February 26, 2024

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Former Historic Resources Board chair faces city scrutiny over home remodel | News

Martin Bernstein, a Palo Alto architect and previous member of the Historic Sources Board, uncovered himself in an strange posture past month when he gained a notice from the city informing him that he was violating town code pertaining to get the job done he was executing on his Higher Road property.

The recognize, which was issued on Jan. 26 by guide code enforcement officer Brian Reynolds, knowledgeable Bernstein that the do the job he was doing within the historic framework, which included set up of new sheetrock and repositioning of inside partitions, expected a allow that he had not acquired. The letter notified him that the town had gained data about the development and adopted up with an inspection on Jan. 21, which led to a “stop do the job notice.”

The notice educated him that he have to post an application for the work that is currently being done by Feb. 25 and that a failure to do so will guide to fines, which start off at $500 for each day and escalate to $1,000 for each working day.

“Even so, based mostly on your cooperation we imagine supplemental enforcement motion will not come about,” Reynolds wrote in the letter.

The household, which is positioned amongst Forest and Hamilton avenues, was made in 1897 and is deemed a “Classification 3” historic structure in the city’s Historic Buildings Stock. The status signifies that the household is a “excellent community illustration of an architectural style,” according to the nonprofit Palo Alto Stanford Heritage.

When asked about the violation, Bernstein claimed he was making ready to make modification to the interior of his house last slide when two particular tragedies transpired. In Oct, he was diagnosed with most cancers and had to go through a surgery from which he is now in recovery. In the exact same thirty day period, his father passed away, he informed this publication.

“I was doing prep work and finding ready to post the application when that took place, but I did not get to that point,” Bernstein mentioned.

He emphasized that all the operate he was undertaking at that time was restricted to the inside of the house. The metropolis has rigorous demands about modifying exterior structures in historic districts.

“There was no adjust in the exterior simply because I know it really is a need,” he explained.

Bernstein is nicely acquainted with the city’s code on renovations of historic structures, having expended a lot more than a decade on the Historic Sources Board, which includes a stint as a board chair. His expression concluded in February 2021, when council associates expressed an curiosity in appointing new users and he fell one vote quick of the 5 votes needed for reappointment.

Bernstein mentioned that considering that getting the discover of violation he has been operating with the city to obtain a permit for the inside perform. He also programs to implement for a allow for work on the again porch of his household, where by he ideas to produce a laundry home. He has also corresponded with code enforcement officials to make sure all modifications to the creating are up to code.

“They reported they fully grasp the condition and gave me an extension until eventually the conclude of March to submit a permit,” he claimed.