Town Square

Post a New Topic

Friends of Briones house win again in court

Original post made on Jul 30, 2007

The Friends of Juana Briones House won in court again on Friday in their fight to save the historic Palo Alto house that was built around 1845.



Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, July 30, 2007, 10:15 AM

Comments (32)

Posted by No personal property rights in PA, a resident of Ventura
on Jul 30, 2007 at 3:23 pm

I see that the Friends of Juana Briones House have still not put together an offer to buy the property and then preserve it--they prefer to control the house that someone else owns rather than putting their money where their mouths are.
how long will the courts allow this group of "preservationists" to usurp people's private property rights???


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 30, 2007 at 4:25 pm


Let's not kid ourselves, "No personal property rights in PA", with the help of their attorney, Jaim Nulman and Avelyn Welczer knew exactly what they were getting into when they agreed to accept that 90% discount on tax before purchasing the Briones home.

It gets much worse, but I won't broach it unless forced to.


Posted by k, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 30, 2007 at 5:15 pm

thanks, Yay!, for making that relevant point!


Posted by No personal property rights in PA, a resident of Ventura
on Jul 30, 2007 at 7:18 pm

What Jaim Nulman and Avelyn Welczer knew or did not know is irrelevant.
if people feel so strongly about this home, and it has been falling into disrepair for decades, why have they not come forward to buy this home and restore it to the grandeur they feel it deserves.
it is very easy to be a "preservationist" when you do not have to invest any of your own money in the property--it is easy to tell people what to do with thier property when you are not invested in it.
I am certain that many of these preservationists own nice, expensive homes in PA and surrounding areas. i am sure that they could be sold and/or mortgaged so that money could be raised to purchase the very imprortnat Briones house.
Funny that in all these years no one has stepped forward with any money for what these "preservationists" consider such a gem.
As I stated earlier these people need to start putting their money where their mouths are.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2007 at 8:01 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Bored byWalter, a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2007 at 5:22 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by joe, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2007 at 6:02 pm

No personal property rights,

Many people who care about preservation are old time Palo Alto residents of modest means not the nouveau riche types infesting the city now.

The current owners of the house made big bucks off the tax breaks for a historic property, now they want to demolish it, well, tough luck to them. It's about time the nouveau riche realized that having pots of money doesn't give them the right to trash a community's heritage.


Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Jul 31, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Joe--too bad the city of Palo Alto was negligent in maintaining this "gem". I say trash it and build a real house.
many of these old time residents have homes that are worth big bucks, as compared to their investment and if there are so many people that care about the Briones home, there should be no problem investing the money to buy it.
It seems to me that the people that care abour preservation only care about if they do not have to invest any of their money.
Bulldoze the dump now!!!


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 31, 2007 at 8:57 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2007 at 7:32 am

There is a point in the deterioration of Briones where any reconstruction would require scooping up the dirt and forming new bricks. This time was advanced by Loma Prieta. If there are provisions in the ordinance to recover past tax abatements, I make no jugement on the case, but for the house,it is time to pull the plug.


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 8:10 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

If Nulman and Welczer reqret agreeing to preserve the Briones house, then why don't they sell the property?

Or are they hoping they can keep the property without keeping their agreement?


Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 8:25 am

Yay--maybe the current owners cannot sell the property because the "preservationists" refuse to invest any of their own money in the "historic home" aka "the gem".
they prefer to control the home by proxy--that way they will not lose anything when the dump collapses into a heap of adobe


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 8:30 am


This is the first time I've heard that Nulman and Welczer have been seeking funding from preservationists.

And may I add, I don't believe it.




Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 8:40 am

Yay--you misread my post--you had written asking why the owners do not try to sell the property. i wrote that maybe the current owners could not sell because the "preservationists" have not come up with any money to buy the property (meaning that no one else would take that dump off of their hands). I was not trying to imply that the owners were seeking money from "preservationists" (not that the "preservationsists" would ever come up with their own money--better to control the house without owning it)


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:07 am

You have no basis for pinning blame on anyone other than Nulman and Welczer.

If Nulman and Welczer want out, then that's their problem.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:18 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Nulman and Welczar are responsible for the disrepair of the home? Are they also responsible for the damage done to the home during the earthquake? Are they also responsible for the failure of the city of Palo Alto to take the necessary steps in decades past to preserve the home?
I do not think the current owners want out--they just to do with their property as they see fit, especially considering it is now a giant adobe pile (BTW, there is also some controversy on what is really the original home and what has been rebuilt and remodeled).

As I have said many times before, the house can be saved--the "preservationists" can raise the money to buy it. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:33 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

When Nulman and Welczer bought the Briones house in 1997, they were well aware that it had been severely damaged in the 1989 earthquake.


Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:48 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Please read the following article:

Web Link

and note the following from the article:

"Nulman and Welczer argued that a previous owner had signed the contract to maintain the home in 1988, before they bought the house. State appellate Judge Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian sided with the couple, ruling that the city had missed its opportunity to enforce the contract."


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:53 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:09 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Nulman and Welczer planned from the start to demolish the Briones home. Here are the facts:

* Nulman and Welczer paid over one million for the home about 10 years ago and knew full well it had been severely damaged in 1989.

* Nulman and Welczer hired an attorney before buying the Briones home, so it's likely they knew the contract might not be enforceable and they might be able to demolish the house.

* Nulman and Welzer requested a demolition permit after one year.

* Nulman and Welczer have spent nearly $100,000 on attorney fees, all of which they have threatened to force the City to pay for.

* Nulman and Welczer have never lived in the Briones house... they have another house to live in while they wait to demolish the Briones house.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:13 am

I hope I never become famous, because I wouldn't want anyone to try and keep the old house I live in saved for posterity!!


Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:20 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

* Nulman and Welczer paid over one million for the home about 10 years ago and knew full well it had been severely damaged in 1989.
--so it was in a state of disrepair in 1997--the earthquake damage was from 1989 butthe owner at that time made no effort to fix the damage and the city of Palo Alto made no effort to enforce the statute of the Mills Act. Is that correct??

* Nulman and Welczer hired an attorney before buying the Briones home, so it's likely they knew the contract might not be enforceable and they might be able to demolish the house.
--people hire attorneys for many things, including purchasing a home for a lot of money. So hiring an attorney, in itself, is a sign of wrong doing by the current owners. Is that correct?

* Nulman and Welzer requested a demolition permit after one year.
--Are they not entitled to request a demolition permit/ This indicates to me that the "preservationists" have had nine years to purchase the property from the current owners. is this correct?

* Nulman and Welczer have spent nearly $100,000 on attorney fees, all of which they have threatened to force the City to pay for.
--That is the usual occurence in cases like this. Many times if a person or entity is made to pay the court costs of the other party. This is a part of our justice system. But you have a problem with that as well. Is this correct?

* Nulman and Welczer have never lived in the Briones house... they have another house to live in while they wait to demolish the Briones house.
--The house is in a state of disrepair due to negligence of the city and past owners. People are alowed to have more than one home, if they can afford it. But you see something wrong in that. Is this correct?


please note again this passage from the article I posted previously, in which the judge sided with the current owners:

""Nulman and Welczer argued that a previous owner had signed the contract to maintain the home in 1988, before they bought the house. State appellate Judge Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian sided with the couple, ruling that the city had missed its opportunity to enforce the contract."


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:28 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:31 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]



Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:38 am


The memory of great woman like Juana Briones must really fry your egg.

It's plain to see her good deeds are entirely antithetical to what you were taught is important in life.



Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:49 am

I have no problem with preserving the memory of Ms Briones--there is a park and as school, at least, named after her in this city.
It is very unfortunate that you try to disparage me and my upbringing because I choose to champion private property rights.
BTW you still have not as yet answered what you consider to be "our little group"?

Also please note the following (full article at link:
Web Link)

"A remnant of her early rancho home was in the foothills above Palo Alto, California with the adress of 4155 Old Adobe Road. Although it contained a structure that dated from the early twentieth century, two walls that were in the oldest corner of the home exhibited the original rancho home's construction. These walls were historically significant, as they preserved a rare construction method: infilling a crib of horizontal redwood boards with adobe. This technique provided her dwelling with the excellent insulating characteristics of adobe, while protecting that building material from erosion problems during the rainy season, and destruction by earthquake, two problems with traditional adobe construction. Other than the unusual method of using materials, the original home exhibited the familiar layout of the traditional adobe: a strip of connected rooms with an external corridor.'"

So in fact the entire home is not even from her period, just some of the walls are. Of course this is well-known. it has been previously stated that much of the current home had been built after Ms Briones past on and only parts of the home are actually original.


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:57 am


I'm very sorry your family and community taught you that property rights and twisting the facts are more important than honoring the memory of a remarkable and pious commmunity builder.

Confusion really is the source of suffering.


Posted by No personal property rights, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:06 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

2) Ms Briones name is honored in many places in our city

3) The only thing from her original home are two walls apparently> please note that the article that I posted says that what remains of her original home is a remnant:
"A remnant of her early rancho home was in the foothills above Palo Alto, California with the adress of 4155 Old Adobe Road. Although it contained a structure that dated from the early twentieth century, two walls that were in the oldest corner of the home exhibited the original rancho home's construction."

4)The legal system has sided with the current owners with regard to contract to maintain the home:
"Nulman and Welczer argued that a previous owner had signed the contract to maintain the home in 1988, before they bought the house. State appellate Judge Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian sided with the couple, ruling that the city had missed its opportunity to enforce the contract."


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:14 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:32 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:52 am

No normal person puts property rights over the honoring agreements and honoring the memory of great leaders.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Yay!, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 1, 2007 at 12:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center
By Elena Kadvany | 24 comments | 3,591 views

Is HBO's Silicon Valley Any Good?
By Anita Felicelli | 23 comments | 2,374 views

Finding mentors in would-be bosses
By Jessica T | 0 comments | 2,044 views

A memorable Paly prom
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 1,198 views

Passover Joke
By Paul Losch | 6 comments | 423 views