News Digest | February 25, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 25, 2022

News Digest

Former Historic Resources Board chair skirted law for over a year

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Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 24, 2022 at 8:13 am

Anneke is a registered user.


Posted by Rose
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 24, 2022 at 11:39 pm

Rose is a registered user.

And he was on the Historic Resources Board for 10 years? I can't believe the City let him off the hook. If anyone should have known better it was (him)[portion removed.]

Posted by John
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 27, 2022 at 5:10 pm

John is a registered user.

Evidently Bernstein has an uneasy relationship with the truth. Initially, he claimed that personal tragedy had somehow played a part in his having no permits for this project. That was always hard to swallow and quickly blown apart when we learned that the tragedy in question, his father's death in Oct 2021, occurred a whole year after the start of the work.

Now we hear this: "Martin Bernstein acknowledged that he began the project in the fall of 2020 and that it involved taking out all the sheet rock, adding insulation and restoring the sheet rock."

That’s not what it involved at all. Trying to couch this extensive project in terms of it being merely an insulation job is misleading. The facts are that in the fall of 2020 the interior of the historic home was substantially gutted, right back to the studs. It was mostly historic lath and plaster that was ripped out, and very little sheetrock which is a modern material. New sheetrock is what he put back along with a small amount of insulation here and there. Much more significantly he had all new plumbing, new electrics, a new bathroom, a new kitchen, a new entry and a reconfigured laundry. Walls were repositioned, some floors and ceilings along with all the wainscoting were destroyed and what was a kitchen became a bathroom, a bedroom became a kitchen and so on. And without any personal tragedy to blame it on he now says it was an "error" and/or merely an insulation project. Really?

I heard him say that because the City had no records he could do whatever he liked without fear of ever having to put it all back in original form later. He knew the permit process could limit him as well as costing money, and he very definitely did not want City interference. And after the fact, the City has obligingly said it's all no problem, just let us have a permit application, we know you, there'll be no penalty, no question that a permit might be refused. Makes you wonder doesn't it?

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