Gene Felder’s letter in the May 5 Indy speaks of his concern about “misinformation disseminated with the intent to scare owners of historic cottages.”
He does not seem to feel any concern that so many Laguna homes are being pulled into the “historic” category by vague and overly broad language in the proposed ordinance. Nearly every older home in Laguna could be seen as historic in these terms. Where is the restraint on this government overreach?
I might believe the proponents are motivated by historicity if they restricted this taking to a small number. And, if the proponents were truly interested in historicity, then why restrict controls to just the exterior? Why aren’t the interiors included?
Clearly, there is another agenda behind this. Proponents want to prevent changes to the character of their neighborhoods and declaring homes “historic” is how they want to do it. Fortunately, we have a city agency charged with protecting neighborhood character, the Design Review Board (DRB). The many wonderful neighborhoods with older homes are not a result of historic preservationists. Rather, they are a tribute to the work of the DRB and to creative homeowners, architects, and builders.
Gene also stated that historic designation has no negative impact on property values. Laguna residents I have spoken with would not want to buy a home with the restrictions of a historic designation. They want a Laguna charmer but not one that limits them to “in-kind” repairs.
Let’s not confuse neighborhood character with historicity. Likewise, let’s not conflate “old” to mean “historic.” Before we take the property rights and property value from our neighbors, there should be a truly compelling historic story. I think it is nonsense to believe that thousands of Laguna homes have this level of historicity.
Dan Summerl, Laguna Beach