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

Two Major Planning Issues Receive City Hearings Tomorrow

The seven contemporary townhomes built as a small lot subdivision are called the Wilshire + Rimpau Homes.
7-unit Small Lot Subdivision project under construction at 4701 Wilshire Blvd.

Proposed new planning and zoning changes are flying fast and furious in L.A. these days, and two big issues will have city hearings on Thursday, August 25.

Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance

First up at 8:30 a.m., at the Van Nuys City Hall, is a City Planning Commission hearing on proposed revisions to the city’s Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance.  The proposed changes include:

  • A requirement for SLS projects to conform to new Small Lot Design Standards.
  • An increase in minimum lot width for SLS projects from 16 to 18 feet.
  • A reduction in buildable lot coverage from 80% to 75%.
  • A new requirement for front yard setbacks to conform to the underlying zone (generally 15′)
  • New requirements for a 10′ rear setback (or conformance to the underlying zone if abutting an R1 or more restrictive single-family zone)
  • Side yard setbacks of 5′ (or per the underlying zone if abutting an R1 or more restrictive single-family zone)
  • New requirements for alterations to existing bungalow courts to conform with LAMC 12.23A and applicable design standards
  • New requirements for new bungalow courts to conform with all design standards.

According to the Planning Department’s Staff Report on the proposed changes, they’re a response to “community concerns regarding…the enforceability of design regulations for Small Lot projects” and they aim to ensure that “small lot projects will be more sensitive and compatible with the existing neighborhood context and zoning” and “more in line with the requirements that other types of housing projects in multi-family zones are required to meet for the front and rear yards.”

If the CPC approves the proposal, it will go next to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management committee for a further review and a recommendation to the full City Council.

Neighborhood Conservation Ordinance

The second big issue being looked at by city officials on Thursday morning (10 a.m. at City Hall Room 1070, 200 S. Spring St.) is the so-called “Neighborhood Conservation” ordinance.  This new law attempts to acknowledge the varying needs and characteristics of R1 single-family neighborhoods, and would allow R1 neighborhoods currently protected by Interim Control Ordinances to select one of 12 new R1 designations to govern the size and massing of new construction in their areas.

Generally intended to help keep new construction more in scale with existing homes in older neighborhoods, the new R1 zones would establish a variety of different patterns for building size and massing, which are more specific than the overall Baseline Mansionization Ordinance.  The new R1 zones, if neighborhoods choose to adopt one of them, would take precedence over the BMO in those areas.  (ICO neighborhoods in our area that would be making this choice include Larchmont Heights, La Brea-Hancock, South Hollywood, Miracle Mile, Sycamore Square and Brookside).

The new ordinance would also create an “RG” or Rear Detached Garage District, which the affected neighborhoods could also choose to apply.  The RG designation would require new homes in older neighborhoods to have a detached garage at the rear of the property, to better match established architectural patterns.

Tomorro’s hearing on the Neighborhood Conservation ordinance is with the City Planning Department.  For those who would like to comment, but can’t make it to the meeting, public comments will still be accepted by the Planning Department at [email protected] or (213) 978-3304 until September 12.  After that date, further public comments can be sent to the City Planning Commission, which will be the next agency to conduct a review and hearing of the proposed ordinance.

[This story was updated to correct the dates of the two hearings.]

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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