3 historic buildings to be demolished

first_imgWHITTIER – A water company will be allowed to demolish three historic buildings – all of which date back more than 70 years. The City Council late Tuesday voted 3-2 to overrule a Historic Resources Commission ruling that California Domestic Water Co. be required to save its 1934 office, 1932 pump house and 1921 single-family residence from demolition. The company wants to build a restaurant and an office building on its site on the north side of Whittier Boulevard across from the Whittwood Town Center. “We need to have a balance between historic preservation and economic development,” said Councilman Joe Vinatieri, who was part of the majority. “This project will bring in substantial sales tax dollars as well as property tax dollars.” Vinatieri’s motion did require the company to make an effort to save the single-family residence by finding another place for it on the property or moving it to another location in East Whittier. He said he didn’t believe the office was historic because it had been changed and the pump house couldn’t be severed from the reservoir, which is being dismantled. Vinatieri was joined by Councilmen Greg Nordbak and Cathy Warner in the vote. They were opposed by Councilman Bob Henderson and Mayor Owen Newcomer, who wanted the three buildings to be preserved. Newcomer said he believes all three buildings meet the city code requiring them to be preserved. “They either have been representative of the period, have a unique architectural style or have had historic events tied to the properties,” he said. “The office building is key to me. It’s the most prominent.” Henderson asked for the issue to be postponed to give California Domestic more time to find a way to re-use these buildings as part of some kind of development. “California Domestic has been a very responsible member of this community,” he said. “I think if they would try to get together with a program that would provide them some measure of historical preservation in the long run it would serve them well.” Nordbak said he saw no problem with what California Domestic Water Co. wants to do. “If we get a quality restaurant, help balance our budget and put more police on the street, I’ll sleep very well tonight,” he said. But Henderson questioned how much money the city would get from another restaurant. “I’d feel a lot better about the economic worth of this restaurant coming in if it wasn’t necessary for the City Council to subsidize the project,” Henderson said. Henderson said the water company originally had wanted to lease the property to an In-N-Out Burger restaurant, but are now looking at an Italian restaurant should it get some kind of subsidy. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more