The Los Angeles City Planning Department will consider a proposal to limit the size of new home construction in the Beverly Grove area — or “mansionization” — after the city council voted Tuesday to begin the planning review process.
The proposal by City Councilmember Paul Koretz, 5th District, seeks to limit the proliferation of oversized residences built out to the property lines. Koretz said the proposal is still in the early stages, and the council’s decision is the beginning of what he anticipates will be a “long process” that could take more than a year. Koretz has also increased the maximum size proposed for new homes in the area to 3,000 square feet, up from 2,378 square feet in an original proposal. The area being considered is between Colgate Avenue to the north, Hayworth Avenue to the east, Lindenhurst Avenue to the south, and San Vicente Boulevard to the west. The proposal specifically calls for an overlay zone, which is an area with more restrictive rules than the current zoning laws in place in a particular area.
Koretz said he proposed the limitations because some residents in the area had complained about people buying and demolishing residences, and replacing them with homes they claim are too large for the lots.
“They really change the character of historic neighborhoods. There is a question of whether they decrease property values, and I believe putting up some of these large houses may reduce the value of neighboring properties,” Koretz said. “What we proposed is that planning look at it further. We have received some feedback from residents, and we have responded to those comments.”
Koretz’s proposal caused a significant amount of opposition in August, primarily from residents who disagree that a majority of people in the neighborhood are in support of home size regulations. Koretz circulated a survey on the proposal to approximately 600 single-family homes in the area, and 376 were returned. Of those surveys, 226 were supportive of an overlay zone, or approximately 60 percent, he said.
Beverly Grove resident Charles Tarlow, who said he has lived on Colgate Avenue for 63 years, said he will continue to fight the proposal “tooth and nail”, and added that he is part of a group of residents that has collected more than 300 signatures against an overlay zone. He also claimed Koretz is sidestepping the will of residents by proposing the overlay zone. An overlay zone can be created either by a 75 percent majority of residents, or by a vote of the city council at a councilmember’s request.
“He can’t get a super majority in the neighborhood, but there is a loophole that allows a councilman to go around it,” Tarlow added. “We plan to present the signatures to him. When it goes to planning, anybody is a stakeholder, and we are hoping more people will oppose the plan. The real battle will occur in planning.”
Koretz added that the planning department will now examine and compare lot sizes for all of the properties in the area, and will draft a formal ordinance. There will then be hearings held where the public can weigh in on the draft plan. Later, the plan will go to the city council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, before going for a vote of the full city council.
“It’s just the beginning,” Koretz added.
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