From last night's city council meeting:
The Alternative materials question was debated with most of the public comment in favor of maintaining standards for historic homes in the districts. The final outcome was a 3-1 vote in favor of the HPC's recommendation that they be allowed to review materials on a case-by-case basis. Councilmembers Rodriquez and Carrizossa voted against. This will allow the HPC to review materials so that if at some time in the future a truly superior material is presented, they can consider its use. Councilmember George Hunter noted that this appeared to be the best alternative as it gave the HPC the flexibility that it needed to make good decisions.
Our own Meg spoke eloquently in favor of historic vs. new, even arguing that one would still want to preserve the old family printed bible even though the new digital version had "advanced features," was more compact, and easier to read. I loved the analogy.
Vice Mayor Stephen Atcheley gave a strong show of support, stating that it is important that a hundred years from now that we can look back and say that we took care of our historic properties and have maintained them in historically accurate manner.
Dan McIntire discussed an article that appeared in the Sunday LA Time by an architect saying that the problems with vinyl windows and siding (giving off fumes for years, creating dioxin when burned, and when they are replaced--usual lifespan of 15 years--they go into landfills where they don't degrade). He also noted that wood and other historic materials are just better, concluding that the only advantage of vinyl building products is that they are cheaper.
The Mills Act, was also debated and most of the council agreed that it would be a good program to encourage people to upgrade and maintain their historic homes. Councilmember Carrizossa, had concerns about the amount of property tax money that might be lost to the city's general fund and how the city would ensure that the city's best interests were maintained. John Mendoza spoke about the need to ensure that those who entered into Mills Act contracts completely undertand all ramification, noting that it's not something for nothing.
The application fee question was clarified, with the explanation that the proposed fee was to be .1% of the value of the property (for a $500,000 home that would be $500) and that the maximum $2,400 would only apply to large commercial projects which would potentially be in that price range. Meg once again spoke as a new member of the community and stated that she would be more than happy with the fee (so if you think it's too much, blame Meg :-))
The Mills Act passed with a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Carrizossa voting against, stating that she had concerns about the program. Mayor Torres wasn't there for the entire meeting and Councilmember Rothman left prior to either of these items being discussed.