Historical Preservation
How Developers May Try And Demolish The Buildings

First, A Bit About Owners and Demolition
The best and easiest way is to apply for historical monument status is before someone purchases it with the intent of demolishing it. Apply before it changes hands. If the property is in escrow already, try and submit the application for Historic Monuments Application (discussed below) before escrow closes. This enables the buyer to back out due to consideration of historic monument status. If you submit the application after escrow has closed and the property is now owned by a developer, it is far more difficult to preserve the buildings.

Any efforts may cause great resentment with the owner, who will feel that the property is his or hers, and has the right to develop the land. This is, of course, a legitimate viewpoint. After all, it's the owner's property. The owner does have the rights to demolish the building within the regulations set by the city of Los Angeles. However, you also have rights. It is your right to fill out an application for historic monument status. It is your right to try and historically preserve the building within the regulations set by the city of Los Angeles.

Even if the building has been designated historic monument status, the owner may still choose to tear it town. The owner may incur a fine, but the buildings have still been torn down. Another thing that has been known to occur is the sneaky "midnight demolition". Preservationists and realtors have spoken of some particularly sneaky owners that send a demolition crew out in the middle of the night to destroy the building, pay the fine to the city, and then get on with their construction.

All preservationists and historians that we spoke to stated that Los Angeles has never performed a historic survey. That's not to say that there haven't been buildings that have been designated a historic monument - there are. However, what preservationists are saying is that the city has never performed a historic survey to determine what currently exists.
The Getty Conservation Institute confirms this after conducting a study: "This experience has demonstrated that Los Angeles has a wealth of resources that are unrecognized, underutilized, and frequently threatened; there are no systematic mechanisms to identify significant resources and to anticipate their preservation and reuse. A comprehensive survey could facilitate the critical connection between research and conservation, which is essential in establishing a property's significance and in guiding preservation efforts."

Contact information:
The Getty Conservation Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1684

Telephone: (310) 440-7325
Fax: (310) 440-7702


Application for Historic Monument Status
The Cultural Heritage Commission Review Process
Building Neighborhood Support
Arguments that a Developer May Make Against Historical Preservation
Next Steps After Properties Have Been Designated Historical Monuments
The Kelton Homes Now (September 2009)

Developers and Demolition
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