Neighborhoods under threat, say homeowners

| October 26, 2023 | 0 Comments

Los Angeles’ residential, tree-lined streets have long been a treasured part of our city.

But, according to local homeowners groups, those streets are under threat by a state-mandated City of Los Angeles rezoning plan that would allow construction of four- to five-story buildings next to single-family homes.

Under its draft plan, the city is proposing to accommodate construction on a 1.4-million-parcel “inventory of potential sites,” from which the City Planning Department says it will choose a much smaller number of properties to rezone to help deal with a housing shortage.

The inventory includes parcels on residential streets and commercial corridors, according to the Planning Dept.’s draft “Plan to House LA” — the city’s title for the state-mandated housing element of the city’s General Plan.

That mandate, planned for 2021 to 2029, requires zoning capacity for an additional 255,432 housing units to be part of City of Los Angeles-adopted law by February 2025.

Target locations

The draft housing element includes a “Candidate Sites Inventory” in its Appendix 4.7. According to an email to the Chronicle from a City Planning Dept. spokesman, “This list was always intended to serve as an inventory of potential sites for rezoning consideration and not a final list of sites that would be rezoned.”

But neighborhood groups are on high alert.

“It’s baffling,” Cindy Chvatal-Keane, Hancock Park Homeowners Association (HPHOA) president, said of the housing plan.

Larchmont Village
Sycamore Square,
La Brea Hancock, Brookside

Neighborhoods most likely impacted in our area include the areas of the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association north of Beverly Boulevard plus Sycamore Square, La Brea Hancock and Brookside — areas which are identified as Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC).

“Wouldn’t it be better to build [high-rise buildings] along La Brea [than on residential streets]?,” asks Chvatal-Keane.

“If you’re not okay with the fact that a four- to six-story building can be built next to your house, you need to tell your elected official,” Chvatal added. “We don’t want to be at the mercy of developers.”

The HPHOA has joined the Miracle Mile Residential and Windsor Square associations in an email campaign telling their members to “Act Now! Save Our Neighborhoods!” to encourage residents to write their elected officials.

The local neighborhood groups have joined forces with United Neighbors, a statewide coalition of renters, homeowners and community organizations that seeks “equitable and fair housing for all, and the right for all residents to come together to find thoughtful and effective solutions,” Chvatal-Keane told us.

Chvatal-Keane has met with members of the state legislature, city council and the city’s planning department subsequent to the city unveiling the housing plan in 2021. All along, she said, she has been “giving [the city] the benefit of the doubt and expecting they’ll follow through… take action… and that hasn’t happened.”

“Our fear is that they’re not listening, and once the new map comes out, they’re not going to change this,” she said.

An updated map and draft of the housing element are expected later this fall to include updating the Density Bonus and TOC programs and allow more housing near transit.

Had you heard?

Planning Dept. officials say there has been community outreach by hosting public webinars, offering office hours and attending stakeholder meetings.
However, many local residents say they have heard about this issue only recently.

“The rezoning program is still in the initial phase, and there will be many more opportunities for the public to provide feedback as the program develops,” the Planning spokesman said. “In the Larchmont area, email notifications for events have been provided to neighborhood councils, everyone who participated in the housing element update and all subscribers to program updates. We appreciate all Angelenos weighing in.” To get updates, visit:

While the city is required to develop and adopt a rezoning program to accommodate the additional 255,432 housing units by February 2025, “Within the 2021-2029 housing cycle, the City is obligated to plan for the construction of 456,643 units, including 184,721 units designated as lower-income housing units, the Planning representative added.

United Neighbors

A few years ago, Chvatal-Keane joined Sherman Oaks residents Maria and Jeffrey Kalban and others to form United Neighbors when proposed Senate Bills 9 and 10 were being promoted in Sacramento. (The two bills, which passed and went into effect in Jan. 2022, allow increased density on single-family lots. They also allow developments of up to 10 units on parcels in areas near transit.)

Now United Neighbors has moved its focus to the city’s latest zoning efforts which threaten not only single-family neighborhoods but the entire city, Chvatal-Keane told us.

Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Wilshire Park, Windsor Village and other city Historic Preservation Overlay Zones are left untouched by the plan.
“But we are all one city. We are all impacted,” said Chvatal-Keane.

View the Plan to House LA at


City of Los Angeles
Obligations to the
State of California during the
2021-2029 Housing Cycle

to accommodate … 255,432 by February 2025

Aiming to
CONSTRUCT … 456,643* by October 2029

* Includes the potential construction of 202,153 units available under existing zoning, plus the 255,432 units through rezoning, with 186,721 units of the total to be designated lower-income.

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