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SOHO Files Suit to Protect Red Roost and Red Rest Cottages

By Susan Brandt-Hawley

SOHO has filed a petition for writ of mandate in the San Diego Court to prevent the unlawful 'demolition by neglect' of the Red Rest and the Red Roost. The two historic cottages, built in 1894, are designated historic landmarks by the City of San Diego and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and are rare surviving examples of late nineteenth-century beach cottages that once proliferated in La Jolla. These 'modest but festive' single-wall structures share a spectacular site at La Jolla Cove. Their design was a precursor to the California Bungalow popularized after the turn of the twentieth century.

San Diego has adopted ordinances that make it "unlawful to substantially alter, demolish, destruct, remove, or relocate any designated historical resource or any historical building..." The city code also requires the owners of unoccupied historic buildings to maintain them in "a manner that preserves their historical integrity." Yet, the ravages of time and weather coupled with intentional neglect have brought the Red Roost and Red Rest close to collapse, and the city has done nothing to effectively stop the demolition.

Red Roost and Red Rest, 2002 Red Roost and Red Rest, c. 1975

Left Red Roost and Red Rest, c. 1975. Right Red Roost and Red Rest, 2002


Over the last two years, the city has requested that the owners of the Red Roost and Red Rest take sufficient measures to repair and protect the cottages from the elements and vandalism. A long series of letters and promises have, however, produced inadequate physical protection for the historic cottages. This action is brought because, with ever-increasing holes in their roofs and other unsecured openings, the cottages are vulnerable to rain and vandalism. While at a critical stage, the cottages are not beyond repair. The suit alleges that the owners' failure to follow city codes protecting historic commercial properties amounts to unfair business practices.

SOHO asks the court to issue a writ of mandate requiring the city to comply with mandates of its municipal codes that prohibit demolition by neglect, and to require the owners of the historic Red Roost and Red Rest cottages to protect them to prevent further deterioration. In the alternative, the city should exercise its police powers and take steps to physically protect the buildings.

SOHO has brought this suit after almost two years of requesting that the city and the owners protect these important resources and we hope that the suit will result in immediate protection of the Red Roost and Red Rest.

2002 - Volume 33, Issue 4

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SOHO Files Suit to Protect Red Roost and Red Rest Cottages

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