City Council PLUM Committee will Vote Tomorrow on Baseline Mansionization Ordinance

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In a special meeting tomorrow, the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee will vote finally on recommended revisions to the city’s Baseline Mansionization Ordinance, a process that has been in the works for several years now and is intended to close loopholes in the original 2008 ordinance which did more to promote mansionization than to prevent it.

According to the City Attorney’s report recommending the proposed changes to the ordinance, the new rules would include:

  • Reduction of the maximum residential floor area ratio allowed in the R1 zone
  • Modification of the areas that count toward the calculation of residential floor area through the limitation of floor-areacalculation exemptions available in all single-family residential zones
  • Elimination of all floor area bonus options in the R1 zone, including elimination of the bonus option related to
    compliance with the City’s Green Building Code in all single-family residential zones
  • Establishment of an encroachment plane and side wall offset to be applied to the regulation of building envelopes in the R1 zone.
  • A requirement that occupied rooftop decks in the R1 zone be no less than 3 feet from the minimum required side yard
  • Limits on driveway width in the R1 zone in non-hillside areas in order to preserve parkway trees and curbside parking
  • A requirement of a public hearing for requests for 10 percent additional residential floor area in non-hillside areas (current regulations already require a public hearing for such requests in hillside areas)

Most of these are items that were heavily favored by neighborhood activists such as NoMoreMcMansionsInLosAngeles‘ Shelley Wagers, who has said she supports the proposed changes as far as they go.  One additional requirement Wagers is still urging the city to address, however, is “the freebie for attached garages.”

Current regulations exempt up to 400 square feet of attached garage space from inclusion in a home’s overall square footage, but Wagers and others argue that this allows homes that look and feel much bigger than their official size, and there should be no exemptions for garage footage…especially for attached, front-facing garages.  The current draft of the revised BMO exempts only 200 square feet of garage space, and still allows attached, front-facing garages in older neighborhoods, where most homes have detached garages at the rear of the property.

In a post on her Facebook page on Friday, Wagers urged people concerned about the garage exemptions to attend tomorrow’s hearing, which will take place Wednesday, January 18 at Los Angeles City Hall, Room 340, at 3:30 p.m., saying, “We’ve got a real shot at closing the last and worst loophole in the citywide ordinances.”

As it turns out, the BMO revisions are not the only item on the PLUM Committee’s agenda tomorrow, and not the only one that will address the garage issue.  In addition to the Baseline Mansionization and Baseline Hillside Ordinance, the Committee will also vote on whether to accept recommendations for the creation of several new, customizeable R1 zones for single family neighborhoods, including one such zone – designated RG – that would require garages to be placed at the rear of the property, to better match established neighborhood patterns.

The new R1 designations, if passed, would first be offered to the 20 neighborhoods currently covered by Interim Control Ordinances, which provide some temporary anti-mansionization guidelines.  The ICO for 15 of those neighborhoods will expire this June, and the ICO for the other five (more recently enacted) will expire on June 29, 2018.

If the PLUM Committee accepts the new BMO/BHO and the new R1 zones, their final stop for approval will be the full city council, most likely sometime before the June ICO expiration date.

City Council PLUM Committee Meeting
Wednesday, January 18, 3:30 p.m.
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
Room 340

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About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - first in the Sycamore Square neighborhood, and since 2012 in West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill. She was long-time board member of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, currently serves on the board of the West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

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