For 30-plus years every candidate that has run for city council or mayor has promised to protect the character/ambiance of the community of Coronado. I could call that “character/ambiance” our community’s “golden goose.” The character of our neighborhoods attracts visitors and new residents alike. There is, most assuredly, a special feeling about this community we call home. But how much longer is it going to last? We are indeed “killing the golden goose” and before long we will look like any other California beach community and no one will want to stroll through our neighborhoods.
A couple of weeks ago a Coronado resident voluntarily applied for historic designation for his home. He was denied that request because the city’s Historic Resource Commission did not think the home met the criteria. The home was old enough, that wasn’t the problem. However, a window or two had been changed and a new roof had been added. I live in a historically designated home built by architect Richard Requa in 1928. Since then, it has had four additions, all with new windows and new roofs. What’s the big deal?
The Commission also took the advice of the “outside consultants” that the work of the builder, Mr. Al Laing, was not significant. Al Laing was one of our most treasured Coronado citizens. Not only was he a Master Carpenter who built many homes in Coronado, but he was beloved for being Santa Claus and riding the fire truck each year. His carpentry skills were extraordinary.
The home that was asking for historic designation was also associated with General and Mrs. Styer. The Commission did not think that was significant! Mrs. Styer kept the local Coronado Hospital functioning at the start of World War II. The citizens of Coronado would not have had local medical help if it had not been for her. General Styer was so important in his own right that the VFW on Orange Avenue is named in his honor.
We need to make historic preservation an important part of our special community. We have areas of town that would easily qualify for voluntary Historic Districts and those districts would assure the neighborhoods that we love will be protected.
I am heart broken that the Historic Resource Commission recently denied all five applications for historic designation. The outside consultants know nothing about our local history. Shouldn’t they be required to do their Coronado research in Coronado at both the Library and the Coronado Historic Association? They are killing our “golden goose” and the character of our village.