The parcel involved is a 1912 Prairie-style residence at 310 San Fernando St.
Thomas Gaeto of BG Consolidated, LLC in Escondido, has acquired the property and intends to redevelop it.
According to Steven Untiedt, an attorney living in La Playa near 310 San Fernando St., the 94-year-old couple who had resided there have died and the property was sold.
“The developer who bought it from their trust has already demolished the carriage house, and would like to demolish this historic Prairie-style house, built around 1900 to 1912, and build three new houses on the property,” said Untiedt. “He has applied to the City to have this property declared not to be historic.”
A Historical Resources Research Report was recently submitted to the City’s Historical Resources Board for the property. But it has not yet been reviewed by staff for completeness, or had a determination made on it, the City said.
Save Our Heritage Organization, the oldest countywide historic preservation organization in California, has recommended that the property be historically designated.
“After reviewing the historical report submitted as well as a comprehensive site visit in 2018, Save Our Heritage Organization asserts this residence is highly intact and (historically) significant as an example of the (architectural) style and retains all components of integrity,” said Bruce Coons of Save Our Heritage Organization in a letter to the City. “HRB guidelines state that a resource must embody the distinctive characteristics of a style, type, period or method of construction… 310 San Fernando St. embodies the Prairie-style of architecture and its 20th-century construction techniques. SOHO asserts the residence is significant and merits historical designation.”
Coons said the home’s “character-defining features” include: Its two-story form, a low-pitch hip-roof and deep overhanging eaves, partial-width front-entry porch, asymmetrical entry and wood sash windows.
“Three hundred and ten San Fernando St. is one of the earlier houses within La Playa that can be seen from historic images,” added Amie Hayes, Save Our Heritage Organization historic resources specialist. “Save Our Heritage Organization believes that, due to the high integrity, this is likely to be reviewed by the Historical Resources Board and, hopefully, will be designated historic.”
Two La Playa residents, Klonie Kunzel, president of La Playa Trail Association, a historical group, and Internet bookseller Charles Lewis Best, are concerned about losing the existing 310 San Fernando St. home. They contend its replacement would be both precedent-setting and community character-changing.
“I am very much in favor of having the 1912 Prairie-style home designated historical,” said Kunzel. “This is one of the nicest neighborhoods in America and this is a nice, quiet, secluded, beautiful place. It makes no sense (to tear it down), especially when you don’t know what the developers are going to build. It would destroy the historic character of the neighborhood.”
“Many of the neighbors are very adamant about the house not being taken down to build three new homes,” Best said. “There are quite a few homes within two or blocks that are historically designated.”
There are five registered historical landmarks within a three-block radius of 310 San Fernando: The Ella Strong Dennison House on San Grogonio and the Thomas Hamilton, Fanning, Judge Cary and Frank Hope homes (all on San Fernando).
Despite repeated attempts, the Peninsula Beacon was unable to reach Gaeto for comment.