Changes aim to address concerns for historical buildings

Hoping for a second shot at earning the city’s approval, architects have revised plans for changes on the Jantzen estate, viewed by some as one of the most unusual and historically significant residential properties in Lake Oswego.

The Lake Oswego Development Review Commission will consider the new plans at a meeting next week.

In August, an architect presented a proposal for an elevated tram to the water, a lakeside entertainment pavilion, a wider driveway with retaining walls and a new guard tower by the private bridge connecting the estate — located on an island in Oswego Lake — to North Shore Road. The commission tentatively approved the guard tower and driveway improvements but rejected the entertainment cabana and tram.

Of primary concern was the possibility the projects would overwhelm the historical significance of a dock and boathouse, among features garnering the estate national and local historic listings.

Now, architects are proposing a 720-square-foot entertainment structure, reducing its size from 819 square feet previously proposed, and have changed the tram’s route to reduce the visual impact for those viewing the island from the lake. In addition, they have shrunk the tram’s elevator cab from 12 feet tall to 9 feet, 3 inches.

Changes to the property require a special review because of the site’s historical status. The main home and the bridge are also considered local landmarks and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dubbed Crazy Man’s Island by early settlers who concluded the main resident, a mute hermit, was insane, the property came under the ownership of Carl and Emma Jantzen in 1929. The couple used to entertain their guests with fashion shows, using the lake as a runway, with water-skiers modeling the latest in swimwear designed by the family’s eponymous knitwear company.

Renowned architect Richard Sundeleaf designed the estate’s stone boathouse and a private bridge with stone arches, wood railings and stone gate posts. Another prominent local architect, Charles Ertz, designed the estate’s 9,443-square-foot mansion. The landscaping was the work of Tommy Tomson, who reportedly designed residential landscapes for Hollywood stars like Joan Crawford and Henry Fonda and helped found the city of Palm Desert, Calif. The island’s 5 acres of manicured grounds are accessible only by boat or the private bridge.

While the property is owned by a limited liability company called Tesoros, it’s unclear who now lives on the island. The residents are identified only as the Miller family in the development review commission’s records. The prior owners were Jerry and Tracie Stubblefield.

The development review commission will consider the revised application at a meeting starting at 7 p.m. Monday at city hall, 380 A Ave.

Contract Publishing

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