Planning staff’s efforts seek to change city’s urban design

| March 28, 2024 | 0 Comments

800 LORRAINE at the corner of Eighth Street and Lorraine Boulevard, next to historic single-family houses in the Windsor Village HPOZ, is being proposed by a developer seeking to build pursuant to the mayor’s Executive Directive 1 (ED 1).

Do you love your neighborhood, your quaint street with leafy trees and houses that date back to the early years of the last century?

So do Wall Street investors and real estate developers and brokers.

It’s time to stand up, again, to defend your turf. That’s the message local homeowner groups relayed to area residents last month.

“Our historic homes and our many, many affordable rent-controlled apartments are imminently threatened by a proposed ordinance that would make permanent Mayor Karen Bass’ Executive Directive 1 (ED 1),” Miracle Mile Residential Association President Greg Goldin wrote in a March email blast.

Development issues
There are two, related, real estate development issues that are very topical at this time. The first relates to the Executive Directive cited by Goldin. The purpose of ED 1 is to encourage the construction of 100 percent affordable housing. Mayor Bass signed that decree soon after she took office in December 2022.

The second issue involves the Dept. of City Planning’s “Housing Element Rezoning Program” that consists of several different implementation programs, including the Citywide Housing Incentive Program (CHIP) that, itself, will be implemented through one or more zoning code amendments being developed now (2023-2025).

CHIP anticipates the use of “incentives” that, according to the Planning Department, “will not modify the underlying zoning of a property, but will instead offer density, floor area, height, parking, and other incentives in exchange for providing on-site affordable housing units.” Although the underlying zoning may not be changed, it appears that the results for the property owner and its neighbors will be the same as if it were.

ED1 replacement
As originally issued in late 2022, ED 1 — the mayor’s fast-track process for bureaucratic review of “100 percent affordable” housing construction applications — has

“OPPORTUNITY AREA” sites envisioned by city planners within the boundaries of the GWNC.

been seen to result in existing low-density, low-height buildings potentially being dwarfed by six-story tall buildings proposed to be built next door, wrote Goldin.

He says that almost everyone he knows is onboard with the ED 1 goal to create affordable housing; it’s the method that’s in question, he adds.

“The mayor’s emergency decree was hastily drawn, with [unintended] huge loopholes for developers,” Goldin continued.

Several City Council committees are scheduled to review a draft ordinance that would formalize ED 1 as a permanent law. Depending upon how things go in the City Council review process, the new ordinance will affect projects in neighborhoods within the Larchmont Chronicle circulation area, such as a seven-story housing project proposed at 507 N. Larchmont Blvd. and a six-story building proposed at 800 S. Lorraine.

Neighborhood associations are urging residents to join in requesting City Council members to amend the ED 1 draft ordinance to require: protections for historic districts, 15-foot setbacks for tree planting, increased fire protection measures and more. Learn about reviewing the ED 1 ordinance at:

Housing Element rezoning
Los Angeles city planning employees currently on staff seek to change entirely the city’s urban design. They seek to do this through draft ordinances proposed to implement the revised Housing Element of the City of Los Angeles General Plan.

The staff’s CHIP “incentive” program includes draft ordinances and rules aimed to increase housing along major streets and in areas with access to public transit. The programs also encourage affordable housing on underutilized city properties and lands owned by religious organizations.

United Neighbors
Last year, the City Planning Dept. finally started to allow some community involvement with its zoning undertakings. Numerous Greater Wilshire-area neighborhood associations are among the many groups throughout California who are allied with United Neighbors (UN), a statewide coalition of renters, homeowners and community organizations. UN with community groups created new maps in response to the Housing Element maps originally released by the Planning Dept. in March 2023, showing the city planners where density could be added in each community without the need to rezone single-family and sensitive multi-family zones. UN’s efforts bore fruit, and the community groups celebrated the removal of single-family rezoning overlays from the most recently released Housing Element maps.

The most recent CHIP maps, uploaded for public review in late January of this year, together with draft ordinances released in March, are extremely complicated.

OPPORTUNITY ZONES” envisioned by city planners within the boundaries of the GWNC.

“DENSITY BONUS” sites envisioned by city planners within the boundaries of the GWNC.

The Planning Dept. has scheduled webinars on Housing Element Rezoning for March 28 and 30. Webinars on the Housing Element Rezoning Program Ordinances are scheduled for April 2 and 9. Learn more about, and sign up for, the webinars at:

You may view your block on the Planning Department’s new interactive maps, online. Be patient, the parcels and colors take time to populate. Images accompanying this article are exemplary screen shots — of just the neighborhoods within and around the boundaries of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council (GWNC) — taken from the department’s website:

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Category: Real Estate

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