Last week, residents of Brookside were asked at a meeting of the Brookside Homeowners Association to consider adopting one of the new R-1 residential zoning plans, most likely the R1-R3-RG Zone, for their neighborhood when an Interim Control Ordinance expires next July.
“Based on our experience with Larchmont Heights, South Hollywood and La Brea Hancock, we think the R1-R3-RG zone would be a good fit for this neighborhood,” explained CD4 Land Use Deputy Julia Duncan. “But we want to make sure there’s support for that in the neighborhood, so we are hoping to survey the 350 residents of Brookside.”
The R1-R3-RG rules would protect the scale and massing of the neighborhood by requiring a .45 Floor Area Ratio (RFA) and garages placed at the rear of the property, to match historic patterns. However, the new R1 zones do not affect building style, or have any architectural preservation requirements like there would be under an Historic Overlay Preservation Zone (HPOZ).
Ken Bernstein, chief Planner at the Department of City Planning, told residents that his department is currently managing 32 HPOZs, which cover only about 2% of the city. In the last several months, with the addition of the Miracle Mile HPOZ, the department’s workload has grown 20%, but no new staff have been added. He said CD4 Councilmember David Ryu has asked for more planning resources to help with local neighborhoods, but they are not yet available and it takes a great deal of work to implement an HPOZ.
“An HPOZ is a lengthy process. Lots of outreach is required, and there are lots of different points of view, ” said Bernstein, specifically addressing two vocal residents strongly opposed to an HPOZ in Brookside. Those opponents argued that an HPOZ would take away their property rights, but most others in the room seemed supportive of an effort to preserve the neighborhood’s historic architecture.
Bernstein explained the new R1 zoning codes and the newly instituted revised Base Mansionization Ordinance offer neighborhoods protection from large, new box-like homes that disrupt the common streetscape of older homes. However, only an HPOZ allows residents to preserve significant architectural details of the neighborhood and require owners to follow national historic standards for elements such as windows and doors, and to emphasize repair and restoration instead of replacement.
“If you are concerned about scale and massing, the new R1 zones address those issues, and that’s why neighborhoods like Larchmont Heights, La Brea Hancock and South Hollywood are adopting those zones,” explained Duncan.
Choosing a new R1 zone is easier than instituting an HPOZ, and could be implemented within a few months so that something is in place when Brookside’s ICO expires in July of 2018, explained Duncan. The R1 choice also doesn’t preclude the neighborhood from continuing to work on an HPOZ, which is what Larchmont Heights has decided to do, she added.
The Brookside residents also heard a presentation on the magnet programs at John Burroughs Middle School from Samuel Corral, Magnet Coordinator. Burroughs was recently awarded Gold Ribbon Status and is embarking on a $100 million renovation of the campus.
Jessica Younghans, District Manager of Salt & Straw, passed out “karma cards” offering a buy one/get one free ice cream deal for residents.
Finally, the Brookside board announced that volunteers are needed for the 38th Annual Brookside Block Party, which will be held on Sunday, June 25, from 3-7 p.m. in the 800 block of Muirfield. Everyone is welcome to attend the potluck. Street-by-street assignments for donations are Highland: side dishes and soda; Longwood and Tremaine: salads and beer; Kenniston and Rimpau: desserts and juice boxes; Mullen, 8th and 9th: appetizers and water. Volunteers can contact Donna Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 323-936-3215.