The Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] has launched a three-front battle to stop mansionization. The Miracle Mile has become an easy target for builders of McMansions due to the fact that surrounding neighborhoods have successfully thwarted such development by becoming Historical Protection Overlay Zones [HPOZ] or Reduced Floor Area Districts [RFA].
A “super-sized” home under construction at 808 South Ridgeley Drive has galvanized the community [see “before” and “after” photos above]. Such development presents a clear threat to the historic fabric, scale, and livability of the Miracle Mile. After consulting with residents, real estate professionals, and other land use experts, the MMRA Board of Directors has concluded that, indeed, the Miracle Mile is a prime target for speculators looking to make a fast buck by demolishing older homes and replacing them with McMansions. Immediate action is critical to protect our community.
Because of the urgency and fluidity of this situation, the MMRA Board of Directors has developed a three-pronged effort to stop mansionization in the Miracle Mile:
Reform the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance [BMO]:
The City adopted the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance [BMO] in 2008 to prevent McMansions, but developers have skillfully exploited loopholes in the ordinance to circumvent restrictions on height and square footage. This resulted in a surge of mansionization in the Beverly Grove and La Brea/Hancock areas. Desperate to stop the destruction of their neighborhoods, these communities pursued becoming Reduced Floor Area Districts [RFA] to plug the many loopholes in the BMO.
Homeowner and residential associations, as well as other community organizations, have recently increased the pressure on the City Council to fix the BMO so that RFAs would not be needed to stop mansionization. Having an ever-growing number of RFAs created throughout L.A. would strain the already threadbare resources of the Department of City Planning. Reforming the BMO would protect Los Angeles neighborhoods and save the taxpayers money.
The MMRA has been lobbying City Hall to enact speedy reform of the BMO. The City Council Planning and Land Use Management [PLUM] Committee held a public hearing this month that attracted a large showing of community representatives clamoring for revisions to the BMO. The PLUM Committee gave the Department of City Planning a month to come back with suggestions on how to change the ordinance.
The MMRA is closely monitoring the actions of the PLUM Committee and will continue to exert pressure to eliminate the loopholes in the BMO.
Creating a Reduced Floor Area District [RFA] in the Miracle Mile:
Should the City Council falter or fail to eliminate all of the loopholes in the BMO, it is the consensus of the MMRA Board of Directors that the Miracle Mile should immediately seek the protections of RFA status. A Residential Floor Area Overlay district [RFA] is a zoning tool available for single-family residential neighborhoods to tailor citywide size and height development regulations to the particular needs of the community.
At its next meeting on September 4, 2014, the MMRA board will assess whether sufficient progress has been made by the City Council to reform the BMO. If – at that time – there is no evidence of movement towards substantial reform of the BMO, the MMRA will launch an outreach and petition campaign to create the Miracle Mile Reduced Floor Area District. The MMRA would pursue the same regulations contained within the Beverly Grove RFA, which was instituted in October 2013. [Click here to read the Beverly Grove RFA.]
An RFA can be created in much less time than an HPOZ – and time is of the essence in stopping mansionization. Hopefully, reform of the BMO will make this step unnecessary.
Creation the Miracle Mile Historical Protection Overlay Zone [HPOZ]:
The Miracle Mile is currently being subjected to a tidal wave of new development – mansionization is just one aspect of the many threats our community confronts. The MMRA created an HPOZ Committee last May to explore HPOZ protection for the Miracle Mile. The committee was instructed to do fact-finding, seek the input of residents and property owners, and report on how an HPOZ might be designed and implemented.
Although the committee’s work is in the preliminary stages, it is already apparent that an HPOZ is the only means available to ensure the historic continuity, appearance, and scale of our community. An HPOZ would help to level the playing field that is heavily weighted in favor of real estate speculators and developers – and the politicians who depend on their campaign contributions.
The push for an HPOZ has just begun in the Miracle Mile and it could take anywhere from two-to-four years to complete the intricate process of creating an HPOZ. So, although an HPOZ would be the most effective way to stop mansionization – as well as institute design standards that would preserve the fabric of our neighborhood – it is not a “quick fix.”
Reform of the BMO and/or the creation of a RFA would stop mansionization and buy the community time to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of an HPOZ. Mansionization must be stopped now – or there will be even less to preserve.
For additional information:
MMRA Newsletter [May 2014]:
Mansionization Threatens Miracle Mile
MMRA Newsletter [July 2014]:
Los Angeles Times Finally Starts to Report on Mansionization Story
What’s your opinion?
Miracle Mile Residential Association launched an online survey last May to solicit residents’ opinions regarding mansionization and the creation of an Historical Preservation Overlay Zone [HPOZ] and/or Reduced Floor Area District [RFA].