A reliable source with extensive knowledge of the workings of the City of Santa Ana as informed me that the Planning Department is moving forward with plans to demolish the remaining properties owned by the city that have not already been demolished. This, despite the fact that there is NO plan in place as of yet. This, despite the fact that the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society has been trying to find a way to save the historic homes. This, despite the fact that the initial Rennaisance PlanÂ stressed the fact that residents wereÂ for preserving the historical of the neighborhoods.
This current project is in response to this OC Register storyÂ which called out the vacant lots and boarded up historic homes and properties and the lack of a plan by the City for the area they bought up. In response, the City hired two development companies, Griffen and Related to draft a plan on how to develop the parcels. Well, no draft has been made yet, no plan yet in the works, but the City has now informed the Santa Ana Historic Preservation Society that their opinion does not matter. They have been put on notice that in 16 days, the demolition of the parcels left standing will commence and they need to salvage what they can.
Even though the houses there are boarded up, they can be rehabed, they can save the historic charm that used to make that area great. There are some unique homes and apartment buildings worth saving. Instead the city would rather just erase this historic character completely. The SAHPS, who has tried to have their seat at the table in this project, finally heard back from the city and it is a message that their opinion does not matter. Shame on Santa Ana. As soon as I am in posession of the letter from Cindy Nelson to the SAHPS, I will post for all to see. So with no plan set in stone, we are about to get more blight in this city. This is the logic of our Planning Department.
Below is an e-mail plea from Jeff Dickman, a member of the Historic Resources Commission and a longtime voice for historic preservation:
Good morning all,
It appears that the City plans to demolish the remaining 8 to 9 historic homes they own in the Lacy neighborhood (part of the Station District) around Mid-October, including the old motor-court (perhaps the last one left in the entire city). Most of the antique homes scheduled for demolition are very old and worthy of preservation or moving to another part of the Lacy Neighborhood for re-use as housing or small businesses. Several of the houses need repair, however this can be a requirement for a future developer to undertake. To my knowledge the City has not performed CEQA (environmental review) for this work, or adopted a plan that justifies these demolitions. Thomas says the city also failed to contain asbestos dust when the other properties were demolished in Lacy potentially affecting the publicâ€™s health.
The City is performing this work during the time they are just starting to hold public meetings on the Station District. It would appear the public will not have an opportunity to voice their concerns to save and re-use these old properties (or protect the history of Lacy) before itâ€™s finally razed.
As a result Alison Young (with the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society) is asking for help to save the historic homes (and motor-court) in Lacy owned by the City.
Are there thoughts about how to engage the City? The Society has not had luck to save any of the remaining houses except the 2 houses French Park asked for and another old house the City may move and reuse. Almost the entire Lacy neighborhood is being leveled (along with the cultural and architectural history of the area) without any public input. Unless a unified voice is raised the area will be blank dirt.