“That opportunity disappears if I can’t deliver the property by Jan. 1, 2008,” he said. However, the existing buildings cannot be used for a commercial development, he said. “The office building is 3,000 square feet and that’s too small for a restaurant,” Byerrum said. “It sits on a solid concrete foundation, making it impossible to install plumbing or drains.” The city code sets nine criteria for determining if a building falls under its local official register of historic resources. If one of the criteria is met, the buildings can’t be demolished. The Historic Resources Commission on a 3-0 vote with one abstention ruled that some or all of the buildings were representative of a historic period, exemplified an architectural style (art deco), has a unique location, are connected with a use that was common but now rare and were the site of a historic event. Jeff Collier, Whittier’s director of community development, said city staff doesn’t believe any of the buildings qualify as a historic resource. Collier said the buildings weren’t significant architecturally or the site of important events. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Three early-1900s buildings have sparked debate between local preservationists who want to save them and their owner, a water company that wants to demolish them to make way for a new retail development. The issue went to the City Council Tuesday night, but no decision had been made as of press time. The council was taking up an appeal of a Whittier Historic Resources Commission April 11 ruling that the California Domestic Water Co. can not demolish its 1934 office, 1932 pump house and a 1921 single-family residence. All three are on 3.16-acres on Whittier Boulevard across from the Whittwood Town Center. Preservationists said the buildings need to be saved and can be reused as part of a commercial development. “We are asking to preserve those \ that indicate our civic pride, history and character as a community,” said Sally Schacht, member of the Historic Resources Commission. “Adaptive reuse is the No. 1 engine driving redevelopment and new development in this country,” Schacht said. But Jim Byerrum, president of California Domestic Water Co., said his company has a chance to develop part of its site. “There is an opportunity – not for another fast-food restaurant – but for a business that will be another destination point and attract residents from other communities,” Byerrum said.