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August 31, 2003


joe baylock

To add to this "nice house" thread, look what's happening on Howard Ave. On the west end (at Occidental) the new owners are doing a marvelous job of updating a nice neighborhood-friendly house with new shingles, windows, etc. Moving East, the house at 1509 Howard, which has been a blight on the neighborhood for years, appears to be finished and for sale. It has been spectacularly redone in an Arts Crafts style that is sure to attract a lot of interest. Only the threat of a monster Safeway right across El Camino might prevent this from being a million-dollar plus gem.

Further down the street, the old "Tea House" is being beautifullyrestored. Note the dental mouldings above the windows and the nice metalwork. Just a few doors down from there, the original house that has served as a Realty office for years is getting a new coat of shingles and other sensitive rework.

Congrats to these four owners who really GET what makes Burlingame special. Perhaps the tear-down specialists will wake-up?

Joe Baylock
Member of the Editorial Board
Burlingame Voice


Please don't insult the current planning commissioners who deal with "residence design review process". Ever since the review were implimented, there are no ticky tacky MONSTER boxes anymore!!!



joe baylock

Some of your thoughts are well-taken. Clearly the residential design review process has resulted in better new construction, as the Burlingame Voice has documented. The floor-space incentive that trades a side driveway and a backyard, detached garage for more living space is a major improvement that most of the incumbent Council initially opposed out of ignorance. They had to be "convinced" to vote for it by a packed room of concerned citizens.

But you appear to misunderstand some important aspects of the process. The design reviewers are NOT planning commissioners. They are a separate group of architects and designers who are appointed to look only at design, not mass, bulk and code compliance. There are some simple improvements that could be made to the base building code that would further enhance the improvements we have made. It is also unfair to say there are no more monster houses because variances do get granted--often for very poor reasons, or in the case of many City Council votes, for no stated reason at all. Thanks for your comment, I'm personally glad you are paying attention.

Joe Baylock


I also found this wonderful quote from David Hockney, (Pop Artist) 1980:

"In Bradford, England, where I was born and brought up, the center of the
city was completely Victorian and had been built around 1870. Rather grand
Victorian buildings, they were, and the city was, in its way, quite

Then they started pulling things down and there was a short period when
people referred to this as,'improvements.' But then local people stopped
calling this 'improvements.' They did not attack the new architecture, but
something told them that what was being built wasn't always an improvement.
To destroy all old buildings is destroying the remnants of the past. If you
have a place with no old buildings, it's like having a human being without a
memory. Remembering things is part of time passing. You need it."

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