Diamond K. residents relieved by latest news of threatened Roseville history

Company backs away from considering destruction of Kaseberg Ranch House
By: J’aime Rubio for the Press Tribune
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Residents recently contacted the Roseville Historical Society and The Press Tribune with concerns that a plan was underway to demolish the Kaseberg Ranch House, one of the city’s  most historic buildings.

Located at 16 Richards Drive, the structure was the original home of James William Kaseberg, a successful business man whose Diamond K Ranch was considered one of the largest tracts of land in the Sacramento Valley. At its height it encompassed 50,000 acres. Documents show the Ranch House was constructed in 1853, making it one of Roseville’s oldest standing buildings.

A newsletter disbursed to all residents of Diamond K Estates Mobile Home Park — written by management — had suggested lenders of the estate were considering tearing down the Ranch House in order to replace it with a mobile home. The newsletter specifically stated, “It was determined by the lender that the Ranch House/ Modular Sales Office can no longer be used. They’re requiring us to shut the building down. Since it can no longer be used and serves no purpose on the property, we have been asked to consider tearing it down and replacing it with a beautiful new home.”

This prompted resident Greg Alkema, along with his homeowners’ association, to pre-emptively reach out to Diamond K management and the City of Roseville in an effort to protect this historic site.

Principal Roseville City Planner Greg Bitter confirmed in April of 2015 that an engineer representing Diamond K Estates had contacted the City requesting application requirements and fees for the required Design Review permit needed to demolish the structure. Bitter added that nothing had been filed yet that would set that process in motion.

“An application has not been submitted,” Bitter said. “We do not know if they plan to seek an exemption. We have provided the requirements and fees for application.”

Roseville City Zoning Ordinance 19.61.030, states the Kaseberg House is listed as a “Significant Building.” According to an adopted resolution by Roseville City Council dated April 27, 1978, it states the Victorian Kaseberg Mansion as well as the original brick Ranch House, fall under that protection as both being listed as “Significant Buildings.”

A “Significant Building” is defined in Chapter 19.61.020 as a “building which has special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest.”  In order to attempt to demolish such a structure, certain strict guidelines must be followed, including facing a public hearing in front of the Roseville City Council.

The Press Tribune reached out to Newport Pacific Capital, who represents the owners of Diamond K Estates, for a comment.  The company’s Executive Vice President of Operations, Paul Prentice, answered with the assurance, “We have no intention of tearing the building down. That being said, we also cannot occupy it either. The lender is very specific about what we must do to use the building and the cost does not justify the remedy.”

According to Prentice, the earthquake retrofit could cost between $80,000 to $150,000; and until that work could be done, his company decided, “the Ranch House had to be emptied, gone or locked up, so that no one could get hurt in the case of an earthquake.”

From Alkema’s viewpoint, the fact that Diamond K Estates is a mobile home park means that California Civil Code 798.15 (d) requires owners or management to provide and maintain physical improvements in the common facilities in good working order and condition. Alkema insists that the Ranch House falls under the “common facilities” clause in the law, meaning that the Ranch House cannot be allowed to deteriorate.

Jo Phillips, President of the Diamond K Homeowner’s Association, says she has had enough conversations with the city and Newport Pacific Capital to believe that a resolution can be found.

“A lot of apprehension and worry has been relieved, and that is thanks to Greg Alkema,” Phillips pointed out. “He did most of the work to make sure we protect the Ranch House … one of the amenities for this 5-star park that drew residents to live here was the historic buildings and beautiful property."

For now Newport Pacific Capital is on record saying that the Ranch House will stay, but that a future use for the property is still being determined.  The company’s Vice President of Operations, Candace Holcombe, reiterated to Press Tribune on May 11 that the structure “will remain.”

If that holds true then Phillips and many of her neighbors will be breathing a sigh of relief.

 “I really feel this came to a good conclusion,” she said.