The property on Meadow Grove Lane is a 5,400-foot Spanish Colonial Revival-style home that was built in 1922. Sen. Frank Flint's company owned the property before Erle Palmer Barker bought the site from Hillcrest Mutual Water Company.
On Tuesday night, the city's Planning Commission recommended that the property be approved for the Mills Act contract, which offers a property tax reduction to qualified homeowners. Commissioners cited a notable architect, style and historic significance as reasons to define the house as a qualified historic property. The City Council will decide whether to approve the request.
Under the contract, homeowners must complete repairs and restoration work on the home. The current owners, Thomas Palmer and Rachel Sweet, wish to restore all windows, replace the electrical system, rehabilitate the kitchen, and make other repairs as needed.
Commissioner Herand Der Sarkissian said he visited the house recently and observed that it needed work. “The house does need a number of improvements.”
Palmer moved into the house with his wife one year ago. He said they were attracted to the older style of the house, even though the couple realized it needed a lot of work.
“It's a great home,” he said. “It's got a lot of character.”
The Mills Act will allow him to make renovations that he might not have been able to complete on his own, he said.
The City Council approved an ordinance in 2012 that allows homeowners of qualified historic properties a relief on property tax through the Mills Act. Four properties were approved for the program last year. The Los Angeles County Assessor's office determines the size of the tax reduction.
The Planning Commission is currently assessing two other La Cañada properties for inclusion into the historic preservation program. Three commissioners approved the Mills Act application for the home on meadow Grove Street. Commissioners Terry Walker and Jeffrey McConnell were not present.
Commissioner Rick Gunter said he supported renovating historic properties in the city.
“I fully support a program to maintain and repair homes of this character so that they stay in our community longer,” he said.