On December 17, the SayNoHPOZ group, which opposed a proposed Historic Preservation Overlay Zone for the Miracle Mile neighborhood, filed a protest with the City Attorney’s office, claiming a recent City Planning Commission vote to support the HPOZ proposal was invalid. (The first vote by the CPC was a tie, and after additional discussion at the same meeting, a second vote resulted in a 5-3 decision to support the HPOZ. SayNoHPOZ contended that the second vote violated the CPC’s bylaws, because it was not made by a member of the “prevailing side” in the original vote, as the bylaws require, and that the second vote should be invalidated.)
Yesterday, however, Rocky Wiles, of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, sent a formal denial of the protest to SayNoHPOZ, and determined that the HPOZ proposal will move forward to the City Council’s PLUM Committee, as previously announced:
“The Commission Office is in receipt of your letter dated December 8, 2016 concerning the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (“Commission”) action related to the Miracle Mile HPOZ , Case No. CPC-2016-961-HPOZ (“Ordinance”). As you stated, the Ordinance was before the Commission on December 8, 2016. The Commission’s first vote of 4 – 4 was a tie, which resulted in no action or failure to act. However, please note that a vote which results in “Failure to Act”, is not subject to reconsideration rules which requires a “prevailing side”. In a tie, no side prevails. Then, as you know, the Commission voted 5-3 to approve the requested action.
Therefore, the Commission action of December 8, 2016, is legitimate and the Ordinance will be transmitted to the Los Angeles City Council with a recommendation of approval from the City Planning Commission.”
SayNoHPOZ issued a letter to the community recounting Wiles’ decision, and urging its members to attend the upcoming PLUM hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, to continue their protests.
Meanwhile, SayNoHPOZ leaders Jay Schoenfeldt and Henry van Moyland told the Buzz that they also remain unsatisfied with the latest draft of the Preservation Plan for the HPOZ (the document that sets specific rules for the district), which was also supported by the CPC. The second draft of the Plan was written by the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources after SayNoHPOZ protested language and provisions in the first draft relating to landscaping, fences, window replacements, and new additions to homes.
Representatives of the Miracle Mile Residential Association, which supports the HPOZ, previously told the Buzz that they also supported the revisions, which were worked out in a negotiating meeting with SayNoHPOZ and city representatives. But SayNoHPOZ’s Schoenfeldt and van Moyland say now that while some of the second-draft revisions are helpful, they are still not happy with other second-draft provisions, particularly those regarding additions:
“There’s no chance of contemporary architecture. Most owners can’t build backwards, because of the footprint rules. You also can’t go upwards on a small house with a pitched roof, so many, many houses have been totally prevented from having additions, whatever the size of their lots. And chapters 9&10 continue to prevent any sense of modern renewal in our neighborhood, even for non-contributors and infill.”
Jim O’Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association, disagreed strongly with SayNoHPOZ’s assessment. He said the second-draft rules are not that strict and “even the City Planning Commission stated that our plan was the most flexible they had ever seen.”
The City Council PLUM Committee hearing on the Miracle Mile HPOZ has not yet been scheduled, but is expected to happen in the next few weeks.
[This story has been updated for clarification of several points.]