The Santa Barbara City Council today will discuss whether to adopt a resolution designating Casa De Cuatro Vistas, designed by one of Santa Barbara’s most influential architects, as a historic landmark.
The council will meet at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.
Staff is recommending that the council adopt the landmark designation resolution pertaining to Casa De Cuatro Vistas, 1201 Las Alturas Road, noting that the Historic Landmarks Commission has the power and duty to “recommend to the City Council that certain structures, natural features, sites or areas having historical, architectural, archaeological, cultural, or aesthetic significance be designated as a landmark.”
Historic landmark status is considered the highest distinction given to a historic resource in the City of Santa Barbara and demolition is prohibited.
“Designation as a landmark confers honor and recognition on structures contributing to the city’s unique historical and architectural traditions,” staff said.
The determining factors of a city landmark designation are the importance of the resource to the community, the level of integrity of the resource, and its degree of rarity. Landmarks are often associated with an important architect and person in addition to being an important example of architecture.
According to staff, architect Carleton Monroe Winslow designed Casa de Cuatro Vistas in 1919 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, which became an important part of Santa Barbara’s heritage in the 1920s when the city deliberately transformed its architecture and look into a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival/Mediterranean style city.
“Not only is the main house architecturally significant, but the site has significant landscape elements and a small mid-century modern studio that contribute to the significance,” staff said. “Winslow purposefully placed the main house among large oak tree groves and on the hill of the Riviera to take advantage of the four views (Cuatro Vistas) that include the ocean and the mountains.”
Locally quarried, native Santa Barbara sandstone walls, railings, pillars and tables characterize the property and give landscape distinction and artistry, staff said.
The property’s small studio, tucked behind the main house among an oak tree grove, is an excellent example of mid-century modern architecture designed in 1959 by local architectural firm Edwards and Pitman. The design of the studio showcases the mid-century modern clean, minimalist aesthetic; an emphasis on bringing the outdoors in with large walls made of windows; and the presence of angular structures, staff said.
“In addition, the property had four owners that made significant contributions to Santa Barbara: Henry L. Hitchcock, Ina Campbell, MacKinley and Frances Hammond Helm and John E. Gillespie.”
The property owner of Casa De Cuatro Vistas submitted a nomination for their property to be designated as a landmark.
At a June 8 public hearing, the Historic Landmarks Commission reviewed the nomination evidence of the history and significance of the buildings and elements on the site and determined that the resource qualifies for two of the five criteria to qualify as a landmark, staff said.
They said the property is associated with the lives of persons significant in the city’s past, and embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, architectural style or method of construction, or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic or historic value, or represents a significant and distinguishable collection whose individual components may lack distinction.
The HLC voted in favor of adopting a resolution recommending the council designate Casa De Cuatro Vistas as a historic landmark. And staff agrees.
“Casa De Cuatro Vistas is worthy of joining the elite list of landmarks, which are considered the most important resources contributing to the city’s unique historical and architectural repertoire. There is sufficient evidence on record supporting the qualifications for landmark status and for the adoption of a resolution designating it accordingly.”
Under the council’s consent calendar, staff recommends that the council authorize City Administrator Rebecca Bjork to execute a $1 million annual community promotion contract with Visit Santa Barbara to provide marketing services that promote Santa Barbara as a tourism destination.
The City’s annual budget includes $1 million for Visit Santa Barbara to promote Santa Barbara as a tourist destination. This contract will help support year-round administrative expenses for Visit Santa Barbara, including salaries and benefits, advertising, consumer and trade information services, public relations, and sales, staff said. The term of the contract covers the period of July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.
Visit Santa Barbara work efforts will be focused on recovery for the travel and hospitality industry and returning to traditional levels of visitation, economic impact, employment and tax generation.
Also on the consent calendar, staff is recommending that the council adopt an ordinance approving an amendment to an affordability control covenant imposed on real property – the Lighthouse Apartments property located at 1502-1522 San Pascual – owned by the Turner Foundation, a California nonprofit. The owner has requested that the restriction limiting the sale of the property to a not-for-profit organization be removed from the covenant.