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Owners pitch apartment plan to residents

Home considered to be the oldest in Montrose is likely to be razed in favor of five-unit complex.

July 14, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

MONTROSE — Owners of a 94-year-old Craftsman-style home at the center of a controversial plan to raze the structure held an open house Saturday to assuage residents’ concerns that the site’s proposed five-unit apartment complex would harm the neighborhood.

The open house inside the three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit at 2128 Glenada Ave. was the first chance for many critics of the proposed complex to see the interior of what is believed to be the oldest house in Montrose.

“I’ve never been inside,” said Debbie Nicholas, president of the homeowners association of the condominium complex next door. “Now that I’ve seen it, I can say that it’s a real pity it will be torn down.”

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Nicholas, like most others milling about the home Saturday, feared that the planned apartment complex — five two-story apartment buildings, each with three bathrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms and at least two parking spaces per unit — would greatly increase traffic on the small cul-de-sac less than a mile from Montrose Avenue.

Others fear that the complex would cause property values to decrease and that the constant turnover of tenants in the proposed units would create a sense of transience on Glenada Avenue, where many residents have lived for years, including the four families that live in the remaining Craftsman-style homes.

“The reality of the situation is that it will affect parking,” said David Valencia, who lives in one of the Craftsman homes on Glenada.

Property owners Razmik Tahmasian and Gevorg Voskanian, who purchased the historic home in 2000 for about $350,000 and rented it out sporadically for the past eight years, are required to provide two parking spaces per unit. But critics say providing the minimum number will not suffice.

“You’re going to have 10 more cars on the street,” Valencia said. “It’s a worst-case scenario, but it is a scenario.”

Though opposed to the project, Valencia and others marveled at the architectural renderings made available for residents to peruse.

“The plans are beautiful,” he said.

Those plans include maintaining some of the old-world charm of the nearly 100-year-old home, such as preserving the historic stone wall that lines the front of the property and keeping the hulking Deodara tree on the front lawn, said architect Bruce Labins.

“This is a vintage property, and people are emotional,” he said. “I understand that. We’re very conscientious of the history.”

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