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The property was designated a National Landmark at the end of December 2005 by the National Trust. The owners wanted to conserve and protect the valuable assets of the property, including the look, design and feel of the house as it was built in the early 1920's. To that end, a conservation easement was created for the property, specifying that which can and that which cannot be altered. The property outside of the main house parcel is covered by an open space conservation easement, and the house fašade and interior are covered by a fašade easement.  The easements are owned by Pasadena Heritage.

Below are links to the data and other pertinent information in regards to conservation easements in general, as well as specific documents pertaining to the house and the land. An excerpted version of the Conservation Easement is included here, but as it is not the final document prospective buyers should use it only as reference.

NEW - March 2007 exterior repainting photos and story


The Bottom Line - There are certain things you can do and certain things you cannot within the easement. Here is basically what can/cannot be done -

 
~ THE LAND
  • The land can not be sold in parcels.  It must all remain together. It is not subdividable.
 
  • As per Ventura County ordinance, two horses and their foals are allowed, along with a barn/stable and corral IF the parcels are consolidated as a one+ acre single parcel. The real problem with horses at the site is that there is no place to ride them, except on the property - not really a practicality.
 
  • A swimming pool and pool house are allowed.
 
  • A tennis court is allowed, though a regulation size court would really only fit on the lower back parcel and even then would encroach on the east porch area, so it is not really practical.
 
  • Maintenance and improvements of existing roads and paths means that if approval can be secured from the City/County for a driveway entrance on Foothill Rd., a driveway could be paved up to Foothill.  The parking area could be paved with Pasadena Heritage's approval.
 
  • A guest quarters/maids quarters/visitor center can be built on top of the garage.  It is designed for this.  In lieu of such a building, a foundation could put a visitor center elsewhere on the open land.
 
  • A foundation could put parking areas on the open land.
~ THE RESIDENCE
  • The house exterior cannot be modified without the approval of Pasadena Heritage, the holder of the easement.  With their approval, additions might be allowed.
 
  • The interior is protected except for most of the 1982 remodeling work.  This means that
    - a. the kitchen modifications can be undone, changed, etc., as long as the walls are not changed and as long as the work does not detract from the house. 
    - b. The walls on either side of the upstairs central open 'office/sitting room' could be removed to make a larger room using the east bedroom's alcove and the new master bath on the west side. 
    - c. Virtually everything else, including the original lighting fixtures, is protected. 

This does not mean that owners can't improve and maintain the furnaces, appliances, fixtures, etc.  You could even put in air conditioning, for example.  The owner is required to be careful and have Pasadena Heritage approve the plans and have all work performed to the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.  Think of it as a condominium with a homeowner's association and CC&Rs.  It's very similar.

~ THE GARDENS
  • The gardens are not protected, though the rock walls are historical.  Again, any major changes involving grading, removal of rock walls, etc., require Pasadena Heritage's approval.
 
  • The fishponds on the east upper terrace and next to the front walk could be renovated and put back into operation.
 
  • Plants could be planted as desired.
 

Gould Residence Conservation Easement excerpt (12/05)
Gould Residence Conservation Easement property description
Ventura County Assessor's Map
U S Secretary of the Interior Standards in regards historic buildings
Mills Act provisions (significant property tax reduction)
Mills Act application (City of Ventura)
Landmark Status application (City of Ventura)
How to Preserve Your Historic Home