meeting with Building and Safety. Pierucci noted that the complaint(s) before Building and Safety had to do with the murals and not the fence.
The next IHPD LRB meeting is noon Thursday, April 28, in the Idyllwild Library. LRB is a Brown Act body and must follow the state’s open meeting law. The agenda for these meetings includes the opportunity for the public to address the board. It stipulates that each member of the public may speak for three minutes, and may not share this time with others.
Those wishing to address the board are asked to fill out a brief form available at the meeting, and “… lengthy testimony should be presented to the board in writing and only pertinent points presented orally.” It was also underlined that statements should be kept civil and refrain from personal attacks.