Saturday, June 06, 2009

Clueless in Santa Ana

The City of Santa Ana seems to be doing its best to stamp out historic preservation. Several months ago, their own Historic Resources Commission criticized their handling of the Basler-Twist House debacle. Days later, the City moved toward disbanding the Commission.
Luckily, the residents of Santa Ana’s historic neighborhoods (with almost no notice) banded together to protest this move. This show of support postponed the City’s decision on the Commission’s fate. The final die still has not been cast.
However, the City seems to be leaning toward cutting the number of Commission meetings down to only four a year. That would still take away most of the Commission’s ability to accomplish anything, but would probably not draw as much fire from the public as simply giving them the ax.
Simultaneously, the City has raised their Mills Act filing fees from $419 to $4,249, crippling one of the key tools used to encourage historical preservation. By way of comparison, Anaheim charges no filing fee. Until now, Orange charged the highest filing fee: $1100.
This reflects really, really badly on Santa Ana. Let’s hope this apparent anti-preservation situation is reversed quickly, so we can all write it off as a big misunderstanding.
(Today's photo shows the old Santa Ana City Hall on Main St. as it appears today.)


Dave said...

Is Santa Ana still the county seat?If so it seems to me that would be one city that really should want to preserve it's history.I left O.C. 25 years ago but I have a real soft spot for Santa Ana.Number one,it's on my birth certificate (Santa Ana/Tustin Community Hospital,1963) even though my folks lived in Orange.Number two,my very first "out of the nest" apartment was an afterthought studio built on top of the garages in a 40's era small apartment complex in Santa Ana.175 a month,utilities paid,that was cheap even in '82.
I couldn't live down there,anywhere,even where I grew up in H.B./F.V. on a bet (I live in the Sierra near Yosemite now),but I sure enjoy your site.
Keep up the good work Chris.

Chris Jepsen said...

Yes, Santa Ana is still the county seat. But now you'd be very lucky to pay $1200 a month for that same "afterthought" apartment. And you'd probably need bars on the windows. Santa Ana has enormous potential, but it has so many problems to fix -- most of which are being ignored. Until these latest moves, preservation and neighborhood pride were two areas in which things were improving.

Tony Bushala said...

Chris, perhaps you and your readers might enjoy our post about "Exaggerated Modern".

Tony Bushala
Founder (but no longer a member) of Fullerton Heritage

Chris Jepsen said...

Tony - Thanks for the link. I posted a reply. I'll be curious to see what further responses you get.