Killefer Square project nears approval

Killefer square project

Marissa Moshier, the historic preservation planner of Orange, said that the developers for the Killefer Square Project are getting their development plans reviewed before the project can be fully approved. Panther archives

Chapman students proposed by private developers, has integrated more measures to preserve the historic aspects of the building after a March 21 meeting with Orange’s Design Review Committee .

The committee is responsible for making decisions about the key components of construction sites, like site planning and architectural information.

Marissa Moshier, the city of Orange’s historic preservation planner, said the project has not yet been fully approved because developers are still working to get approval for their development plans.

“(The) report states the features that will be preserved,” Moshier said. “It needs to be approved by the planning commission next, and then needs signing by city council.”

The ruling helps preserve the historic nature of the building that the Orange Unified School District had neglected to review, according to a March 22 Facebook post by the Old Towne Preservation Association, a nonprofit that protects historic buildings in Orange. The Killefer School was originally part of the district.

“(The Killefer Square project) is a much smaller project than originally proposed,” said the post. “A request to allow inappropriate modifications (vinyl windows, fiberglass doors, and steel garage door) by a developer to a project on South Lemon St. was unanimously denied by (the Design Review Committee).”

The Killefer School is expected to become a one-and-two-bedroom residential building, according to the Design Review Committee’s meeting agenda. The project is designed for college students, architect Leason Pomeroy told The Panther Feb. 26, as the abandoned school building will be made into dorms.

There will be six units on the historic side of the property, while an additional building on the property’s northwest side will house 18 units.

Only one side of the property is considered historic, Moshier said, which is why that side is limited to six units.

“The boundary next to Killefer runs down the center of the street,” she said. “The west side of Lemon Street is within the historic district, but the east side is not, so it is split.”

Moshier said that the plans will preserve exterior and interior features of the historic school, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places three months after the buyers entered escrow.

The final stages before construction include approval from the Orange Planning Commission, five people who oversee land use decisions and policies.

The Planning Commission ensures that these land use decisions are consistent with state law and the city’s plan. After that, the city council reviews these decisions and formally adopts them.

Irashe Lecama, an Orange resident who lives across the street from Killefer, supports the action of transforming the abandoned school into complexes for students to live in.

“It’s perfect, because I know there are students at (Orange High School) who (hang around) there and smoke,” Lecama said.

Jay Justice, another Orange resident, is indifferent toward the news because students currently live in the homes and residential halls near his home. To him, the housing at Killefer is just another addition to the already-prevalent student population.

“(Killefer) doesn’t bother me,” Justice said. “Students are everywhere. It’s (a part of the) community.”

Jasmin Sani contributed to this report.