By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published June 13, 2012
Fought-over Grand Avenue historic home demolished
EVERETT - The 1920s Grand Avenue house that historic preservation advocates fought to save is now just a shell with a basement after recently being demolished.
Preservationists fear the recent demolition of 1102 Grand Avenue sets a new precedent in city land use. Historic Everett says Everett’s historic code is weak.
Neighbors say the 1926 Dutch Colonial home at 1102 Grand Avenue was demolished in mid-April.
Property owners Harv and Jan Jubie are building a house on the lot twice the size of the Dutch Colonial and the other homes in the historic neighborhood. Neighbors and Historic Everett fought the plan because they say it would disrupt the character of the neighborhood and the large house would affect nearby property values.
The matter went before a city hearing examiner earlier this year, who disagreed with opponents and said city planning director Allan Giffen followed city code properly.
The hearing examiner sided with the city because the new house is proportional to the lot size.
That was made possible when the City Council sold the Jubies city-owned land so they could build a bigger garage on their property. At the time, the Jubies made no mention of building a larger home. The council sold the land in 2011 despite public outcry.
Former Historic Everett president Valerie Steel, who led the appeal, said previously that urban planners in Portland, Spokane and other cities told her that Everett’s code is weak.
The home sits in a historic zone overlay, which places additional requirements for what’s built in the neighborhood.
The current code for the Rucker/Grand historic zone does not dictate what architectural styles are allowed, only that the home is proportional to the lot size. The rules were developed in 1992 to maintain the character of the neighborhood.
The Jubies’ proposed house met all those requirements because the city sold them public land allowing them to build a larger house. The design, though, is reminiscent of a 1920s house.
Historic Everett is concerned Giffen created a precedent in allowing the Jubies’ house “that will allow more of the same in not only the Rucker/Grand overlay zone but in the other overlay zones as well,” new Historic Everett president Sarah Church said.
Giffen told this paper previously that it is unlikely any other large house could be built. A new house has to be proportional to the size of the lot. The Jubies’ house is large because they lobbied the City Council to sell adjacent city land in 2011.
When the Jubies’ plan went before the city’s historical commission, an advisory body with no rule-making power, the commission told Giffen to ask the City Council to discuss strengthening the code.
Giffen transmitted the commission’s message, but the topic has not formally come up at City Council.
How the plan changed
When the Jubies bought the property, they never said they planned to build a new house there.
“Our plan is to completely remodel the house and add a garage on the side of it,” Harv Jubie said at the Nov. 3, 2010 council meeting.
At the time the Jubies were set to buy 1102 Grand Ave. To build the garage, they needed the city to sell public land to them to replace a carport there. The sale was controversial as the city land offered up was one of the last public views of Port Gardner Bay from the bluff.
Council members focused their discussion on the public view, not on what could be built on the site in their deliberations.
In 2011, the Jubies developed a plan to build a much larger house. A new construction blueprint was ready by that August.
The old house would have been too expensive to renovate, Harv Jubie said after the hearing examiner decision.
For months, the Jubies wanted to have someone take the old house and move it to another lot and apparently offered to sell the old house to any takers.