California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, First Division
ARTHUR R. YOUNG et al., as Trustees, etc., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
CITY OF CORONADO et al., Defendants and Respondents.
from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County No.
37-2014-00037469- CU-EI-CTL, Randa Trapp, Judge. Affirmed.
Schwartz Hyde & Sullivan and Kevin P. Sullivan for
Plaintiffs and Appellants.
McDougal Love Eckis Boehmer & Foley, Steven E. Boehmer
and Randall R. Sjoblom for Defendants and Respondents.
Arthur R. Young and John A. Young, as Trustees and on behalf
of the J.S. Abbott Trust, sought a permit to demolish a small
cottage on a parcel of land located in Coronado, California
(the City). Because the cottage was more than 75 years old,
the Coronado Historic Resource Commission (Commission)
reviewed the property for potential historical significance.
The Commission ultimately concluded that the dwelling should
be designated as a historic resource under the Coronado
Municipal Code (the CMC). Appellants appealed the
determination to the Coronado City Council, which agreed with
the Commission's assessment and affirmed the
property's designation as a Coronado historic resource.
The effect of this designation is to place additional limits
on a property owner's ability to alter or demolish the
property without taking certain ameliorative steps and/or
demonstrating a heightened need for the action pursuant to
Chapter 84.20 of the CMC.
filed a petition for a writ of mandate in the trial court,
seeking review of the City's designation of the property
as a historic resource. The trial court denied
now seek review of the trial court's denial of their
petition for mandate. Appellants contend that the City abused
its discretion in denying them a demolition permit for the
dwelling on the subject property. Appellants argue that the
City Council's resolution failed to contain sufficient
findings to support the conclusion, the City failed to apply
its own mandatory guidelines in holding the hearing and
making its findings, and the findings are not supported by
conclude that the appellants have not established that the
City abused its discretion in designating the dwelling
subject property as a historic resource and denying a
demolition permit. We therefore affirm the judgment of the
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 2013, appellants filed an application form with the
City titled "Determination of Historic Significance (For
Nomination for Historic Designation and Notice of Intent to
Demolish Review)" regarding the subject property, which
is located on Glorietta Boulevard. Appellants filed the
application seeking City approval to demolish the dwelling on
the property in order to improve the property. Because the
dwelling at issue is more than 75 years old, the City was
required, pursuant to the City's historic preservation
ordinance, to undertake a review of the historic significance
of the property before granting a demolition permit.
Appellants' application form identified the subject
dwelling on the property as having been constructed in 1924
and reflecting a "Simplified Spanish Revival"
architectural style. The application indicated that the
dwelling had not had any major alterations made to it.
Accompanying the application were documents describing the
prior ownership of the property, its permit history,
documents related to the J.S. Abbott Trust, and photographs
of the property.
compliance with the CMC, a hearing was set before the
Commission on January 15, 2014. The purpose of the hearing
was for the Commission to consider whether the property
qualified as a historic resource pursuant to the historic
designation criteria set forth in the CMC. In
conjunction with the public hearing, City staff submitted a
report regarding the subject property, dated January 15,
2014, which included information discovered by City staff in
researching the history of the property. The City staff
report indicated that there was no evidence to support a
finding that the subject dwelling met Criteria A, B, or E of
section 84.10.030 of the CMC. However, City staff identified
evidence that could support findings that the dwelling met
Criterion C and Criterion D. For example, with respect to
Criterion C, the City staff report stated the following:
of the form, details, and finish of the dwelling indicate
that the dwelling is representative of the trend toward
construction of Period Revival architectural styles during
the 1920s and 1930s, specifically the Spanish Bungalow style.
Period Revival styles took the details and architectural
characteristics of high-style architectural trends and
simplified them for smaller homes. One familiar example of
this is the simplification and popularization of high-style
Spanish Colonial architecture after the Panama-Californian
Exposition in 1915, resulting in the large numbers of Spanish
Bungalows that are seen throughout Coronado and the San Diego
subject dwelling features many character defining features of
the Spanish Bungalow style, such as a flat roof and parapet,
a stucco exterior finish, and simple square plan. The
street-facing elevation has a large multi-light focal window.
A stucco chimney is present on the side elevation with a
decorative detail, and is finished in stucco. The dwelling
features a recessed front entry with double multi-light
French doors. Original wood windows appear to be present
dwelling retains a high degree of architectural integrity, as
it has not been visibly altered since its construction, and
appears to be significant under Criterion C as an example of
the Spanish Bungalow style."
respect to Criterion D, the City staff report notes, with
reference to attachments regarding other properties that had
been built by the same builder, that:
dwelling was constructed by the Hakes Investment Company.
Additional information about buildings constructed by Hakes
Investment Company is included in Attachment 3.
property is unmodified from its original appearance as
constructed by the Hakes Investment Company, and may be
considered historically significant under Criterion D."
attachments included photographs of 21 homes that the Hakes
Investment Company (Hakes) had built in the City. Three of
the identified Hakes-built residences had been designated as
historic resources, four others had been reviewed but not
designated as historic resources, and fourteen had not yet
been subject to historic designation review. The attachment
also provided a list of six other Hakes-built homes that had
been demolished prior to undergoing historic designation
review. Thus, staff research suggested that Hakes had built
at least 27 homes in the City.
hearing, a City staff member orally presented additional
information regarding the property to the Commission. In
response to a question from one commissioner regarding Hakes
and the "notability" requirement with respect to
Criterion D, the City staff member responded:
Item D --Criterion D states that the property should be an
example of the notable work of a builder. So when you're
looking at Criterion D, you're not looking at whether or
not the builder is notable or not; you're looking at
whether or not the work is notable, and that's pretty
broad. [¶] You can determine that a work is notable for
any number of reasons. As I stated in the staff report, the
property is unmodified from its original appearance, so that
could make it a notable work as so many buildings of that age
are now modified from their original appearance."
the staff presentation, which reiterated much of what was in
the written report, appellants briefly addressed the
Commission and answered questions. Appellants explained that
the home had been a rental property "almost all of its
life, " and that they believed that the property
"isn't contributing much, " and
"doesn't really add to Glorietta."
the closure of the public portion of the hearing, the
commissioners deliberated and concluded that the subject
property qualified for historic designation pursuant to
Criterion C, because the property exemplified the distinctive
characteristics of the Spanish Bungalow architectural style,
as well as under Criterion D, because the property was a
notable work of Hakes. The Commission passed Resolution No.
HR 2-14 (Resolution HR 2-14), which included the following
evidence was submitted and considered to include without
Notice of intent to Demolish Permit Application dated
November 25, 2013;
Historic Resource Commission staff report dated January 15,
Additional written information and photographs provided by
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Historic Resource
Commission of the City of Coronado finds the property as
described in the application submittal dated November 27,
2013, shall be designated as a Historic Resource because it
meets the following criteria:
It possesses distinctive characteristics of the Spanish
Bungalow architectural style, and is valuable for the study
of a type, period, or method of construction and has not been
It is representative of the notable work of the builder, the
Hakes Investment Company because it is a strong example of
the work they did throughout Coronado."
appealed the Commission's historic designation of the
subject property to the City Council. In describing the basis
for the appeal, appellants asserted that the subject property
did not meet either Criterion C or D, despite the
Commission's conclusions. With respect to Criterion C,
Petitioners argued that the Commission had not addressed the
provision of Criterion C that the dwelling be valuable for
study. In addition, they noted that another similar dwelling
constructed by the same builder and with the same
architectural features such as a flat roof, stucco walls,
wood frame windows, and decorative details had previously
been designated not historic. Appellants contended that no
architectural features on the home required study because
they could be found on numerous other buildings within the
respect to Criterion D, Appellants claimed that the dwelling
was not "notable" because most homes on the same
street possess a picture window, another property by the
builder that was not designated a historic resource had a
similar arch-topped picture window, and the Commission failed
to identify any specific aspect of the home that was notable.
Appellants observed that other works by the same builder with
similar architectural details had not been designated as
appeal hearing was conducted before the City Council on March
reviewing appellants' appeal of the Commission's
decision, the City Council considered the City staff report
regarding the subject property. The City Council also
listened to an oral presentation by a City staff member,
during which the staff member described the historic
designation process, the proceeding that had been held before
the Commission regarding the subject property, as well as the
Commission's findings with respect to the subject
property. In addition, two commissioners appeared and spoke
at the City Council hearing.
City Council also heard from appellants Arthur Young and John
Young, as well as a local architect who appeared on behalf of
appellants. It was this architect's opinion that the
dwelling did not meet either Criterion C or Criterion D, in
particular because the dwelling seemed to him to be very
similar to other dwellings by the same builder that the City
had "allowed to be demolished."
the conclusion of the public comment portion of the hearing,
the City Council closed the public hearing and deliberated.
During this closed meeting, Councilmember Bailey noted that
he had discussed the subject property with Ledge Hakes, a
"part owner in the Hakes Investment Company."
According to Councilmember Bailey, Ledge Hakes said
"that he did not feel this house was representative of
his work and also responded that he did not feel that his
work was more notable than any other -- any other developers
at that time."
deliberation, the City Council voted 3-1, with one
abstention, to uphold the Commission's decision to
designate the subject property a historic resource under the
CMC. The City Council passed Resolution No. 8654 (Resolution
8654) confirming the historical resource designation. Along
with a review of the procedural ...