Hunt Library Before Landmarks Commission Wednesday, October 24

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The Hunt Branch Library is on the agenda of the Planning Commission, who also act as Fullerton’s Landmarks Commission Wednesday evening, October 24 at City Hall. The meeting will take place in the City Council chambers, 303 West Commonwealth Avenue, beginning at 7:00 p.m. It is the third item on the Commission’s agenda.

Local preservationist group Fullerton Heritage, have written an extraordinarily complete application found at this link on this website:

https://wordpress.com/post/savethehunt.com/229

For reference, the Fullerton Municipal Code is cited in the staff report for the item. It reads, in part:

15.48.060.  Criteria for designation.

   A.   In considering a request for a “Historical Landmark” designation, the following criteria shall be used in determining eligibility:
      1.   Character, interest or value as part of the heritage of the city.
      2.   Location as a site of a historic event.
      3.   Identification with a person or persons or groups who significantly contributed to the culture and development of the city.
      4.   Exemplification of a particular architectural style or way of life important to the city.
      5.   Exemplification of the best remaining architectural types in an area.
      6.   Identification as the work of a person or persons whose work has influenced the heritage of the city, the state of California or the United States.
      7.   Embodiment of elements of outstanding attention to architectural design, detail, materials, or craftsmanship.
      8.   Relationship to other landmarks, where the preservation of one has a bearing on the preservation of another.
      9.   A unique location or singular physical characteristic representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood.
      10.   Integrity as a natural environment that strongly contributes to the well being of the people of the city.
   B.   In considering a request for a “Landmark District” designation, support of the designation should be demonstrated by a substantial majority of the property owners within the boundary of the proposed district. 
(Ord. 2982, 2001).
The Hunt Branch Library, designed by a world famous architect who had a profound impact on the development of California in the last century, commissioned by an industrialist/philanthropist whose business was a significant employer in our city for over half a century, is a strong candidate for Landmark status. Please be sure to attend the meeting to support protection for this irreplaceable and unique structure Wednesday  night.

Final Library Ad Hoc Committee Meeting Wednesday, Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m. the Muckenthaler Cultural Center

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The Library Ad-Hoc Committee will have its fourth and last meeting on Wednesday, October 10, , 1201 W. Malvern Ave. (park in the main lot at the top of the hill).  The Committee is expected to draft a recommendation to the City Council regarding the possible uses for the Hunt Library. The agenda for the meeting can be found at this link: October 10 Library Ad Hoc Agenda

The Landmarks Commission hearing for the Hunt Library, that we originally expected for the same evening, has been postponed, so you can attend the Ad-Hoc at the Muckenthaler instead. We will alert you when the Landmark hearing is eventually scheduled.

Agenda-25Map

Public Attend Hunt Tour and Presentation About William Pereira by Preservationist Alan Hess

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Alan Hess leads members of the public around the Hunt Branch Library. Photo by Damion Lloyd.

Over a hundred people turned out Monday night, Sept. 24 to hear renowned architect and historian Alan Hess lead tours through Fullerton’s Hunt Branch Library before his evening presentation about the building and its architect next door at Pacific Drive Elementary School. The free program was organized by SaveTheHunt, a community group dedicated to keeping the currently closed library in public hands. The library is normally closed to visitors because the building and grounds are leased to neighboring Grace Ministries International (GMI), but access was arranged through the Fullerton Public Library. The large number of attendees necessitated two successive tours led by Mr. Hess, who spoke about the structure’s integration of indoor and outdoor spaces and other mid-century modernist design strategies employed by the library’s architect William Pereira.

Mr. Hess is a co-founder of Preserve OC a non-profit dedicated to preserving Orange County’s architectural and cultural heritage. He is the author of more than twenty architecture books, the latest entitled The Ranch House, copies of which he later signed for the public.

The program continued next door in Pacific Drive’s Multipurpose Room, where SaveTheHunt organizer Jane Reifer welcomed the audience to the presentation. Following brief remarks about the history of the Hunt Branch, Fullerton Public Library Director Judy Booth spoke about the Library Ad Hoc Committee, of which she is an ex-officio member, charged with formulating a recommendation for the facility’s ultimate use to Fullerton’s City Council. (The Ad Hoc meets next at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center on October 10 at 5:30 p.m.).

Alan Hess Hunt Program
Alan Hess shows images of details of the Hunt Branch Library, Headquarters building next door, and a bench on the campus.

The presentation by Alan Hess traced the varied career of William Pereira from architecture school days in Illinois to Hollywood, where he became an art director who won an Oscar for Best Special Effects in the early 1940’s. Eventually returning to architecture, Pereira formed a partnership with classmate Charles Luckman. Mr. Hess noted that the team’s landmark 1953 CBS Television City in Los Angeles was the first studio designed specifically for television production, and, thanks to good planning, is still operation today. The prolific team also designed the original Disneyland Hotel and the iconic “Theme Building” in the center of Los Angeles International Airport.

Later, Pereira’s own firm designed San Francisco’s Transamerica Tower and the original buildings of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Mr. Hess emphasized that good planning and individual architectural character were the keys to Pereira’s success in designing not only buildings, but entire campuses, like the University of California, Irvine, and the master plan for the City of Irvine itself. He cautioned that, although Pereira’s 1973 wing of the L.A. Times complex just received Landmark status, many of William Pereira’s buildings have been lost, and that the LACMA buildings are threatened by that museum’s new master plan.  Mr. Hess stressed the importance of protecting buildings like the former Hunt headquarters building, now own outright by GMI, and its companion Hunt Branch Library both as important local structures and internationally significant buildings to serve future generations.

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Members of the public gather for the tour. Photo by Damion Lloyd.

Library Ad Hoc Committee to Meet at Muckenthaler Center on September 4

Hunt Register
The Library Ad Hoc Committee will meet at another one of Fullerton’s architectural treasures, the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, on Sept. 4 at 5:30 p.m.

The third of four planned meetings of Fullerton’s Library Ad Hoc Committee will be held on Tuesday, September 4, 5:30 p.m. at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave. Interested members of the public are invited to attend. Parking is free.

The Library Ad Hoc Committee voted at their last meeting to invite members of the public to submit ideas about possible funded uses for the Hunt Library by the September 4 meeting.

The full agenda can be found at these links:

https://docs.cityoffullerton.com/WebLink/1/edoc/687632/09-04-2018%20Complete%20agenda%20packet.pdf

09-04-2018 Complete agenda packet

The agenda alone, without notes from the previous meeting, can viewed below…

09-04-2018 Complete agenda packet

 

Library Ad Hoc Meeting, August 6

August 6 Agenda Library Ad Hoc

The Library Ad-Hoc Committee will hold its second meeting on Monday, August 6 at the Conference Center Room of the Main Library, located at 353 W. Commonwealth Ave. The Agenda can be viewed at this link: Agenda-12.

At the committee’s request, the meeting will begin with a short presentation by a member of SaveTheHunt.com about our Hunt 101 presentation last month.

The Regular Business Agenda includes the following items:

  1. Selection of a Chair and Vice-Chair, held over from the previous meeting.
  2. Prioritizing Council Direction Regarding the Purpose of the Library Ad Hoc Committee, evidently still not clearly understood by the Ad Hoc.
  3. Cost to Operate the Hunt Library as a Library, provided to the council numerous times, when they have continually declined to fund it.
  4. Requirements and Estimated Costs to Bring theHunt Library up to Current Standards for Publicly Accessible Buildings, a critical number to have when considering any use for the facility.
  5. Proposed Publicly Beneficial Uses of the Building and Grounds, the two important words here are “publicly” and “grounds.”
  6. Proposed Funding Sources for Improvement of the Building and Grounds, we’ll see what sources the members have identified.

 

Library Ad-Hoc Committee Meets to Consider Hunt Library Future

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The new Library Ad-hoc Committee held its first meeting on July 11 at the Hunt Branch Library. The committee is charged with presenting options to the City Council for the ultimate disposition of the Hunt facility, now closed to the public, and leased out to neighboring Grace Ministries International (GMI), for the sum of $ 1,500.00 per month. Library Director Judy Booth, who serves as an ex-officio member of the Ad-Hoc, led dozens of members of the public on a tour of the historic William Pereira building before announcing that the meeting would have to be moved outside to accommodate the overflow crowd. Chairs, tables, microphones, and speakers were transported to the mid-century modern building’s spacious front porch where the meeting proceeded for hours through the warm summer evening.

The Library Ad-Hoc Committees mission is to ‘determine “what funding might be available to fund the (Hunt Branch Library) property as a Library or other opportunities for use of the property,” according to the meeting’s agenda. The five members of the Ad-Hoc directly appointed by City Council were first charged with the selection of a Chair and Vice Chair before selecting four additional members from a pool of nearly twenty applicants. During a public comment period at the beginning of the meeting, however, applicant and former Fullerton City Council Member Jan Flory suggested reversing these two agenda items so that the additional four members of the Ad-Hoc could be seated before the Chair and Vice Chair elections. After other public comments, all five members of the Ad-Hoc (Peter Beard, Fern Richardson, Michael Williams, Egleth Nunnci, and Barbara Kilponen) voted to adopt Ms. Flory’s suggestion to reverse the order of the committee appointments and officer elections, taking up the former first.

Applicants were invited to introduce themselves to the committee members and respond to questions about their qualifications. In addition to Jan Flory, applicants included Rafael Avila, Scott Bryan (who withdrew his application on the spot), James Cho, Arnel Dino, homeless activist Curtis Gamble, former City Council Member and current NOCCD Board Member Molly McClanahan, Judith Milan, Kristie Prince, former Ladera Vista Principal Randa Schmalfeld, and nearby resident James Wolvert. Several applicants were not present for the meeting.

Ad-Hoc member Fern Richardson questioned applicant Jan Flory about her own role in failing to fund the Hunt as a Library and approving the lease to Grace Ministries during her tenure on the City Council. Jan Flory blamed the decision to “terminate library services” for the Hunt Branch on the economic downturn and the need for funds for the then-newly renovated Main Branch. She characterized the low monthly rental rate of $ 1,500.00 charged to Grace Ministries per month lease that she herself voted to approve as “shameful,” but explained that she supported it at the time because it was only supposed to last eighteen months, and that a plan was supposed to have been formulated for the Hunt’s future.

Each Ad-Hoc member rated a full list of applicants, with Library Director Booth serving as the de facto facilitator and elections committee. One audience member suggested that any applicant not present should not be considered for the position, but another noted that the date of the committee’s first meeting had not been advertised enough in advance for prospective members to alter prior commitments. The committee members agreed to consider all applicants, present or not. Ultimately, the four additional members selected by the committee were Jan Flory, Molly McClanahan, who was not present at the meeting, Kristie Prince, and Randa Schmalfeld.

Selection of a Chair and Vice-Chair ended in a deadlocked vote with four members supporting Peter Beard and four supporting Randa Schmalfeld. The eight present members agreed to proceed with the meeting with Peter Beard acting as Chair for the night, but postpone the decision on a permanent Chair and Vice-Chair until the next meeting, when a ninth member would be expected to break the tie.

The committee then addressed the scope of work it would perform, with respect to its City Council mandate, requesting materials and information for consideration at least three days in advance of their next meeting. Specifically, the committee directed the library staff to provide a spreadsheet and analysis of the projected costs to operate the Hunt once again as a library, including the estimated costs to update the facility to meet current requirements for publicly accessible buildings. Additionally, Committee Member Schmalfeld requested a detailed map of the property to help define which parts of it actually constitute the grounds of the Hunt with respect to the adjacent dog park surrounding tracts. Jan Flory went so far as to request all materials collected by SavetheHunt.com, a community group dedicated to keeping the facility in the public realm. The Ad-Hoc also committed to exploring other “beneficial uses of the building and grounds,” as well as possible funding sources for such uses.

The Library Ad-Hoc Committee will next meet at 5:30 p.m., Monday, August 6 at the Conference Center Room of the Main Library, located at 353 W. Commonwealth Ave.

Hunt 101 Program Draws Over Seventy Attendees

Hess Hunt 101
Architectural historian Alan Hess speaks during Hunt 101 on June 25.

Save the Hunt presented a public forum Monday night, June 25 entitled Hunt Library 101: Past, Present, and Future intended to educate the public about the history and importance of the facility and its place in the community. Over seventy people attended the forum, held at the Orangethorpe United Methodist Church.

Six different speakers each gave short presentations about different aspects of the library’s history, architectural and historic value, and the context of library services in the Southwest region of the city. Architect and architectural historian Alan Hess stressed the importance of preserving structures like the Hunt because of its architectural significance. Mr. Hess is a founding board member of Preserve OC, a group founded in 2016 to “promote conservation of our county’s architectural and cultural heritage.” (This week Mr. Hess was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to California’s State Historical Resources Commission.)

Event emcee Jane Reifer introduced each speaker, beginning with this reporter, who familiarized the audience with the history of the Hunt Branch Library’s origins, half century of operation, and eventual closure and lease. Ray Kawese, Investment Chairperson of the Fullerton Public Library Foundation clarified for the audience the role his group plays in providing additional support for the Fullerton Public Library, and the relationship between the Foundation, The Library Board of Trustees, who are appointed by the city council, and the Friends of the Fullerton Public Library, who operate the library’s used book store and organize periodic weekend book sales.

Former Mayor and current North Orange County Community College District Trustee Molly McClanahan presented a short abstract of a study by Dr. Ray Young, Emeritus Professor of CSUF’s Geography Department. The statistics covering education and income in Dr. Young’s study highlighted the need for cultural and literary services in the southwest region of the city.

Fullerton Heritage President Ernie Kelsey explained the criteria for properties to become eligible for landmark status, two of which are to be at least fifty years old and be architecturally significant. He characterized the William Pereira designed Hunt building as an excellent example of the modernist international style that retains its architectural integrity, noting that the architect’s later works soon gave way to a more brutalist style. Applications written by Fullerton Heritage for both local and national landmark status also note that two important landscape architects worked on the project, conceived by Pereira as a 26 acre Hunt Wesson Center campus for Norton Simon.

Fullerton Heritage began working on local landmark and federal registry status in 2013, just a year after the Hunt’s fiftieth birthday. Both applications have now been submitted, but it is unclear whether or the Hunt application will be heard as part of the October National Register agendas. Applications are only considered four times each year. The process generally takes four to six months to complete.

Fullerton Library Board Trustee Ryan Cantor spoke next, saying that for the “first time we’ve had some real momentum and some real energy in trying to bring a wonderful gift to the city to life” following a “period of inactivity.”

He recalled that an earlier Ad-Hoc Committee in 2012 was formed to evaluate the portfolio of library properties and came up with recommendations for funding in light of city and library budget constraints. In 2014 library trustees formulated three criteria for re-opening the Hunt:

  1. The library would have to be safe,
  2. The library should have a purpose separate and distinct from the Main Branch
  3. The library should be funded in a way commensurate with its purpose—estimated to be $ 1.3 million annually.

To this list he added a second set of three requirements for the Hunt as a center for the public:

  1. It should be free of charge
  2. It should be open to the public
  3. It should celebrate literacy, not only as a repository of books.

“Someone in this room knows someone who has the resources to make Hunt work,” he concluded.

Members of the audience filled out cards with ideas about potential future uses of the Hunt building and grounds. They included:

  1. Using it as an art and architecture museum or gallery,
  2. an interactive library with international communication
  3. a mini arboretum on the grounds
  4. a center for disadvantage students
  5. an art museum or library for the arts specifically for children or for local artists
  6. a homeless shelter
  7. an outpost for CSUF’s Croy Reading Center
  8. a community park with festivals
  9. and a site for interactive projects and exhibitions, with partners like the Museum of Teaching and Learning.

Another public informational program about the Hunt Library’s architectural importance is expected in September.