PLUC Meeting On Tuesday, 10/15

Our Neighborhood Council’s Planning & Land Use Committee (“PLUC”) is having its monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 15th.

Two important issues are on the agenda.

First is further discussion about LMU’s proposed Master Plan Amendment. PLUC was very hard on them last time they appeared. If you want to see what the hard questions about this project look like, attend the meeting.


NC PLUC Meeting is next Tuesday, October 15th in the Westchester Municipal Building Community Room at 7166 W Manchester Avenue. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm.


Also on the agenda is a presentation by a group seeking to add a preschool at the Methodist Church on Emerson Ave, across from Orville Wright, in the heart of Kentwood. Our understanding is that this project comes up for City approval soon, so if you want to better understand this project and share concerns and/or support with the City, you won’t want to miss the PLUC meeting.

Find the PLUC agenda here. Relevant PDFs are attached at the bottom of the agenda.

Come out and see what’s being built in our community.

Next Neighborhood Council Meeting – Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019

The LA City Charter requires the City of Los Angeles to promote organized neighborhood empowerment in the form of Neighborhood Councils. Our local council is the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa (NCWP).

NCWP’s next meeting is Tuesday, September 3rd at 6:30 pm in the Community Room of the Westchester Municipal Building, located at 7166 Manchester Avenue.

For the agenda, head over to NCWP’s website.

One item that caught my attention is recognition for our Westchester Del Rey Little League Girls Softball Team as 2019 State Champions of Southern California Major Little League Softball. Way to go, girls!

photo is from the WDRLL page on facebook




westchester near LA, 90045, Westchester CALiving 90045 is a community-focused blog launched in 2008. Living 90045 founder Tracy Thrower Conyers was an early adopter of new media, including blogging and social media. Tracy and the L9 Team love connecting with our community and find new media to be an exciting way to facilitate connections and conversation. Leave us a comment on the blog and let’s keep the conversation rolling! ❤

Westchester-Playa del Rey Community Plan Update

Our Community Plan is in process for a long overdue update, but will it matter?

What Is A City Plan?

The City of Los Angeles is a massive area and to help manage land use policy decisions, the city is divided into 35 community plan areas.

Each Community Plan establishes goals and policies to guide land use and development within each plan area. Plan maps identify where uses such as jobs, housing and open space will be located. Continue reading “Westchester-Playa del Rey Community Plan Update”

Meet Nick Tonight!

meet-nick-nick-melvoin-for-school-boardHave you met Nick? Nick Melvoin is a teacher attorney, organizer and advocate – and he’s running for a position on our school board because he cares about kids.

Learn more about Nick’s impressive background here and why we need him replacing Steve Zimmer as our representative on our school board.

If you agree with me that Nick sounds like he’d be an asset to our school board, consider coming out tonight to a meet and greet at a private home in Westchester. I met Nick at just such an event a few months ago and I was so super impressed. Meet Nick tonight and tell me if you agree. 😉

Details:

Friday, October 21st at 7 pm
7929 Breen Avenue
Westchester 90045

Zoning Changes Coming To A Neighborhood Near You – As In Yours

Westchester Zoning Changes Are Headed To A City Council Vote

Westchester zoning changes
photo credit: re:code LA

Just this week, the Planning Commission’s final proposed amendments to the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) were referred to the City Council’s Planning & Land Use Management Committee for review. The next step is a full Council vote to adopt the recommended restrictions.

In a nutshell, the BMO amendments, which will apply to all of LA, except a few defined communities, will eliminate green building and design incentives and will limit the square footage of your new or remodeled single family home to 45% of your lot size, among other restrictions. The Planning Commission’s final recommendation can be found here.

If you live in Kentwood, you’ve already been living with similar restrictions since mid-2015.

Does Westchester Need Tighter Restrictions?

There is no question that our antiquated Zoning Code needs a facelift. First adopted in 1946, the current Zoning Code has grown from a simple 84-page document to an unwieldy 600+ page book.

But do we need Westchester zoning changes that restrict the size of our homes to less than half the lot size? Is that even a smart idea?

During public hearings on the BMO amendments, four quality of life concerns were identified by the public:

  1. Out-of-scale development
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Increasing traffic
  4. Environmental quality

Slide from 9/13/16 Public Hearing
Slide from 9/13/16 Public ICO Hearing

As I see it, we get a bigger bang for our buck in addressing those concerns with larger, not smaller houses. For instance, larger houses allow us to work from home, thereby minimizing two of the four stated concerns – traffic and the environment.

Additionally, we are facing a housing affordability crisis here in LA. Families are welcoming multiple generations into their homes and need more bedrooms, not less.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of “mansionization,” but is 3600 feet of house on a 6000 square foot lot really a mansion?? No, it’s a 5 bedroom home with a backyard that provides three family bedrooms, a home office and a guest room. Does that sound like a mansion to you?

Have you ever driven through east Playa del Rey or Manhattan Beach? Those homes occupy most of their lots and those neighborhoods are very attractive.

From what I’ve observed, the people most vocally opposed to larger homes object because they “hulk” over smaller houses from another era, but eventually all houses will be updated and enlarged, particularly if people care about maximizing resale value (and I posit that most of us care about the value of our home).

Certainly smaller, older homes with historic significance can, should be and are currently protected by historic overlay zones, but who is going to argue that the little boxes on decent-sized lots that populate Westchester rise to the level of historic significance?

What To Do If You Think Impending Changes Are Overly Restrictive

So what do you do if you believe that we should be able to remodel our little boxes into modern family homes? Immediately start contacting our Councilman. This has to happen now, before the BMO amendments come up for a full Council vote. Let him know that small boxy houses don’t fit your vision for the future of Westchester. Councilman Bonin can decide to vote “no” on the amendments or he can carve out Westchester. He’s already carved out Pacific Palisades.

Write and call:

  • Councilman Bonin at councilmember.bonin@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Chief of Staff Chad Molnar at chad.molnar@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Deputy Chief of Staff Laura McLennan at laura.mclennan@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Westchester Deputy Anna Kozma at anna.kozma@lacity.org • 310 568-8772 • fax:310 410-3946
  • Councilman Bonin’s Director of Land Use & Planning Tricia Keane at tricia.keane@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Councilman Bonin’s Senior Planner Ezra Gale at ezra.gale@lacity.org • 213 473-7011 • fax:213 473-6926
  • Contact Councilman Bonin’s office through his website

Kentwood Residents Need To Call & Write TODAY

Do you live in Kentwood? You have your own set of time-sensitive issues that are different from the BMO amendments. Read more about those here.

Your Voice Matters

Please don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter, especially when it comes to Westchester zoning changes. I’ve seen time and time again that our Councilman listens to what his constituents say and the fact that he is up for re-election in one year’s time is bound to make him even more sensitive to constituent concerns. I’ve also seen that Pacific Palisades has made enough noise about the BMO amendments that they are getting special treatment. We can, too.

 

Big Conversations In 90045 This Week

westchester ca trending, 90045, about westchester ca 90045, 90045 news

90045 – Here’s What’s Trending In The Hood

As I mentioned last week, this column is a weekly roundup of the online chatter about 90045 that catches my eye.

I tend to hang out mostly on NextDoor and the Moms’ Facebook Group, although I do loosely follow other platforms. After each blurb below, I reference which platform the conversation is happening on and how you can find it.

The Moms Facebook Group is “secret.” This means that you can’t find it on Facebook unless you are a member. Email me at tracy @ living90045.com and I’ll get you hooked up. It’s a very worthwhile resource for moms and it’s open to moms from 90045, PdR and Playa Vista.

By the way, NextDoor is pretty restrictive with how you deal with your neighbors. There may be super active conversations where the original poster didn’t include Kentwood South, which is where I live. If you see big conversations that you think the wider 90045 community might want to be aware of and you don’t see Kentwood South tagged, send me a summary and I’ll include it in the roundup.

With that, let’s look at the chatter that caught my eye this week.

Good News, Bad News

Or maybe it’s bad news, good news, but I’m so sad to report that we had a big week in the burglary department. The good news? LAPD showed up fast and in full force. But back to the bad news. Nobody has been apprehended. Source: NextDoor (search “nardian way” and “burglary on holy cross” and “burglary crews” and “regis way police” and “burglary on west 87th”). Notably, in the case of the Holy Cross burglary, the homeowner was notified on his cell phone at work of the breakin via his Ring app. He didn’t see the notification right away, but when he did, the police responded immediately.

The Coyotes Are Still Hungry

A poor Amazon driver witnessed a coyote running down the street with a small dog in its mouth. The guy was so shaken, he had to call the house at his next stop and ask them to come to the truck for their package. I can’t even imagine that experience. Keep your small dogs in, especially at dusk. This incident happened at 8 pm in PdR near a suspected coyote den site at Waterview/Trask. We send our condolences to the Nguyen Family. Their other dog was also attacked and died later from cardiac arrest. Source: NextDoor (search “killed by a coyote”). The Moms were discussing this sad topic, too (search “my hubby witnessed”).

Coyote Sighting Map

Sightings and attacks are being mapped here. Email coyotewatch911@gmail.com to add information to the map.

AT&T vs. Time Warner vs. Comcast

No shortage of opinions and the details are enough to make a girl’s head spin. Join the conversation on NextDoor (search “time warner”)

Animal Services Is Going Door To Door & Writing Tickets

Seems that if Animal Services comes aknockin’ and you can’t produce proof of licensing, up to date shots and neutering, you’re subject to a pricey fix-it ticket ($100/dog). One commenter pointed out that you shouldn’t license online if you’re trying to fix your ticket. She reports that the online process takes more than 30 days. Source: NextDoor (search “dept of animal services” and “animal control”). There were two crazy active thread with lots of opinions on whether this is a legitimate display of authority. One thread digressed into much hot air and name calling, so I have to say maybe this is a good one to skip. One important thing to know is that not answering the door is not going to avoid a ticket. They will leave one on your door. 🙂

LAX Northward Expansion

Word came this week that an agreement has been reached between LAX and the City of LA that prevents moving the north runway closer to homes in Westchester. I say “yay,” but also noticed that part of the agreement involves lifting caps on passenger counts. What is that going to mean for traffic? Source: NextDoor (search “expansion no” and “update on lax runways”).

Venice Starts The Process To Secede From LA

OK, this one didn’t get so much chatter, but it should! We’re experiencing a lot of the same growing pains here in Westchester and we should be watching their progress closely. Source: NextDoor (search “venice proposing”).

Need Event Tickets?

NextDoor is becoming the place to score tickets. This week, I’ve seen tickets offered for Josh Groban/Sarah McLachlan, the Rams, and another concert that escapes me.

Door To Door Magazine Peddlers

A couple of reckless white vans dumping magazine peddlers set off a spirited conversation about the legitimacy of the sales and the plight of the kids who get dumped to knock and sell. Source: NextDoor (search “these vans”).

School Is Back In Session And Pick-Up & Drop-Off Has Some Neighbors Seeing Red

Loved the title of this thread – “School is back in session please park wherever you want!!! The thread included a picture of a car parked across somebody’s driveway. Parents are harried and getting stupid. Leave a little earlier people and walk a block, for crying outloud! Source: NextDoor (search “wherever you want”). The Moms were discussing the nerve of one neighbor who posted his own “Residents Only” parking sign. It’s tough for both sides.

Zoning Changes In Kentwood

Zoning is a mess in LA and everybody’s new buzzword is “mansionization.” Problem is that size is not always the problem. Taste is. Kentwood specifically was added to the Baseline Masionization Ordinance/Interim Control Ordinance last year. That BMO ICO is expiring and public hearings have begun on what should replace it. There was a mailer this week and a conversation on this topic on NextDoor (search “proposed for kentwood” and “changing the building zone”).

No Verizon Cell Tower For 7910 La Tijera

Score one for the mamas! After 9 months of hard work, their appeal was granted by the Planning Commission, preventing a massive cell tower in their residential neighborhood. Hat tips also to Councilman Bonin, Congresswoman Waters and NC President Cyndi Hench for supporting the fight. Source: Moms Facebook Group (search “dear moms, after nine months).

Support 2 Young Entrepreneurs & Cancer Research!

Two young girls will have a lemonade stand tomorrow (Sunday) at 79th/Yorktown from 1:30 to 3:30. All proceeds will be donated to St. Jude’s for cancer research.

There you go, friends! Now you’re in the 90045 know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-Mansionization Proponents Score Big Win But Are We Losing Sight Of The “Bigger” Picture?

photo credit: dwell.com
photo credit: dwell.com

Many of the proposed changes were welcomed by local residents worried about mansionization: The new rules would no longer allow a 20% bonus in square footage for using ecologically friendly building methods. They would also reduce the square footage that would generally be allowed for homes in residential areas, changing it from 50% to 45% of the lot size. And porches and patios that are covered would count toward the legal limit on building size, rather than being exempt.

Watching the anti-mansionization tsunami has hands down been more of my more frustrating experiences as a homeowner in Los Angeles.

In fact, I was moved to write a rare post on my personal blog about this topic in April 2015 and again in December 2015. Lots of people running around screaming that the sky is falling because houses are getting bigger kind of leaves me scratching my head.

Do these people not understand the deal they are making with the devil? Porches and patios counting toward the already restricted square footage? You can bet the bank that new houses are not going to have porches and patios. Talk about ugly, boxy houses!

And let’s talk about square footage restrictions. Every time I turn around the City wants to steal a bedroom from my family in our next remodel.

Currently we own a 1500 square foot house on a standard 6000 square foot lot. The old rules would have allowed us to build 3000 square feet plus 600 additional feet if we built green and/or took advantage of the other two incentives. A 3600 square foot home would allow for the 5 bedrooms that families our size want when one or both of the adults work at home. That is a large, comfortable home, but by no means a mansion.

The first big mansionization “reform” proposed by the City offered 50% of the lot size with no incentives.

3000 square feet for us? I guess we’re losing a bedroom in the big remodel. I suppose 4 bedrooms could work, but our resale value just took a hit.

But now comes news that the City is on the verge of finalizing a 45% rule. There goes another bedroom!

By my loose realtor calculation, the City is getting ready to take a good $500-$800K out of my family’s pocket by shaving off two bedrooms from what we could have built a year ago.

And why? Because a small, organized constituency of people don’t want LA to change.

Has anybody else noticed that our mayor is busy rolling out the red carpet to the tech industry? Maybe he didn’t get the memo, but those people like to work from home.

In a city with a housing crisis, why is LA cutting back bedrooms? And what about the traffic impacts when the people like me who work at home have to commute to an office because we can’t build an adequate home office?

Is anybody actually reading and digesting the proposed changes? What the anti-mansionizers are calling “loopholes” and “bonuses” were actually very effective incentives to build better looking and greener houses.

Don’t even get me started about the trend toward multi-generational families under one roof. Are they going to live in 3-bedroom houses? Hardly.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not inclined to leave a cool half mil on the table because Dora down the street likes our little Mayberry just the way it is.

Are you mad, too? Join me at 10 am on Sunday when I plan on hitting Mike Bonin’s pop up office hours at the Westchester Farmers Market to ask him why he is so intent on hurting my family’s retirement plan.

UPDATE: For whatever reason, the LA Times reporter fails to mention that the action on Thursday is limited to the extension of the Interim Control Ordinance (“ICO”) only. For 90045, that means Kentwood only (including, sadly, my family). Should you be any less mad? Definitely not. Your neighborhood is undoubtedly next. 😦

LAX Northside Plan Wins Approval

photo source: Wikipedia
photo source: Wikipedia

Much needed open space & recreation facilities or placeholder for future expansion?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilmember Mike Bonin, airport officials, and community representatives on June 14, celebrated City Council approval of the LAX Northside Plan Update, a comprehensive planning blueprint for 340 acres of vacant property located between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the Los Angeles communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey.

Big news yesterday for ‘s neighbor to the South. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Mike Bonin, LAX officials and community representatives celebrated City Council approval of the LAX Northside Plan Update, a comprehensive planning blueprint for 340 acres of vacant property located between LAX and Westchester/Playa del Rey.

But is passage of the plan really cause for celebration?

Bonin was quoted as saying, “Westchester and Playa del Rey deserve a vibrant, thriving community and the Northside Plan will offer neighbors open space and recreation facilities to play in, and retail space to dine and shop in, and a campus-like office space to work in.”

Sounds good to me.

Critics on the other hand, are quick to point out that open spaces and recreation facilities are easy to pave over, if LAX starts thinking again about expanding to the north into our community. They point out that the original plan called for high rise office buildings, which might present more of an obstacle to expansion.

Cue the music screeching to a halt.

Will we be so busy in Westchester CA enjoying our “gift” that we don’t even notice when the City starts talking again about northward expansion? Hard to tell. With luck, we’ll end up with the real “Runway” rather than Playa Vista. For that, we can only stay tuned.

Got an opinion about the Expansion Plan? Let’s have a conversation! Leave a comment below.

Source: LAX Northside Plan Wins Approval | AviationPros.com

Eight vie for open Westside state Assembly seat

Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D- Gardena), whose 62nd Assembly District includes the Marina, Venice, Playa Vista, Playa del Rey and Westchester, terms out of office later this year and will seek a state Senate seat. Eight new faces vie for his seat.

Westchester real estate broker Ted Grose is the lone Republican in the race.

For the full story from The Argonaut, head over to argonautnews.com.

Council tables Legado Del Mar decision – developer concessions not enough to reverse tide of neighborhood opposition

Just two weeks after getting the apparent blessing of a Neighborhood Council of Westchester-Playa subcommittee, the proposed Legado Del Mar development at 138 Culver Blvd. hit another roadblock on Dec. 3. Failing to reach consensus about the adequacy of concessions offered by real estate firm Legado Co., the council punted the question of whether to support or oppose the development to its Feb. 4 meeting. The mixed-use complex would include 72 apartments, 14,500 square feet of retail space and two levels of underground parking on the undeveloped triangular parcel known to locals as “Jake’s Lot.

Read the full story on argonautnews.com.

It’s good to know that somebody listens to residents. We have a few development issues of our own in the pipeline, including Chick-Fil-A’s play to take over the Grinder location at Sepulveda & Manchester. I heard recently that the Kentwood homeowners association is gearing up to make some noise over that one.

How about you? Do you follow new development in 90045?