Areas opting for inclusion in BMO
City planners met with residents from 15 neighborhoods including La Brea-Hancock and Larchmont Heights last month to determine zoning options to protect the areas from teardowns and McMansions.
Planning Dept. staff outlined six zoning schemes from the less to the most restrictive at the city’s Neighborhood Conservation meetings.
“These outreach meetings have been exceptionally helpful both in fine-tuning these new single-family zones, which are still in draft form, and in identifying which neighborhoods are interested in seeing a new zone applied to their neighborhood, and which neighborhoods prefer to adhere to the regulations that are being proposed under the revised Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO),” said Craig Weber, principal city planner.
“One of the benefits of these new zones is that they allow us to address issues that are locally important, but that may not resonate with homeowners across the city.”
Stakeholders in both Larchmont Heights and La Brea-Hancock neighborhoods have expressed support for the draft zone that would essentially push building mass toward the rear of a house, maintaining a prevailing single-story mass at the front, Weber said.
“Not only can this help preserve the existing neighborhood character, but it can help incentivize thoughtful additions at the rear of a house verses complete tear-downs.”
Additionally, he said, these same neighborhoods support mandating garages be located at the rear of the lot — “again in keeping with existing neighborhood character, and facilitating greater separation between houses,” Weber said.
“La Brea-Hancock will definitely opt for a single-family zone since it seems that it can be fine-tuned to fit the needs of our neighborhood,” said Bob Eisele, vice-president of the La Brea-Hancock Homeowners Association.
About 20 homeowners from La Brea-Hancock listened to options for their neighborhood at the June meeting.
“The next step is for the city planners to draw up the single-family zone in response to our input and present it to us and the public at large,” said Eisle.
BMO a concern
The city BMO, passed in 2008 and which is being amended, is a concern also to La Brea-Hancock residents.
“The BMO is still very important to us, both because it can save parts of the city that won’t have new single-family zones for a while (or ever), and because the BMO’s exemptions will also apply to the new zones,” said Eisele.
The 15 neighborhoods that are involved in these discussions are protected by Interim Control Ordinances (ICOs) that expire in March of 2017, and the city is on track to have both the amended BMO and the new zones in place by then, said Weber.
An additional ICO
There is a proposal to City Council to adopt a second ICO for five additional neighborhoods (Brookside, Sycamore Square, Sherman Oaks, Wilshire Vista, and Picfair Village) to serve as a temporary set of regulations for a maximum of two years. On June 28, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee held a public hearing on the five new ICOs after the Chronicle went to press. If approved by PLUM, they were expected to go the next day to the full City Council to be adopted. After City Council adopts the ordinance, the mayor has 10 days to sign, and it becomes effective immediately, said Tom Rothmann, principal city planner.
Planners originally envisioned that each of the original 15 neighborhoods would choose one of the single-family zones, said Weber. “However, many are stating a preference for the revised BMO.” It was also originally envisioned that the five newer ICO areas would only get the revised BMO.
“However, as the prospect of re-zoning all 15 of those original neighborhoods to a new zone is becoming lighter (i.e. fewer neighborhoods), we are exploring the possibility of providing new zones to the five newer ICO areas where desired.” Hearings are expected to take place in late summer. The Planning Commission is set to consider the draft BMO Thurs., July 14.
UPDATED JUNE 28, 2016 at 1:35 p.m.: The “first consideration” of the Interim Control Ordinance was before the City Council on Wed., June 29, and it received unanimous support. The Council can make adoption official as soon as its next meeting on July 1, and the Ordinance will become effective when signed by the Mayor.