Archive for the ‘Mansionization’ Category

Mansionization Action Alert

February 1st, 2017

Sometime in the next few weeks, the City Council will adopt amendments to the flawed citywide mansionization ordinances (BMO and BHO), and we need all hands on deck.  This is an opportunity for you to talk to your Council office before that vote.

As they stand, the amendments make real improvements on the current ordinance.  But one last loophole remains – they still don’t fully count attached garages as floor space. This is the single most damaging feature of the ordinance.  Attached garages add hundreds of square feet of bloat, do away with driveways that put a buffer between houses, and disrupt the look and feel of many LA neighborhoods.

We’re not asking for a ban on attached garages — we’re even shrugging off the exemption for garages attached at the back of the house.  But we are asking that garages attached at the front count as part of the house.

Mansionization is part of a bigger picture.  Across the city, all kinds of people (more…)

BMO/BHO Code Amendment at PLUM Committee Tuesday 11/29/16

November 22nd, 2016
The City Council’s Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee will consider the Baseline Mansionization/Baseline Hillside (BMO/BHO) Code Amendment at its scheduled meeting on Tuesday November 29, 2016. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and will take place in the Edward R. Roybal Board of Public Works Hearing Room (Room 350) of Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
An agenda for the PLUM meeting will become available in the next few days at the following link: 29 2016
The Council File (CF 14-0656) for the Code Amendment may be accessed here:
At the meeting, interested parties will have the opportunity to speak and submit written information on the Code Amendment. Please note that multiple items will be on the agenda and the BMO/BHO item may not be taken up until well after the noticed start time.
The Council will also accept written comments on the Code Amendment. Written comments may be sent to; please reference Council File #14-0656 in your correspondence.
For questions, please contact Niall Huffman, (213) 978-3405.
Thank you for your continued interest in the BMO/BHO Code Amendment.

BMO/BHO Code Amendment: Staff Report to City Planning

July 7th, 2016

On July 14, 2016, the City Planning Commission will consider the proposed Baseline Mansionization Ordinance and Baseline Hillside Ordinance (BMO/BHO) Code amendment and make a recommendation to the City Council. This is in response to Council Motion CF 14-0656 requesting​ ​the Department address concerns regarding out-of-scale development in single-family​ ​neighborhoods.​ ​Once the Commission makes a formal recommendation, the Code amendment will be considered by the City Council. Changes may still be made before the City Council’s final decision.

The Department of City Planning has prepared a staff report with updated recommendations for the Commission’s consideration. The Department has also prepared a summary fact sheet of staff’s recommendations and a revised, expanded Questions & Answers document detailing the proposed ordinance and staff recommended ​modifications.​

For your convenience, these documents are attached to this email.​ You can also find them on the Department of City Planning’s dedicated Neighborhood Conservation website. An agenda of the Commission meeting will be posted shortly at under “Commissions & Hearings.”

​The Department appreciates the interest and involvement of the ​many individuals and organizations who have weighed in with their thoughts and comments on the proposed ordinance. We ask that any further comments be made directly to the City Planning Commission, either in person at the July 14 meeting or by email at

For questions, please contact Niall Huffman (213) 978-3405.

Link to documents here

BMO Draft Amendment Released

April 22nd, 2016

The preliminary draft amendment (BMO/BHO) to the LAMC to establish new regulations for all single-family zoned properties, including RA, RE, RS, and R1 Zones.

PROPOSED PROJECT: A proposed ordinance amending the Los Angeles Municipal Code to establish new regulations for all single-family zoned properties including the RA, RE, RS, and R1 Zones.  PURPOSE: The purpose of the hearing is to obtain testimony from affected and/or interested persons regarding this project. The hearing will be conducted by a Hearing Officer who will consider oral testimony and any written communication received regarding this proposed Code amendment, as well as the merits of the draft ordinance as it relates to existing land use regulations. After the hearing, a recommendation report will be prepared for consideration by the City Planning Commission at a later date.

Please submit comments to: Niall Huffman Neighbor (more…)

PlanCheckNC Feb 14 Meeting Minutes

February 18th, 2015

PlanCheckNC – Los Angeles

Minutes: Feb. 14, 2015
Chair: Cindy Cleghorn –
Next meeting: Mar. 14 – Dean Sherer, CEQA presentation. Location TBD.

Other meetings:
Sat., Feb. 21, 2:00 pm: NC Sustainable Alliance: TreePeople office at 12601 Mulholland Dr. in Sherman Oaks (near Coldwater Canyon). (more…)

PlanCheckNC Meeting Minutes for 3-9-14

April 11th, 2014

PlanCheckNC – Los Angeles

Minutes: Mar. 9, 2014

Chair: Cindy Cleghorn –

David Lara, Building & Safety Dept., Asst. Bureau Chief-Code Enforcement

40% are zoning issues (parking, fences, uses).

Frank Lara, principal sign investigator

Reactive, based on complaints received (may not be anonymous).
No longer have the PACE (proactive inspections) team, which would do public education and send notices in advance to target areas with many problems and visual blight.

Process: Issue order to comply with inspection fee ($256), 30 days to fix problem and compliance inspection in 45 days. If fail to comply, fee increases to $550 + interest. City can place lien for unpaid fee. If legitimate excuse, fee is excised.

Abandoned construction sites: Can only fence it off, will remain ugly until construction re-starts.

Community care facilities: Nuisance abatement is the governing law.
Doing an assessment of property is difficult, can’t determine who actually lives in building.
This is a problem with the <6 residents properties.
DBS can assess illegal construction and prosecute that.
DBS and City Attorney have had success with trained staff, but need funding to re-activate.

Pasadena does inspections at close of escrow to ensure code compliance.
LAHD enforces Building Code and Zoning for existing.
Building and Safety enforces during construction.
Lack of smoke detectors is problem (fires in illegal attic/garage conversions) – more inspectors are needed.
NCs should promote criminal and financial risks of illegal conversions for housing.
Home business uses: DBS will respond to complaints, Bureau of Street Services can enforce on public or private property.
Inspectors cannot report observed violation on another property if on a call for another property, unless it’s a safety hazard.

Dick Platkin, retired planner (
Teaches planning at USC, CityWatch writer, Beverly Wilshire HOA.

Density Bonus Ordinance (implements SB1818):
Best advocates for a fair program were Jane Usher (fired by Mayor Villaraigosa for taking strong stands) and Noel Weiss (attorney, active in tenant rights).
Incentives are easy variances with limited CEQA review and quick approval.

Grants discretionary approvals without sufficient public notice and limit rights to appeal, as part of DIR process. State does provide criteria to reject (no financial need, detailed environmental impacts).
No connection to General Plan – it’s a top-down legislation.
Growth is targeted anywhere, not targeted to smart growth areas.
Circumvents CEQA but limiting environmental review while exceeding zoning.
No evidence that it actually increases affordable housing – many cheap apartments are demolished and replaced by condos and luxury apartments.

Suggestions to increase notification and radius for those allowed to appeal (only adjacent parcels).

Cute bungalows are being replaced by huge mansions that run to the property lines.
General Plan protects “scale and character” but McMansions are continually approved.
Gail Goldberg also got fired as Planning Director for trying to protect neighborhoods.
Baseline Ordinance was gutted by bonuses that aren’t enforced and are too easily achieved, and create out-of-character houses. A base FAR of 0.5 can increase to 0.73 with no real, certified benefit to the neighborhood.

Garages are exempt, so an extra 400 sf is allowed.
A “green” design is given a bonus, but city does not require this to be certified.
25% of the front is required to be recessed for articulation (minimal impact).
Recess 2nd story by 25% (stepback), but information is not readily available on the plans.
During demolition, little evidence that asbestos and lead paint is remediated per safety codes.
During demolition and construction, little evidence that separation of debris for recycling is done.

Solution is to limit base FAR to 0.42.

West Hollywood has 45-day moratorium and overlay district to protect neighborhoods. Cities have legal right to do legal actions like this.

L.A. does Residential Floor Area Districts (overlay zones) to reduce FARs. City should do citywide, instead of patchwork (done in Brentwood, Valley Village). New districts are rarely approved. Suggestion to get RFA districts inserted into Community Plans.

City should establish formal relationship with County Dept. of Public Health and SCAQMD for neighbor notification and enforce lead paint and asbestos removal.

Other issues:

Billboards: Why is any grandfathering of existing, illegal signs being considered? All altered signs are illegal.
State law says that if no determination on legality within 5 years of installation, city must be the party to determine that it’s illegal. Owner would not have to prove it’s legal.

Trees: Illegal to remove protected trees (only 5 are listed – black walnut, California oak, western Sycamore, diadora). Need permit to plant / remove any tree.

Re-Code LA zoning revisions: Big push to trade green design elements for higher densities.

Murals: City cannot regulate content.
May not have commercial / advertising, but some new murals have them.

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