On Wednesday, March 25th, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) to limit the construction of “over-sized” homes in single-family neighborhoods. This was passed as an urgency item, so as soon as the Mayor signs the ordinance, it will go into effect. The item went to Mayor Garcetti yesterday.
You may have seen stories abut this action on the TV news or in newspapers. Here are links to articles in two local news sources, Park La Brea News / Beverly Press and West Hollywood Patch. And the full item, from the Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUM) that was brought to the City Council is available here. And you can follow the progress of this ordinance on its page at the City Clerk website.
So what does this mean for Melrose Village? The maps are a little confusing, but staff at the office of our City Councilmember Paul Koretz clarified that this will take effect in the single-family home areas of Melrose Village. This does not include commercial zones or much of the area north of Waring Ave., where zoning is in place for multi-unit residences.
Note that this does not affect construction where the plans were already approved and paid for before this goes into effect. It also does not block demolition and construction of new homes that meet the new standards, and there are a few other exceptions, such as an existing home that would now not be allowed but was “destroyed by fire, earthquake or other natural disaster.”
What this does is limit the floor-to-area ratio (FAR) for new permits, removing special incentives that developers were using to result in mansionization. The measurements involved here are the floor area of all living space and the overall area of the lot.
This is a temporary measure to limit permits for over-sized homes until the Planning Department brings a new permanent ordinance to the City Council. Under this ICO they have almost two years to do this.
This does not stop the demolition and rebuilding of homes where the new homes meet the size limits. The exception for this is in Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZ) which does not apply in our area. And except where the HPOZ is in place, it does not mean that builders have to conform to the existing style of homes. And a partial second story may be allowed under the ICO, depending on the specific zone of the area and the resulting FAR.
We’ll see where this takes us, and not everyone will be satisfied. But it’s a good first step, and all of the City Council agreed.