Going up against developers ain’t easy, but it can be done.
Activists in Hollywood sent the Millennium Project back to the drawing board. Activists in Beverly Grove got an RFA Overlay that provides the strongest protection from mansionization in the city. Now people all over the city are working to build on that success to fix the citywide mansionization ordinance.
The key to success? You. Taking action. Sending emails. Attending hearings when you can. Activists are just people who speak up and show up. Again and again. That’s what got the BMO amendments on the city’s radar screen. If you care about your neighborhood and your city, please get involved.
City officials cite email all the time as a swing factor in their thinking. It really works.
Right now emails are needed.
Here’s a sample letter. You can use as-is, make changes, or start from scratch.
Please include the Council File number (CF no. 14-0656) in the subject line.
Subj: BMO/BHO Amendments, CF no. 14-0656
The last time LA tackled mansionization, speculators called the shots. After the Sea Breeze scandal, city officials need to show that they put the community first.
By a very wide margin, city residents and homeowners have called for amendments that reflect the original Council Motion. Councilmembers Koretz and Ryu, the LA Conservancy, and dozens of neighborhood councils and homeowner and resident associations also stressed the need for strong, enforceable ordinances.
The latest draft makes big improvements, especially in the R1 zones that make up most of the city’s single-family properties. But it has major flaws:
Attached garages. The Planning Commission’s compromise goes too far. It counts only half the square footage of those at the front. All attached garages add bulk. But garages attached at the front also clash with the look and feel of many LA neighborhoods and lose the buffer of a driveway. Square footage is square footage, and it should all count. At an absolute minimum, count all front-facing attached garage space.
Grading and hauling. Allowances are excessive. The Hillside Federation recommendations would cut them down to size.
Bonuses. In RA/RS/RE zones, bonuses add 20% more bulk. Get rid of them.
Above all, do not try to split the difference between reasonable and ridiculous.
The original Motion was fair and reasonable to start with, and the current draft of amendments makes further concessions. It’s time to hold the line.
You will hear that “one size does not fit all.” True. That’s why the city is developing zoning options for individual neighborhoods. We cannot give veto power to a vocal minority concentrated in a few pockets of resistance.
The baseline must set meaningful limits not find the lowest common denominator.
Mansionization decreases affordable housing and reduces the city’s sustainability.
It replaces affordable homes with pricey showplaces, and it puts short-term speculation ahead of stable long-term property values.
It destroys mature street trees, increases runoff, and turns houses into debris.
It guzzles energy and overloads local utilities.
It degrades livability, and violates neighborhood character.
And it has gone on far too long.