The Los Angeles City Council considered its 35th Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) for the Miracle Mile area south of Wilshire Boulevard after the Chronicle went to press. Council consideration followed three years of money spent, city hearings, and community outreach — from neighbor to neighbor and also from Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and David Ryu.
On March 28, the Council adopted the HPOZ, with the boundaries recommended by its PLUM committee.
Most of the debate on the proposed ordinance occurred seven days prior to the Council action, at the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing that almost filled the City Council chambers. Following the staff presentation, PLUM chairman José Huizar allocated 15 minutes each for public comments pro and con. Scores of comment cards had been submitted, and the “no HPOZ” side made about a dozen comments during its 15 minutes, contrasted with the “pro HPOZ” side that subsequently had about 20 people speak during its 15 minutes.
After further questions of the staff and wrap-up comments from Julia Duncan, senior planning deputy for Councilmember Ryu, and Jordan Beroukhim, planning deputy for Councilmember Herb Wesson, the committee recommended that the council include in the proposed HPOZ most of the parcels removed by the City Planning Commission. The PLUM-adopted boundaries were essentially the boundaries originally proposed by the City Planning Dept. staff. (The City Planning Commission, in Dec., 2016, had removed properties along Olympic Blvd. and north of Eighth St.)
According to residents active in the campaign to have their community be designated “historic,” the ordinance is aimed at preventing boxy homes, too large for their lots, being built. A flurry of McMansions prompted residents to work to save the Miracle Mile area’s Period Revival styles of architecture, including Spanish Colonial, Tudor, Mediterranean, French and American Colonial.
Unlike some HPOZs, the Miracle Mile neighborhood includes a number of period apartment buildings. Their residents added their voices to those of city staff and elected officials to advocate approval of this 35th HPOZ.