Farmhouse Demolition


Property owner’s decision to level 113 year-old building concerns some resident; city officials are powerless on the matter.


By Jackson Bell

The Leader, 1 May 2004



Hillside District – A group of historical activists want to save a home slated for demolition that predates Burbank’s incorporation, but a preservation ordinance blocks the city from helping them.


The property owner of a Victorian farmhouse built in 1891 in the 500 block of East Angelino Avenue plans to tear it down, along with an adjacent home, to built a three-story condominium complex. But preservationists contend the structure will be another in a long line of historical buildings fading out of the city, which was incorporated in 1911.


We would like to see the city take a proactive, thoughtful approach to historical preservation and treat it as a component of planning before the structures that are part of our history are gone,” said Craig Bullock, chairman of the Burbank Heritage Commission and member of the Burbank Historical Society.


The city, however, remains powerless on the matter.


Under the historical preservation ordinance, it is up to the property owner to come forward and initiate protection for old buildings, said John Bowler, an assistant planner for the city.


“The property owner, in this case, hasn’t, and we really can’t initiate anything without his consent,” Bowler said.


Akram S. Ghobrian, owner of the land, did not return calls for comment Thursday and Friday.


The condominium project, a 20,000 square foot building with 14 units, was approved April 1 after no one filed an appeal, City Planner Joy Forbes said, adding that Ghobrian offered a $5,000 donation – the demolition cost – to move the house.

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