Historic Resources Board temporarily holds off post office designation
by Mariko Lamb
May 23, 2013 | 11763 views | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The La Jolla post office's WPA-era mural. DON BALCH
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Despite the United States Postal Service’s opposition to any further continuance on the historic designation of La Jolla’s historic Wall Street post office, the Historic Resources Board (HRB) granted the La Jolla Historical Society’s request for another 30 days to file paperwork required for local designation.

“The reason for the request is that we found out yesterday that we do have to submit a newly formatted research paper to support any local criterion that we’re requesting the post office be designated on,” said Leslie Davis, chair of the Save Our La Jolla Post Office task force at the meeting May 23. “It takes about 100 volunteer hours to get all this stuff together. We’ll do it for sure, and we’ll do it in the 30 days if that’s all we can get.”

The community task force and HRB staff both favor the local designation, but the HRB staff’s recommendation that the local designation falls only under Criterion E because its listing on the National Register is not sufficient protection for the 1935 WPA-era building, said Davis.

“This post office was built in 1935. It’s really ridiculously important to us as the community, and we want it registered, but not just on E. We it on A and C and D,” she said. “The postal service believes that as soon as this property is designated that they can sell it. As soon as they sell it, all we have to protect it is this historic designation on this criterion … It is our belief that Criterion A has some specifics in it that relate to the way that San Diego enforces these kinds of things.”

Although the task force could seek an amendment to the designation at a later date without a continuance, it might be too late, said City Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner, who represents the La Jolla district.

“The USPS plans to put this post office up for sale immediately after the Historic Resources Board votes to designate the building as a historic resource under Criterion E,” she said. “The USPS has made clear that once the building is designated that their obligations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act will be fulfilled and the post office can be immediately sold to the highest bidder.”

The 30-day continuance would allow the all-volunteer organization adequate time to prepare the required report to support the post office’s local historic designation under additional criteria.

“We need to do all we can to protect this historic treasure, and I believe taking the time to document why this building should be designated under additional criteria is critical to helping the community preserve the post office for future generations,” said Lightner. “Without the continuance the post office will be immediately sold, and the community’s opportunity to ensure that this treasured resource is preserved and protected will be lost forever.”
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