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San Francisco cottage's demise spurs calls for new rules (historic preservation)

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Duncan Grant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-17-09 09:31 PM
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San Francisco cottage's demise spurs calls for new rules (historic preservation)

The cottage at 1268 Lombard St. was built in 1861 and had been left vacant by the owners for several years. (Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle)

A cottage at 1268 Lombard St. built in 1861 is demolished. (Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle)

The demolition of an 1861 building on Russian Hill is an example of what San Francisco officials say is a serious problem: Hundreds of owners are letting residential properties deteriorate or remain vacant, posing safety hazards, harming historic resources and spurring a drive for new legal powers to force corrections.

As a small group of protesters looked on, a wrecking crew used a backhoe Monday to demolish a cottage that had been listed as a historic resource. The workers left behind a pile of debris and a clear view of Angel Island on the spot where the Victorian had stood on Lombard Street for 148 years.

Dilapidated residences mark the city like festering sores, even in well-off areas. Across the street from the Lombard lot sits another empty Victorian-era home in blatant disrepair. A front window is broken, and missing stairs have left a 20-foot drop from the front door. A few blocks away on Union Street, another empty house has been boarded up. There is no exact tally of the number of vacant or deteriorating homes, but "it is a severe problem," said Debra Walker, a member of the city's Building Inspection Commission and a declared candidate for supervisor in 2010. A building inspection official said there are hundreds of them.


I thought this story might lead to an interesting discussion about historic preservation. The following link -- "Save 39 Chattanooga Street!" -- is about a home in my neighborhood (c. 1870) which was recently saved. I offer it as a contrast to the story above.

Is preservation valued in your city? Any links to local historic preservation efforts would be appreciated - thanks!
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