Property owner seeks OK to demolish red-tagged cottage circa 1925
By Jondi Gumz
The owners of building at right, on the 400 block of Capitola Avenue, which was red-tagged following the 2011 flood, want to demolish the structure and rebuild on the site. (Shmuel Thaler Santa Cruz Sentinel)
CAPITOLA >> Starley Moore, the owner of Charley & Co., wants to build a permanent home for her home furnishings and gift shop, and she wants to stay in Capitola, a city of 10,000 that is mostly built out.
A year ago, Moore and her husband bought a dilapidated 1,080-square-foot cottage at 401 Capitola Ave., red-tagged following the 2011 flooding, for $390,000.
They developed plans to put up a new 1,115-square-foot commercial building, demolishing the older building, which would enable Charley & Co. to relocate from 515 Capitola Ave.
The design by Santa Cruz architect Derek Van Alstine, has the look of a cottage with French doors, a pair of casement windows and a 200-square-foot second-story cupola.
The development requires approval of a design permit, variance, sign permit and coastal development permit by the Planning Commission, which will discuss it at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 420 Capitola Ave.
In January, when the city’s architectural and site review committee reviewed the proposal, Carolyn Swift, retired curator at the Capitola Historical Museum, asked for an evaluation of whether the building on the site was historic.
Consultant Franklin Maggi of Archives and Architecture said the building, constructed within the Riverview subdivision neighborhood circa 1925 during the Rispin era, could qualify as historical but a listing on the Register of Historic Features is a discretionary decision by the Planning Commission.
City staff conclude the structure does not qualify.
Senior planner Katie Cattan, in her report, noted the building is listed on the 1986 Capitola Architectural Survey but not on the state or national register, not within the Old Riverview Historic District and not of Spanish Colonial Revival or Mediterranean architecture.
The review found the building, while more than 50 years old, was not associated with any historic personage and is not distinctive architecturally.
The building was used as a residential rental, then a construction company and after World War II was occupied by Capitola Realty, with ownership passing from George and Jean De Alvarez to Delta Fields and then Elmour and Maxine Viola.
The original owners are unknown. Early subdivision transactions were not recorded at time of sale if financed by the developer, the review noted.