Judge Joseph Huber blocks demolition of railroad trestle

July 29, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

Judge Joseph Huber, after last Friday’s hearing (July 25, 2014) on the merits of the lawsuit filed by Friends of the Willow Glen Trestle, sided with the plaintiffs. Yesterday July 27, he  directed the City of San Jose to prepare an EIR prior to taking any action on this project. According to attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley, “The EIR will analyze the trestle’s historic status and rehabilitation for use as part of the trail, all within a public process. If rehabilitation is feasible, demolition is unlawful.”

This lawsuit involved issues regarding to what extent an agency must do due diligence when reviewing historical evaluations. The City of San Jose might appeal the ruling if the City Council wants to pursue their interpretation of the California Environmental Quality Act. We will try and locate an online copy of the ruling and post a link in the next few days.

The 7/29/2014 news item from the San Jose Mercury News can be linked to from here.



San Jose Japantown Book

July 16, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

Press release taken from the San Jose Mercury News:

THE BOOK ON JAPANTOWN: The Japanese American Museum of San Jose is publishing “San Jose Japantown: A Journey” by Curt Fukuda and Ralph Pearce, a hard-bound book that is the first definitive history of San Jose’s Japantown neighborhood.

The book, consisting of 300 pages with more than 400 photographs, covers the period from the 1880s all the way up to the present. The museum has partnered with other community organizations to presell copies for $40, which is a 20 percent discount off the expected retail price, until July 31. The book is scheduled for publication in November 2014.

Copies can be ordered at various Japantown locales, including San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, Wesley Methodist Church, San Jose Taiko, Yu-Ai Kai Senior Center and the Japanese American Museum.

San Jose Japantown

Century 21 Determined Eligible by Keeper

July 15, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

Along the theme of the last posting, the weekly listing of actions taken on properties by the Keeper of the National Register for June 30, 2014-July 3, 2014 included:


Century 21 Theater,

3161 Olsen Dr.,

San Jose, 14000306,





Mission Soledad listed on National Register

July 14, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

Mission Soledad in Monterey County, California, known officially as Mission Senora de la Soledad, has been listed by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.

A number of Archives & Architecture staff members and associates worked on this nomination, including Jessica Kusz (lead), Franklin Maggi, Sarah Winder, Leslie Dill, and John Tabuena-Frolli. The archaeological firm Greenwood Associates of Pacific Palisades contributed archaeological information that was used in the nomination.

The nomination was reviewed by the California State Historical Resources Commission this last April. The Commission forwarded a favorable recommendation to the Keeper via the State Historic Preservation Officer Carol Roland-Nawi.

The draft nomination can be viewed on the California Office of Historic Preservation website here. The final forms will eventually be posted on the Nation Park Service’s website.

Mission Soledad

SPUR comments on Diridon Station Area Plan DEIR

March 12, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

SPUR commented this last month on the draft EIR for the Diridon Station Area Plan prepared by the City of San Jose. Their support letter brought up a number of issues on how area planning like this should move forward

SPUR supports the broad outlines of the City of San Jose’s draft Diridon Station Area Plan. This area is an opportunity to implement the vision and policies set forth in the city’s Envision 2040 General Plan, including strengthening and expanding downtown and achieving the ambitious target to grow walking, cycling, transit and carpools to 60% of all commute trips. It is also an area of regional and statewide significance given the projected transit investment. Of primary importance is ensuring significant and high-quality development in the station area to achieve high transit ridership while successfully implementing the placemaking and transportation policies discussed in the plan.

Read the whole letter here.

Of particular interest to those involved in the Cultural Resources field are their comments on Land Use and Cultural Resources (2 sections below). They succinctly state that “building on existing urban fabric, not entirely replacing it, enhances the authenticity of place.”

There should be greater protection of historic resources, particularly pre WWII
housing north of the station area. In Impact CUL-1, the DPEIR notes that “The
DSAP would make a cumulatively considerable contribution to previously
identified significant impacts to historic resources.” Greater attention should be
placed on enabling development in such a way that preserves the existing street
fabric and historic structures. We do not think that there is enough information to
evaluate the cumulative impact of the loss of these resources. In particular, the
Northern Innovation zone includes several blocks of pre-WWII housing on
Autumn Street and Autumn Court that should be kept as part of the fabric and
history of the area. To treat this area as simply an opportunity site to wipe clean
misses part of its unique selling point — its history. We do not support the extent
to which the DSAP and DPEIR assume total loss of those resources and
recommend that the city assume retention of as much of the existing fabric and
historic buildings as possible. We recognize that part of the challenge lies in
CEQA where Structures of Merit are not considered significant resources for the
purposes of CEQA, even though they “contribute to the historic fabric of the
• The DPEIR does not properly analyze the need for the realignment project to
also remove the existing buildings east of Autumn Street towards Los Gatos
Creek. As stated earlier, there is no reference to existing structures that would
need to be removed in this area.

Golden State Theater in escrow

March 12, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

An article March 10, 2014 in the Monterey County Herald about the Golden State Theater states that the property is going into escrow (click on the thumbnail below to view the article). The prospective owners are Eric and Lori Lochtefeld, who have also owned the Fox in Redwood City since 2010. They hope to turn the Golden State into a performance venue. This is great news, as older theater buildings continue to have reuse issues that limit their ongoing viability. As more and more of these are returned to active uses, it encourages more owners to try  adaptive reuse of their underutilized buildings. Golden State Theatre


NBC Bay Area reports on closing of Century 21

March 4, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

NBC Bay Area news 3/4/2014 continues the public discussion on the fate of the Century Theaters near the Winchester Mystery House, with San Jose Councilmember Pete Constant going public with his position in favor of demolition.


The San Jose Historic Landmarks Commission will be considering the National Register nomination for Century 21 next Tuesday 3/11/2014 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall. Archives & Architecture was retained by the City of San Jose to prepare an independent analysis of the nomination that was submitted by Docomomo/NOCA. Both reports, and the property owners objections can be read at this link.


Mission Soledad National Register Nomination

February 28, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

The California Office of Historic Preservation has just posted online our nomination of Mission Soledad to the National Register of Historic Places. The State Historical Resources Commission will be hearing the nomination on April 22 at their meeting at Asilomar before being forwarded to the Keeper in Washington D.C.
Click here to view the pdf.


Mills Act Workshop – County of Santa Clara

February 26, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

County Assessor Larry Stone has announced that his office will be holding a Mills Act workshop on March 20, 2014 at 5:15 in the Board Chambers at the County Administration Building on Hedding Street, San Jose. His words are below:

I write to inform you of an invitation I received from the Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission for my office to provide a workshop on the Mills Act, which provides property tax relief to encourage the preservation of qualifying historical properties.  The hour-long workshop is scheduled for Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 5:15 PM in the Santa Clara County Board Chambers, 70 W. Hedding Street, San Jose.
In addition to my brief remarks, Senior Appraiser Vickie Lopez will lead a detailed PowerPoint presentation followed by questions from the audience.  Her presentation will cover several topics as they relate to valuation of Mills Act properties:
·         Assessor’s role in valuing annual assessments for Mills Act participants
·         Benefits to property owners
·         Benefits to local municipalities
·         Valuation process of the Mills Act with examples
·         State regulations governing valuations of Mills Act properties
·         Examples of how the tax incentive values are calculated
Since Mills Act contracts are between the local jurisdiction and the property, this presentation will not cover the process of entering into Mills Act contract and is geared more toward policymakers and administrators. 
As someone who has worked on these issues in your community I wanted to extend an invitation to you to attend this workshop.  In addition, I encourage you to forward this invitation to others you think may be interested.  While you do not need to RSVP to attend, we would appreciate knowing in advance if you are attending so that we may know how many hand-outs to prepare.
Please RSVP to Debra Lee at debra.lee@asr.sccgov.org.  As always, if you have specific assessment-related questions about the Mill’s Act, please email Vickie Lopez (vickie.lopez@asr.sccgov.org).
Lawrence E. Stone

Standard’s Workshop

February 19, 2014 Posted by Franklin Maggi

The City of Santa Cruz will be holding a special historic preservation training workshop at the March 19 meeting of the City of Santa Cruz Historic Preservation Commission meeting. It is a public meeting, and therefore can be attended by the general public. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. and will be at the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers at 809 Center Street.

Leslie Dill, Historic Architect, will be giving a presentation on use of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for design review. As stated by planner Janic Lum, “the presentation will be particularly useful for Planning staff and decision-makers who apply the Standards in conducting design review of development projects on historic properties. Some of the areas covered will be compatibility of additions, differentiation, and integrity.”

If you have any questions, you can contact Janice Lum, Senior Planner, at 831.420.5196.