Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

City Planning Department Backs Off Density Overlays for Residential Neighborhoods

Neighborhood preservationists are celebrating the City Planning Department’s recent decision to exclude single-family residential neighborhoods from the Citywide Housing Incentive Program (CHIP). (image from United Neighbors)

Local preservationists are celebrating last week’s announcement from the City Planning Department that it will not apply the upcoming Affordable Housing Overlays and the Transit Oriented Community Expansion programs to single-family residential neighborhoods as part of the Citywide Housing Incentive Program (CHIP).

The plan to densify single-family neighborhoods drew fierce opposition from homeowners groups across the city. Hancock Park Homeowners Association President Cindy Chvatal-Keane and La Brea Hancock Homeowners Association President Cathy Roberts, representing United Neighbors, a statewide coalition of neighborhoods working to protect multi-family and single-family residential neighborhoods while supporting affordable housing, recently made a presentation at a Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council meeting, showing how the new overlays could dramatically alter neighborhoods.

Both Mayor Karen Bass and CD5 Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky had publicly stated their support for preserving neighborhoods and instead, adding density along commercial corridors.

“Based on feedback gathered throughout the Spring and Summer through the Department’s CHIP survey and a series of Office Hours hosted in July of this year, as well as direction from the Los Angeles City Council, the Department has modified how CHIP strategies will apply to single-family zones. In particular, at this time single-family zoned land is not being considered as eligible for the Affordable Housing Overlay incentives in development unless a proposed project is constructed on land hosting a religious institution and owned by a FAITH-BASED Organization. Additionally, single-family zoned sites are not being considered in the expansion of the Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentive Program. Opportunities for refinement will continue to be available as the CHIP program moves toward adoption,” wrote Vince Bertoni, Director of City Planning in a post on the City Planning’s website posted October 26, 2023.

Homeowners groups were greatly relieved to hear the announcement from City Planning.

“We are taking a victory lap together,” wrote United Neighbor leadership in an email message to supporters. “Further, be aware of Abundant Housing and their constant efforts to open up single-family neighborhoods.”

In the coming months, City Planning said they will release draft ordinances associated with specific CHIP strategies.

“We have to stay vigilant to make sure these new maps don’t destroy single-family neighborhoods and put the density on our commercial corridors,” Chvatal-Keane told the Buzz.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the maps that will ultimately inform revisions to the drafts prior to adoption.

“We must be ready to always respond to these draft ordinances once they are released,” wrote Maria Pavlou Kalban, from the United Neighbors coalition.

To stay up to date on the Department’s work on CHIP, the public can sign up for email alerts here. In addition, the department invited the public to participate in a survey. Click here to take the short survey.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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